Please select your home edition
Coast Guard Foundation LEADERBOARD 1

2018 Sail Melbourne International at Royal Brighton Yacht Club - Day 1

by Elizabeth Sersta 13 Dec 2018 03:09 PST 13-16 December 2018
Finn fleet - 2018 Sail Melbourne International, Day 1 © Beau Outteridge

On the first day of 2018 Sail Melbourne International, Melbourne's weather presented itself from a challenging side with the day starting out in rainy, windy and ever-changing conditions, requiring a lot of patience from sailors and race management alike.

But while zombie cyclone sitting over Melbourne led to major disruptions in other areas of the city, it did not stop the sailors from getting in some high-calibre racing action on Port Phillip.

And it certainly did not stop Australian Sailing Team's experienced Olympic medallist sailors and World #1 Mat Belcher (QLD) and Will Ryan (QLD), who kick-started the competition successfully with two bullets and taking the lead in the men's 470.

"We certainly don't come here for the weather, but it's still good to sail here, it's great race management, a really good fleet, and obviously we want to support one of Australia's most respected events. They promise us every year that it's going to get sunny, but I live on the Gold Coast, so I don't believe it," Mat Belcher laughed.

"We had about 20 knots, two-metre chop, and torrential rain to start with and had to wait out there in the rain for about an hour and a half just for the breeze to stabilise. Then it ended up a lot better than it started with no rain, a couple metre seas and 15 knots," Belcher added about the conditions.

After day one of racing, the Australians are leading the 470 fleet ahead of the Japanese crew of Daichi Takayama and Kimihiko Imamura in second (2,3) and with Spanish 2018 World Championships bronze medallists Jordi Xammar Hernandez and Nicolás Rodrigues Garcí-Paz in third (5, 2).

The Olympic 470 class features one of the most international events of the regatta, with the fleet including sailors from seven countries.

Racing in the mixed fleet with the men are Germany's top women's 470 sailors Frederike Loewe and Anna Markfort, who sit on equal points with Australian Sailing Squad's Nia Jerwood (WA) and Monique de Vries (WA), who won Sail Sydney last week. Both crews had a first and second in the two races of the day.

"We are definitely hoping to beat the Aussie girls this time and we also hope for better weather conditions. No more rain please, but we are looking forward to the next days of racing," Frederike Loewe said about the goals ahead.

"It was a bit crazy today, we arrived at the boat park and it was raining a lot and it never stopped until after the first race. I guess the conditions were perfect to start the acclimatisation process to head back to German winter next week, but it was a good day of racing," Anna Markfort laughed.

The duo has been in Australia over the last five weeks training together with the Australians and other internationals 470 crews, including fellow Germans Simon Diesch and Phillipp Autenrieth.

Patience was also required in the Laser fleet with sailors out on Port Phillip for a while, before the fleet managed to finish two races in swirling wind conditions. New Zealand's Sam Meech is leading the fleet after a first and second, with Australian Sailing Team's 2018 Laser World Championships silver medallist Matt Wearn (WA) following in second after a fourth and third place. New Zealand's Thomas Saunders is ranked third posting a third and fourth. Wearn won last week's Sail Sydney just ahead of Meech and Sail Melbourne looks like it will be a tight battle once again. Britain's Lorenzo Chiavarini won the second race of the day to be ranked fourth overall.

"It was a really good day. After Sail Sydney we are all racing at similar speeds, so it is always fantastic racing the boys," Meech said.

Swiss sailor Maud Jayet won the one race in the Laser Radial fleet with Sail Sydney winner Otto Henry (NSW) coming second and Frazer Brew (QLD) third.

Australian Sailing Squad's Mara Stransky (QLD) is the second ranked female in the mixed Laser Radial fleet finishing fifth, while Victorian Casey Imeneo finished third female and overall seventh.

"It is a very different venue to Sail Sydney but a lot of the same competitors so it is just very interesting to see how everyone measures up against each other in some very different conditions," Stransky said.

A rematch from Sail Sydney is also on in Sail Melbourne's Finn class with current World #1 and winner of Sail Sydney Nicholas Heiner (NED) winning both races of the day. Heiner was chased by Rio 2016 Olympic champion Giles Scott (GBR), who finished second and fourth as well as Britain's Ben Cornish, who posted a fifth and third. Australia Sailing Team's Rio Olympian Jake Lilley (QLD) moves into fourth place after a third and fifth.

"This was the first day on the road to the 2019 World Championships for us here in Melbourne and it was a different day with quite a weather event. I suppose it's not unusual for here, we had a very tricky breeze south to southeast, swinging around a lot and dropping in and out, coming in and just making for tricky racing," Lilley said.

Royal Brighton Yacht Club will be hosting the 2019 Finn Gold Cup, the World Championships of the Finn class in December next year, and the international fleet is using the event to test the waters.

"We have some of the best guys in the world here, from Great Britain we also have Kiwis and the Dutchman, four of the top ten from the last world championships and all of these guys are very serious about qualifying for the Olympics in 2020 and doing well in the World Championships next year and this is a day one of the road to next year worlds and its really exciting to walk away with two keeper scores and looking to keep building on that this week."

The Invited classes include the youth and pathway classes and have attracted a large number of Youth sailors, who make the most of the opportunity to test their skills ahead of the 2019 Australian Sailing Youth Championships in Tasmania in January.

It is an opportunity Victorian sailors and twins Lily and Matilda Richardson from Mornington Yacht Club, do not want to miss. The pair finished tenth overall after a 13th and an eighth place in the mixed fleet making them the second highest ranked female crew behind fellow Victorians Sophie Jackson and Chloe Harper.

"Instead of Sail Sydney we were in New Zealand competing, so this is our first time competing against everyone for a while. Youth nationals are up next and everyone is pretty good and has been training hard, which makes for some really good competition. Today was a tricky day on the water, but we hope to come back again tomorrow and have a good day." Matilda Richardson said.

New South Wales sailors Ryan Littlechild and Jack Ferguson are leading the 420 fleet ahead of Marcello Torre and Tom Larkins with Ben Hinks and Alexander Magarey in third.

Racing was cancelled earlier in the day for the skiff sailors in the 49er, 49erFX and 29er classes as well as for the para-sailing classes.

Racing continues tomorrow, Friday, 14 December with weather conditions being closely monitored by race management and additional races scheduled in those events that did not race today. On Friday, also the OK Dinghy and WAZSP will join the action.

Racing at Sail Melbourne International runs from Thursday, 13 December to Sunday, 16 December 2018 with 375 competitors from 18 countries contesting the event.

See results here:

Australian Sailing Team and Squad results:

470 Men
Mat Belcher/Will Ryan - 1, 1 – 1st
Chris Charlwood/Josh Dawson – 3, 5 – 4th

470 Women
Nia Jerwood/Monique de Vries – 2,1 – 1st
Dana Tavener/Katherine Shannon - 3, 3 – 3rd

Jake Lilley - 3, 5 – 4th
Oliver Tweddell - 26, 7– 16th
Lewis Brake – 15, 19 – 18th
Jock Calvert – 11, 18 – 15th

Matt Wearn - 4, 3 – 2nd
Luke Elliott – 6, 5 – 5th
Mitchell Kennedy – 10, 7 – 7th
Finn Alexander – 14, 11 – 10th

Laser Radial
Mara Stransky – 5 – 5th & 1st Female

Related Articles

Sail Melbourne International overall
Matt Wearn wins Laser Oceania Champion title Six months out from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Sail Melbourne International 2020 saw the world's best sailors wrapping up the five-day event with a light wind day on Port Phillip Bay on Tuesday. Posted on 21 Jan 2020
Sail Melbourne International day 4
Multiple storm fronts passing through give a wet and wild penultimate day It was a challenging day for sailors and race management alike with multiple storm fronts passing through Melbourne on the penultimate day of Sail Melbourne International making for another wild and fun day for the majority of the classes. Posted on 20 Jan 2020
Sail Melbourne International day 3
Late rumbles shake up the fleet Despite a huge storm front battering Port Phillip in the early afternoon, most classes were able to complete a full slate of racing on day three of Sail Melbourne International on Sunday. Posted on 19 Jan 2020
Sail Melbourne International day 2
Port Phillip delivered another cracking day On Friday, only one race had been possible in most fleets and Saturday's aim was to get the maximum number of races in. With three and more races on the schedule, leader boards started to take shape. Posted on 18 Jan 2020
Sail Melbourne International day 1
Pushing the limits on day one With wind limits on the edge, conditions on day one of Sail Melbourne International 2020 provided many competitors with a wild, windy and challenging day on Port Phillip Bay. Posted on 17 Jan 2020
Sail Melbourne International starts today
The 2020 Road to Tokyo and Paris 2024 goes via Sail Melbourne The 2020 edition of Melbourne's iconic Sail Melbourne International regatta will kick off today, Friday, 17 January, with racing of the five-day event to start on Port Phillip from 13:00 this afternoon (17 - 21 January 2020). Posted on 17 Jan 2020
One week to go to Sail Melbourne International
Olympic sailors making the most of Melbourne's Summer of Sailing Less than 200 days out from the Tokyo Olympic Games, Australia's iconic Sail Melbourne International regatta will see the world's best sailors from 25 countries and from all around Australia battle it out on Port Phillip Posted on 10 Jan 2020
Two weeks to go to the start of Summer of Sailing
Melbourne Finn Sailor Oliver Tweddell keeps Olympic hopes alive after comeback from injury It will be a home affair for Melbourne's world class Finn sailor Oliver Tweddell when the Finn Gold Cup – the World Championships of the Olympic Finn class – starts in Melbourne in a couple of weeks. Posted on 27 Nov 2019
International sailors arrive in Melbourne
For Summer of Sailing 2020 & Olympic Sailing Series The Sail Melbourne - Summer of Sailing 2020 count-down is on with only three weeks to go to the start of an exciting series of world-class sailing in Australia this summer. Posted on 20 Nov 2019
2018 Sail Melbourne International overall
Olympians secure medals on day 4 After challenging race disruptions over the four-day event, caused by the current weather system sitting over Australia's east coast, it was a welcome finish for the close to 400 competitors from all across Australia and from 18 countries. Posted on 16 Dec 2018
McConaghy Boats 2021 - FOOTERGul 2020 FOOTERNorth Sails 2021 FOOTER