by Cora Zillich
ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca 2014 - Australian Sailing Team (AST) Member Tom Burton (NSW) has won the Laser fleet at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca in Spain over the week-end with Australia’s 470M crew Mat Belcher (QLD) and Will Ryan (QLD) and Nacra17 crew of Darren Bundock (NSW) and Nina Curtis (NSW) adding two bronze medals to the Australian final medal tally.
Tom Burton - ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca 2014
The ‘Trofeo Princesa Sofia’, the fourth of five ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas, was the starting gun of the 2014 European sailing calendar.
After a week of tricky conditions a light morning northerly breeze picked up on the final day of racing ensuring a full complement of Medal Races across the ten Olympic events were completed.
The final day in the Laser fleet proved to be successful racing for Australia’s Laser squad coached by Sydney 2000 Olympic Bronze medallist Michael Blackburn with an Australian hat-trick in the medal race. Overall winner Burton took out first place ahead of his training partners AST sailor Mathew Wearn (WA) and Australian Sailing Squad’s (ASS) Ashley Brunning (NSW).
ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne winner Tom Burton went into the final race in third position and led the Laser Medal Race from start to finish as he jumped up the leader board to claim gold.
Immediately after the race finish a delighted Burton said, 'My goal coming here was to win. Two years ago I came third and last year I came second and I wanted to keep stepping it up. I was really disappointed to not win here last year with the points I had and I'm really stoked to win it now. '
'My week wasn’t as consistent as I would have liked but the event turned out to be tough for all as most people had a few pretty big scores. We started off in some light and tricky conditions for the first few days of the event. I was a little inconsistent and found myself in 24th after the first day of racing.
But I had a good first day of finals to put me back in the game and was able to slowly pull my way back towards the top of the fleet. And after a really good day in the first day of finals in 20+ knots and some nice waves I was back in the game at the front of the fleet. It was a good week all round for our whole squad having three in the medal race and in most races an AUS guy was represented at the front of the fleet.'
Matthew Wearn (6) and Ashley Brunning (8) both finished in the Laser class top 10.
ISAF World Sailor of the Year and current 470M World Champions Mathew Belcher and his crewmate Will Ryan finished third at Mallorca after the Men's 470 lead had been going to and fro all week. The duo faced an uphill battle after a disqualification on the first day of the regatta and after a week of mixed results they finished fifth in the Medal Race. Whilst they ended tied on 72 points with the Swedes they took Bronze by virtue of count back.
Mat Belcher said after the race: 'It was a difficult position for us to go in after losing quite a few places in the final race before the medal race. In the medal race first was out of our reach, second but also fourth and fifth was in our reach. We were pretty happy to cross the line in fifth and move into third overall.
This is my first third for quite some time, but it was a difficult week and we are pretty happy with our performance. Credit to the Croatians (first) and Swedes (second) for taking us. We’re looking forward to having a bit of a rest and getting back out there in Hyères.'
In the new Nacra17 catamaran class, two-time Olympic Silver medallist Darren Bundock (NSW) and London Games Silver medallist Nina Curtis (NSW) added the second Bronze medal of the day to the Australian medal tally.
French duo of Billy Besson and Marie Riou went into the Nacra 17 Medal Race with an unassailable 22 point lead and the Gold medal sewn up. The heat was on for the remaining podium spot and AST’s Bundock and Curtis did exactly what they needed to do to take Bronze and kept the chasing pack at bay. A fourth in the Medal Race meant that they got the job done to walk away with a medal.
'We got everything we could hope for. We were sitting in third spot going into the medal race and it was very, very difficult to ever get to second overall. We were defending third, fourth and fifth and everything went well and we are very happy with the result we got. We are a new team together and to finish our first European regatta together in third spot, I don’t think we could have asked for much more today', said Darren Bundock at the end of the regatta.
Australia’s crew of Euan McNicol and Lucinda Whitty came ninth in the 72 boat fleet while Jason Waterhouse (NSW) and Lisa Darmanin (NSW) finished 16th.
In other classes with AST participation, the 49erFX AST’s Olivia Price (NSW) and Eliza Solly (VIC) finished overall sixteenth while Caitlin Elks (WA) and Tess Lloyd (VIC) came 28th. Mallorca was the first bigger international test for both of these new combinations.
The Australian Sailing Team was represented in four of the Olympic events at Mallorca, while members of the Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) raced in eight of the events. All race and overall results are available on the ISAF Website here: http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php
Attention now turns to the final ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta of the 2013-2014 in Hyeres, France from 19-26 April 2014, where the Australian Sailing Team’s Women’s 470 crews as well as the Men’s 49er class will join the team.
Hyères will see the full Australian Sailing Team race in Europe before crews continue onto individual events such as EUROSAF regattas as well as European Class Championships. The full team will head to the ISAF Sailing World Championships to be held in Santander in September, an event to decide half of the nation slots for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Event website: click here