All Australian Sailing crews have qualified for Gold fleet racing on the third regatta and last day of qualifying at the 2015 49er/FX World Championships in Buenos Aires on Wednesday, 18 November local time.
It was the first day with a rather consistent breeze and far as results were concerned, it was a day of recovery for most of Australia’s sailors after a couple of challenging days in very light breeze, posting average results and dealing with illness.
Three races were completed in the 49er fleet with Olympic gold medallists Nathan Outteridge (NSW) and Iain Jensen (NSW) moving up the results ladder from 18th into eleventh. An unfortunate crash caused by another boat in the first race of the day added a 27th to their scorecard but backing it up with two second places the pair had one of their best days thus far.
“It was nice to get two good races in today. It started off pretty breezy with 16 knots and slowly died in the first race and the rest of the day we sailed in mostly five to eight,” Nathan Outteridge said about the conditions of the day.
“In the first race, while we were ducking everyone, there was an Argentinian boat, which didn’t give us room, which resulted in a big crash and a couple of boats were all stuck together for 30 seconds. By the time we got untangled we had a lot of catching up to do and finished 27th in that race. We didn’t get any damage, so there wasn’t any redress, but that’s just how it is in sailing. So we had to suck that one up and get ready for the next race.”
“In the following two races we managed to get two second places on a predominantly right-hand favoured track and we sailed quite well, which puts us into Gold fleet going forward.”
Iain Jensen is still recovering from a gastro illness after many sailors across the international fleet have fallen ill with stomach and gastrointestinal issues and with the less clean than predicted water having been targeted as the reason.
“Gooby (Iain Jensen) is still not really well,” Nathan Outteridge said. “He was taken straight home from the boat after the race again today and I sailed in by myself. During racing he’s fine, but it’s really difficult to maintain energy levels when you can’t eat. He really hasn’t eaten for two days now, so hopefully he can get some more rest and be ready for Gold Fleet next.”
After three days and a total of eight races in the qualifying series all Australian crews have made the top-30 Gold fleet cut with Australian Sailing Squad’s Will Phillips and brother Sam ranked 15th after a strong day three posting a twelfth, sixth and ninth place. Australian Sailing Team’s David Gilmour (WA) and Rhys Mara (VIC) go into Gold fleet racing ranked 17th with Queenslanders Joel Turner and Lewis Brake following in 21st.
After a bad start to the regatta, Turner and Brake were excited to complete the Australian contingent in the top-30 Gold fleet. They were able to jump up from 57th into 23rd on the second day of the event and with a second, 23rd and twelfth on day three secured overall 21st to proceed to Gold Fleet.
“We were under fair bit of pressure today to make sure we had some half decent results. We didn’t have to do anything spectacular but at the same time we had a couple of shocking results on the first day, which meant we had to perform well today to ensure we make it into Gold fleet,” Joel Turner explained.
“We managed to get a couple of good results and after our bad day one we’re stoked to be in the Gold Fleet. Gold fleet racing will be a good challenge and it will be pretty exciting to get out racing against the top half of the fleet. There’s plenty of breeze forecast so it could be very interesting and exciting over the next three days.”
In the 49erFX Australian Sailing Squad’s Tess Lloyd (VIC) and Caitlin Elks (WA) also have recovered from gastro issues and had a strong day three, posting two second places and a ninth place, which moved them from 21st into eleventh place overall and into the top-22 Gold fleet.
“It was our last day of qualification and it was great to get two really good results. We needed a consistent day to move us up on the leader board,” Tess Lloyd said.
“It was a lot more consistent breeze today than some of the other days. And after all the rain, which made the water quite dirty and both Caitlin and I getting sick, we seem to have recovered from that and have been getting back into the racing quite nicely.
“It was really good to today to get some good results under our belt. We just have to keep having some consistent days and hopefully we can make it into the top ten to get into the Medal Race, which is what we are aiming for.”
After concluding three days of Qualifying Races, racing at the 49er/FX World Championships now continues in Gold and Silver Fleet Races scheduled for Thursday, 19 – Saturday, 21 November. The Medal Race is scheduled for 14:55 local time on Saturday, 21 November (AEDT Sunday, 22 November 3:55 a.m.).
The 2015 49er/FX World Championships are the men’s and women’s skiff season highlight and a total of four Australian Sailing men’s skiff crews are competing in Argentina including Australian Sailing Team’s (AST) Olympic gold medallists Nathan Outteridge (NSW) and Iain Jensen (NSW), David Gilmour (WA) and Rhys Mara (VIC) as well as Joel Turner (QLD) and Lewis Brake (QLD). Australian Sailing Squad’s Will Phillips (VIC) is joined by his brother Sam Phillips (VIC). The 49erFX crew of Tess Lloyd (VIC) and Caitlin Elks (WA) complete the Australian contingent in Argentina.
Australian Sailing at 49er/FX World Championships:
Men’s Skiff – 49er
– Nathan Outteridge (NSW) and Iain Jensen (NSW) – AST: 10, 5, (UFD), 7, 17, 27, 2, 2 – 13th
– Will Phillips (ASS – VIC/VIS) and Sam Phillips (VIC): 12, 22, 10, 3, (BFD), 12, 6, 9 – 15th
– David Gilmour (WA/WAIS) and Rhys Mara (VIC/VIS) – AST: 5, 16, (16), 10, 15, 13, 5, 11 – 17th
– Joel Turner (AST – QLD/QAS) and Lewis Brake (ASS – QLD/QAS) – ASS: 27, (UFD), 11, 1, 4, 2, 23, 12 – 21st
Women’s Skiff – 49erFX
– Tess Lloyd (VIC/VIS) and Caitlin Elks (WA/WAIS) – ASS: 11, 10, 12, 3, (16), 2, 9, 2 – 11th
by Cora Zillich