Bittersweet 49er and Nacra17 Europeans for Australian Sailing Team

Outteridge - Jensen. 49er European Championship 2014
Mick Anderson
The 49er European Championship concluded in Helsinki, Finland last night with a fourth place for Nathan Outteridge (NSW) and Iain ‘Goobs’ Jensen (NSW) after a tight fought battle and some misfortune in the medal races, which made for a bitter sweet event for the Olympic champions as Nathan Outteridge said at the end of the regatta:

'It was a bit of a bittersweet event for us. We sailed really well through the qualifying and the finals, in the top five in all the races that we counted. All in all we were really happy with how we performed.'

Outteridge and Jensen went into the final three medal races on Sunday in second place and eleven points behind the World Champions and final winners from New Zealand, before misfortune caught up with them in the first race when carnage ensued for the crew.

'We had a port-starboard incident with John Pink (GB) up the first leg,' explained Outteridge. 'Then down the run Goobs’s trapeze wire snapped, we reckon from Pinky’s boom nicking the rope earlier.'

With Jensen in the drink, Outteridge tried to drop the gennaker singlehanded. 'My plan was to drop the kite, sail round the leeward gate and pick Goobs up on the way back up the next leg. But I capsized, and all I managed to do was give Goobs 200 metres more of swimming to do.'

By the time Jensen was back on board with the boat upright, the fleet was long gone, which meant a last place in this race for the Australians. The capsize put the Australians into a tight battle for the silver or bronze with the German and British crews. In race two, it went bad for Outteridge again with the Australian boat narrowly avoiding another capsize which once again put them to the back of the fleet. Incredibly the Aussies salvaged a seventh from the race, but a third place for the Kiwis proved sufficient to give them overall victory with a race in hand.

With the Kiwis in the lead, Outteridge sailed a solid race for second place, but the Germans had been too consistent (three,two,three) – taking the silver medal by just over two points from the British, who sneaked the bronze by just 0.6 points from the Australians: 'Oh well, you can’t have things go your way all time,' said Jensen. 'I guess we’ll have to do some practice.'

With three crews in the gold fleet and two in the top of the silver fleet, Helsinki once more underlined the strength of the current Australian 49er Sailing Squad, which utilised Helsinki as a training regatta on the way to the ISAF World Championships in Santander, Spain in September (8-21 September 2014).

Watch and hear more about the regatta and the final medal race incident from Nathan Outteridge, Iain Jensen as well as 49erFX sailors Tess Lloyd (VIC) and Caitlin Elks (WA), who finished 17th overall, via Australian Sailing’s event.

49er and 49erFX European Championship full results

Nacra17 European Championship, La Grande Motte, France

Waterhouse - Darmanin. - Nacra17 European Championship 2014

In a week with various Olympic class European Sailing Championships on the international regatta calendar, the Nacra17 European Championship in La Grande Motte, France finished on Saturday, 12 July. Australian Sailing Team’s Jason Waterhouse (NSW) and Lisa Darmanin (NSW) finished the event in fifth place as the highest ranked Australian crew.
Cousins Waterhouse and Darmanin, past ISAF Youth Worlds champions and Hobie 16 Youth World Champions, sailed a strong regatta and are keen for more:

'We've been sailing in the Nacra17 for about a year now. We are multihull sailors coming through from the Hobie16 days. Lisa and I won the ISAF youth World's together in 2009 in Brazil and hopefully we can go back to Brazil in a couple of years and win again. The peak and ultimate goal for this year is Santander though and this event was great practice for all of us,' said Jason Waterhouse.

With either too little or no wind the event proved to be a challenging week including some unlucky days for Australian Olympic medallists Darren Bundock (NSW) and Nina Curtis (NSW) who found themselves on the back foot for most of the event.

The duo had a comeback after a bad regatta start, which included a collision with a Bulgarian crew, penalties for crossing the start line too early as well as a capsize and health issues. With reduced racing and the first day of racing lost to a lack of breeze plus another full day missed because of breezes which were too strong, just three finals were sailed, which proved not enough to get them back into top ranks.

Bundock and Curtis finished overall 21st, while Euan McNicol (NSW) and Lucinda Whitty (NSW) finished the event in 12th after some strong racing, which saw them move up into fifth in the final series where they were disqualified in the second race. Both these crews will sail the Test event in Rio next before the whole Nacra17 squad will compete at the World Championships in Spain in September.

Catch up on the week with Australian Sailing’s event video wrap via youtube.

Nacra17 European Championship full results.

Australian Sailing’s 49er/49erFX & Nacra17 European Championships results:
Results 49er and 49erFX European Championships, Helsinki, Finland (83 boats)
Nathan Outteridge (NSW)-Iain Jensen (NSW) fourth, Will Phillips (VIC)-Jasper (Fang) Warren (WA) 14th, Steve Thomas (WA)-Sam Phillips (VIC) 27th, Joel Turner (QLD)-Lewis Brake (QLD) 35th, Dave Gilmour (WA)-Rhys Mara (NSW) 44th, Harry Price (NSW)-Angus Williams (NSW) 78th (boat damage); 49erFX Tess Lloyd (VIC) and Caitlin Elks (WA) 17th .

Results Nacra17 European Championship, La Grande Motte, France
Jason Waterhouse (NSW)-Lisa Darmanin (NSW) fifth, Euan McNicol (NSW)-Lucinda Whitty (NSW) 12th, Darren Bundock (NSW)-Nina Curtis (NSW) 21st, James Wierzbowski (VIC)-Pip Pietromonaco (VIC) 24th, Paul Darmanin (NSW)-Lucy Copeland (VIC) 44th.

Update - 470 European Championship
Meanwhile in Athens the 2014 Men’s and Women’s 470 European Championship has seen successful racing by Mat Belcher (QLD) and Will Ryan (QLD) with the duo currently in the lead and with one more day of gold fleet racing before the medal race on Tuesday, 15 July 2014.

By their standards, Mat Belcher-Will Ryan scored their worst day’s race results of the Championship so far last night, with finishes of 5,9, but after two race wins on Saturday, the pair still remain the class act in Athens and are way ahead on points over the rest of the fleet after eight races.

The Australians have no result worse than a ninth place, so room on their scorecard for a bad day if it unexpectedly happens.

Current 470 European Championship standings.
Australian Sailing is the performance arm of Yachting Australia in partnership with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and with support from the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC). The Australian Sailing Team is the national representative team for Olympic and Paralympic class sailing.

The Australian Sailing Squad is the development program of the Australian Sailing Team and provides the pathway from elite youth to Olympic level competition.