by Craig Heydon
Australia’s 49erFX and 49er crews have made their way to Denmark for the European Championships, with racing beginning in Aarhus on Tuesday.
2013 Grade 2 Chicago Match Cup Qualifier
The four 49erFX and six 49er crews are preparing for racing in Denmark, less than a week after competing at the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup round in Kiel, Germany.
The Kiel event was a successful one for Australia’s 49erFX crews with Olivia Price and Caitlin Elks winning silver and Tessa Parkinson and Chelsea Hall bronze, with Haylee Outteridge and Nina Curtis finishing just off the podium in fifth and Ella Giudice and Kate Lathouras ninth.
All four crews will be in action in Denmark, with the event the first ever European Championship for the new women’s 49erFX class.
'We’re very happy with the progress we’ve made in our first two regattas together,' said Price. 'We’ve been focusing on sailing consistently in the fleet and had some good practice with smaller fleets before we head into the Europeans with 35 boats on the start line.
'We’re obviously happy to have had two good results so far in the 49erFX and are really looking forward to racing against some other boats that we haven’t seen at our regattas yet,' she said.
The Kiel event had the top eight in the 49erFX and 49er classes contesting three medal races, with the podium positions undecided until the last boat crossed the line.
'The three medal race series was a tough physical battle and put a lot of emphasis on maneuvers around the race course,' said Price. 'The positions in the 10 minute races changed multiple times and we had to not worry about the positions and sail the boat around the course as efficiently as we could.
'We’ve identified the key things we need to continue to work on both before and during the Europeans,' she said. 'We’re hoping to continue our progress and relationship as a crew and hope to learn as much as we can before we go back home after the event for a final training block ahead of the World Championships in September.'
Australia’s six 49er crews are all relatively new pairings, with the Europeans to be just the third regatta the majority of crews have competed in together.
Will Phillips and Rhys Mara have been in the mix for medals in both regattas they’ve contested so far, winning bronze in Weymouth last month and then finishing fourth at Kiel.
'Rhys and I are progressing well as a team,' said Phillips. 'We have a good dynamic on the water and are very relaxed and happy, possible even a bit too relaxed sometimes!
'The three medal races in Kiel put a lot of emphasis on fitness and quick decisions. Any mistake cost a lot,' he said. 'They were very exciting and for the boys on the shore it was a great spectacle. We have certainly had a lot of discussion on nutrition, training and ways to conserve energy for this type of racing in the future.
'We had some great races in Kiel, however it would be good if we could be a little more consistent over all of the races,' said Phillips. 'I was really happy with the way we turned it around after a few disappointing results mid-regatta. The competitive racing in a world-class fleet was really fun.'
Cameron Good, John Godkin with the Portcullis Trophy, Donal Roche, Covestone Asset Magagement, Mike Walsh Regatta Director KYC
Joining Phillips and Mara in Denmark will be Australian crews David Gilmour and Sam Phillips, Luke Parkinson and Fang Warren, Joel Turner and Lewis Brake, Peter Kendall and Harry Bethwaite, and George Davies and Jack Lloyd.
Spiced Beef crew with 2013 Sovereigns Cup
'The Europeans will be a great experience, with a new format it will be really interesting and the 90 boats will make for some fierce competition,' said Will Phillips. 'Rhys and I are hoping to be there on the final day to compete with the leaders.'