by Craig Heydon
ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma 2013. Australian sailors have continued their strong start to the third round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Palma, Spain, with three crews currently in top three positions.
Belcher and Ryan racing in Spain - Day 2
After day one served up strong winds and big seas sailors were greeted with more manageable conditions on Tuesday in Palma, with all fleets in action.
Three Australian crews are currently in podium positions with 470 men’s crew Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan second overall, while in the Laser fleet Tom Burton is second and Matthew Wearn is third.
Belcher and Ryan fought their way back through the fleet in the opening race of the day to finish ninth, before crossing the line third in race two, ending the day three points behind the leading Austrian pair of Matthias Schmidt and Florian Reichstaedter.
'Will and I are really happy with how we’re sailing together,' said Belcher. 'We’re just trying to enjoy our time here and develop together as a team.
'For the first race today we had a 45 degree wind shift just after the start and we rounded the top mark in the mid 20s,' he said. 'From then on the rest of the race was just following each other so to come back through to ninth was a good result which we’re pleased with.
'In the last race we enjoyed a battle with the Greek and French teams which was good,' he said. 'I’m really happy with how we are going and we’ll see what tomorrow brings. The way the regatta format is here we don’t start finals racing until Thursday so most of the top teams are focused on practicing until then.'
In the Laser fleet Australians are second and third overall after the opening four races. World number one Tom Burton is second following a win and an eighth, just behind leader Philipp Buhl of Germany.
West Australian teenager Matthew Wearn is third overall just five points behind Burton, with Wearn picking up a second and a race win on Tuesday. Wearn has already been at the front of the fleet this season, finishing second at the opening ISAF Sailing World Cup round in Melbourne.
Tom Burton (R) and Matthew Wearn (L) on day two in Palma
'Today we started off leaving the beach in light conditions but it had built to around 15 knots by the first race,' said Burton. 'I had a nice start in the middle and was leading at the top mark and led all the way to the finish.
'In the second race I didn’t have a bad start, but it definitely wasn’t great and I rounded the top mark in around 10th,' he said. 'I didn’t feel very comfortable on the downwinds and wasn’t able to pull back as many places as I was hoping and finished up eighth.
'It was a solid day with nothing too bad,' said Burton. 'We’ve only got one more day of qualifying until the slate virtually gets wiped clean and we’ll start again then.'
Ashley Brunning is currently 11th in the Laser fleet, finishing with a third and a seventh on Tuesday, ahead of Jared West in 16th and Ryan Palk in 19th.
In the Finn class Brendan Casey is currently ninth, with the Queenslander 16th in the opening race and 18th in race two. Fellow Finn sailor Jake Lilley is the next best Australian in 25th while Oliver Tweddell did not compete in either of the day’s races.
Angus Galloway and Tim Hannah are 30th in the 470 men’s fleet, with the new pairing finishing the day with a 19th and an 11th.
Joanna Sterling is the leading Australian in the RS:X women’s class in ninth overall. Sterling had a 12th and a ninth to end the day just six points behind fifth. Paris Stowell is 19th and Annalise Gilbert 22nd, with Patrick Vos currently 32nd in the RS:X men’s.
For more information on the Australian Sailing Team visit Australian Sailing Team and follow the team on Twitter at Australian Sailing Team Twitter