Estate Master Sailing Team has continued its impressive form through the northern hemisphere summer with Malcolm Page and Mat Belcher claiming Gold in Men’s 470 at the London 2012 Olympic Games last week in Weymouth, after the match racing team finished an impressive second at the Chicago Match Cup, the fourth stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, last month.
Malcolm Page was the Australian flag bearer at the Closing Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games after becoming the first Australian to win two sailing Gold medals
But the busy past few weeks are set to continue with the match racing team back in action with the US Grand Slam Series over the coming three weeks.
After dominating the past three years of the Men’s 470 class, the only event missing from Mat and Malcolm’s CV was a London 2012 Olympic Gold. The pair entered the games as a clear favourite, not only had they won the past three World Championships in the class but also were undefeated in the Olympic year. Sailed off the waters of Weymouth & Portland the Men’s 470 class began on Day 9 of the Games. Day 1 of competition didn’t live up to all expectations for the team with the pair placing third and ninth to sit fifth after the opening day. The boys explained the day was full of 'school boy errors' whilst the local heroes of Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell from GBR dominated with a 2, 1 scorecard.
Day 2 and 3 saw the Aussies come storming back with Mat and Mal picking up three wins and a second to scramble up the leader-board and into the overall lead. The British pair continued to post consistent results with a second, third and two fourth places to hold down second overall. By Day 4 it came clear that the Aussies and Brits were in a league of their own, trading wins with each other on day 4 to see the Brits closing in on the Australians.
With races 7 and 8 sailed in a moderate breeze out in the middle of the bay the British duo just got the better of Mat and Mal to finish the day just one point ahead of the Brits with two qualifying races and the medal race to go.
The penultimate day of the regatta saw Malcolm’s previous Olympic experience come into play with the duo again winning both races for a confidence boosting performance ahead of the double points medal race. Coming into the medal race Mat and Malcolm were guaranteed at least a silver medal but had only one colour in mind to be around their necks at the end of the day - Gold.
With a four point lead over the British, Mat and Mal match raced the Brits around the race course, constantly tacking on top of the Brits to extend around the course. An intense battle resumed on each leg between the two as the Brits continued to try and attack. In the end of Australian’s kept a close cover on the Brits and crossed the line two places in front to finish second and secure the Gold medal.
The result became the third Gold medal for the Australian sailing team with Malcolm also becoming the first Australian to ever win two sailing gold medals, defending his Gold Medal from Beijing 2008. London 2012 became the most successful Olympic campaign for an Australian sailing team with the Aussies becoming the top sailing nation winning three Gold medals and a Silver medal, out doing the host nation who have dominated the Olympic sailing scene for the past two Olympic campaigns.
Malcolm reflected on his olympic career and the journey to the gold.
‘I’ve been in the 470 class for 15 years and campaigning for an Olympic Games, for an Olympic gold medal. I’ve gone through the highs and lows over those 15 years from missing selection to failing at the Games and obviously feeling the highest reward from success in Beijing but then these four years have probably been one of the most rewarding of my whole sailing career.’
‘The development that Mat and I have been through as a team under Victor’s guidance has been incredible.
‘I think that the team we became is the best I have ever seen well it certainly feels that way to me and our results that we have achieved along the way is incredible.
‘This is our eighth regatta in a row that we have won since the test event here one year ago. It is an incredible feeling. I hope we haven't won too many beforehand and we couldn’t keep it rolling but to achieve it has been phenomenal.’
Mat Belcher & Malcolm Page at the medal ceremony during the London 2012 Olympic Games
The end of the London 2012 Olympic Games also marked the end of Malcolm’s Olympic career, announcing that he will be retiring after these Games. In addition to becoming the first Australian Sailor to win back-to-back Gold Medals Malcolm was then acknowledged by the Australian Olympic Committee and given the honor of being the flag bearer for Australia at the closing ceremony for his fantastic achievements over the past 15 years in the 470 class.
The focus for Estate Master Sailing Team now switches back to match racing with the team competing in the US Grand Slam Series, four ISAF Grade 2 match racing events in Chicago, Detroit and New York City.
The team, led by Jordan Reece with Brad Farrand, Jaidan Stevens and Henry Kernot will compete in Chicago this weekend at the Chicago Grade 2 Invitational (17-19 August) hosted by Chicago Match Race Center before traveling to Detroit to defend their title from 2011 at the Detroit Cup (22-26 August). From Detroit the final two events will be sailed in New York City, first will be the 30th edition of the Knickerbocker Cup (29-2 September) with the Oakcliff International (5-9 September) the final stop of the Series.
Estate Master Sailing Team powered by True Blue Racing competing this weekend in Chicago Grade 2 Invitational - (L to R) Brad Farrand, Henry Kernot, Jaidan Stevens & Jordan Reece
Follow the progress of the team at each event through Estate Master Sailing Team’s Facebook page or website at estatemastersailing.com.au