12 December 2023
Competition was hot on day one of Sail Sydney Monday 11 December, where 12 Olympic nation quotas for the Paris 2024 Olympics will be available across the 10 Olympic classes.
With temperatures nudging 30-degrees, athletes across the two venues on Sydney Harbour and Botany Bay were left chasing an inconsistent 5 to11 knots of breeze before enjoying the shade on offer at Woollahra Sailing Club and Georges River Sailing Club at the respective venues.
Australia has yet to achieve a nation quota in the 49er class, which adds additional excitement to the competition with just one point separating the Australian Sailing Team pair of Jim Colley and Shaun Connor and the Australian Sailing Squad duo of Tom Burton and Max Paul atop the leaderboard.
With no other Oceanic countries starting at Sail Sydney, the nation quota should is a formality for the Aussies; however, the Sail Sydney Regatta win is still all to play for within this very close contest.
“It was tough conditions out there, with gusts coming from everywhere,” said Paul.
“It was a frustrating day as you’d be in the lead one minute and sixth the next, just one of those days.”
Burton went on to explain the conditions, “You’d normally think with Sydney you’d get a nice nor-easter, but it was a bit of a sick Easterly or sou-easter and a bit of a longer day as the wind was swinging around.”
Down at Botany Bay action got underway in the two iQFOiL and Formula Kite classes, with Woollahra Sailing Club’s Grae Morris continuing his fine form on the Men’s Windsurfer taking out all four races on offer today.
It wasn’t just opponents he was contending with, as smacks of jellyfish rose to the surface across the racecourse throughout the day.
“It was a little tricky, super gusty and a few jellyfish to work around,” explained Morris.
“At the end of the day they just all rose to the top and you could practically walk on water out there.”
Sammie Costin was another Sail Melbourne winner looking to repeat at Sail Sydney in the Women’s iQFOiL class.
“We managed to crank off four course races, so it was a big day and really physical,” said Costin after coming ashore.
“I am happy with how I sailed today. It was a bit slow at the start with a bit of nerves, but at the end of the day I think I was doing a really good job of getting around the course in tricky conditions.”
Australian Sailing’s High Performance Director, Iain Brambell, is excited to welcome the next step in the team’s Olympic preparation in maximising competitive systems and experiences via domestic competitions.
“It is exciting to see the crews back in action at Sail Sydney albeit in completely different conditions to those experienced at Sail Melbourne,” said Brambell.
“Although we would love to have seen more stable conditions today, it all goes into building intel and expertise to tap into in preparation for whatever circumstances and conditions arise in Marseille. It was exciting to see the close battles on the water today as athletes competed for valuable race wins and towards the coveted nation quota spots available via the Oceanic Olympic Qualification process.”
Racing is scheduled to commence at midday Tuesday at both venues.
The full list of results here