Set to soar

With the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships just around the corner, the Aussies are aiming high.

Photography by Beau Outteridge

29 August 2022


12 Australian crews are all set to take part in the 2022 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships on Saint Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The venue is just southwest of Halifax and has tremendous significance for one of the skippers in the 49er class, none other than Tom Burton OAM.

The 2016 Olympic gold medallist in the Laser class, Burton is a proud Australian and dedicated servant of his country’s Olympic program.

Back in 2009, Halifax was the scene for Burton’s first World Championship appearance, when he was part of the famed Australian Sailing Team pyramid that has delivered exceptional results over such a lengthy period.


Back then, he was there to assist Tom Slingsby OAM achieve his goals. So, what does it all mean for the 2019 Laser World Champion?

“It’s nice going back to where my full time Olympic campaign all started with my first Worlds in the Laser 13 years ago. It is somewhat ironic that it will be my first Worlds again, just this time it’s in the 49er,” Burton said.

“Something I have been working hard on is expanding my sailing knowledge and skills in all areas. Whether it be boat work, or different sailing disciplines, and the 49er is helping on both accounts.

“Learning a new skill, no matter what it is, is very cool. Changing boats is basically just that. It’s very motivating to see the improvement come quickly day-by-day.”

Burton and his crewmate, Simon Hoffman, have been working well together.

“We have been sailing together for a while now. But it’s nothing compared to the time some of the top teams have spent together, let alone the time you see it will take to win a gold medal. This is still the beginning stages.”

Burton has always been super-fit, and this is bound to help in the skiff.

“Fitness in the 49er is quite different to the Laser. Fitness is a big speed gain in the Laser, but not so much in the 49er.

“I always enjoy my time on the bike, so whenever I can get on a bike with some other guys, I will take it.

“I’ve spent a bit of time doing it from my Laser days, and always like to be at a respectable level. Riding with a group isn’t much fun when you’re off the back, so I try my best not to be that guy.”

Finishing in 26th place at the recent 2022 European Championship, Burton has higher hopes for Halifax.

“Gold Fleet would be nice. We made some good progress at the Europeans, so hopefully we can pick up where we left off and get some good races under our belt.”

Three bullets, a third and a fourth would indicate that it’s possible for Burton and Hoffman. They backed this up with an impressive second place in the recently completed North American Championship.

A shortened quadrennial has added even more pressure to all the aspiring Olympians. The irrepressible Tess Lloyd, with new crew Dervla Duggan, finished in 15th place in the 49erFX at the European Championships in Aarhus, Denmark.

Their eyes will be set on being part of the double points, top ten Medal Race at the end.

Olivia Price is another former Olympian making the crossover from the Women’s Keelboat at London 2012, where she attained a silver medal.

Price and Evie Haseldine were part of the Silver Fleet at Aarhus, so they too will be looking to make it to the all-important Gold Fleet.

It can seem hard to consider Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin as elder statespeople in the Nacra 17 class, but the Silver Medallists from Rio 2016 definitely have unfinished business in this arena.

It’s quite possible that no other crew there knows more about motivation, winning, racing and strategy than the two cousins.

Ultimately, there’s a lot at play. A World Championship is on the line and the opportunity to make a big statement on the road to Paris 2024.

Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) entries at the 2022 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships in Halifax:

49er – 68 entries
Jim Colley and Shaun Connor (ASS)
Tom Needham and Joel Turner (ASS)
Jack Ferguson and Max Paul (ASS)
Tom Burton and Simon Hoffman (ASS)
Ryan Littlechild and Jack Hildebrand (ASF)

49erFX – 39 entries
Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (ASS)
Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan (ASS)
Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (ASS)

Nacra 17 – 36 entries
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST)
Jake Liddell and Lucy Copeland (ASS)
Brin Liddell and Rhiannan Brown (ASF)

The 2022 World Championships will take place from 31 August to 5 September.

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