Gold sailing

Olympic class racing at Sail Sydney 2018 was decided on Sydney Harbour in fresh summer breezes with Australian Sailing Team and Squad athletes earning a swag of medals.

08 December 2018


Rio 2016 silver medalists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin proved to be Australia’s Nacra 17 powerhouses once again, their worst result a second and a DNF from 12 races putting them four points clear of New Zealand’s Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders who put up an epic fight.

There were some dramas in the multihull class with Paul Darmanin and crew Lucy Copeland unable to finish the last race due to an injury Darmanin suffered during a spill on their course area at The Sound, between Sydney Heads with the top gate off Quarantine Station. The pair finished third overall.

Paul’s older sister Lisa needed ice for a swollen cheek and expects to be carrying a black-eye in the coming days, the result of face-planting a cleat through a gybe, while her brother is this evening getting a precautionary X-ray to his lower legs.

“We had a bit of everything, generally it was really shifty regatta which is really good training,” Lisa Darmanin said. “Having Jason and Gemma at the front with all the spinnaker sets makes me up my game.”



The Laser standard’s division top trophy went to Matt Wearn ahead of Kiwi Sam Meech, the pair now well used to dueling on the racetrack for points and trophies. “Overall I’m pretty happy, it was good to get things going again in a great range of conditions” Wearn said.

Like all sport, sailing can be cruel. Queensland’s Mara Stransky was on track to take out the Laser Radial Open pointscore until she fell out of her boat in the last race of the eight-race series, costing her the series win.

Otto Henry sailing for the host Woollahra Sailing Club snaffled the unexpected break and claimed the division by one point from Perth’s Michael Compton. Stransky finished third overall and first woman with separate trophies awarded for male and female placegetters given the Laser Radial is a women’s Olympic class.

“It’s my first time racing in strong winds,” admitted the talented Henry. “I’ve only been sailing the Radials for three months and before that the 420s but I got too big to skipper. I wanted to stay in the youth classes so I did a couple of trials in the Laser Radial at the beginning of this year and felt comfortable.”

Next for Henry is Sail Melbourne from December 12 – 16, and the Youth and Open National Championship in Tasmania from 10-14 January, 2019, all part of his goal to qualify for the male Laser Radial spot at next year’s Youth Worlds in Poland in July.

The afternoon session produced some thrilling rides in the men’s heavyweight Finn where the internationals featured solidly. Nicholas Heiner (NED) staged an all-out push to win the final race and beat Josh Junior (NZL) by one point. Third was Ed Wright (GBR) with Jake Lilley the first Australian in fourth.

“It was a great battle between Josh Junior, Ed Wright and myself,” Heiner said. “Sorry (Aussie) boys, we beat you on your home turf but we have a rematch in Melbourne.”

Compared to his home waters Heiner says, “There’s a bit more to worry about sailing on the harbour including ferry waves and headlands but in the end it’s 25 degrees with wind and waves…. what’s not to like?”

In the 470 men’s class the AST’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan saved their best for the second half of Sail Sydney, capitalising on the fresher NNE winds to record two more bullets which was sufficient to relegate the dominant Japanese team of Daichi Takayama and Kimihiko Imamura to second on a countback.

“We’ve got some high-level teams here and we are fortunate to have them in Australia for our summer,” Ryan said. “We haven’t sailed since the World Cup in September; it can be tough to jump back into the boat after a break. For me it’s great to get back on Sydney Harbour, where it all started.”

The women’s 470 team of Nia Jerwood and Monique des Vries just needed to finish one race to out-sail their German counterparts on points and though they ticked that box it was an unceremonious regatta finish. “We went for a swim, which is not how we like to finish an event,” said de Vries. “Freddy and Anna found another gear today – we couldn’t keep up with them,” the skipper chimed in.

49erFX winners Tess Lloyd and Jaime Ryan blitzed the women’s skiff fleet, way too strong for Tash Bryant and Annie Wilmot. In the men’s 49er skiff, Perth brothers David and Lachy Gilmour built a lead just as impressive as their FX counterparts, 14 points the margin back to Tom Needham and Joel Turner.

Friday December 7, 2018 is the changeover between the Olympic and the Youth and Invited classes who now take the stage for the remainder of the six-day series while those contesting Sail Melbourne pack-up their sailing kit and head south to Port Phillip.

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement