by Craig Heydon
Miami ORC 2011 - The Australian Sailing Team's Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page have won a Silver medal in the men's 470 class at the second round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami, following Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch's Gold in the Skud 18 class on Friday.
Belcher and Page in the 470 men’s medal race in Miami - Photo Rolex-Daniel Forster
The Australian pair spent their week chasing the two leading crews from Great Britain, Nic Asher and Elliot Willis, and Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell, but eventually got the better of Patience and Bithell to claim the Silver medal.
The top 10 crews headed into the final double points medal race on Saturday in light conditions between six and eight knots, challenging all of the sailors with Belcher and Page crossing the line in fifth position.
'The medal race went ok for us, we had a good start and felt that we played the right end of the shifts on the first work,' said Page. 'We lacked a bit of speed on the crews in first and second and got spat out but in an up and down race managed to finish mid-fleet.'
'We had good speed downwind all week and sailed hard the whole way through,' he said. 'To win the Silver medal was a bit of a bonus, we felt we were at the front of the fleet, the two crews from Great Britain were leading the charge all week and we chased them hard and managed to get one.'
Belcher and Page’s Silver medal made it back-to-back second places in Miami and five straight top two ISAF Sailing World Cup round finishes, the pair also currently lead the World Cup following their win at round one in Melbourne in December.
'Mat’s now got three Silvers from three trips to Miami and I’ve got two, and this regatta is now the only World Cup round that I’ve never won, so I guess we’ll come back and have another shot next year,' said Page.
The pair will now have a break from 470 sailing, with Page set to compete in the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in Sydney in February, and will return to training in March in preparation for the upcoming European season.
Brendan Casey finished fourth in the Finn fleet, after crossing the line eighth in the medal race.
Casey had a strong week, pushing the leaders the whole way, finishing in the top four in six of the 10 races.
The Gold Coast based sailor’s fourth was his best ever Finn result at an ISAF Sailing World Cup round.
In the RS:X women’s class three-time Olympian Jessica Crisp ended the week in fifth position, finishing eighth in Saturday’s shortened medal race.
Crisp finished in the top 10 in every race of the regatta, a promising result in a week where the sailors were faced with a range of conditions.
Krystal Weir was the final Australian sailor to compete in a medal race, ending the week 10th in the Laser Radial fleet.
In a strong final race Weir was in contention the whole way finishing her week on a high, crossing the line in third.
While the top 10 crews contested the medal races the remainder of the fleets had one final race with Australian Sailing Development Squad crews competing in two classes.
Sam Kivell and Will Ryan ended the week 13th in the 470 men’s class with a seventh in the final race while Gabrielle King was 19th and Ashley Stoddart 27th in the Laser Radial fleet.
The Australian Women’s Match Racing Team crew of Nicky Souter, Jessica Eastwell and Olivia Price were eighth in the Women’s Match Racing competition, ahead of fellow Australians Katie Spithill, Nina Curtis and Angela Farrell in 17.
The third round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup will be held in Spain in the first week of April.