by Craig Heydon
On day three of the ISAF Sailing World Cup - Sail Melbourne, crews were tested by strong breeze and big swell with a number of Australians finishing with a perfect three wins from three starts.
Matthew Belcher & Will Ryan (AUS) 470 class Oceanic Leg of the ISAF Sailing World Cup 2012
After racing was abandoned on Tuesday due to strong winds, competitors at Sail Melbourne were again greeted by strong winds, consistently between 20 and 25 knots on Port Phillip Bay.
Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan picked up where they left off on Monday, with three wins from three in the 470 men’s fleet allowing them to open up an eight point lead over the second and third placed crews.
'It feels like being back in Weymouth again,' said Belcher. 'Today was the first time that we’d been anywhere near those conditions but we got around the course quite comfortably and learned a few things.'
Ryan said that the pair enjoyed racing in the big swell as they continue to develop as a team.
'The conditions were really testing and as a new crew we’re piecing it together step by step, somewhere along the line we were always going to end up racing on a day like today so it was good to come through it and do what we needed to do.'
West Australian 17 year old Matthew Wearn had his best ever day at an ISAF Sailing World Cup round with three wins in the Laser fleet.
The wins have taken Wearn into the overall lead, three points clear of Tom Burton who finished with a fourth and a pair of seconds, with fellow Australian Ashley Brunning five points further back in third.
'In the first race I went out and thought whatever will happen will happen but from then on it was a big confidence boost,' said Wearn. 'Maybe I put a bit of pressure on myself, thinking that I could win another one, and just went with the flow.
'I can’t really believe it, to win the first one was a big confidence boost but to go on and win all three was perfect,' he said. 'Being 17 and beating guys in the top 10 in the world is pretty surreal really.'
Krystal Weir kept the theme of perfect scores going, with three wins in the Laser Radial fleet.
The two-time Olympian leads Queenslander Ashley Stoddart by three points with Singapore’s Elizabeth Yin in third.
'It’s not quite summer here today, I feel like I’m in the snow at the moment or in the Sydney to Hobart,' said Weir. 'These are my kind of conditions, I love this stuff and had a lot of fun out there. Big waves and a big westerly is always good fun.'
Brendan Casey was the final Aussie to clean up on Wednesday, with three wins from as many races in the Finn class.
Casey, who represented Australia at the London 2012 Olympic Games, leads Oliver Tweddell by five points with Jake Lilley one further behind in third.
A number of crews in the 470 women’s fleet made the decision to stay on shore and not risk damaging gear in the tough conditions, including new pairing Elise Rechichi and Sarah Cook.
Sisters Sasha and Jaime Ryan lead the class, ahead of Lucy Shephard and Aurora Paterson.
Luke Baillie leads the RS:X men’s fleet, with Patrick Vos second and Sam Treharne third.
The strong breeze and large swell was deemed as being too dangerous for the 49er and 49erFX fleets, with racing abandoned for a second straight day.
After three races Steven Thomas and Rhys Mara lead the 49ers and Tessa Parkinson and Kate Lathouras lead the 49erFX fleet.
Australian Sailing Team website
Sail Melbourne website