by Craig Heydon
Australian crews continue to hold down the number one positions in the Laser and 470 classes and now add first and third in the 49er class after the latest release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.
Outteridge and Jensen heading into some Port Phillip Bay choppy seas. - ISAF Sailing World Cup - Sail Melbourne 2011
The world rankings show Australia as sitting at the top of three of the 10 Olympic classes, the only country to currently have three world number ones and with the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships beginning in Western Australia on December 3 the rankings show that the team is progressing well.
Australian reigning Laser and 470 World Champions, Tom Slingsby and Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, continue to lead the way in their respective classes but they’ve now been joined by 49er crew Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen who have got to the top spot for the first time.
'Getting the world number one ranking is nice for Iain and I and I think a lot of it came down to our win at this year’s European Championships in Finland,' said Outteridge. 'We don’t usually compete at that event but to do an extra event in Europe, and to win it, bumped us up to first.
'It’s good to see that the rankings are now reflecting our performances, we’ve been in the top three in all but one event we’ve ever competed in, and won most of those as well, so it’s nice to see that reflected in the rankings,' he said.
Surprisingly this is the first time that Outteridge, 49er World Champion in 2008 and 2009, and runner up in 2010, has held the world number one ranking.
'The best we ever got to when I was sailing with Ben Austin was number four and before today the best with Iain was number two so it’s great to be heading into next month’s World Championships as world number one,' he said.
'It’s nice to have all the ducks in a row now, we won the test event in Perth last year, had two wins in Weymouth this year, including the Olympic test event, and now head across to the West as number ones after a good win in Melbourne earlier this month.'
Outteridge and Jensen have been joined in the top three in the 49er class by fellow Australians Will and Sam Phillips, with the Victorian brothers moving up from eighth to their best ever position, third.
'Will and Sam have always done well and it’s really paid off this year and the rankings are a really good indication of where they’re at,' said Outteridge. 'They were the boat to beat at Sail Melbourne and I’d pick them to be right up there at the World Champonships.'
'Overall the rankings are looking good for Australia, it’s often hard for us to move up due to the amount of travel we have to do compete and as a result miss out on a lot of events,' he said. 'Tom and Mat and Mal are always consistently up there and we’re happy to have joined them, it has set the tone for the Australian Sailing Team heading into the Olympic Games and helps to motivate everyone as well.'
In the Laser class 2010 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Tom Slingsby continues to lead the way from Great Britain’s Nick Thompson but has been joined in the top 10 by two other Australians.
Fellow Australian Sailing Team member Tom Burton has moved up from 12th in the October’s rankings to now be eighth, his highest ranking, while Australian Sailing Squad member Ryan Palk has maintained his 10th position. Ashley Brunning is not far behind in 16th overall.
Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page continue to lead the rankings in the 470 class, a position they have held since August 2010, with fellow Australians Sam Kivell and Will Ryan ninth overall.
In the Laser Radial class Krystal Weir is ranked sixth, with Jessica Crisp in the same position in the RS:X women’s class. Gold Coast sailor Brendan Casey is 13th in the Finn class.
Nicky Souter is the highest ranked Australian Women’s Match Racing skipper in eighth position with Olivia Price currently 19th.
For more information on the Australian Sailing Team visit www.australiansailingteam.com.au