Olympic prep

Australian sailors continue their Olympic preparations in France.

08 May 2024


Australian sailors are poised to make waves in France in the four two-person disciplines as the Nacra 17 World Championships, 49er, FX and Mixed 470 European Champions take place this week. Sailors are preparing to use the last major event ahead of Paris 2024 to fine tune their skills ahead of the Games.

The Nacra 17 World Championships will unfold in La Grande Motte, France, serving as crucial preparation for 2024 Australian Olympic Team members Brin Liddell and Rhiannan Brown.

Each race day presents an opportunity for them to push their limits and refine their techniques ahead of their debut Games.

Opting to forgo the French Olympic Week last month in order to train at the World Championship venue instead, Liddell explained “Over the past few weeks here in La Grande Motte, we have experienced every wind strength and done practice races amidst some of the coldest sailing conditions I’ve encountered.”


With their sights set on breaking into the top 10 and securing a spot in the medal race, Liddell added, “It is the last opportunity for us to put in a really good result down to build some more confidence before the Olympics.”

Meanwhile, Jim Colley and Shaun Connor, set to join Liddell and Brown on the Australian Olympic Team, are fully focused on maximising every opportunity on the water. The duo will compete in the 49er European Championships concurrently held with the Nacra 17 Worlds in La Grande Motte.

Colley shared, “We are straight into another event post Hyeres (French Olympic Week), as we feel the Europeans provides great opportunity to keep working on our racing skills.

The competition is set to be fierce, “We have most of our Olympic competitors here racing, so the environment is a prefect dress rehearsal for the Games,” said Colley. “Overall we are excited about the opportunities the Euros will provide and looking forward to another big week of racing!”

In the 49erFX, Australia will have Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot competing, though not selected for Paris 2024, their unwavering determination and resilience continue to inspire and demonstrate the depth of the Australian squad.

Harding remarked, “Looking forward to another week of racing with a lot of the top 10 boats in the fleet and being able to push the throttle in some of the racing areas we have been working on recently.”

The Victorian continued, “I’m excited to see what this venue brings, it’s looking like a lot of offshore breeze in the forecast which could make an interesting race track.”

Australian Olympic selected 49erFX athletes Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine have chosen to capitalize on time in Australia before they return to Marseille for a series of training camps and practice regattas for their final Olympic preparations

The Mixed 470 will host their European Championships down the road at the Yacht Club de Cannes. Tokyo Olympian, Nia Jerwood who secured her ticket to a second Olympics provided a forecast of what to expect in the famous French city, “The weather is likely to be predominantly light winds, with plenty of chop expected caused by the super yachts zooming around Cannes Bay.”

Jerwood stressed the significance of competing against the world’s best, noting, “Conor and I have spent as much time as we can this year in Europe to maximise our improvement rate with our coach Andrea and our Italian training partners.”



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