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Sail Melbourne, Minis, Lasers—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 6 Dec 2013
Sailing off Sandringham Yacht Club in 30-35kts © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz
The big news from the One Design world comes compliments of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne, where sailors are enjoying strong winds and even stronger competition. According to the latest reports, racing was cancelled yesterday due to winds exceeding 35 knots, but the RC is hopeful that Mother Nature will be more cooperative in the next few days.

'There is too much wind today, so it was a good call by Principal Race officer Ross Wilson to abandon racing for the day, but we enjoyed yesterday,' reported Mat Belcher (AUS), who won Gold in the Men’s 470 class at the London 2012 Olympics, and who is sitting in first place at this prestigious event along with his crewmate, Will Ryan. 'It was challenging but nice to be out there. It was perfect for our class in terms of big waves, a bit of wind and really being able to drive the boat pretty hard.'



While the rumors abound as to whether Belcher and Ryan can make it undefeated all the way to the Rio 2016 Olympics (a claim that Belcher flatly denies), there’s little question that the two are on the right path. 'A lot people have done a lot of hard work in the Australian 470 squad and there is a lot of intellectual property,' said Ryan. 'Our coach Victor Kovalenko has ten medals and I don’t have any yet, so I certainly want to keep the knowledge advantage a bit longer if we can.'

Sail-World’s Rob Kothe and Richard Gladwell are both on hand at Melbourne to cover this ISAF World Cup, so be sure to get the full scoop, inside this issue, and stay tuned to the website for more news, as it becomes known.



And in offshore news, Aymeric Belloir, sailing aboard 'Tout le Monde chante contre le Cancer', has won the Production division of the Mini Transat race after a long, tough race that was filled with plenty of rough weather and challenging tactical calls. 'It was difficult to manage,' reported Belloir of his win. 'I had to know how to rest when needed, but also when to put the brakes on when conditions became too harsh. The first night I just flopped down and I sailed [wing-on-wing] downwind. I certainly was not the fastest, but I was making very good progress…'

At the time of this writing, Production-class sailors Justine Mettraux ('TeamWork') was 286 miles out from the finishing line, followed by Simon Koster ('Go 4 it)'), who still had 338 miles left to sail. Inside this issue, get the full Mini Transat report from both the Prototype and Production classes, and be sure to stay close to the website this weekend as more boats cross the finishing line.



And in Oman, the Laser Master World Championships are proving that a strong Olympic sailing background is key for sailing fast in this ultra competitive class, irrespective of age. According to the latest reports, Australian Mark Bethwaite (65)-himself a former Olympic sailor-has been commanding the regatta, but there has been plenty of pressure at the top from other former Olympians, even if the occasional mistake also gets made.

'I am not sailing well enough,' reported Wolfgang Gerz (61), who raced Finns at the Los Angeles 1982 Olympics. 'I am up there but am making mistakes like all the others except for Greg [Adams]. This is the first time I’ve raced against him because previously he’s been in the Radials and has just moved into the Grand master age group, but he is sailing well.' More, inside.



Also inside, get the complete report from the Clipper Round the World Race, the Transat Jacques Vabre and the Kitesurf World Cup Mendoza.



Finally, be sure to check out Richard Gladwell’s great image gallery from a wet and windy ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

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