by Craig Heydon
At Kieler Woche, Australian sailors will race for gold in four classes on the final day in Kiel, Germany. After four days of racing Australian crews have qualified for the medal races in the Nacra 17, 49erFX, Laser and 49er classes, with the scoring system being used in Kiel meaning that anyone could take home gold.
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin lead the Nacra 17 fleet heading into the medal race
Crews take their current position through to the medal race as a point, which will be added to their finishing position on Wednesday to decide the final placings. The top six will contest a single medal race in the Nacra 17 and Laser classes while the top eight in the 49er and 49erFX fleets will take part in three stadium style races.
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin head into the Nacra 17 class decider in the lead following three good races on the penultimate day in Germany.
The Sydney based cousins had a fourth, a second and a third to move up from their overnight fourth ahead of the final race.
'We had a great day over here with a fourth, a second and a third to finish off the final day of fleet racing,' said Waterhouse. 'We’re really happy with today’s racing and felt that we managed the pressure well considering yesterday’s efforts.
'We’re leading heading into the medal race tomorrow which is a change as we’re typically the dark horse in the fleet but are really excited and looking forward to some high intensity racing,' he said.
Fellow Australians Pip Pietromonaco and James Wierzbowski finished the week in 11th, with Euan McNicol and London 2012 silver medallist Lucinda Whitty just behind in 15th.
Eight crews will contest the 49erFX final with three Australians in the mix for medals in the new women’s skiff class.
Tessa Parkinson and Chelsea Hall head into the final day in third position following another good day on the water on Tuesday.
Parkinson and Hall won the opening race of the day, before finishing ninth in race two, fourth in race three and finishing the day off with a third.
One place further behind is Olivia Price and Caitlin Elks who had four top eight results on the penultimate day, with a pair of thirds, a fifth and an eighth.
Haylee Outteridge and Nina Curtis have improved each day in Kiel, coming back from a disastrous first race of the regatta where they suffered boat damage in an accident to qualify for the final in sixth position.
Outteridge and Curtis began Tuesday with a pair of sixths, before finishing second in race three and fourth in the final race to qualify for the medal race.
Ella Giudice and Kate Lathouras missed out on a spot in the final by just one point, after the pair picked up their first race win together.
Ashley Brunning is in fourth position in the Laser class heading into the final race following an 11th, a ninth and a seventh from the final three fleet races.
'It’s been a close fought battle between the top four or five guys all week,' said Brunning. 'Today was a critical day and three races could have seen a big change to your scorecard with everyone so close on points.
'Today’s conditions favoured risk and I was focusing on getting myself into medal contention by being conservative, by avoiding laylines and sides, avoiding ends of the start line or rules issues,' he said. 'On reflection I could have applied some more risk at certain points.
'Tomorrow with the new medal race format and racing in front of the Kiel Olympic Sailing Village it’s anyone’s game,' said Brunning. 'We sailed there on day two and saw some huge turnarounds and upsets due to shifts and pressure, it will be interesting.'
Mitchell Kennedy finished the week in 22nd with fellow Australian Jeremy O’Connell 30th.
Will Phillips and Rhys Mara are set to contest their second straight 49er medal race, in just their second regatta together.
The new pairing head into the medal race in fourth position after a sixth, two race wins and a fourth on Tuesday.
Phillips and Mara have won six of the 16 49er races on their way to the medal race, including the first three in a row.
David Gilmour and Sam Phillips just missed out on a spot in the medal race after finishing ninth overall, with fellow Australians Luke Parkinson and Fang Warren just one position further behind in 10th.
Joel Turner and Lewis Brake were 12th in their first ever 49er regatta together, with Peter Kendall and Harry Bethwaite 27th and George Davies and Jack Lloyd 45th.
Ashley Stoddart finished the week 12th in the Laser Radial class, with Madison Kennedy 27th.
Alexander and Patrick Conway finished up 17th in the 470 men’s fleet, with Scott Cotton and Tom Potter 31st. In the 470 women’s class Lucy Shephard and Aurora Paterson were 16th with Jacqueline Gurr and Amelia Catt 19th.
Full results can be found here.
Australian Sailing Team website