Olympic silver medallist Lisa Darmanin has welcomed the high standard of sailing by female competitors at Sail Sydney and shared her hope that some of them will be wearing national colours at Tokyo in 2020.
Darmanin is the only woman on the 12-person Australian Sailing Team, but there is plenty of talent developing in the Australian Sailing Squad. Among them is Youth National Champion Marlena Berzins, who continues to lead the Laser Radial class a the Tasman Series event from previous Youth Champion Jacinta Ainsworth. Squad members Amelia Stabback and Ella Clark are pursuing New Zealand’s 49erFX Rio silver medallists Alex Maloney and Molly Meech, while Australian Sailing Squad Rio Olympians Carrie Smith and Jaime Ryan lead the women crews in the 470.
“It’s a big goal for the Australian Sailing Team for Tokyo to get some girls on the podium,” Darmanin said. “I think we have lots of youth coming through, which is really exciting, and I’d love to see some other girls on the Australian Sailing Team with me next year.”
Darmanin and her cousin and sailing partner Jason Waterhouse are unbeaten in the four-boat Nacra 17 fleet, closing out another three races today on a breezy Sydney Harbour, as they continue to get accustomed to the new foiling boats.
“It was really tricky conditions today. The wave state was a bit diabolical for us, but we improved throughout the day and it got a little bit more manageable,” she said. “It is good to mix it up and it’s really good training to remind us that many of the venues we sail at aren’t flat and the Nacras are a handful when it’s not flat water.”
Another pair of promising female Australian Sailing Squad members, 470 sailors Nia Jerwood and Monique de Vries, were pleased with their consistency in the challenging conditions.
“We had some ferries coming through the course, which made it quite interesting at different points, but we managed to avoid them and get around the course with no dramas,” Jerwood said after finishing behind Smith and Ryan and the first four male crews in the fleet.
“I think for us it’s really good to race against the boys. We don’t get that much opportunity to race against them and, with the Japanese [sailors] and Mat [Belcher] and Will [Ryan] here, you see them thundering off the start line at 100 miles an hour, it’s good just to compare ourselves against them and know that we’ve got so much more we can improve on.”
De Vries said the aim for the remainder of the regatta would be to “keep making those little gains around the course and keep chipping away at the boys… They’ve got so much experience and everything they do is pretty much at full speed the whole time. With more experience you get closer to that…”.