ISAF Sailing World Cup 2014 - Hyeres - Today's Medal Races for Australia's Rio Olympic campaigners was largely the tale of three B's Burton, Belcher and Bundock.
First the Busy B’s
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan, the dominant 470 pairing sailed two bullets yesterday. Belcher has been on the podium in every regatta since early 2011 and Hyeres was destined to be another notch in the belt.
The duo managed a regulation conservative medal race, taking fifth place and cementing yet another World Cup regatta win for the most successful 470 Men’s pairing in recent Olympic class history.
In the boat park Belcher said.’ We finished midfleet. For us it was just a matter of keeping in check with the Greek sailors. It was the only boat that could have passed us today. We tried to stay out of trouble.
'As with any medal race it is always complicated you make one mistake and you find yourself at the back. We sailed quite a clean race and did what we needed to do and are pretty happy with the outcome.
‘We are happy that we continue to improve this season. It’s no surprise, the volume of training the more time you do on the boat the better result you are going to get and that doesn’t matter whatever level of the team. Unfortunately we couldn’t prepare as much as we would have liked to in Palma, with AC commitments.
‘So for this regatta we have been in the boat a little bit more and made better decisions when we needed to and we are happy to come away with the win here.
‘Now for the month of May we will not be 470ing at all as we have AC45 commitments. But going forward, the focus is the worlds in September in Santander.
‘Ahead of that we have the 470 Europeans and obviously the Rio test event is quite important. We are trying to use these events to just develop a team and ourselves individually. This week we have ticked off a few boxes. We are pretty happy where we are at. Unfortunately we have a little time out of the boat now doing some AC45 stuff. That’s life. We will have to start again and try and build our shape and develop as quickly as we can. ‘
Then Will Ryan interjected. ‘Right now I guess we won the World Cup series - Last year we were quite excited about it thinking we had won but it was a bit of a non-affair so last year we had our own medal presentation to ourselves. We will see what happens this year but we are not holding our breath but if ISAF do something about it that would be really nice.
Belcher was then asked was there a World Cup presentation scheduled and he responded ' I have no idea. I have never seen any standings. But the series is called the ISAF Sailing World Cup. They have got a listed schedule of the events but I have never seen any standings and I really don’t know. I will let you know in a couple of hours.’
A blast from Belcher but there was much more adventure for Burton and Bundock.
Now the tale of the Young B
Laser, Tom Burton (AUS) - 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Thom Touw
Australian' Tom Burton who has taken the mantle from Tom Slingsby in the Laser class, spent much of the last year with ISAF Ranking One had slipped to second after a fourth place at the Sailing World Cup in Miami.
After that he won in Palma Mallorca against a top quality field and had a solid regatta here in Hyeres.
Burton has been concentrating on consistency, he went into yesterday's racing with a drop of six. Burton decided to push aggressively to try an add another keeper before today’s medal round.
After a number of general recalls the back flag was raised and the young Australian was BFD's, a result he could obviously afford to drop. However that cost him the series head so today he needed to beat Maloney across the line with a boat between them.
In today’s medal race he did not have the greater of first beats, he was on the wrong side of the first shift and rounded the top mark just behind the main bunch.
Andy Maloney was sticking to his stern and held that position into the second run, dumping dirty air on his Australian rival. It seemed that the series was his, Burton was heating up in an attempt to break the cover, but it seemed it would be to no avail. But Frenchman Jean Baptiste Bernaz who had been over early and had ducked back across the line came steaming down the course and just metres from the line passed Maloney.
Burton tells the story ‘My first beat wasn’t very good. I was out the left a little bit and it paid on the right pretty big time. I was around in seventh or eighth at the top and Andy was in front of me and Rutger was in front of me so it wasn’t looking good but the first run Andy got a yellow penalty close to the bottom so once he did a spin he didn’t have room on me so I got around just in front of him.
‘The second beat was just conservative up the middle. I think I got back to fifth around the top the next time but Andy was directly behind me so I thought he still had me covered and down the last run it was a bit dicey with the wind.
‘Up and down pressure and he was attacking me hard. In the end he just got passed by a boat right on the line which got between us. The French guy, he was always moving forward. He didn’t have a very good first beat because he went back and then went the wrong way. He was a fair way behind but he was moving forward pretty quick and he was just in the right spot at the right time for me.
‘I got a fourth in Miami which was official start of my season and I was going second into the Medal Race there so it is going well.
‘I felt much more comfortable in the boat than I did in Palma. I actually didn’t feel like I was sailing very well in Palma but the results happened and it lined up really well for me and I could take advantage right at the end when I sailed a bit better.
I sailed much better this week and it’s great to defend my 2013 title, looking forward to the balance of the season´ Now to the old B.
42 year Darren Bundock one of the newest sailors to start an Olympic Nacra 17 campaign and every regatta it seems he is reminding his fellow competitors that 14 multihull world titles add up to serious talent and serious experience.
Bundock and Curtis had a handy lead going into the Medal race but then disaster struck as Bundy explains...
‘Today we blew it!! We realised that they had changed the course but we just didn’t realise that they were going to halve the course. They made the leg half the length it was. We didn’t pick up on that and we over laid the mark by miles and went from fifth to second last. We went backwards quickly.
‘Just made a big error basically from us. We were probably about fifth or sixth, we had the other guys all covered then we just blundered and over laid by miles and let them all through.
‘So we went from a win to third. Anyway it’s all done now. We won’t make that mistake again.
‘But it was still a great week for us, we performed pretty well over the week, big improvements since Palma and we are looking forward to Europeans, Rio and Santander!!’
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen - 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Australian Sailing Team
And beyond the B's??
A good recovery from Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen to take bronze in the 49ers after a rough week.
Ashley Stoddart on the water at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Thom Thow Photography
Probably the most encouraging news for a long time in the Women's class with a wonderful fourth placing by Ash Stoddart in the Laser Radial class!!
More on that later!!