by Craig Heydon
2013 Sail for Gold Regatta - Australian sailors will race for medals in three classes after strong winds cut short racing on the penultimate day in Weymouth. Gusts up towards 30 knots kept a number of classes on shore for the day, with Australians only in action in the Nacra 17 and Laser classes. Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin had their best day of the event so far in the Nacra 17, with a race win and two seconds moving them into fourth overall. Their positions means they will take four points into Thursday’s medal race, with this score to be added to their finishing position in the six boat race to determine the medallists. 'Today the Nacra fleet had very challenging conditions with the breeze between 10 and 30 knots,' said Waterhouse. 'We raced inside the harbour and Lisa and I really enjoyed the flat waters similar to our training grounds back in Sydney. 'Our major priorities today were starts and boat handling as we knew that managing the boat in the extreme conditions was where we could make big gains,' he said. 'Scoring wise we had a fantastic day with a pair of seconds and a first. 'We felt we raced well and are happy with today’s performance, rounding the top mark first in every race,' said Waterhouse. 'In the last race a huge gust came through just as the fleet had set their shoots around the top mark and six boats capsized, including ourselves. Lisa did a great job today despite the capsize, keeping her composure and muscling the boat around the course.' 'We’re very excited for the medal race as we sailed our way back into medal contention today and are looking forward to some high intensity racing,' he said. Australia will have two boats in the Nacra 17 decider, with Pip Pietromonaco and James Wierzbowski qualifying for the medal race in fifth position. Pietromonaco and Wierzbowski had three good results on Portland Harbour, finishing with a sixth, a fourth and a third in the challenging conditions. The pair will contest their first Nacra 17 medal race in just their second regatta in the new class. Fellow Australians Euan McNicol and Lucinda Whitty finished the week in eighth position, with a fifth and a pair of eighths from Wednesday’s three races. In the Laser fleet Jared West just missed out on a spot in the medal race, finishing the week in seventh overall. West was 16th and 23rd in the final two Laser fleet races, missing out on a top six spot by just five points. The 49er and 49erFX fleets were unable to complete any races on Wednesday, with three Australian crews to contest the medal races. The two skiff fleets have a different format for the final day, with the top eight boats taking part in three medal races. Will Phillips and Rhys Mara will head into the 49er medal races in third position, with fellow Australians Luke Parkinson and Fang Warren just missing out on a top eight spot, finishing the week in ninth. David Gilmour and Sam Phillips finished 13th, ahead of Peter Kendall and Harry Bethwaite in 14th and George Davies and Jack Lloyd in 16th. Australia’s two 49erFX crews will race in the medal races as they look for a podium finish in their first international regattas in the new class. Olivia Price and Caitlin Elks head into the final day in fourth position, with Haylee Outteridge and Nina Curtis currently sitting seventh.
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmannin,Nacra AUS 36 - 2013 Sail for Gold Regatta