With winter nearing its end and the sniff of warmer weather on the horizon, Aussie sailors around the world are preparing for a flurry of activity on the water.
With the Olympics nearly run and won in the Rio lottery, we congratulate all of the Australian sailors and what they have achieved – four years of work has gone into it and it’s been great to see the Aussies fighting hard as we always expected.
In the early hours of this morning (local time) many Australians forced themselves out of bed to watch Tom Burton sail an historic medal race to claim gold in the men’s laser class after some pre-race jostling with Croatian Tonci Stipanovic.
After being the second-to-last boat to cross the start line and needing a reasonable buffer on Stipanovic to claim gold, Burton sailed his own race and worked his way into third position.
In the mixed nacra 17 class, Australians Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin put themselves at the front of the fleet early in the medal race and went from fourth overall to winning a silver medal.
Sailing into a second place in the medal race, Waterhouse and Darmanin had gold in their sights when the Argentinian pair, which was leading overall, was given a penalty on the final downwind leg.
Fortunately for the Argentinians, they were able to recover and finish only four places behind the Australians in sixth to hold onto gold by one point.
There will be plenty more action happening on the water in Rio in the coming days.
I14 worlds and Hamilton Island Race Week
As we edge closer to the Australian summer, we can’t wait for what’s ahead and many sailors are getting an early start at two key events to finish off August – the I14 worlds in Carnac, France and the yearly pilgrimage to Hamilton Island, or Hammo as it is more affectionately known.
The I14 worlds has drawn 76 entries so far with 16 Aussie teams amongst the fleet, which is a massive effort for so many to make it over to France.
Meanwhile, the Brits and the Germans are boasting the majority of the fleet with more than 20 entries from both countries.
The QLD/SA team of Dave Hayter and Trent Neighbour, who cleaned up at last year’s nationals, have made their way over as well as the SA/NSW team of Dave Alexander and former world champion crew Dan Wilsdon.
West Australians Brad Devine and Ian “Footy” Furlong have won their fair share of national championships over recent years and will be in the mix, while the evergreens Lindsay Irwin and Andrew Perry from Victoria are always sniffing around the podium.
Racing starts on August 21 with the world teams racing championship with the fleet racing championship starting on August 26 and running through to September 2.
The other major event is Hamilton Island Race Week, which runs from August 20-27. It is the largest keelboat event in Australia, a premier lifestyle sailing week and will also play host to this year’s IRC Australian Championship.
Matt Allen’s TP-52 Ichi Ban will be a hot contender for the week following an overall handicap win in the Sydney Gold Coast race, while super maxis Wild Oats XI, skippered by Mark Richards, and Scallywag, skippered by David Witt, also make their way over.
South Australian TP-52 Secret Mens Business, skippered by Geoff Boettcher, and Mills 45 Concubine, skippered by Jason Ward, were both forced to withdraw from the Sydney Gold Coast race a few weeks ago, which has disrupted their preparation.
Both boats were delivered to Mackay and have undergone repairs to be ready for the regatta as they arrive in Hamilton Island in the coming days.
The social scene at Hamilton Island proves just as enticing as the racing, with the crystal clear waters providing the perfect backdrop for a few beverages after racing.
Stay tuned as DUS brings you updates of the racing from both the Carnac and Hamilton Island yacht clubs over the coming weeks.