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Australian Sailing Team at the Laser European Championship - Day 1

by Australian Sailing Team 20 May 19:25 PDT
Laser European Championship Porto 2019 - Day 1 © Neuza Aires Pereira

Day 1 of the 2019 Laser European Championship being held at Douro Marina Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto, Portugal, saw Aussies Luke Elliott and Matt Wearn become the best performing of the five Australians taking part in the six-day event.

The event finishes Saturday, May 25.

Elliott started crisply with a win and a 10th place for seventh place overall, while Wearn reeled off fourth and seventh places to be on equal points with Elliott, in the extremely light airs that have come to govern the majority of European regattas this summer season.

"We completed two light and really shifty races. I am happy to finish the day the results I got, but a little disappointed not to finish higher in the second race after being third at the first top mark," Wearn said.

"There's still a lot of racing to go though, and I'm looking forward to trying to improve throughout the event," said Wearn, the World Ranked No. 5 athlete.

Scores at this early stage are compacted as the field has been split into three fleets.

Finn Alexander is next best placed in 14th overall, while Rio Olympic Gold medallist, Tom Burton, is 15th, and Mitch Kennedy is 16th. The trio is on an equal 14 points.

"It was a tough day," Burton admitted. "It was super light and lumpy. It was key to be in the pressure and minimise the mistakes. I had some OK starts, but seemed not to be in the 100 percent ideal location."

Burton (World Ranked No. 2) went on to say: "I was forced to chip away in the teens for most of the day with some decent comebacks. In the lighter winds, everyone is much more similar in speed, so it's difficult to be super consistent."

This news comes on the day the overwhelming vote is to retain the Laser class for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Two back-to-back races are scheduled per day with racing to start from midday. The boats are divided into three fleets and sail a qualifying series of at least four races, followed by a final series.

The Laser Europeans continue tomorrow through to Saturday in Porto, Portugal where 42 athletes from around the world are taking part.

Australian Sailing Team Results after Day 1: (42 boats)

7th Luke Elliott 1,10 = 11pts
10th Matt Wearn 4,7 = 11pts
14th Finn Alexander 4,10 = 14pts
15th Tom Burton 9,5 = 14pts
16th Mitch Kennedy 5,9 = 14pts

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