The final round of the 2015 Sailing World Cup concluded last Sunday on the waters of Abu Dhabi with Mat Belcher and Will Ryan securing a win in the final double-points medal race, also securing the coveted overall World Cup title for a record seventh year for Belcher since the circuits inception in 2009, and the third since the team paired up in late 2012.
Eleven teams contested the final round after earning their selection through previous events in Miami, Hyeres and Weymouth; with three of the top five teams from the recently contested World Championships, and this years European Champions as well. Challenging conditions met the teams, with boats launching around 8:30am each of the four days of competition to make the most of the local land breezes.
Throughout the three day full-fleet format, the team managed to sail well, and carried only ‘top two’ placings on their scorecard into the final day. After watching the mighty Australian Wallabies go down on the Saturday evening to the New Zealand All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup Final, #AUS11 made a slow start to the final medal race – however a strong second half of the race secured the final race win in the last metres of the race.
While an important event as an indicator as the teams build their preparation throughout the four-year Olympic cycle, Mat summarized the main reason for competing throughout the week ‘We feel quite strongly about the ISAF Sailing World Cup ,and wanted to come here to support the event. Quite a few of our competitors wanted some rest after competing in our Worlds Championships only a few weeks back, but we felt it important to come here and show our support not only for the class but also ISAF and the World Cup concept which is something we believe in as the future of our sport.”
This win caps a fantastic three month period of results for the team which saw them secure the Rio Olympic Test-Event win on the 2016 Olympic waters; the 2016 Open 470 World Championships in Haifa, Israel; and the 2015 Sailing World Cup!!!
In recognition of these achievements Mat and Will were announced as winners of the prestigious award of 2015 Australian Male Sailors of the Year against a field of top nominees which highlights the growing depth of sailing talent within Australia.
In Will’s absence, Belcher commented at the Friday awards in Sydney “it is amazing what the talent in Australia is achieving and what we are doing for the sport in Australia. Will and I as a team are working really hard to make you proud of inspire the next generation of sailors”.
Thank you to our huge support team who share this journey with us, and who have helped us achieve these great results this year. As always, particularly our Coach Victor Kovalenko!
For the team now, it is time for a short break, before we re-focus towards the 2016 Wold Championships to be held in February in Buenos Aires next year, and the main event of the 2016 Rio Olympics starting August 5th!