Australian crews head into final day in Spain with medals on their minds
Australian Nicky Souter against France's Claire Leroy in Spain
Australian crews will compete for two medals on the final day of round three of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Spain with Nicky Souter into the Women’s Match Racing Final and Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page heading into the 470 men’s medal race in third position.
The Australian Women’s Match Racing crew of Nicky Souter, Nina Curtis and Jessica Eastwell will head home with either a Gold or Silver medal after storming into the final of the Women’s Match Racing competition.
After making it into the quarter-finals on a count-back Souter defeated the number one ranked crew of Claire Leroy of France three wins to two before moving past Great Britain’s Lucy Macgregor three to one in the semi-final.
“I’m really happy with how we went today, we just went out there and did our thing,” said Souter. “We sailed well, were on top of the shifts and our crew work was very good throughout the whole day.”
“Heading into the day in eighth place we knew anything could happen, I knew that there were a few times in the past when I’ve been first heading into the quarters and have lost so I knew it was possible and it was good to be on the other side of it,” said Souter.
In the quarter-final Souter and Leroy were locked at two-all in the best of five series with the Australians managing to out sail their opponents in the shifty conditions with Souter commenting that they were forced to sail the shifts more than actually match race.
Souter came back from one-nil down to win the semi-final against Macgregor and will take on Renee Groeneveld from the Netherlands in the final.
“Both Claire and Lucy are very good and were in the top three at the World Cup round in Miami in January so to beat them was very satisfying,” said Souter. “I haven’t raced against Renee since beating her in the semi-final in Kiel last year so we’ll give it our all tomorrow and see how we go.”
The Australian Sailing Team’s 470 men’s crew of Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page head into the medal race in third position, 14 points behind the leading French crew and 12 points behind the second placed Israelis.
The Australian pair finished the day’s only race in 14th position, with racing once again held in very light, shifty conditions.
“It was a really long day today, we spent seven hours on the water for one race,” said Belcher. “As we finished the first race the wind died right out so we spent the rest of the day sitting around.”
“It was quite a difficult race, we put ourselves in a good position but a late wind shift cost us,” he said. “Given that we only arrived here the day before the regatta we’re happy with the position we’re in, we’ve been able to see that the work we put in over the Australian summer has paid off.”
“We’ve left ourselves with a lot of work to do in tomorrow’s medal race but as we saw in Weymouth last year you can still lose a regatta even with a 14 point lead so hopefully we’ll be on the other side this time around,” said Belcher.
Fellow Australians Katie Spithill, Olivia Price and Rayshele Martin finished the Women’s Match Racing competition in fifth position after being knocked out of the quarter-finals by Macgregor early in the day.
“We didn’t have the best morning but the day certainly got better as it went along,” said Spithill. “We headed into the fifth to eighth playoff and beat Leroy first up before winning against German Silke Hahlbrock to finish fifth overall.”
“We did the best we could have after losing to Macgregor and giving that it was my first World Cup regatta since Weymouth last year it was a good result,” she said. “We’re the only nation that had two crews in the top eight here so clearly we’re doing the right things back home.”
“The competition has been really strong, and with the winner from Miami, Anna Tunnicliffe, not making the quarter-finals the results are really mixed.”
“A lot of the teams are getting stronger and you don’t get an idea of where you are at until you get over here and face them so we’ve been able to take a lot away from this regatta,” said Spithill.
The Australian Sailing Development Squad’s 470 men’s crew of Sam Kivell and Will Ryan are leading the Silver fleet after winning the day’s only race. The pair has a four point lead over the second placed French crew and are 19 points ahead of third.
Australians Paul Mckenzie and Phil Toth continue to move up the ladder in the Star fleet and ended the penultimate day in 16th, after a ninth and 12th in the day’s two races.