by Craig Heydon
Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships continued on day seven with Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page extending their lead at the head of the 470 men’s fleet.
Mathew Belcher, Malcolm Page, 470 Men - Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships
Belcher and Page won both of Friday’s Gold fleet races to open up a 12 point lead over Great Britain’s Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell with Croatia’s Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic a further 13 back in third.
'So far so good,' said Page. 'We’re having a good week, racing really well and couldn’t be happier with where we sit at the moment.'
The defending World Champions have now won six of the eight races they have contested at this regatta, putting themselves in a great position with two Gold fleet races and the final medal race remaining.
'We said in the beginning of the week that this was going to be the difficult day,' said Belcher. 'We were quite close to shore on the medal race course and had 40 boats out there instead of 10 in very shifty conditions. The strategy was to keep our drop till today, expecting the conditions to be quite variable but to come away with two wins in those conditions was fantastic.'
Page said that the pair was going to continue to treat each race the same way, focusing on their own performances rather than those around them.
'One of the good things is that our worse race is a ninth while others have a bad one in the bank,' said Page. 'We’re going to piece each race together as it comes, sure we’re set up in a nice spot so we’ve just got to take it one race at a time tomorrow, see what the conditions are first because that will change our strategy and play the game from there.'
Fellow Australians Sam Kivell and Will Ryan sit in 29th position in the Gold fleet following a pair of 24th place finishes on the Bathers Bay course.
Earlier in the day the Australian Women’s Match Racing Team crew of Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty finished the opening round robin in style with a pair of wins against their Peruvian and Brazilian opponents.
The wins left Price and crew with a record of nine wins and four losses from their 13 races, fourth overall in their group.
The Australian trio have qualified for the repechage round robin and will spend the next few days going head to head with 15 other crews, including fellow Australians Nicky Souter, Jessica Eastwell and Katie Spithill, for a place in the quarterfinals.
In the Finn class Australian Brendan Casey had a tough day on the water with a 19th and a 21st leaving him 16th overall, with two Gold fleet races remaining on Saturday.
Oliver Tweddell is the next best placed Australian in the Finn fleet in 24th.
The RS:X women and Laser Radial classes return to the water on Saturday for their final two Gold fleet races with Jessica Crisp currently the top Australian in 17th in the RS:X and Krystal Weir 20th in the Laser Radial.
Full results can be found on the event website.
Australian Sailing Team website