Please select your home edition
Edition
Protector 728x90

Australian World Champions set Gold Medal platform for London 2012

by Rob Kothe on 12 Dec 2011
ISAF Sailing World Cup Day 8 Gold fleet race 10. Australians Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships © Alex McKinnon Photography http://www.alexmckinnonphotography.com
Australians Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page became the 2011 470 Mens World Champions on Sunday afternoon, at Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships being sailed in Fremantle, Western Australia.

The duo showed just why they are hot favourites to win Olympic Gold in Weymouth next August and Sail-World spoke to them after their medal race.


Obviously happy, Malcolm Page’s first comment was ‘Winning the world championship in Perth is a great step towards Weymouth. The confidence we have gained from this regatta and winning the world championship is very good.

‘It’s a little win over our competitors and more importantly, really good for us. We are a step closer to our goal and I am sure we have a lot of things to work on but it is a good psychological win for us.


‘The difference for us is our coach Victor Kovalenko.

‘There’s no real secret to making the boat go fast. It is a lot of hard work and we are working on the synergy between the two of us. In many ways we are a very new team compared to our competitors as we have only been together for three years.

‘Mat has been in the class for eleven years now and I have been in it for fourteen. It takes a long time to learn how to sail the boats well and I feel like we still have a lot to build on between now and the Games. There is no reason why we can’t reach our full potential.

‘The medal race - I think that because we were so close to shore, we really expected pretty much anything. Whether we had wind or not it was always going to be a very difficult race. There are so many spectators, on the shoreline and in the grand stand, that the breeze goes everywhere. All we needed to do was try and keep clear and not foul ourselves or get into any messes. We did sail cleanly and it was nice to come away with the win after a great week.’

Asked how his sixth World Championship title compared to the others, Page said ‘It’s as good as the first. It is something you can’t do every day of the week so to come away with a world championship win is special. I am a bit lost for words when asked that question - it is such a great feeling.


‘I have always said other regattas, especially regattas like world championships, are physically very difficult but obviously moving into the Olympic Games it is more of a psychological game and as the coach says, you are not ‘playing’ like in a world championship, you are playing for much bigger stakes at the Games.

‘That’s what we are here for, it is a four year cycle and Perth 2011 is our major regatta. It’s just a good step on the way and it certainly doesn’t secure anything. We still have to do all the hard work and all the steps in between, now and seven months time.’

Page continued ‘The Stadium course is fantastic, in the sense that it brings the spectators closer to our racing.

‘It certainly adds a little bit more of the luck or intuition element into racing. To be able to have the crowd out there and hear them when you are sailing is fantastic. It’s a great atmosphere to race in and it is also great for the public to be able to see what we do.’

Mat Belcher described the medal race.

‘In the medal race our first objective off the start line was to stay out of trouble.

‘Jumping the gun and being out of line was not an option. That would have certainly put us behind the eight ball.

‘We probably got a little bit too close to the wall in the end, starboard boats etc pushed us that way and it was a bit of a temptation to look for fresh air that got us in there in the first place.

‘But we stabilized ourselves as quickly as possible and we were back (in ninth) half way up that first work and we chipped away.

‘A couple of other boats got fouls and they had to do penalty turns, which helped us get back in the game. We knew if we sailed well then everything should work out right.’

Page explained ‘We had 11 races across the series and it’s an accumulation of points so to get ourselves into the position of having the 18 points lead going into the last race, was very pleasing.

‘We didn’t have to win, we didn’t have to be too risky and the win is just as satisfying. I am sure anybody in the fleet would loved to have swapped with us and to be in our position. Coming fourth across the line is just fine if it wins you the regatta.

‘The medal race course? Sailing into Bathers Bay was a compromised course, to bring the racing closer to the audience. It was effectively a wind-ward leeward course with a dog-leg.’

He continued ‘It is a difficult issue. I suppose personally I find the jury is still out a bit on medal race style and such close to shore racing. It is not traditionally what we do in sailing but we are trying to make it more exciting and more understandable to the public, so we have to take that into account as well.

‘I understand what is happening with the sport and it’s just something as sailors, we have got to take on the chin, be good enough and not let it worry us.

Mat Belcher added ‘The course, coming round the corner at the end, meant we were certainly going close to the rock wall which actually played quite a big influence in the race. It was the same for everyone and if you were in good form and saw the shifts, well it shouldn’t have really mattered. The best sailors will still come out at the top.

‘Midrace we were ninth with our Gold medal rival leading. But we have been in that position before. As I’ve said, we did get caught a little bit close to the wall and the pressure difference was quite a bit.

‘We didn’t panic and just kept sailing, we knew we would be able to come back if we stayed at it and communicated, which we did. Certainly it was a little bit hairy at the end when the breeze completely died and we were trying to get around the mark, but again we had it under control.

‘We are going to enjoy a few weeks off over Christmas which we haven’t done for a while. Obviously being able to peak when we have meant our break was cut short after the Weymouth test event so it’s great to be able to have a few weeks off over Christmas. We will then reassess and sit down with our plan and build up towards London.

‘We have another World Championships before London. The 2012 World Championship is in Barcelona, Spain in mid May 2012.

‘That is only five months away, then we have to try and defend our world title again’ Belcher concluded.

RS Sailing 660x82KZRaceFurlersZhik AkzoNobelb 660x82

Related Articles

An interview with Patrick Kennedy about the Ida Lewis Distance Race
I interviewed Patrick Kennedy, chair of the 2017 ILDR, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution. With this year’s Ida Lewis Distance Race set to unfurl the weekend of August 18-20, I caught up with Patrick Kennedy, chair of the 2017 ILDR, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the event’s new partnership with the 2017 J/Fest New England.
Posted on 14 Aug
An interview with Marianne Davis about the CORK International Regatta
I interviewed Marianne Davis, co-chair of the CORK International Regatta, to learn about the regatta’s state of affairs. While the various CORK regattas' registration lists include international sailors, these events are some of the gemstones in Sail Canada’s yearly championship calendar, making them of extra importance to Canadian sailors. I recently caught up with Marianne Davis, co-chair of the 2017 event, via email, to learn more about the CORK International Regatta’s evolution and its current state of affairs.
Posted on 7 Aug
A Q&A with the RORC’s Nick Elliott about the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race
I caught up with Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, via email, to learn more about the world-famous Rolex Fastnet Race. When one stops to consider the world’s best ocean races, the Royal Offshore Racing Club’s Rolex Fastnet Race, which starts on Sunday, August 6, 2017, is never far from mind. I caught up with Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the amount of work that goes into pulling off this world-famous regatta.
Posted on 1 Aug
Ian Walker - Musto Ambassador on the Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup
Ian Walker on his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup We speak to Musto ambassador Ian Walker about his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup, his new desk job, sailing for fun, and 20 years of the John Merricks Sailing Trust.
Posted on 23 Jul
Black Jack Yachting. Bigger boat. Bigger team. Even bigger performance
Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus. Some were sail makers, like Skipper Mark Bradford and also Vaughan Prentice from North Sails’ Brisbane loft. Others were riggers, such as Bruce Clarke, and there are even boat builders, like Gary van Lunteren, as well as Ash Deeks.
Posted on 20 Jul
A Q&A with Tom Trujillo about the Transpacific Race’s 49th running
Sail-World interviewed Tom Trujillo, the Transpac Race’s PRO, via email to learn more about this classic bluewater race. The Transpac Race (est 1906) is in a rarefied group of four races that are considered sailing’s greatest bluewater Corinthian challenges, and it welcomes a wildly diverse fleet of bluewater-worthy boats. The 49th running of this classic race is currently underway, so Sail-World caught up with Tom Trujillo, the race’s principal race officer, via email to learn more.
Posted on 7 Jul
Gladwell's Line - America's Cup returns to its new home and thinking
Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness and will open a new era of America's Cup, New Zealand and World Sailing. A rookie crew won the most prestigious trophy in sailing, and one of the most difficult to win in any sport.
Posted on 29 Jun
SuperFoilers Are Go!
SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets in the great scheme of things, they come together in the one form as harmoniously as a Rolls Royce, and also deliver intense energy way past the sum of their parts, just like some amazing band.
Posted on 28 Jun
A Q&A with Kimball Livingston about San Francisco high school sailing
I emailed with my friend and colleague Kimball Livingtston to learn about San Francisco’s latest sailing revolution. I started hearing whispers of shifts in the San Francisco Bay high school sailing scene a couple of months ago. A few inquiries led me to my good friend and colleague Kimball Livingston, a world-class sailor, scribe, and StFYC staff commodore who isn’t one to keep his seaboots dry when the topic turns to opportunities for the next sailing generation. I caught up with KL via email to learn more.
Posted on 13 Jun
A Q&A with Andrew Howe about winning the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Andrew Howe, the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race’s winning co-navigator, to learn more about their race. In 2015, skipper Greg Marston and the crew of Ti, a 1967 Alden Mistral, racing under celestial rules, were the overall winners of the Marion Bermuda Race Founders Division, beating boats that were enjoying GPS accuracy. On the eve of the 2017 edition of the race, I reached out to Andrew Howe, the team’s co-navigator, to gain perspective on this impressive win and hear about his 2017 plans.
Posted on 7 Jun