by Cora Zillich
The 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne, which gets underway on Sunday 1 December 2013, will see the Australian Sailing Team (AST) and Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) competing in full force on home waters in what is considered Australia’s premier Olympic class sailing event. Held at Sandringham Yacht Club, Melbourne, Australia from 2-8 December, the second stop of the 2013-14 ISAF Sailing World Cup series features strong fleets across two Paralympic and ten Olympic events.
49er Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen
Fourteen Olympic AST athletes and 30 ASS members including no less than three London Olympic gold medallists and four Olympic silver medallists plus Paralympic Gold medallist Liesl Tesch will battle it out on Port Phillip Bay over the course of a week amongst 579 competitors from 23 different countries around the world.
London Olympic gold medallists Nathan Outteridge (NSW) and Iain Jensen (NSW) return in the 49er class after an intense year of America’s Cup competition. It will only be the second appearance of the pair in the boat after their London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition triumph. After a lengthy America's Cup campaign on Artemis Racing the duo came back strongly at the 49er World Championship in Marseille, France in September 2013 and finished in fifth place after very limited training.
In the Laser Class, current World Number One sailor Tom Burton (NSW) is back to defend his 2012 title. Burton won gold and silver at other World Cup events earlier this year and just finished ninth at the Laser Men’s World Championships. He will be challenged by Matt Wearn (WA), who qualified for the Australian Sailing Team with a tenth place at the Laser Men’s World Championship last week.
'I am extremely happy that I finished off in the top to qualify myself for AST', said Wearn. 'It’s great knowing that all the hard work that we put in pays off. I don’t really have any expectations for Sail Melbourne seeing as it is so close to the end of worlds, but for sure I would love another podium finish and to even finish one better than last year and take the win.'
AST Olympic gold medallist and recently crowned 2013 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Mathew Belcher (QLD) and crew Will Ryan (QLD) are aiming to continue their winning streak: Since making their inaugural appearance together at the 2012 ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne, Belcher and Ryan have dominated the Men's 470, extending the unbeaten run Belcher had established with London Olympic crew Malcolm Page to 17 regattas. After winning gold at the 470 World Championship in La Rochelle, France in August Belcher and Ryan are hot favourites to pick up where they left off after a short break.
'We’re really looking forward to competing on home waters at this year’s Melbourne event against some of the best in the sport. We've had an amazing year this year,' said Belcher. 'It's been a lot better than we anticipated.'
'To start at Melbourne, winning every race was quite phenomenal for us and really unexpected and for our season to go as it has winning all the events it gives you great confidence to know where you're at. Fingers crossed we can keep that run going. We hope to finish off a perfect year with a win, but our focus is on performance and getting back racing again.'
Two time Australian Olympic silver medallist Darren Bundock (NSW) will be the one to watch in the Nacra 17 as he makes his first appearance in the mixed multihull with London 2012 silver medallist Nina Curtis (NSW). They will be up against Curtis’ London crew mate Lucinda Whitty (NSW) who is sailing the Nacra with coach turned athlete Euan McNicol (NSW). Joining these crews in the fleet will be early Australian Nacra 17 front runners Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin. The duo have notched up a string of top ten finishes throughout 2013, were sixth at the World Championships in the Netherlands, and just finished on top of the EUROSAF Champions Cup ranking.
In the women’s 470 class Sarah Cook (VIC) will join forces with up-and-coming ASS Youth Bridging sailor Carrie Smith (WA) with Cook’s skipper Elise Rechichi (VIC) not racing for personal reasons. Carrie is the reigning ISAF Youth World Champion skipper in the 420 class – the youth feeder class for the 470.
'Carrie and I had our first full session together yesterday, and we're both feeling pretty comfortable and confident with where things are at heading into the regatta. I feel like it's a great opportunity to see where I'm at and how much I've learnt over the last year with Elise', Sarah Cook said about the new combination.
'The most important thing for both Carrie and I at this stage is just to be getting out on the water, in order to keep learning, developing and progressing. I'm sure during the course of the regatta we'll hit road blocks and make mistakes, but at this time of the year and this point in the quadrennium that's not a bad thing.'
The duo will face the opposition of 2012 ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne victors and ASS athletes Sasha and Jaime Ryan (QLD) who return to defend their title.
The 49erFX field will see new AST and ASS combinations with Olympic silver medallist Olivia Price (NSW) and Haylee Outteridge (NSW) at the helm of their boats with Eliza Solly (VIC) and Ella Clarke (WA) respectively. AST crew Caitlin Elks (WA) will team with Tess Lloyd (VIC) for the first time. Solly, Lloyd and Clark, who is the current ISAF Youth World Champion crew with Carrie Smith, are in their first season of senior competition.
Twenty-five Laser Radials and fourteen Finns will line up with fierce competition expected in the latter between AST front runner Brendan Casey (QLD) and ASS members Oliver Tweddell (VIC) and Jake Lilley (QLD).
Gold medal Paralympian Liesl Tesch will hit the water in the Skud18 while Paralympian Matt Bugg (TAS) will race the 2.4mR.
Racing in the Men's and Women's 470, Finn, Laser, Laser Radial and Paralympic events commences on Monday 2 December through to Saturday 7 December 2013.
The 49er, 49erFX, Men's and Women's RS:X and Nacra 17 fleets start racing on Tuesday 3 December through to their Medal Races on Sunday 8 December 2-13 .
|AST Athletes||ISAF World Cup Melbourne|
|Mathew Belcher (QLD), Will Ryan (QLD)||470|
|Nathan Outteridge (NSW), Iain Jensen (NSW)||49er|
|Olivia Price (NSW), Caitlin Elks (WA)||49erFX|
|Nina Curtis (NSW), Darren Bundock (NSW)||Nacra 17|
|Lucinda Whitty (NSW), Euan McNicol (NSW)||Nacra 17|
|Jason Waterhouse (NSW), Lisa Darmanin (NSW)||Nacra 17|
|Sarah Cook (VIC)||470W|
|Tom Burton (NSW), Matt Wearn (WA)||Laser|
|Liesl Tesch (NSW)||Skud18|
|Matt Bugg (TAS)||2.4mR|