Two key regattas, one in Rio and the other in Queensland, highlights the broad expanse of competition currently taking place in Australian sailing. In Rio, the Australian Sailing Team won two gold and one bronze medal at the Olympic Sailing Test Event over the weekend, while more than 2,000 sailors took part in Audi Hamilton Island Race Week across 12 divisions last week.
At Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta, Australian Sailing Team’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan took out gold in the Men’s 470 while Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin won gold in the Nacra 17 and Tom Burton finished with bronze in the Laser.
This was the second official Test Event for sailing held at Marina da Gloria in Rio and tested six race courses which will allow ISAF to evaluate and make key decisions that will govern the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition.
Yachting Australia President, Matt Allen was pleased with the news, saying, “The Australian Sailing Team continue their preparations for Rio with solid results in challenging conditions and we congratulate Mat and Will, Jason and Lisa and Tom and the rest of the team on their achievements.
“With only a handful of competitive sailing opportunities available in Rio prior to August next year, the Team, including coaches and support staff, made the most of the regatta. It’s a demanding venue that will test our sailors with the racing conditions, but the past week has provided more insights into what they can expect. We’ve also been well supported by the Australian Olympic Committee who are providing assistance at a local level”, Matt added.
Meanwhile in Queensland, 202 boats took part in Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, the second largest fleet in the events’ 32 year history. Over 2,000 sailors enjoyed some of the best racing and courses in the world, teamed with stunning scenery and an extensive off-water activity schedule.
On his return from Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, Matt Allen had only praise for another successful Race Week, noting, “It was great to see so many yachts at Hamilton Island across the classes, not only in the IRC Australian Championship, but right through the cruising divisions and all the multi-hulls and trailable yachts. It was a fabulous cross section with everyone enjoying the fabulous location, racing conditions and camaraderie on and off the water and the team at Hamilton Island are to be congratulated on again delivering an excellent programme over the week”, Matt said.
Four winners were decided for the 2015 IRC Australian Championship – Hamilton Island:
• Division A – Team Beau Geste, Karl Kwok
• Division B – Quest, Bob Steel
• Division C – Wild Rose, Roger Hickman
• IRC Passage – Local Hero, Matt Owen
by Jane Gordon