by Craig Heydon
At the final round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyeres, France, Australian crews have picked up race wins in two classes as light winds again kept sailors on their toes.
The Nacra 17 start line in Hyeres - ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres 2013
Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan have moved from their overnight eighth in the 470 men’s fleet to be fourth overall at the end of the qualifying series.
Belcher and Ryan opened the day with a fifth before picking up their first win of the week, locking themselves into fourth heading into the finals.
'Today we were able to build a bit on what we learnt yesterday which was really positive,' said Ryan. 'This style of qualifying seems to be a bit better than we had in Palma, with five races in two days and not being able to discard the placing.
'We’re now looking forward to the real racing beginning tomorrow and having the opportunity for a few more final series races than we usually would,' he said. 'The forecast suggests stronger winds tomorrow so it will be interesting, and hopefully not too cold.'
Matthew and Robert Crawford, and Angus Galloway and Tim Hannah, will contest the silver fleet in the finals after ending day two 47th and 48th respectively.
Oliver Tweddell began day two the same way as day one, with a race win in the Finn fleet. The 22-year-old led from start to finish and after five races is the only sailor in the Finn fleet to pick up two wins.
Tweddell had a tougher time in races two and three, finishing 32nd and 22nd, but heads into the final series in eighth position. The point score being used in Hyeres means that Tweddell will start the finals with eight points.
'I had another great first race today where I managed to lead from start to finish,' said Tweddell. 'I had a nail biting last downwind to the finish as the Brits were gaining on me, I’m glad to say I managed to hold off Andrew Mills (GBR) to take the win.
'Unfortunately after this race I kind of fell out of phase with the breeze patterns for the rest of the day,' he said. 'The big positive is that I have been able to get through qualifying without any pain in my arms, I’m sure they will be seriously tested tomorrow with big wind forecast. I’ve really been enjoying the racing so far and am excited for gold fleet racing tomorrow.'
Brendan Casey finished the qualifying series in 24th position, ahead of fellow Australians Jake Lilley and Rob McMillan who are in 33rd and 57th.
Ryan Palk is the top placed Australian in the Laser fleet after the opening five races with the Queenslander currently eighth overall.
Palk finished with two consistent results on Tuesday, with a third and an eighth moving him up from his overnight position of 16th.
Ashley Brunning is the next best placed Australian in 15th, ahead of Tom Burton in 21st and Jared West in 29th. Matthew Wearn is currently 44th, with Luke Elliott 65th.
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin had a better day’s racing in the Nacra 17, with the pair putting the lessons they learnt from their first day of Olympic campaigning to good use, moving up from 22nd to 15th.
Waterhouse and Darmanin opened the day with a sixth, finishing 18th in race two before their best result of the regatta so far, a second to end the day.
'Today was a really good day for us as we had two good races and it was nice to finish the day by achieving our goal and getting off the start line, finishing second,' said Waterhouse. 'Tomorrow is meant to bring breeze and a whole new stage in the regatta, bringing all the points close again. We’re really excited with our progress and can't wait for another day of racing tomorrow.'
Joanna Sterling continues to be the leading Australian in the RS:X women’s fleet, finishing day two in 32nd. Paris Stowell is currently 37th, with Annalise Gilbert 43rd. Patrick Vos is 47th in the RS:X men’s fleet.
Full results can be found here.