At the Sailing World Cup in Hyeres France, Day 3, the Australian Laser squad started racing on Hyeres Bay with a bang.
In the first Laser race today, Matt Wearn took the gun, with Mitch Kennedy the 2013 under 21 World Champion fourth, Tom Burton sixth and Jeremy O’Connell 12th.
In next two races Wearn collected a fourth and a second and now leads the regatta. Behind him are four Olympic Laser medallists and multiple Laser World Champions.
Wearn said ‘I said at the start of the day, today is the day to do well and I guess that is what happened.
‘Our first race today was, I thought, the best race I had sailed in a long time. I executed a good start and nailed the first two shifts, and with clean air and first use of the new pressure that counted for a lot. When I looked back and saw four of our squad in the top dozen, I thought, ‘hey an Aussiefest’.
‘The second race, I came fourth. I didn’t have the best of starts but the wind picked up and my boat speed carried it through. I rounded the top mark in a solid position and picked up places from there. In the last race, it could have been another first, I was leading, covering the top players, and on the second beat another sailor went hard right and got past. I was happy to claim the second.
‘But there is still plenty of sailing to go yet. It’s just good to see all the work I have been doing over the summer period in Australia is now starting to deliver some results and I am starting to feel my way in the fleet and get my regatta experience up.’
Tom Burton, ‘Yesterday I talked about having all my results in single digits but I didn’t touch wood, so with today’s 6th, 28th and 14th I guess I got what I deserved.
‘Started OK in the first race with a sixth. In the second race, I didn’t have a very good start and went the wrong way from there…end of story. I was better in the last one but then I missed a big right hand shift in the last beat and lost eight or so boats…a little bit frustrating. I think everyone except Matt was having a bit of an up and down day.
‘I think it is supposed to be pretty fresh tomorrow and pretty cold so I will be putting everything I have on and we will see what happens.’
ASS Laser sailor Mitch Kennedy is 15th, Jeremy O’Connell is 19th and Luke Elliott is 51st.
In the Men’s 470 dinghy class, Rio Silver Medallists Belcher and Ryan were second in race 5, while the series leaders, Rio Bronze Medallist Mantis and Kagialis, sailed their drop with a 27th. However, the Greek duo rallied and won the second race with the Australians third.
Mat Belcher was pleased with the day’s racing commenting, ‘The first race was really light and the result showed we have not lost too much speed in the light winds in our long layoff. In the second race, we hit the mark, did a penalty turn, and had to come back from 14th. We had a good final reach, we went low, quite a high-risk manoeuvre but it worked. A tactical day for sure.’
The 49er fleet sailed four races today and Will and Sam Phillips finished with a last race win.
Will Phillips commented, ‘We’ve suffered with lack of speed in the first part of this regatta but we are picking up speed now. We have a sixth and an eighth and now the win, but are still 16th overall, so it’s consistency we need to work on. But the win was certainly enjoyable, the pressure lifted, we found a nice shift on the first leg, were second into the top mark and took the lead on the run and then it’s much simpler when you out in front.’
In Finn heavy weight dinghy, Nicholas Heiner (NED) leads. Oli Tweddell has improved slightly from 22nd to 19th.
The series continues tomorrow Friday with 49er medal racing on Saturday 29th and Laser, Finn and 470 Men’s on Sunday 30th.
Wind forecasts suggest that winds of 20-30 knots could sweep the course, which might put paid to 49er racing. The morning will tell the story.
Australian Sailing Team (AST) & Squad (ASS) at Sailing World Cup Hyeres 2017
Men’s Two Person Dinghy - 470M
Mathew Belcher (QLD/QAS) & Will Ryan (QLD/QAS) – AST: (10),3,3,1,2,3 – 2nd
Men’s Skiff - 49er
Will & Sam Phillips (VIC/VIS) – AST: 21,21,19,8, (26),17,6,20,1 – 16th
Men’s One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight) - Finn
Oliver Tweddell (VIC/VIS) – AST: (21),15,15,19,12,20 – 19th
Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser
Matt Wearn (WA/WAIS) – AST: 5, (15),4,1,4,2 – 1st
Tom Burton (NSW/NSWIS) – AST: 4,5,8,6, (28),14 – 4th
Mitch Kennedy (QLD/QAS) – ASS: 11, (28),26,4,21,24 – 15th
Jeremy O'Connell (VIC/VIS) – ASS: 10, (34),24,12,12,61 – 19th
Luke Elliot (WA/WAIS) – ASS: 43,52,50,46, (61),7 – 51st
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RESULTS / ENTRIES
A full list of sailors registered to sail in Hyères is available to view here - http://manage2sail.com/en-US/event/0adf7bcd-01d0-4214-a295-bb0b9136999e#!/entries?classId=7a9662de-4565-41e3-9008-4025d3177d5e
Results will be available from Tuesday 25 April via the World Cup Series results centre here - http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php