by Craig Heydon
Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page have won the 2011 470 North American Championship, an important regatta for the pair ahead of the second round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup beginning in Miami next week.
Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page at the 470 North American Championship
The Australian Sailing Team crew arrived in Miami just before the start of the regatta and after blowing away their jet lag were quickly at the pointy end of the fleet and went into the final day tied for the lead with Americans Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl.
In the first race of the day the 2010 World Champions were seventh while the Americans won before both teams dropped their next race setting up a winner takes all final medal race.
Belcher and Page finished the medal race in fourth position, five places ahead of the Americans to take a four point victory in a fleet of 34 boats from 15 countries.
The Australian Sailing Development Squad crew of Sam Kivell and Will Ryan also had a strong regatta, finishing in 10th position and winning the final medal race.
Kivell and Ryan overcame a slow start to the regatta to race up the leaderboard on day two with four top six finishes to make it back-to-back medal races following their efforts at Sail Melbourne in December.
Both Australian crews will now prepare for the Miami OCR, with racing beginning on January 23.
For more information on the Australian Sailing Team click here