Silver lining

Matt Wearn claims silver medal at the World Championships to add to a stellar year.

13 August 2018


Australian Sailing Team Laser racer Matt Wearn has won the World Championship silver medal after a nail-biting medal race in which the West Australian came desperately close to claiming gold at Aarhus in Denmark.

In a race that featured gusty squalls followed by fading breeze, Wearn finished one spot ahead of eventual winner Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus in the double points finale, but needed to put another boat between he and the defending champion to seize the big prize.

Nevertheless, Wearn proved once again that he is among the form Laser sailors in the world. His silver medal now sits alongside his win at the Palma Regatta in April in Spain and his achievement in becoming the first Australian since Tom Slingsby in 2008 to win the Laser European Championship.

Australia’s Rio Olympic gold medallist Tom Burton came 4th in the medal race and 7th overall, completing a strong showing for the nation’s proud Laser squad in which all five Team members finished in the top 20 of the 165-boat fleet. Wearn’s 2nd placing comfortably qualified Australia for a spot on the start line at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.


“I think the Laser’s always going to be a close regatta,” he said after the last race.

“It goes to show at the last few Worlds, it was always really tight on points and to win you really have to have the best regatta. You have to be sailing perfectly. You can’t afford to have these little mistakes and, at the end of the day, it’s the difference between a gold and silver medal.

“But I’m just happy to be so consistently up there in the top 5 and proving that I’m one of the best in the world.

“The big picture is the Olympics in two years’ time, or just under two years now, so this is a big step in the right direction. Selection for getting on that team is probably going to be one of the biggest fights, as it kind of was in the last quad as well. With Tom being in the top 10 too, it shows he can still win regattas. It’s going to be all on. It’s an exciting 18 months ahead, I think.”

Wearn suggested the medal race was a tough test of skill and some luck.

“Initially we were pretty happy to go out there. It was pretty breezy. First up we had a massive gust come through with a rain squall, it was probably close to 30 knots. Then the wind kind of shut off at the top mark and it made for a tricky race.

“You had to be pretty on to the pressure and unfortunately I didn’t get a puff when I maybe needed a puff and I just couldn’t round that last boat to win the World Championship. Ended up with a silver medal.”

Australia’s Nacra 17 program has confirmed its vast potential for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, despite a frustrating end for all crews and spectators at the 2018 World Championships in Denmark.

After two hours of hoping for the wind to pick up at Aarhus, officials were forced to abandon the deciding medal race, leaving brother and sister duo Nathan Outteridge and Haylee Outteridge with a silver medal – just a point behind Italy’s eventual winners – and Rio Games silver medallists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin in 6th.

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