by Craig Heydon
Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia.- Australian sailors have continued their strong run at the third round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Spain with Tom Slingsby, Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, and Brendan Casey the stand out performers on day two.
Belcher and Page racing in Palma - 42nd Trofeo SAR
After being faced with heavy winds on day one of racing, day two was a different challenge for the crews, racing was delayed due to a lack of wind, with the competitors eventually racing in a light to moderate breeze.
Tom Slingsby continued his strong start to his European season, adding a third and a first to his two race wins on Monday, to open up a six point lead over defending Olympic champion Paul Goodison of Great Britain.
'Today was a good day with a third and a first,' said Slingsby. 'It was a light to moderate offshore shifty day with big place changes throughout the fleet. In the first race I worked the wrong side of the course and rounded down in about 20th. I had a really good reach and run to get back to about eighth and the on the second lap I picked a few more to finish third. Sailed really well to come back from where I was.'
'The second race was very shifty with an offshore gradient wind fighting with the sea breeze,' he said. 'I led around every mark and despite a few nervous moments won the race. It’s all going well so far but with three fleets the points won’t open up much and we have to wait for finals for the big moves to happen.'
In the 470 fleet Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page jumped up from their overnight ninth position to end day two third overall, after finishing second in both of the day’s races.
'We found our grove at bit more today which was good,' said Page. 'Another day in the boat also helped and we both feel that we’re improving each day. We also sailed the right course today which was a good start.'
'To pick up two seconds in tricky conditions today was a good result and we’re up and running now which is what we asked for in the qualifying races,' he said. 'We’ve got two more qualifying races tomorrow and then into the finals, and anything can happen in the finals.'
Tom Slingsby - racing in Palma - 42nd Trofeo SAR 2011
'The goal for Mathew and I tomorrow is to get two solid results to get into the finals series and then go from there,' said Page.
Brendan Casey went into the day seventh in the Finn fleet and had the perfect start, winning the opening race before finishing 10th in race two.
The Gold Coast based sailor who qualified for the 2011 Australian Sailing Team following his 10th at the 2010 Finn Gold Cup, ended the day fourth overall, tied on points with third position and just eight points off the lead.
In the Women’s Match Racing competition Nicky Souter, Nina Curtis and Olivia Price have qualified for the Repechage Round Robin after finishing the opening stage fourth in their group.
The Australian Women’s Match Racing Team crew went into the day tied for the lead on three wins but had a tougher day two, winning only one of their four races to finish on four wins and three losses.
The trio will take part in the Repechage Round Robin on day three, with the top two crews progressing to the quarter-finals.
Fellow Australians Katie Spithill, Jessica Eastwell and Lucinda Whitty finished sixth in their group with two wins and five losses.
The Australian Sailing Squad crew of Sam Kivell and Will Ryan has moved up to 16th in the 470 fleet after an 11th and a 14th on day two.
In the Laser class Squad member Ashley Brunning is 18th after finishing with a 10th and a fifth while Australian Sailing Team athlete Tom Burton is 64th after being black flagged in race one and then finishing 15th in race two.
Krystal Weir is 15th in the Laser Radial class, crossing the line in 13th and 18th on Tuesday.
For more information on the Australian Sailing Team visit www.australiansailingteam.com.au