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Australian Sailors fired up for next big test

by Lisa Darmanin/AST 9 Oct 17:00 PDT
AST Sailor, Luke Elliott in action 2021 ILCA 7 European Championship © Hrvoje Duvancic/EUR ILCA

Another day of wind, waves and cold weather meant only one race could be sailed for each fleet on the final day of racing at the ILCA Senior European Championships in Varna, Bulgaria.

The race committee managed to get a tenth race for both the Laser and Laser Radial classes away, as the conditions once again pushed the athletes to their absolute limits.

20-year-old Zac Littlewood put another keeper on his impressive scorecard to finish eighth in the overall rankings, the highest rank of the Aussie contingent.

“I was able to work on a few key areas from my last regatta and ended up with a solid result,” Littlewood said. “I’m keen to gain more racing experience and improve on my last event.”

Fremantle sailor Luke Elliott got his early regatta rhythm back overnight to come away with a third place in the final race, finishing tenth overall.

After a bumpy start to the regatta, Ethan McAullay continued his impressive gold fleet run to finish 12th overall.

“The thing that set my finals series apart from my qualifying was definitely my starting,” the young sailor from Perth revealed. “The goal was to get off the start line clear which I managed to do every single race which I’m stoked about.”

NSWIS athlete Finn Alexander found form in the final race with a fourth, good enough to see him finish 13th overall.

Coach Ryan Palk was extremely impressed with the teamwork and resilience the squad demonstrated this week.

“Every day and every race you can see them sliding back into competition mode,” Palk said. “We’ve really enjoyed the test. I just want to acknowledge the way they carried themselves this week and supported each other through the tough moments and also the exciting ones.”

In the Radial women, Zoe Thomson had a good day on the water finishing sixth in the tricky conditions moving her up to 18th overall. Fellow Western Australian, Elyse Ainsworth, finished just ahead in the overall rankings in 15th place.

Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron athlete Mara Stansky had a tough day on the water moving back to 21st overall.

“On the whole I'm super disappointed but also very fired up for the upcoming training block before the worlds,” Stransky said. “I can't wait to get stuck into some fitness on and off the water.”

McCrae Yacht Club sailor Casey Imeneo finished the regatta strong with a 13th in the final race placing her 24th overall.

Both Australian squads now relocate to Lake Garda, Italy for a training camp in preparation for their upcoming World Championships.

The Laser Standard World Championships will be in Barcelona, Spain from 3-10 November, and the Laser Radial Worlds will take place from 29 November to 6 December in Mussanah, Oman.

View the full results here.

Australian Sailing Team (AST), and Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) entries:

Laser (115 Boats)

8th Zac Littlewood (ASS) – 8, (14), 6, 7, (BFD), 4, 5, 12, 8, 9 – 59pts
10th Luke Elliott (AST) – 2, 6, 1, 8, 2, (23), 16, (27), 16, 3 – 69pts
12th Ethan McAullay (ASS) – (25), 6, 10, 17, 22, (49), 4, 4, 6, 7 – 76pts
13h Finn Alexander (ASS) – 17, 18, 5, (31), 4, 8, 20, 3, (24), 4 – 79pts

Laser Radial (78 Boats)

15th Elyse Ainsworth (ASS) – (38), 28. 4, 18, 7, 26, 26, 7, 11, (31) – 127pts
18th Zoe Thomson (ASS) – 30, 25, (35), 10, 11, (46), 23, 16, 19, 6 – 140pts
21st Mara Stransky (AST) – 4, 21, (41), 26, (BFD), 13, 4, 26, 33, 27 – 154pts
24th Casey Imeneo (ASS) – (40), 33, 15, 24, (37), 28, 17, 29, 7, 13 – 166pts

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