Wet and wild

It was a challenging day for sailors on the penultimate day of Sail Melbourne International.

Photography by Robert Deaves

21 January 2020


Multiple storm fronts passing through Melbourne on the penultimate day of Sail Melbourne International made for a challenging day for the majority of the classes.

Despite the weather challenges several of the fleets managed to get all races in, while some were cancelled for the day due to high winds and sea stage.

Amongst those abandoned were the para-sailing classes 2.4mR and Liberty, as well as the Laser 4.7 which were cancelled for the day before going out. The International 505 class did venture out, but with winds increasing, racing had to be abandoned and subsequently cancelled for the day.

Tuesday will be the final day of Sail Melbourne International 2020 with another two races scheduled in most classes from 12:00 p.m.


Three races were scheduled across the Laser classes on Monday, but only the Laser Radial Gold and Silver fleets managed to get two races in. The Laser Standard fleet completed one race, while the Laser 4.7 were cancelled for the day.

After concluding the qualifying round on Sunday, the fleet split up into gold and silver fleets and with two races on the scoreboard at the end of the day, there was a bit of movement on the leader board.

Youth sailor Stefan Elliott-Shircore from Western Australia took over the overall lead of the fleet after winning both races of the day with his training partner, Australian Youth Team sailor and previous leader Michael Compton (WA) dropping into third (3, 5).

Dutch Olympic champion in the Laser Radial Marit Bouwmeester goes into the final day of Sail Melbourne as the leader of the women after posting a second and third and dropping Sunday’s black-flagged race.

Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy continued to move up the ranks and into second place of the women’s after posting a third and a fourth place. Italy’s Silvia Zennaro is ranked third.

“I had a pretty good day today with a third in the first race and a fourth in the second race.

It was really windy, hard conditions and I was happy enough with my consistency but a bit annoyed as well because I lost a few places around the course in both races. I didn’t make any major mistakes so I was happy in the end,” Annalise Murphy said.

Australian Sailing Squad’s Mara Stransky goes into the final day as the highest ranked Australian female in overall 13th and tenth female after posting a ninth place on Monday.Dual Olympian Murphy only returned to the Radial last year, after a stint in the Volvo Ocean Race as well as in the skiff and has her eyes once again set on an Olympic medal at Tokyo 2020.

“I’ve had an unconventional four-year cycle in this campaign, I did two full four year campaigns in the Laser Radial for London and Rio and I really needed a break and do something different after the Rio Olympics so I ended up doing the Volvo Ocean Race on Turn the Tide of Plastic and then I decided I wanted to sail a 49erFX which I did for 14 months. But I stopped after the Olympic Test Event last year to get back into the Radial to see if I could have a shot at getting another medal,” Murphy said about her Olympic campaign.

The Laser Standard once again only got one race in with three-time Olympian Jean-Baptist Bernaz continuing to lead the fleet ahead of the final day of racing.

Australian Sailing Team’s Matt Wearn held on to his second place after a fourth place, while Britain’s Elliot Hansen moved up into third after winning Monday’s race.

“It was another keeper today which was good,” Matt Wearn said, who has already been selected to represent Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the Laser.

“It was a pretty rainy kind of day so it was nice to take a fourth place out of the single race we got in. Bit of a shame we couldn’t stay out for another one, but that’s laser sailing,” Wearn added.

“My start wasn’t too bad, luckily we didn’t have as many general recalls as yesterday so we got away after the third start and I had a pretty clean one. It’s always nice here when the wind picks up and you get this south westerly with the nice, rolling waves so we had some enjoyable rides downwind and it was good fun,” Wearn said about the racing.

“I think I’m a couple of points behind first going in to tomorrow and the points are pretty close behind me as well so hopefully we get three races in and get some good racing.”

The Olympic Finn class had two races with Norway’s Anders Pedersen getting two bullets in.

Australian Sailing Squad’s Jake Lilley (QLD) still leads the fleet after posting a second and third (drop) and has a comfortable lead ahead of Nils Theuninck (SUI), with Pedersen following in third and Canadian Tom Ramshaw in fourth.


  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement