by Craig Heydon
The 2013 49er and 49erFX European Championships are reaching the business end of the events with crews jostling for positions in the medal races.
Haylee Outteridge and Nina Curtis at the 49erFX Europeans
The 49erFX gold fleet was first in action on day four in Aarhus, Denmark, with the top 16 boats taking part in four races close to shore.
Australia’s Olivia Price and Caitlin Elks went into the day in 16th position, needing some good results to move themselves up the leader board towards the all-important top eight for Sunday’s finals.
Price and Elks began the day with an eighth and a seventh before winning race three and finishing fourth in Friday’s final race. The results moved the pair up to 12th overall, with one day of fleet racing ahead of the finals remaining.
'Today was pretty tricky but we were happy to have some nice breeze,' said Price. 'The racecourse was close to the club making it easy for spectators to watch but not easy to read the shifts. We had a positive day and took a lot from the larger fleet racing of the previous days into the smaller fleet.
'We did have a good race win, where we were able to sail our own shifts and didn't worry too much about the other boats around us,' she said. 'It was so shifty that we had to stay in phase and in pressure.'
Elks said that they took a lot away from racing against the top crews in a smaller fleet.
'Racing in the gold fleet has provided a good opportunity to test our skills and knowledge against the leading sailors in the FX fleet,' said Elks. 'We have one more day of fleet racing tomorrow before the top eight split off for the medal races, we’re sitting in 12th so cracking the top eight tomorrow is still possible.'
The silver 49erFX fleet also completed four races with promotion to the petit final up for grabs for the top placed crew at the end of Saturday’s races.
Two Australian crews have put themselves in the box seat heading into the penultimate day of racing with Haylee Outteridge and Nina Curtis currently leading the silver fleet, with Tessa Parkinson and Chelsea Hall one point behind in second.
Outteridge and Curtis started the day fifth in the silver fleet, with a pair of fourths, a third and a second moving them into the lead.
Parkinson and Hall are right behind them following a third, a second, a sixth and a ninth. The points are close behind the leading two crews and with another full day of fleet races scheduled for Saturday plenty of movement is still possible.
Ella Giudice and Kate Lathouras are currently eighth in the silver fleet after a 15th, 16th, 14th and a third on Friday.
The 49er gold fleet returned to the water for their second day of finals racing with two Australian crews in the top 32, Will Phillips and Rhys Mara, and Joel Turner and Lewis Brake.
Phillips and Mara started the day in fifth position but a 24th, 19th, 27th and an 11th saw the pair drop to 16th position.
While it may not have been the best day on the water for the pair did secure themselves a spot in the semi finals, claiming the 16th and final spot on a count back.
Joel Turner and Lewis Brake are 30th overall following a 17th, 24th, 31st and 29th. The 32 boat gold fleet will split on Saturday, with the top 16 and bottom 16 racing separately.
David Gilmour and Sam Phillips are third in the 49er silver fleet after a third, a second, a 16th and a 24th.
Just behind them is Peter Kendall and Harry Bethwaite who ended the day in fifth position, with Luke Parkinson and Fang Warren 17th. George Davies and Jack Lloyd are fifth in the bronze fleet.
In Brest, France, competitors at the 2013 RS:X European Championships were back on the water after Thursday’s rest day.
Joanna Sterling is currently in 15th position in the women’s competition after a 15th and a 19th on Friday, with fellow Australian Paris Stowell 37th.
In the youth women’s event Annalise Gilbert is 33rd, while in the youth men’s Jock Calvert is 48th.