by Craig Heydon
ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma 2013 continues in Palma de Mallorca. Australian sailors are in gold medal positions in two classes heading into the final day.
ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma 2013 - Belcher and Ryan taking lead into the medal stages of 49er class
Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan lead the 470 men’s fleet ahead of the medal races while Tom Burton is the man to beat in the Laser class.
Belcher and Ryan had another strong day in the 470 men’s class on Friday, with a fifth and a race win allowing them to open up a 17 point lead over the second placed Greek crew.
The Australians won four of the five finals series races to lead the way into Saturday’s two double point medal races.
'Today was another good day’s racing for Will and I,' said Belcher. 'The conditions were quite light, ranging between six and 12 knots so it provided another good opportunity to test our speed and racing abilities in these conditions.
'We’ve had a great week of sailing, so hopefully tomorrow we can finish it off, but the main thing is our performance and development as a team,' he said. 'We’ve discovered many things during this event that will help us as we move forward. To head into the medal race having won seven of 11 races, we’re very happy with that.'
Tom Burton retook the lead in the Laser class on Friday, opening up a 16 point gap over Brazil’s Bruno Fontes by the end of the day.
Burton was 22nd in race one, which was discarded, before bouncing back well to finish second in race two and put himself in pole position ahead of the two medal races.
'It was a good result for me today,' said Burton. 'We waited for the breeze to settle ahead of race one and it was a bit tricky to decide which side would pay. I got caught down at the pin end going to the left when a big wind shift came but managed to get back to 22nd, the only saving grace was that all the other front runners were out there with me.
'In race two I got a decent start at the right end and was third at the top mark,' he said. 'I managed to work through to take second which allowed me to drop the 22nd and carry a fifth from yesterday, making it a good day.
'I’m pretty happy with my overall sailing this week and it’s given me a little buffer heading into tomorrow, although we know that with two medal races anything can happen,' said Burton.
ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma - Tom Burton racing on Day 5
Burton will be in good company in the medal races, with two Australian team mates also making it into the top 10.
Matthew Wearn had another strong day on the water, with a ninth and a 10th, to finish the finals series in sixth overall.
Wearn is just 10 points behind second and with two medal races scheduled for Saturday a podium finish is well within reach.
Queenslander Ryan Palk heads into the medal races in ninth position, following an eighth and an 11th on Friday. Ashley Brunning finished the week in 17th position, with Jared West 29th overall.
Brendan Casey goes into the Finn medal races in 10th position. Casey was 17th in the opening Finn race of the day but finished the finals series in style, picking up his first race win of the week.
'It was great to finish off with a win and qualify for the two double point medal races,' said Casey. 'It felt good to pull all the individual items I have been working on together.'
Fellow Australian Jake Lilley finished his first European Finn regatta in 31st overall.
Joanna Sterling has qualified for the RS:X women’s medal races after finishing the finals series in ninth position. Sterling sealed her spot in the 10 boat final following a 13th and a 15th.
Paris Stowell finished 20th and Annalise Gilbert 22nd, while Patrick Vos was 37th in the RS:X men.
Angus Galloway and Tim Hannah finished second in the 470 men’s silver fleet, after just one race was able to be completed on Friday. Galloway and Hannah were fourth in the day’s only race to end up tied on points with the silver fleet winners.
Full results are available at: ISAF Sailing World Cup 2013
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