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Aussies away early on wild first day of World Championships

by John Curnow/Australian Sailing Team 31 Aug 17:44 PDT 31 August - 5 September 2022
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin © Beau Outteridge

Sometimes getting away early can spell trouble for sailors, but for seven of the 12 Australian crews taking part in the 2022 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 World Championships, competing in the first session of the day meant they were able to race their full schedule of three races.

It was the 49erFX and Nacra 17 fleets who were fortunate enough to take to the course first, as by the time the two fleets of 49er crews took the water in the afternoon at St Margarets Bay in Nova Scotia, Canada, a front had whipped through bringing sizable winds and challenging waves.

The two fleets completed their respective races, with one seeing all but about eight boats capsize and a total of 14 retirements across the board.

The powerful two-man skiffs have a very large rig for the size of hull underneath them, and go from handful in light breezes to nigh on impossible in fresh conditions. 15-25 knots of wind over a half to one metre seaway was certainly a challenging way to begin a regatta.

Tom Needham summed it best, “We’ve had a 10-day lead-in with sunny skies and 10 knot conditions, then first race day and it is stormy, squally, and 25 knots, which makes it all action and quite a bit of carnage out there on the racecourse. We had a pretty good one, but it did not feel like that during the race. We had a swim on the first run back down to the leeward mark, but I think most boats did as well, so overall our 12th place was not too bad.”

In the Nacra 17 foiling catamaran, Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin highlighted the consistency the silver medallists from Rio are renowned for. A ninth and two fifth places has them sitting in sixth overall, and also indicates just how tough it is at the top of this strong field. Jake Liddell and Lucy Copeland are also inside the top ten after the first day of racing.

Darmanin commented, “It was a tough day out on the water, and felt like a real battle out there today. The building breeze and steep chop is quite a challenge on a foiling boat. We made a few mistakes around the course with boat handling, but overall we’re happy with three keepers to kick off day one.”

Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot are the highest placed of the three Australian 49erFX crews. Two tenth places shows that they are very much capable of mixing it with the world’s best. Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine achieved Australia’s highest race finish today with their seventh place in the second race filling them with a lot of confidence, especially given the conditions.

The team’s Technical Director, Michael Blackburn commented, “This is the peak regatta for the year, so all the equipment is sorted, and the crews have been training well with great preparation. They are all really liking Nova Scotia and the friendly nature of the place and the people.”

“It’s hard to have such a serious hit-out on day one, and now the 49ers have a bit to catch up with due to only having the three days to complete the qualifications races. Thankfully kinder weather would have it looking very favourable to have it all completed before the gold and silver fleet races, and the all-important medal race.”

“This is Evie Haseldine and Dervla Duggan’s first Senior Worlds, so they’ll be getting a huge amount of experience from all of this in the lead up to 2024.”

Racing concludes on Monday September 5, 2022.

Visit the event website for full results.

Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad(ASS), and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) at the 2022 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships:

49er – 68 entries
23rd - Tom Needham and Joel Turner (ASS) – 12 (12 points)
35th - Jack Ferguson and Max Paul (ASS) – 18 (18 points)
43rd - Jim Colley and Shaun Connor (ASS) – 22 (22 points)
56th - Tom Burton and Simon Hoffman (ASS) – DNF (34 points)
56th - Ryan Littlechild and Jack Hildebrand (ASF) – DNF (34 points)

49erFX – 36 entries
9th - Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (ASS) – 21, 10, 10 (41points)
20th - Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (ASS) – 23, 7, 29 (59 points)
28th - Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan (ASS) – 28, 29, 15 (72 points)

Nacra 17 – 34 entries
6th - Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST) – 9, 5, 5 (19 points)
10th - Jake Liddell and Lucy Copeland (ASS) - 6, 14, 10 (30 points)
18th - Brin Liddell and Rhiannan Brown (ASF) – 21, 21, 17 (59 points)

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