by Craig Heydon
For the first time this year,A alia’s Olympic class sailors are in Germany with racing set to begin at the fourth round of the new Eurosaf Champions Sailing Cup in Kiel on Saturday.
Will Phillips and Rhys Mara in the 49er fleet in Weymouth
The 131st Kiel Week regatta will feature more than 4,500 sailors competing in a wide range of classes, with 16 Australian crews to race across six Olympic classes.
After finishing on the podium last week Olivia Price and Caitlin Elks will be back in action in the 49erFX class in Kiel.
Price and Elks, who won bronze in Weymouth, will contest their second 49erFX regatta, with fellow Australians Haylee Outteridge and Nina Curtis also back in action.
Outteridge and Curtis also raced in their first 49erFX in Weymouth, finishing the week in sixth position.
'We’re feeling great after our first 49erFX regatta,' said Curtis. 'Unfortunately a few boat breakages on day three stopped us from getting a better result but we’re happy with what we learnt and really enjoyed sailing in the variety of conditions Weymouth put on for us.
'Our preparations post-Weymouth have revolved around getting our new, very beautiful, 49er FX ready for Kiel,' she said. 'We’ve been working around the clock to make sure the brand new boat is functional and very fast. It's been great to have the whole Australian 49er squad working together over the last few weeks, we’re all learning from each other and it's been a great team environment to be a part of.'
Outteridge said that the pair picked up a lot from their first regatta, enjoying the opportunity to go racing after training back home.
'We really learnt a lot sailing in a fleet last week, with the 49ers also sailing on our course,' said Outteridge, 'It forced us to problem solve as a team and we’re happy that we improved under pressure.'
Joining Price, Elks, Outteridge and Curtis in the 49erFX fleet will be two new Australian crews, with an Olympic gold medallist returning to international racing.
Beijing 2008 Olympic Games gold medallist Tessa Parkinson will make her international debut in the class, sailing alongside fellow West Australian Chelsea Hall.
Parkinson, who won gold in the 470 class alongside Elise Rechichi in 2008, will be back racing in Europe after a couple of years break, with both herself and Hall having last raced overseas in the 470.
They will be joined in the fleet by Ella Giudice and Kate Lathouras, who will also be racing together for the first time.
The five Australian 49er crews that raced last week in Weymouth have all made the trip to Kiel with the German event the ideal build up for their upcoming European Championships.
Will Phillips and Rhys Mara will be looking for another strong showing after winning bronze last week, with fellow Australians Luke Parkinson and Fang Warren only a few places behind them in Weymouth.
David Gilmour and Sam Phillips will also be racing in Kiel, along with Peter Kendall and Harry Bethwaite, and George Davies and Jack Lloyd.
After qualifying for the medal race in three of the four Nacra 17 regattas they’ve contested cousins Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin will again be pushing hard in the new mixed multihull class.
'Weymouth was a good learning regatta for us as we able to identify both our strengths and weaknesses,' said Darmanin. 'We’re definitely becoming more in tune and more comfortable with the boat and knowing how to push the limits. Things are changing rapidly as everyone is discovering new ways to do things.
'Kiel is our last event in the Nacra before our World Championships in late July,' she said. 'From now until then we’re going to work on some key points we’ve identified, there are around 50 boats already entered from 21 countries so we’re very excited to bring everything we’ve learnt together to it.'
Racing alongside Waterhouse and Darmanin in the Nacra 17 fleet will be fellow Australians Euan McNicol and Lucinda Whitty, and Pip Pietromonaco and James Wierzbowski.
In the 470 women’s class Jacqueline Gurr and Amelia Catt will be racing in their first European event together.
Ashley Stoddart and Madison Kennedy will contest their first European event of the year, with the two Queenslanders racing in the Laser Radial class.
Racing begins in Kiel on Saturday and continues until Wednesday.
For more information on the Australian Sailing Team visit the team website