by Craig Heydon
Good results on the water as sailors celebrate Australia Day at World Cup in Miami.
Belcher and Page racing in Miami - Photo Victor Kovalenko
Despite being half a world away Australian sailors got into the celebratory mood at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami, with Brendan Casey picking up his first win of the week in the Finn class to move into second overall while his teammates consolidated their positions towards the top of the leader board.
Casey, who qualified for the 2011 Australian Sailing Team following his 10th place finish at the 2010 Finn Gold Cup, won the only Finn race of day three of the regatta to jump up two positions to end the day second overall and become the first sailor other than Great Britain’s Giles Scott to record a race win.
'It was a bit of a yo-yo day for me but I managed to get some Australia Day glory,' said Casey. 'I had a good start but was 10th at the top mark, then up to first at the bottom, then back to 10th at the top but fought back to first. Giles Scott actually finished first but was judged to be over the line early and was disqualified.'
'The breeze was much lighter today and it was the first day without free pumping so I was able to utilise my Laser sailing skills and propel the boat downwind well,' he said. 'We’re only halfway through the regatta so I’ll go out there tomorrow and try and do the same thing and hopefully emulate today’s results.'
Casey is seven points behind regatta leader Scott and holds a two point lead over American Zach Railey in third with Great Britain’s Ben Ainslie a point further behind.
After two days of steady breeze day three in Miami greeted sailors with mixed conditions, with rain, no wind, then wind, and then some more rain making life difficult for the race committees, with racing delayed in the morning and the majority of fleets completing just one race.
In the 470 fleet Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page finished third in the only race of the day to maintain their third position overall, just five points off second and eight off the lead.
'We had to work really hard today,' said Page. 'We were somewhere around 25th or 28th at the first mark, after managing to get all of the shifts wrong on the first work. We fought our way back to be 12th through the gates and then across the finish line in fourth with one of the boats ahead of us disqualified for being OCS at the start so we ended up third.'
'After a slow start we managed to get the shifts rights, I’d say we got a little angry and then got it right,' he said. 'We’ve got a very competitive fleet here with all of the top crews in the world competing. Our fleets are usually split but from day one here we’ve been racing together which is good as it’s not very often that you get to start against everybody and race against the best for an entire regatta.'
The Australian Sailing Development Squad crew of Sam Kivell and Will Ryan finished 10th on Wednesday, leaving them 14th overall and 10 points outside the top 10.
Jessica Crisp continues to hold down fourth position in the RS:X women’s fleet after a third and a ninth in the day’s two races. Crisp is seven points off the Bronze medal position while Spain’s Marina Alabau continued her remarkable run with a sixth straight win.
Krystal Weir remains inside the top 10 in the Laser Radial fleet, finishing the day ninth overall after crossing 12th in both of Wednesday’s races. Gabrielle King has moved up one position to be 19th overall after a 13th and a 15th while Ashley Stoddart is in 22nd.
In the Skud 18 class Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch had a tough day by their high standards, after being over the line early in the day’s only race and as a result disqualified. The Australian pair still has the regatta lead with a one point margin over American’s Jennifer French and Jean-Paul Creignou.
The Australian Women’s Match Racing Team crew of Nicky Souter, Jessica Eastwell and Olivia Price finished the opening round robin with a perfect seven wins from seven starts after defeating second placed Skudina of Russia in their final race. The Australian trio is now racing in the gold round robin to decide seedings for the finals but the Australian’s haven’t had it all their own way in the opening three races, losing all three.
'We had a good opening race of the day to defeat the Russians and go through undefeated but had a tough afternoon’s racing,' said Souter. 'Late in the day in a dying breeze we managed to be on the wrong side of the shifts in all three races but tomorrow’s a new day.'
Fellow Australians Katie Spithill, Nina Curtis and Angela Farrell had a tough day on the water and missed out on a place in the repechage round robin after being penalised for damage to the boats in their loss to Bossard of France. The Australians will race in the silver round robin on Thursday.
Full results can be found here
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