'Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan between races at the 470 World Championship'
Thom Touw ©
At the 2013 470 World Championship, Australia’s Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan have opened up an eight point lead on the first day of finals racing in La Rochelle, France.
Belcher and Ryan started the finals series two points ahead of second place with the Australian pair finishing eight and second in the day’s two races to lead over their Kiwi and French opponents.
'Today went well for us,' said Belcher. 'We were pretty happy to come away with two good scores on the first day of the finals.
'It’s been a difficult place to race, with quite a bit of current and shifty winds and most top teams found it difficult to be consistent,' he said. 'You could notice the tension in the fleet with all the top guys together and highly motivated to get a good start. We didn't start the best today but fought hard to get the results we did. Another day down and looking forward to tomorrow’s three races.'
Ryan said that the pair was pleased to come away with two good results on the opening day of finals racing in tricky conditions.
'It was a tricky day with a lot of current and very unstable winds,' said Ryan. 'It built to 14 knots for the start of race two but dropped away to six by the end.
'It’s certainly good to be racing all the top boats now but it was tough racing and we were fortunate to be able to come away with two good results when it would have been quite easy to have a bad one,' he said. 'The margin for error at times is pretty small.'
Matthew and Robert Crawford have moved up from their overnight 39th to be 27th following a pair of 19ths on Wednesday.
Fellow Australians Alexander and Patrick Conway are just behind in 33rd following a 37th and 25th, with Scott Cotton and Tom Potter in 81st.
In the women’s fleet Elise Rechichi and Sarah Cook ended their first day of World Championship finals racing in 17th position with the new pairing recording a 24th and a 12th.
'It was a tough day at the office for everyone today with very shifty, difficult, conditions for the two races,' said Cook. 'We finished with a 12th and a 24th but hopefully the 24 will be our drop for the finals series. The pressure is on for the next five races with three scheduled tomorrow and stronger winds forecast.'
Jacqueline Gurr and Amelia Catt are currently in 26th position after a 25th and a 20th, with Sasha and Jaime Ryan 36th overall and Lucy Shephard and Aurora Paterson 43rd.
For more information on the Australian Sailing Team visit Australian team website and follow the Team on Twitter at Twitter website
by Craig Heydon
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6:37 AM Thu 8 Aug 2013GMT
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