12 August 2023
Four of the 10 classes began their campaigns at the 2023 Allianz Sailing World Championships today, with the 49erFX team of Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine the best placed of the Aussies finishing the day in third place.
“I think today was their best performance since we have been together,” said Australian Sailing Team (AST) 49erFX Coach Victor Paya Canal.
“They understood the current, what their opportunities were, they were very assertive, and they went for it. They were happy with their speed, they are feeling confident, they trust each other.
“All the pieces of the puzzle fit together today.”
He was also very aware of how early it is in the regatta. “It is just the first day. Tomorrow the teams will understand the course a bit better, and the fight will become tighter and tighter every day. The event has only just started.”
In the 49er, Tom Burton and Max Paul are the best placed Aussies, sitting in 15th place.
“We had three races and we got two good ones where we got a four and a six and then finished off with a 19,” said Burton. “I think from the results everyone was a bit up and down today, so it wasn’t the worst day.”
Burton was pleased about the day, but he was also particularly looking forward to the added wind expected tomorrow.
“We’re in the afternoon shift tomorrow and it looks like the wind is going to be up, the last I saw was 15 to 18 knots. It should be spicy, we’ll see how we go.”
The current on the North Sea is a major factor in this regatta. The strength of it is something most competitors aren’t overly used to. As access to The Hague venue was restricted to competitors until three days prior to competition, the vast majority of the AST’s National Squad trained in Belgium in an effort to replicate and prepare for The Hague’s anticipated conditions.
“The current is pretty tricky here, it’s something we don’t get back home so we’ve had to do a bit of training for it,” said Mixed 470 crew Conor Nicholas.
“The current was moving at about 50 metres a minute, so that’s a lot of water movement and you’ve really got to account for that. Your lay lines are a lot wider than you would normally anticipate, so you must think and calculate it into making your approach.
“A lot of people got that wrong today, you can easily mark magnet and really slow down and it can slow your game up and you can go from first to 10th in a matter of seconds.
“You get that right and you’re looking fancy, get it wrong and you’re looking silly.”
These Worlds Championships are particularly important as athletes are chasing both 2023 Class World Championships titles as well as 2024 Olympic nation qualification quota spots. Racing will continue for the same classes tomorrow, with the ILCA 6 and ILCA 7 starting on Sunday, Formula Kite on Monday and iQFOiL on Tuesday.