Written by Lisa Darmanin
Photography by Helen Galli
18 October 2022
Two races were completed on the final day of the ILCA 6 World Championships, hosted by the Texas Corinthian Yacht Club, rounding out the event and crowning the newest champion.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medallist Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) took out the Championships by a commanding 20 points, with Silver being snatched by Swiss sailor Maud Jayet just two points ahead of the 2021 World Champion Emma Plasscheart (BEL) in third.
The final day saw another thermally-enhanced gradient breeze across Galveston Bay, providing long and tricky shifts that caught out some of the sailors.
Australian coach Ben Walkemeyer observed, “There were some long slow shifts, and I think the key today was being present with what shifts were on the course.
Mara Stransky was the best-placed Australian in 13th place, starting the day strong with a third. The Olympian moved up one place in the overall rankings, despite collecting her worst score in the second race today.
However, even though Stransky discarded those points, it wasn’t enough to sneak into that elusive top ten.
“What Mara did well in the first race was using the shift that was there and held her lines in that pressure,” continued Walkemeyer, “Getting clear off the start was again important to be able to do that.”
Western Australian Zoe Thomson moved up three places today to jump into 18th overall in a regatta that Thomson described as “a tough event.”
“The fleet quality was super high and I got caught out being too passive early in the week and then too conservative following two yellow flags,” Thomson shared.
“I’m looking forward to building towards the Europeans in three weeks, and the squad will be aiming to finish the season on a high.”
Australian Sailing High-Performance Director Michael Blackburn has been following the trajectory of the young squad and recognises the hard work the group has put in this year.
“The Aussie ILCA 6 squad have taken on a big program to gain experience in tough fleets,” Blackburn commented. “Experience is key, this fleet is carrying all the 2020 Olympic medallists, along with all World Champions since 2011.
“Coaches Ben and Carolijn (Brouwer) have been doing a fantastic job and the sailors have raised their standards and expectations considerably, so all will be lamenting some missed opportunities at this Worlds.
“Special mention to Casey (Imeneo) and Elyse (Ainsworth), who hit new personal bests at these Worlds,” Blackburn finished.
It was a challenging week for the sailors, however the cohesiveness and progression of the squad is something that shone through.
Walkemeyer commented, “The trajectory of the squad this year is something that Carolijin (Co-coach of the Australian squad) and I are really proud of, and the girls should be as well.
“I think the stand out to me this week is just how much energy they give each other and how good they are at bringing each other up after a big day of racing.”
The season continues for the Australian ILCA 6 squad for what has already been a gigantic 2022 for the team. Next for the group is the European Championships in Hyeres, France where co-coach Carolijn Brouwer will assist the squad to continue the upward trajectory and personal best results.
Full results can be found here.