by Craig Heydon
470 World Championships men’s event has drawn to a conclusion in Western Australia at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships. Australian sailors Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page have won the title after another strong day of racing.
Mathew Belcher, Malcolm Page, 470 Men Medal race - Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships
The win was the pair’s second title together, defending the crown they won in the Netherlands last year and taking Page’s personal 470 World Championship tally to five.
'Today’s feeling is just the best,' said Page. 'It’s something we’ve been aiming for all year, it’s our peak regatta and to come here and to sail how we have is a really good confidence builder for us towards London 2012, I’m very happy with how it panned out, you won’t be able to wipe the smile off my face.'
Belcher and Page went into the final 10 boat medal race with an 18 point lead over Great Britain’s Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell, knowing that they just had to make sure they didn’t finish last if the British team won the race, to secure the title.
'We had to keep an eye on the British who were second coming into today,' said Belcher. 'I think the main goal was to not jump the start and OCS which we have done in the past and lost our lead, we didn’t want to do that again, and not on home waters.
'We went out and sailed a consistent race and found ourselves towards the back on the first beat and then slowly fought our way through and came away with fourth which was enough,' he said.
Patience and Bithell went on to win the race, closing the gap slightly on Belcher and Page, with the Australians winning the regatta by 12 points.
The win came at the end of an incredibly consistent week where they didn’t finish outside of the top 10 once, winning six races on the way to the 2011 World Championship title.
While the focus on Sunday was on the four medal races held on Bathers Bay the Women’s Match Racing Competition continued with the repechage round robin taking place on Fremantle Harbour.
Sunday marked the first time that the two Australian Women’s Match Racing Team crews have come up against each other at the event, with Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty winning in incredibly close race by just three seconds against Nicky Souter, Jessica Eastwell and Katie Spithill.
Souter and crew went on to record wins against their German and Slovenian opponents to sit on five wins and two losses.
Their fellow Australians had wins against Brazil and Germany and a losses against Sweden and Spain.
Racing got underway in the Star class with Paul McKenzie and Phillip Toth the leading Australians in 25th overall, ahead of Iain Murray and Andrew Palfrey in 30th and Mark Bradford and David Giles in 34th.
The 49er, Laser, RS:X men and 470 women classes get underway on Monday, continuing until Sunday 18 December.
Full results are available on the event website.
Australian Sailing Team website