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Australian ILCA 7 squad ready and set for home World Championships

by Michael Martin 14 Jan 21:25 PST 24-31 January 2024
Matt Wearn at 2023 Allianz Sailing World Championships © Sailing Energy

Australia's world-renowned ILCA 7 squad will get the chance to prove their standing against the very best when their 2024 World Championships start next week on home waters off Adelaide.

Hosting an Olympic-year World Championships in familiar surrounds is a special opportunity for any squad, let alone one that includes the current Olympic and World Champion, Matt Wearn.

Wearn will lead an in-form Australian squad. At this month's ILCA 7 National Championships at the same venue featuring much the same field as expected at the Worlds, the Western Australian took out the win with three Aussies in the top ten and five in the top twenty.

"The whole squad is looking forward to the regatta, having a World Championships on home waters is always a special motivation," said Australian Sailing Team ILCA 7 Coach Rafa Trujillo.

"We know that the Australian squad will be under pressure from other nations as the team to beat as the host of the world championships. I am looking forward to seeing the progress of all the athletes, we have a solid team."

Wearn will look to continue the form he showed in 2023, where he notched wins at the Paris 2024 Olympic Test Event, World Championships and was named Male Athlete of the Year at the AIS Sport Performance Awards.

His performance at the National Championships was a good start, finishing ahead of 2021 World Champion Tom Saunders (NZL), 2020 Winner Philipp Buhl (Germany) and 2023 runner-up Micky Beckett (GBR). All four are expected to be involved at the business end of this event.

"The Nationals were a great warm up for the Worlds, as there is no better way to learn a venue than during a regatta," said Wearn. "Most of the top sailors were present so it gave us a really good opportunity to get back into big competitive fleet racing again after the short break at the end of last year."

Wearn navigated a range of conditions to work his way through the regatta.

"We had very unstable wind and weather conditions that made racing tough with 30 to 40 degree wind shifts at times. It's going to make it extremely important to try and get our heads around this to not have any bad results during the Worlds."

Fellow Aussies Luke Elliott (5th at the Nationals), Ethan McAullay (6th at 2023 European Championships), Finn Alexander (10th at 2023 European Championships) and Zac Littlewood (5th at 2021 World Championships) are all capable of producing podium performances at this level and will be ones to watch as the week progresses.

They will make up a strong field that includes 28 Australian entries, five past ILCA 7 World Champions and another five World Championship medallists.

"As a coach, my goal for my athletes is having them perform at their best at a World Championships," concluded Trujillo.

"We have been working solidly since the last world championships in The Hague and I think we are making some progress, but it is now time to prove that in Adelaide."

The regatta will be hosted by the Adelaide Sailing Club, with six days of racing set to commence on Friday 26 January.

Visit the event website for more details on the 2024 ILCA 7 World Championships.

Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) entries for the 2024 ILCA 7 World Championships:

  • Matt Wearn (AST)
  • Finn Alexander (ASS)
  • Luke Elliott (ASS)
  • Zac Littlewood (ASS)
  • Ethan McAullay (ASS)
  • Michael Compton (ASF)
  • Stefan Elliott-Shircore (ASF)
  • Sam King (ASF)
  • Lawson McAullay (ASF)
  • Will Sargent (ASF)
You can see a full list of entrants here.

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