ISAF Sailing World Cup 2015 – Melbourne – The 2016 Sailing World Cup series will officially start tomorrow, Wednesday, 9 December, out of Melbourne at its new venue, the St Kilda sailing precinct.
Over 180 sailors from 23 nations across nine Olympic fleets, three Paralympic fleets and an Open Kiteboarding event have arrived in Melbourne and will be aiming to claim the first gold of the series and qualify for the 2016 Abu Dhabi World Cup Final.
The Sailing World Cup Melbourne will showcase Rio Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls as well as a new wave of Australian Sailing talent with 17 Australian Team (AST) and Squad (ASS) crews contesting the event in the Olympic classes and five in the Paralympic classes, including Paralympic gold medallists and recently crowned World Champions Daniel Fitzgibbon (NSW) and Liesl Tesch (NSW).
Other Australian Sailing Team crews will miss the event due to a date collision; Olympic lead-up training and testing requirements at the Copa do Brasil de Vela starting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil next week.
Melbourne will also see the Australian Sailing Youth Team compete in full force in the Invited Classes as the team prepares for the Youth World Sailing Championships in Malaysia at the end of December (27 December – 3 January).
The Melbourne Sailing World Cup is the Oceania continental-qualifying event for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with Australia already having qualified all nine boats it was expected to qualify.
Sailing is scheduled to commence at 12:00 local time on Wednesday 9 December and conclude on Sunday 13 December, followed by a prize giving ceremony at the St Kilda foreshore sailing precinct.
The Olympic classes will see Australian Sailing’s Rio hopefuls Ashley Stoddart (QLD), Joanna Sterling (QLD) as well as Carrie Smith (WA) and Jaime Ryan (QLD) contest the event on home waters after all three crews only recently secured country qualification at the class World Championships in their respective boat classes Laser Radial, Women’s RS:X and Women’s 470.
The Melbourne World Cup will be an important event for these sailors as they aim for Olympic selection next year.
“We’ll have to get a top result at our next Worlds, which are in Argentina in March and that’s our main aim as we’d obviously love to qualify ourselves for Rio. It would be a massive jump, but we believe that we can do it and the Sailing World Cup Melbourne will be perfect racing experience,” Women’s 470 skipper Carrie Smith explained the task at hand.
Carrie Smith and crew Jaime Ryan took home the women’s 470 National Championships title yesterday (Monday, 7 December 2015) and the pair qualified the boat class after they finished ninth at the 470 World Championships in Haifa, Israel in October. The pair only returned to racing in October after extended medical issues kept Carrie Smith on the sidelines for most of the 2015 season.
“This year we haven’t been able to do a lot of racing, especially a lot of the World Cups we had to pull out of. So it will be really good to complete a World Cup, getting the race experience and work on the things we need to work on and practice our skills in this sort of event and in a smaller fleet.”
“It’s really good to have the Sailing World Cup Melbourne at this time of the year, because it gives us another racing opportunity before we head off to Miami (World Cup end of January) and it breaks up our training over Australian summer. A lot of the Europeans are obviously in winter now, so it’s nice for us to have our regattas and be able to get more racing in before we meet up against the others in Miami. Plus I love Melbourne so it’s great to come down and be able to race here,” the Western Australian added.
The biggest and most international fleet in Melbourne will be the Laser class and while Australian Sailing’s World number one and two Tom Burton and Matt Wearn are currently in Rio, Australian Sailing Squad’s Laser sailors Luke Elliott (WA), Mitch Kennedy (QLD) will be aiming for some top results in Melbourne.
The strong Australian contingent in Melbourne also includes Australian Sailing Squad’s Youth Bridging sailor Mark Spearman (WA) who most recently won the Laser class at the Pacific Games in July as well as former ASS sailor and local Jeremy O’Connell. Former Australian Sailing Laser sailor Ashley Brunning is coaching the team.
“In the lead up we’ve been training lots with Matt (Wearn) and Tom (Burton) at home in Sydney so hopefully it pays off here with the other international guys around. We’ve been enjoying the guys from Canada and New Zealand who will probably be our biggest competition here. Doing the training with them has been really good with some really positive results as well and our boys are sailing well,” Ashley Brunning was confident about the event ahead.
And with regards to the importance of the event he added: “It is important for them to perform here and they know that. The importance of the regatta for these guys really is to earn the points towards the world ranking, which is important to get entry to regattas in Europe like the World Cup in Hyères, France.
We’ve come off a heavy training block and the boys have been training for months now despite the Worlds finishing back in July. It’s all looking up and we’re looking forward to getting started for the summer here in Melbourne. We all love it here in St Kilda and the café scene experience and just the life style is awesome. I think it’s going to be really good and it will get a lot of people interested in the sport because it’s right in front of them, which is great,” Ashley Brunning added about the new venue.
A strong Australian Sailing contingent will also be represented in the 49er class with sailors just having returned to Australia following their World Championship’s in Argentina in November, including AST’s David Gilmour (WA) and Rhys Mara (VIC) as well as Joel Turner (QLD). Joel Turner will compete in his first event with new crew and 29er World Champion Tom Siganto (QLD).
Australian Sailing Squad’s and local Victorians Will Phillips and brother Sam Phillips finished the World Champs in a strong eleventh place and are looking forward to racing on home waters.
“We were really happy about the way we were sailing at the Worlds and we were just really happy to be sailing together and going fast and enjoying the competition. And the result in South America has given us the enthusiasm going forward in the 49er,” Will Phillips said
“It will be fantastic to sail here out of St Kilda foreshore. I’ve had a few people say that they will come down and visit during the day. They just work in the city so it’s really accessible for them. It’s a really good thing for the sailing to be in a location where there’s a few things happening other than just the sailing,” Will added about the venue.
“We’re usually sailing out of Sorrento but are really happy to come into Melbourne and sail here. Normally we are the Southern end of Port Phillip Bay but it’s still a familiar location and it will be quite pleasant after sailing in Buenos Aires, which wasn’t as clean and nice to what we have here.”
Australian Sailing Squad 49erFX crew of local Tess Lloyd (VIC) and Caitlin Elks (WA) have also just returned form the World Championships where they finished 14th.
Local ASS Finn sailor and event ambassador Oliver Tweddell completes the Australian Olympic class contingent in Melbourne after having just returned from the Finn World Championships in New Zealand last month.
In the Olympic classes final Medal Races are scheduled for Sunday, 13 December 2015.
Paralympic Boat Classes
In the Paralympic classes London 2012 Gold medallist Paralympians Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch will hit the water in the Skud18 once again after winning the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships last week.
The pair defended their World Championship title after winning the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships on the event’s penultimate day with an unassailable lead and with one day to spare.
The World Championship win completed an unbeaten run for Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch since winning the gold medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
“Winning the Worlds last week was a good step towards Rio 2016 and we’re on the right track. Obviously we’ve got something there and we just got to keep working and not rest on this and we have more things to work on to get better and better. Rio is such a tricky place we really want to do as much as we can to be dominant there and every racing opportunity we can get is great and we love sailing on Port Phillip,” Dan Fitzgibbon said.
All of Australian Sailing’s Paralympic crews will be contesting the World Cup and nine months out from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Australian Sailing Team’s sailors are looking strong after securing three medals at the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships on Port Phillip, Melbourne (28 November – 3 December 2015) and winning the Nation’s Cup as the most successful country for the second time in a row.
Australian Sailing’s Sonar Team of Paralympians Colin Harris (WA), Jonathan Harris (NSW) and Russell Boaden (WA) won the silver medal with only one point separating the team from the winning British crew and are looking forward to a rematch at this week’s World Cup racing.
Paralympian Matt Bugg (TAS) took home the bronze in another nail biting final in the 2.4mR class, winning his first World Championship medal and is looking forward for more racing on Port Phillip: “I love sailing in Melbourne. We had some great racing at our World Champs here last week and that’s why I love coming here.”
Australia had already secured Rio 2016 country qualification for all three Paralympic boat classes at last year’s Para World Sailing World Championships.
Racing out of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria in Williamstown the Paralympic classes will conclude on Saturday, 12 December 2015.
2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne Australian Sailing Team and Squad Entries:
Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser
– Luke Elliott (NSW) – ASS
– Mitchell Kennedy (QLD) – ASS
– Mark Spearman (WA) – ASS Youth Bridging
Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial
– Ashley Stoddart (QLD) – ASS
Men’s Two Person Dingy – 470M
– Alexander Conway and Patrick Conway (NSW) – ASS
– Angus Galloway (QLD) and Joshua Dawson (NSW) – ASS
– Tom Klemens (VIC) and Tim Hannah (VIC) – ASS
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470W
– Carrie Smith (WA) and Jaime Ryan (QLD) – ASS
– Sasha Ryan (QLD) and TBC – ASS
– Pip Pietromonaco (VIC/ASS Youth Bridging) and Amelia Catt (TAS) – ASS
Men’s Skiff – 49er
– David Gilmour (WA) and Rhys Mara (VIC) – AST
– Joel Turner (QLD) and Tom Siganto (QLD) – AST/ASS
– Will Phillips (VIC/ASS) and Sam Phillips (VIC)
– Harry Price (NSW) and Harry Morton (NSW) – ASS Youth Bridging
Women’s Skiff – 49erFX
– Tess Lloyd (VIC) and Caitlin Elks (WA) – ASS
Men’s One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight) – Finn
– Oliver Tweddell (VIC) – ASS
Women’s Windsurfer – RS:X
– Joanna Sterling (QLD) – ASS
Paralympic Boat Classes
– Daniel Fitzgibbon (NSW) and Liesl Tesch (NSW) – AST
– Ame Barnbrook (NSW) and Brett Pearce (NSW) – ASS
– Matt Bugg (TAS) – AST
– Neil Patterson (TAS) – ASS
– Colin Harrison (WA), Jonathan Harris (NSW), Russell Boaden (WA) – AST
by Cora Zillich