Mat Belcher and Will Ryan competing in 2016 470 World Championship in San Isidro, Argentina - Photo Credit: ©Matias Capizzano
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan competing in 2016 470 World Championship in San Isidro, Argentina - Photo Credit: ©Matias Capizzano

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan conquer weed obstacle course to move into podium spot with two days to go at 2016 470 World Championships

It was a full day of racing at day four of the 2016 Men’s and Women’s 470 World Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Thursday, 25 February local time) with the Race Committee getting in three races for each fleet.

A lot of weed on the course made for a challenging obstacle course for the crews, but defending World Champions and World #1 pair of Mat Belcher (QLD) and Will Ryan (QLD) coped well with the challenges to move into a medal position with two days to go. They are ranked third after posting a 7-4-6 series.

“It’s been another long day on the water. We launched at nine am and didn’t get back until four in the afternoon. The conditions were crazy with lots of weed in the water and pretty shifty breezes between 6-15 knots. And to be honest, with the conditions for the first two races, they should not have been raced. There was too much weed on the course to fairly race but we coped well,” Mat Belcher said about the challenges of the day.

“We had to go over a few islands up the first beat which hurt us a bit but we seemed to cope better than most. But when you have to clear both foils more than 20 times a race, it says something. The most memorable part of the day was when 30 coaches boats were trying to clear the weed by cutting it up with their engines just after the general recall prior to the next start” 

However, overall we had a good day and managed to stay out of trouble. To come away with the results we did today in the conditions we had, you can’t complain. Will and I are looking forward to tomorrow and try to close the gap to the leaders.”

New Zealand is currently sitting in first and eleven points ahead of Mat Belcher and Will Ryan, who still have one more day of final series racing ahead of Saturday’s double-points top-ten Medal race.

Australian Sailing Squads Patrick and Alexander Conway (NSW) dropped into 25th and Tom Klemens (VIC) and Tim Hannah (VIC) remain in 36th with one day of fleet racing left.

In the Women’s fleet, only four races had been completed going into Thursday’s racing and Australian Sailing Team’s Carrie Smith (WA) and Jaime Ryan (QLD) used the opportunity of a full three-race schedule to move up the ranks.

The pair started out the day with a 25th but finished with two top ten results – 8th and 10th to move from 18th into 14th.

“Today was an extremely tough day on the race course but overall we had a good day. We had two solid races and one where we got stuck with half the fleet in weed, which made it extremely tricky. We’ve been having big shifts and long days here, but we are keeping focused on our goals and trying to improve and learn every day in the tricky conditions,” Carrie Smith said.

Australian Sailing Squad’s Sasha Ryan (QLD) and Ella Clark (WA) posted a 13-13-32 series and move up into 22nd

Another three races are scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, 25 February local time starting at 11 a.m. (1 a.m. AEDT).

2016 RS:X World Championships
In other World title events racing continued 2016 RS:X Men’s and Women’s World Championships in Eilat Israel, but only for Gold fleet.

Australian Sailing Squad’s Joanna Sterling (QLD) is in Silver fleet, but when the Silver fleets went out to have their races the wind weakened. The Race Officer tried to start the first race two times, but the wind stopped. After a while all were sent to shore, hoping to be re-called later. As the wind did not resume, this day was lost, and no races started for the Silver fleets.

Joanna Sterling qualified Australia a spot in the women’s RS:X Windsurfer class for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the RS:X World Windsurfing Championships in Al Mussanah, Oman in October last year and will be vying for selection over the next couple of months.

The RS:X World Championship takes place in Eilat, Israel with racing scheduled from 22 – 27 February 2016.

For more event information see here:

Australian Sailing at the 470 World Championships
The 470 World Championships in Buenos Aires are the season highlight in the lead up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Current World #1 and defending World Champions Mat Belcher and Will Ryan won the 2015 470 World Championships in Haifa, Israel in October last year, which was an historic, record-breaking sixth successive title for Olympic gold medallist Mat Belcher and a record 18th World Championship title for Australian Sailing Team’s ‘medal maker’ head coach Victor Kovalenko.

They have been a winning combination ever since getting together post the London 2012 Games and have continuously finished on the podium at every sailing regatta they have competed in.

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan wrapped up a successful 2015 with a win at the Copa Brasil de Vela mid-December after winning the 2015 Rio Test Event there in August and also kicked-off the Olympic year with win at the South American Champs, which was regarded the warm-up event for the World Championship.

After winning both the 2014 and 2015 Rio Test Events as well as the 2014 and 2015 Copa Brasil de Vela the pair remains undefeated on Rio Olympic waters.

While Mat Belcher and Will Ryan have already been selected to represent Australia in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the men’s 470 class, the women’s crew is yet to be selected. Australian Sailing Team’s Carrie Smith (WA) and Jaime Ryan (QLD) are vying for the spot and their selection over the next few months.

The pair got back in the boat just before the 2015 World Championships after extended medical issues sidelined 2013 ISAF Youth World Champion Carrie Smith for most of last year. They finished the 2015 World Champs in overall ninth and secured Australia a spot at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The top ten position at the World Championship also qualified the young duo, who are coached by Australian Sailing’s Olympic gold medallist Nathan Wilmot (NSW), for the Australian Sailing Team.

The new combination of Sasha Ryan (QLD) and Ella Clark (WA) complete the Australian contingent in the 40-boat women’s fleet.

Racing at the 2016 470 World Championships runs from Monday, 22 February through to Saturday, 27 February with the world’s best Olympic 470 class sailors racing out of Club Nautico in San Isidro over six days. The format for the 470 World Championship is 11 fleet races, followed by a top-ten double-points medal race on Saturday, 27 February for the top ten teams advancing from the fleet race series.

Qualifying and Final series will be followed by Saturday’s top-ten Medal Races and prize giving.

See preview media release here:

Championship Website:

Participating Nations
Teams from 6 Continents / 27 Nations: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, USA

2016 470 World Championships Australian Sailing Team & Australian Sailing Squad:
As of Thursday, 25 February 2016 local time

Men’s Two Person Dingy – 470M
Mathew Belcher (QLD/QAS) & Will Ryan (QLD/QAS) – AST: UFD, 21, 1, 6, 3, 7, 4, 6 – 3rd
Alexander Conway (NSW) & Patrick Conway (NSW) – ASS: 18, 18, 21, 32, 7, 21, 26, 27 – 25th
Tom Klemens (VIC/VIS) & Tim Hannah (VIC/VIS) – ASS: 31, 39, 28, 23, 35, 16, DNC, 32 – 36th

Australian Sailing Team athlete profiles:
Mat Belcher:
Will Ryan:

Women's Two Person Dinghy – 470W
Carrie Smith (WA/WAIS) & Jaime Ryan (QLD/QAS) – ASS: 28, 8, 19, 23, 25, 8, 10 – 14th
Sasha Ryan (QLD/QAS) & Ella Clark (WA) – ASS: UFD, 19, 20, 24, 13, 13, 32 – 22nd

See all 470 results here:

2016 RS:X World Championships:
Joanna Sterling (QLD/QAS) – ASS: 5, 29, 15, 13 – 32nd

See all RS:X results here:


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470 Worlds Social Media
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Up coming events on the Road To Rio
Key Australian Sailing regatta dates on the Road to Rio

2016 470 Men’s and Women’s World Championships
, San Isidro, Argentina
Racing dates: 22-27 February

2016 RS:X Men’s and Women’s World Championships, Eilat, Israel
Racing dates: 22-27 February

2016 Laser Radial European Championship,
Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain
Racing dates: 28 February – 4 March

2016 Finn European Championships, Barcelona, Spain
Racing dates: 7-12 March

2016 Princess Sofia Regatta, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Racing dates: 28 March – 2 April

2016 470 European Championship,
Palma de Mallorca, Spain,
Racing dates: 7 – 12 April

2016 49er and 49erFX European Championship, Barcelona, Spain
Racing dates: 11 – 16 April

2016 Laser Radial World Championships, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
Racing dates: 14-20 April

Sailing World Cup Hyeres, France
Racing dates: 26 April to 1 May

2016 Laser World Championships
, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
Racing dates: 12-18 May

EUROSAF Garda, Italy,
9-12 May

EUROSAF Delta Lloyd Regatta & Para World Sailing Championships, The Netherlands,
24-28 May 2016

Sailing World Cup Weymouth
, United Kingdom
Racing dates: 8-12 June

2016 Rio Olympic Games,
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Racing dates: 8-19 August

2016 Rio Paralympic Games, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Racing dates: 7–18 September

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