Wearn moves into First, Morris Third at Olympic Test Event

The Mistral came in and delivered a Nor’wester of 15-18 knots for day five at the Paris 2024 Olympic Test Event in Marseille, and Australia’s reigning Olympic Gold Medallist in the ILCA 7, Matt Wearn OAM relished the conditions. The Western Australian finished the day with an emphatic bullet (race win), and now sits in first place overall.

Wearn commented, “It’s always important to come out strongly post rest day, so I am happy to have done that. There were great conditions with a bit of breeze and sea state, so I am looking to finishing the series off strongly tomorrow.”

The ILCA 7 have just two more races to complete tomorrow before the top ten shootout in the vital, double points Medal Race on Saturday.

It was the Mixed Nacra 17 and Men’s 49er skiff teams who had a scheduled rest day and stayed ashore today. Australian Sailing Team (AST) Technical Director, Michael Blackburn, added, “They’re back in action tomorrow. Our kiters have now finished up, with Brei (Breiana Whitehead) narrowly missing the top 10 finals group.

“There are absolutely some solid performances in the team. Both Grae (Morris on the iQFOiL) and our Mixed 470 team are pushing new personal bests, whilst Wearny (Matt Wearn) is also getting more comfortable putting all the pieces together.”

Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine on the 49erFX skiff are capitalising on the opportunity to race at this level, and currently sit in seventh place overall. Price, an Olympic silver medallist (2012 Women’s Keelboat) commented, “It was a fun day out there, with plenty of action. Our focus was to build from our starts and find the opportunities on the course, which we stepped up from after missing a few yesterday.

“It looks like there were ups and downs for everyone today, so keeping our cool paid well for us in the second two races, after a handling error in the first race was compounded with not enough shift sailing up the first work (to the weather mark).”

In fifth place overall, with a string of very good results in the fleet racing are Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas in the Mixed 470 dinghy. A rest day tomorrow is well deserved, but their attention will be very much diverted to their Medal Race on Saturday.

Today, Grae Morris added another bullet to his maiden open international race win, making 2023 really something of a standout year for the windsurfer from Sydney’s Woollahra Sailing Club. He has now climbed into third place overall, with roughly half of the fleet racing to go.

AST iQFOiL Coach, Arthur Brett, spoke about Morris’ great result, “The venue threw up a different set of conditions today, and it was good to gain another perspective on how Grae is going. The fourth place in the marathon was hard fought over the entire 40km course. It was then pleasing to see him back it up with some mature course racing later to finish the day off with both a first and a second place on the results table.”

Breiana Whitehead missed out on continuing by just the one place, completing the event in 11th place overall. The avid and passionate kiteboarder had four more races today, and said afterwards, “It was great to have some breeze today. I really enjoyed using the little kites and had a much better day today. Unfortunately, not quite enough to make it into the semifinals tomorrow, but happy to end the regatta on a good day.”

Racing continues tomorrow as the remaining crews make sure they qualify for the all-important, double points medal races at the end of the regatta. Importantly, the Mistral looks like hanging in for at least another day, as well, and will abate over the weekend.

Visit the event website for full results.

Australian results at the Olympic Test Event:

ILCA 7 – 42 Entries

1st – Matt Wearn OAM – 1, 7, 5, (10), 5, 2, 3, 1 (24 points)

Men’s iQFOiL – 22 Entries

3rd – Grae Morris – 9, 3, (24), (10), 3, 4, 1, 2 (26 points)

Mixed 470 – 17 Entries

5th – Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas – 7, (16), 16, 2, 3, 4, 4, 3, 3, 11 (53 points)

49erFX – 24 Entries

7th – Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine – 2, (19), 8, 13, 14, 13, 12, 4, 7 (72 points)

Women’s Formula Kite – 20 Entries

11th – Breiana Whitehead – 7, 10, 10, (16), 12, 12, 8, 13, (21 DNF), 9, (21 DNF), 5, 9, 7, 12, 7 (121 points)

49er – 28 Entries

13th – Jim Colley and Shaun Connor – 16, 15, 4, 7, (17), 12 (54 points)

ILCA 6 – 38 Entries

15th – Zoe Thomson – 11, 8, 13, (39 DSQ), 39 BFD, 10, 24, 9 (114 points)

Nacra 17 – 18 Entries

16th – Darren Bundock and Lisa Darmanin – 17, (19 UFD), 11, 11, 14, 16 (69 points)

Men’s Formula Kite – 20 Entries

17th – Scott Whitehead – (20), 10, 12, (17), (16), 15, 16, 16, 15, 9, 11, (21 DNF), 14, 13, 13, 9 (169 points)

Words by John Curnow.

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