by Craig Heydon
Australian sailors have had their best ever year in the ISAF Sailing World Cup, topping the final standings in 2011/2012 series in three classes, finishing second in a further four and claiming third in another.
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, (AUS) Gold medal winners racing in the 49er class on the day 6 of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, in Weymouth and Portland, the 2012 Olympic venue.
Australian crews finished on the podium in eight of the 13 Olympic and Paralympic classes. Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page’s gold in the 470 men’s class made it a third straight ISAF Sailing World Cup title for the pair, with Belcher and Page also claiming Gold in the 470 World Championship in each year. Belcher and Page won four of the five ISAF Sailing World Cup rounds they contested, including a first win at the Olympic venue in Weymouth earlier this month.
Tom Burton won his first ISAF Sailing World Cup title in the Laser class following a consistent season on the water. Burton finished on the podium in three of the four regattas he competed in, including a silver and two bronze medals, to take the title by one point.
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen also took their win by a single point, with the 49er crew finishing ahead of French sailors Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis. Outteridge and Jensen claimed gold in two regattas with silver in a third to win the title.
A win two weeks ago in Weymouth secured the overall silver medal for Australia’s Women’s Match Racing trio of Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty. Price, Curtis and Whitty also won medals in Miami and Spain and are currently in Sweden preparing for the 2012 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship, which begins next week.
Brendan Casey’s silver medal at the final round in Germany wrapped up second overall in the Finn class following podium finishes at two of the five events the Queenslander raced in.
Krystal Weir won silver in the Laser Radial class in the same year that she claimed her first ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta win at round five in Holland, also finishing on the podium at the opening event in Melbourne last November.
Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch made it back-to-back silver medals in the Skud 18 class, this year finishing just a single point behind Great Britain’s Alexandra Rickham and Nikki Birrell. Fitzgibbon and Tesch finished on the podium in all four events they contested, including gold in Miami and Hyeres, silver in Melbourne and bronze in Weymouth.
In the RS:X women’s class Jessica Crisp finished third overall having stood on the podium in two out of three regattas, winning gold in Melbourne and silver in Holland.
Australia finished at the top of the overall medal tally, winning 34 medals at the seven events, in a very successful year.
Australia finished up two medals clear of second placed Great Britain, with Australia’s tally including 16 gold, nine silver and nine bronze.
Full medal list here
Australian Sailing Team website