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Belcher and Ryan aim for top spot at 132nd Kiel Week

'Belcher and Ryan'    © Victor Kovalenko

Olympic Champion Mathew Belcher (QLD) and World Champion crew Will Ryan (QLD) will race in Kiel, Germany this week and have their eyes set on a podium finish in the Men’s 470 class. Belcher and Ryan are leading a group of three Australia Sailing Team and twelve Australian Sailing Squad crews who will race in Kiel across seven Olympic classes.

From 21 to 25 June, the Olympic classes will kick off the racing activities of Kieler Woche (Kiel Week). This Olympic part of the regatta is also the final event of the Eurosaf Champions Sailing Cup, which will end in Kiel after stages in Riva/Italy, Medemblik/The Netherlands and Weymouth/U.K.

For Belcher and Ryan Kiel Week will be a preparation event in the lead up to the 470 European Championship in Athens Greece (8-15 July 2014). The duo won their last regatta at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyères, France at the end of April and just finished a training camp at the 2014 World Championship location in Santander, Spain.

'It was nice to be back training in the 470 in Spain after some time out of the boat. After a few days training there, we are now looking to hopefully enjoy some good racing here in Kiel and to get back into good shape before our European Championships in Greece next month,' Will Ryan said on arrival in Kiel.

'Kiel is always one of the more enjoyable events as they do a fantastic job to support and promote the athletes here. Our Australian Sailing Team and crew supporter Audi is also a big event sponsor and it is great to be a part of it all. Also, it gives us a chance to see some pretty nice cars throughout the week!'

And about the fleet and expectations he added: 'I’m very competitive so I don’t really like to be anywhere else but in front. We are fortunate to have some top teams here, even though the fleet is smaller than other Kiel regattas due to the timing of regattas in this season. But we expect some tough racing with the Greek team (third 2013 worlds) and very strong teams from the USA and Austria, as well as the recent Delta Lloyd regatta winners from South Africa. Plus there’s always a strong turn out with the top and local German teams all racing here. At the moment, it has been quite warm – however Kiel regattas usually provide a bit of everything so we will wait and see and try do our best with what we get. I think racing this week will be really tough and my guess is it will come down to the last race.'

Australian Sailing Team’s Head Coach Victor Kovalenko has high hopes for his crew and was full of praise when asked about their working relationship: 'They are really good sailors and great personalities and I have been enjoying working with them every day, to watch them in training at the top level and in racing at the top level. And I have been very fortunate to see them winning – most of the time.'

Besides Belcher and Ryan, Australian Sailing Squad’s Matt and Robert Crawford (NSW) as well as Angus Galloway (QLD) and Tim Hannah (VIC) will be racing in the 24-strong 470M fleet.

In the 49er FX Olympic Silver Medallist and Australian Sailing Team athlete Olivia Price (NSW) and crew Eliza Solly (VIC) will be at the start line, as well as Australian Sailing Team’s Caitlin Elks (WA) and skipper Tess Lloyd (VIC). Kiel will be a welcome test event for both crews ahead of the 49er European Championships in Helsinki, Finland from 8-14 July 2014.

The 49er men’s fleet will see Australian Sailing Squad’s crews compete in Kiel in force. Dave Gilmour (WA) and Rhys Mara (NSW), Sam Phillips (VIC) with skipper Steve Thomas (WA), Will Phillips (VIC) with crew Jasper Warren (WA), Queensland duo Lewis Brake and Joel Turner as well as New South Welshmen Harry Price and Angus Williams will be contesting the event.

In the youth 29er class, 2014 Australian Youth Team representatives Jim Colley and Shaun Connor (both NSW) will be using Kiel as a warm up event ahead of the ISAF Youth World Championships in Portugal in July (12-19 2014).

Australian Sailing Squad’s 2014 European Junior Finn Champion Jake Lilley (QLD) is also back in Europe to race in Kiel in the 42-strong Finn fleet.

At the 132nd edition of the Kieler Woche more than 4500 sailors from more than 50 nations with 1800 boats will be racing off Schilksee in Germany’s federal state of Schleswig Holstein from 21 to 29 June 2014. They will be fighting for titles and medals in 42 Olympic, Paralympic, International and Offshore classes, making the Kiel Week the world’s biggest sailing event.

Australian Sailings Team and Australian Sailing Squad Entries at Kieler Woche:


Mathew Belcher (QLD)/ Will Ryan (QLD)

49er FX:

Olivia Price (NSW)/Eliza Solly (VIC)
Tess Lloyd (VIC)/Caitlin Elks (WA)


Matthew Crawford (NSW)/Robert Crawford (NSW)
Angus Galloway (QLD)/Tim Hannah (VIC)


Carrie Smith (WA)/ Jaime Ryan (QLD)
Sasha Ryan (QLD)/ Amelia Catt (TAS)


Dave Gilmour (WA)/Rhys Mara (NSW)
Joel Turner (QLD)/Lewis Brake (QLD)
Sam Phillips (VIC)/Steve Thomas (WA)
Will Phillips (VIC)/ Jaspar Warren (WA)
Harry Price (NSW)/ Angus Williams (NSW)


Jake Lilley (QLD)


Lucy Copeland (NSW)/Paul Darmanin (NSW)

Laser Standard:

Jeremy O’Connell (VIC)
Mark Spearman (WA)

by Cora Zillich


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4:09 AM Fri 20 Jun 2014GMT

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