At the end of racing yesterday at the 2017 470 World Championships in Thessaloniki, Greece, Australian 470 coach Victor forecast that today would be ‘The Day’ and it was.
This morning, at the beginning of Day 5, Australia’s Olympic silver medallists Mat Belcher and Will Ryan were in third place on the leader board 12 points behind triple Olympian Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergstrom (SWE). Something was going to have to crack if they were going to catch their very consistent rivals in today’s three races and it did.
After another delay awaiting the sea breeze. In the ninth race of the series the Swedes were fourth and Belcher and Ryan were seventh, now the gap was 15 points and then came race 10.
Belcher and Ryan got the gun and the Swedes were 21st taking the Australians into the lead for the first time in the regatta.
Race 11, the twilight race, in the gathering gloom, was won by the Swedes with Belcher and Ryan fourth.
The final results of the Gold fleet series today have the Swedes on 35 points and the Australians on 36, with Medal race scoring double points, they are tied at the top.
The Austrians Bargehr and Mahr fell back today with a 17th and 4th and 19th and are now on 60 points, out of touch with the top two crews and just ahead of the Cinar brothers (TUR), who they will have to fend off in the medal race to retain Bronze.
Belcher has won six 470 World championships and has been here before. He commented ‘With this score, it’s just who beats who in the Medal race and that’s a perfect situation for us.
‘The Swedish guys got away from us in the first race and we clawed back a lot and we were happy with our position but with two races to go we were still 15 points back.
‘The second race was super tricky and we were actually side by side with Anton coming around the bottom mark for the second time. Then we made some good decisions and got clear. Anton made a couple he’d rather not have and slid back in the fleet. We finished first and the Swedes 21st.
‘Going into the last race, just after the start we tacked onto a really nice shift and we were looking really good. That held for three quarters of the way up the beat and then it all kind of stalled and everyone on our side of the course struggled, but we fought back to a respectable fourth and that is OK. We are super happy being in this position.’
Will Ryan added ‘A great day, three races, a more open race track and the most wind than we’ve had up to now in these championships. There was a lot of opportunity but also very hard racing. A lot more variable, there were big shifts and holes in the course.
‘Overall it was hard and pretty tiring but one of our better days. That’s all we could ask for really going in today and that’s one of the positive things that we must take and play for it tomorrow.’
Taking the broad view, 470 Coach Victor Kovalenko observed ‘‘The Swedes were fresh coming into this regatta and have been sailing well. But sailors coming in fresh, with not a lot of racing behind them, towards the end of the regatta can begin to tire and their results can be variable. Whereas more race hardened crews generally hold their form much better.
‘Tomorrow will be an interesting day.’
The Young Australians Chris Charlwood and Joshua Dawson finished the series in 19th place having today sailed a 26th, 16th and a 30th.
In the Women’s Gold fleet, the Poles, Skrzypulec/ finished on top ahead of Mills/McIntyre (GBR) with the Mrak/MaCarol (SLO) third. Nia Jerwood and Monique De Vries had a solid final day with a 9th, 13th and 10th to end the regatta in 13th place overall.
Carrie Smith and Jaime Ryan had a mixed day with a 14th, 4th, their best result in the regatta, and a 21st to finish in 22nd place.
In the women’s Silver fleet Dana Tavener and Katherine Shannon scored a 15th and a 10th placing them 50th. Shellee White and Amelia Catt sailed to a 20th and 11th to finish 54th.
The top ten in the Gold fleets will sail tomorrow in the double points medal race.
Australian Sailing Team (AST) & Squad (ASS) at 470 Worlds 2017 Thessaloniki
Men’s Two Person Dinghy - 470M
Mat Belcher (QAS) and Will Ryan (QAS) (AST): 2nd, 4,4,1,4,1,9,1,(10),7,1,4
Chris Charlwood (WAIS) and Joshua Dawson (NSWIS): 20th, 11,10,10,14,23,4,6,(37/UFD),26,16,30
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470W
Nia Jerwood (WAIS) and Monique De Vries (WAIS): 13th, 13,11,6,6,12,24,4,(31/BFD),9,13,10
Carrie Smith (WAIS) and Jaime Ryan (NSWIS): 22nd, 16,15,7,12,17,19,27,(31/BFD),14,4,21
Dana Tavener (NSWIS) and Katherine Shannon (NSWIS): 50th, 23,27,15,25,(28),23,16,19,28,15,10
Shellee White (QAS) and Amelia Catt (TIS): 54th, 28,20,24,28,27,20,14,(31/BFD),25,20,11