Breezy conditions should help Australia’s top skiff sailors get back on the pace when the 49er and 49er FX World Championship resumes in Portugal. Racing will be LIVE STREAMED tonight - CLICK HERE for all the details
After two days of postponements due to fog and lack of wind, Australian crews struggled for consistency when racing began. Among the women, Haylee Outteridge and Nina Curtis achieved the best results over the opening two races, coming in at 11th overall. In the men’s division, Will and Sam Phillips are the best placed Australians, in 14th after three races.
According to officials, winds are expected to pick up for the second day of racing, providing a stark contrast to the conditions which greeted the sailors.
“It’s quite tricky to keep entertained while we wait for wind for so long, but usually a deck of cards and some friends can kill a few hours and a football to kick around can kill another few,” sailor Joel Turner said.
“Trying to keep our brain working, I think, is important because really we have to be ready to rumble at any moment.”
When they got rumbling, Turner and skipper David Gilmour grabbed some encouraging results and are currently in 22nd place.
“For sure this is the biggest event of the year in 49er sailing,” Turner said.
“Luckily, Dave and I have already secured our funding for next year due to our results at the European, so this event we basically just want to do our best for our own sake and of course keep learning along the way. We can increase risk a little and just try to be standing on the podium at the end of the week.”
Skipper Caitlin Elks and crew Hayley Clark also found the waiting difficult at such an important event.
“It’s our peak event of each year, it has the biggest fleet numbers and highest racing quality,” Elks said.
“This also means the highest weighting on your results, in terms of qualifications and support for the next year of events.
“The Australian FX squad has their biggest representation yet, with five teams here racing. In year one [of the Olympic quad], with many new sailors to the class and new combinations, it’s a great opportunity for our squad to keep developing and to learn as much from this event as possible.”
Staying alert for racing was a challenge in itself, Elks said.
“We were trying to keep ourselves from switching off with card games and volleyball, which resulted in finding an overly enthusiastic and clingy dog who just wanted to be involved but usually just sent the ball into the marina for someone to have to chase after.”
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