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World Cup series Hyeres - Starting as they mean to go on

by Australian Sailing Team on 1 May
Belcher Ryan take Gold at Sailing World Cup - Hyeres 2017 Australian Sailing Team / Beau Outteridge
Three Australian Sailing Team crews were amongst the Medal race action at the World Cup Hyeres on the final day. An emphatic World Cup win for the Rio 470 Men’s Silver medallist of Mat Belcher and Will Ryan who added a sixth race win, this time in the medal race to their 2017 Hyeres record.

Having posted five wins, a second and three thirds across the 10 race qualifying series, Belcher and Ryan secured the Gold medal yesterday and were atop the leader board with an unbeatable 24-point margin to Fock and Dackhammar (SWE) with Rio Bronze Medallists Mantis and Kagialis (GRE) third another 25 points back.

The 470 Men’s medal race was sailed in a light seven - nine knot south easterly breeze under cloudy skies. Isozaki and Takayanagi (JPN) were the early leaders, but Belcher and Ryan were the inside boat at the top mark and they squeezed around just ahead of their rivals to take the lead. At the bottom mark positions were unchanged but up the second beat the Australians had the power of the right and kept bouncing the Japanese away, held their lead down the run and on the reach to the finish line.

At the gun it was Belcher and Ryan from Isozaki and Takayanagi with Sozykin and Gribanov (RUS) third ahead of Mantis and Kaglialis (GRE). Fock and Dackhammer were sixth in this race and second overall. Mantis and Kaglialis were fourth in the medal race and third overall.

In the boat park Belcher commented, ‘Conditions were challenging. We did well to get off the line and tried to pick the first shift. It was a light day and so it favoured a lightweight Japanese team. But once we took the lead we were dictating where they should go and then we made more gains.'

‘It is always a hard position going into the medal race having already won because you don’t know how far to push or not and you don’t really want to influence the others. But at the end of the day it is good experience. We didn’t have any pressure, just did the basics well, had good positions and speed and it was just nice to finish off a great week for us with a win.’

Ryan added ‘When you are sailing well it's easy to build momentum and I think that’s what happened for us this week.‘



In the Lasers Australia had two contenders in the medal race, Matt Wearn, who led the regatta on Day three, was in third place and Tom Burton, the Rio Gold medallist was fifth overall. Off the medal race start line Burton was fast and soon hit the lead while Wearn climbed to fourth. The series leader Marrai (ITA) after a bad start was second last in the fleet.

The breeze was oscillating and position changed but Burton was first round the top mark with Wearn on his stern. Down the run Kontides, second going into the medal race made big gains sailing from midfleet into second place. Burton retained his race lead from Kontides, Marrai scrambled to fifth place. Wearn was sixth.

Kontides and Marrai were level on points after the medal race, but Kontides took the Gold medal because of his countback advantage, with two wins during the series while Marrai had just one. Wearn held third place, Thompson (GBR) double Laser World Champion was fourth and Burton was fifth.

Matt Wearn recounted the action ‘Worried about Kontides, it seemed Marrai lost focus and had a bad start. At the top mark the first time I was with Tom and thought maybe I can go for Gold here, but on the run Kontides sailed through me and that was the end of my chance of advancement so I concentrated on covering Nick Thompson to secure Bronze.'

‘I felt I executed a good race in the oscillating breeze. In the past when it has been a matter of holding positions I haven’t really done it, so it was good to consolidate it on the week and finish off reasonably well. For me this event was up and down. I had one bad day but otherwise I felt like I sailed quite well. For us this was the selection event for the Aarhus test event, so by beating Tom I have that. Happy with that. Saves a lot of stress going forward.’

Tom Burton, the Medal Race winner was the first Laser sailor back onshore this afternoon. ‘My speed was better today and I picked some nice shifts and had a lead at the top and good first run and then it was a matter of keeping control. The week was frustrating; the medal race win was a good ending note.’

Australian Sailing Team (AST) and Squad (ASS) at World Cup Series Hyeres 2017

Men’s Two Person Dinghy - 470M:

- Mathew Belcher (QLD/QAS) and Will Ryan (QLD/QAS) – AST: (10),3,3,1,2,3,1,1,1,1,1 – first

Men’s Skiff - 49er:

- Will and Sam Phillips (VIC/VIS) – AST: 21,21,19,8,(26),17,6,20,1,19,4,26 – 19th

Men’s One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight) – Finn:

- Oliver Tweddell (VIC/VIS) – AST: 21,15,15,19,12,20.9,(35),22,25 – 22nd

Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser:

- Matt Wearn (WA/WAIS) – AST: 5,15,4,1,4,2,26,(45),4,5,6 – third
- Tom Burton (NSW/NSWIS) – AST: 4,5,8,6,(28),14,8,26,3,21,1 – fifth
- Mitch Kennedy (QLD/QAS) – ASS: 11,28,26,4,21,24,4,6,18,8,(44) – 13th
- Jeremy O'Connell (VIC/VIS) – ASS: 10,34,24,12,12,(61),44,1,13 – 16th
- Luke Elliot (WA/WAIS) – ASS: 43,52,50,46,(61),7,45,35,7,3 – 36th

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