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Australia assures 470 and Nacra 17 Olympic Quotas at Sail Sydney Day 4 Scorcher

by Australian Sailing Team 13 Dec 2023 23:07 PST 11-15 December 2023
Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas (AUS) sailing the Mixed 470 at Sail Sydney © Beau Outteridge / Australian Sailing Team

Day four of Sail Sydney saw athletes reaching for whatever fluids they could find and racing for shade once ashore as Sydney put on a scorching 38-degrees for the penultimate day of the regatta.

As if it were a competition, the wind gusted up to 37 knots on Botany Bay in the early afternoon, ensuring an abandonment of racing for the iQFOiL and Formula Kite classes.

In the early shift, the Australian Sailing Squad Mixed 470 team of Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas won both races in the hot, dry westerly to assure Australia of the Paris Olympic quota provided they can get through tomorrow's Medal Race unscathed.

"It was like racing in a hairdryer," explained Nicholas from the shade of Woollahra Sailing Club.

The Perth-based duo had to finish ahead of New Zealand to achieve the nation quota for the Paris Olympics next year. They hold a 34-point lead over the Kiwis, but still need to contest the race and avoid any false start penalties.

"Today our goal was to assure ourselves the Oceania nation quota which we were able to do before the final race as we now can't be beaten by the New Zealanders so long as we complete the Medal Race tomorrow," explained Jerwood.

"We still have a Medal Race tomorrow where we will be going out there fighting for the Gold."

Down at Botany Bay the Women's and Men's Formula Kite classes got two races in before being sent ashore for the day, and with no reserve day tomorrow it means Townsville's Breiana Whitehead won another National Championship in the class.

"It had some nice days, it had some tricky days and today was definitely one of those," said Whitehead.

Whitehead will be heading to Paris as the first sailor selected to the Australian Olympic Team for the Games starting in July next year, and this is another step ahead of a huge year next year.

"It starts with the European Championships in the middle of March and there are roughly ten-day breaks between the next few regattas in Palma, Hyeres, our Worlds (also in Hyeres) and then the Olympics."

Elsewhere around the regatta Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot won the 49erFX class, and Brin Liddell and Rhiannon Brown won the Nacra 17 at the same time as achieving the Paris 2024 nation quota for Australia in the class.

Tomorrow there will be Medal Races in the 49er, Mixed 470, ILCA 6, ILCA 7 and a Medal Series in the Men's Kitefoil.

Hydration and physical preparation are crucial on days like today, as Australian Sailing Team Dietician Samantha Lewis explained.

"We're adding electrolytes to their drinks to aid with the retention of fluids and trying to keep their core temperatures down by offering them slushies, ice blocks and plenty of time in the ice bath.

"Recovery is also hugely important, so we've got good quality foods which focus on hydration in the recovery phase. Along with plenty of protein it will aid muscle recovery and muscle repair to ensure there is plenty of energy to push on tomorrow."

The final day of Sail Sydney is scheduled to start at midday tomorrow at both George's Reiver Sailing Club (Men's Formula Kite and Men's and Women's iQFOiL) and Woollahra Sailing Club (all other classes).

Visit the Sail Sydney website for more information on the regatta, and view a full list of results here.

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