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Mixed start to Australian campaign at Princess Sofia Trophy

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Mixed start to Australian campaign at Princess Sofia Trophy_2
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin in the groove - Image by Beau Outteridge - Princess Sofia Trophy

The Australian Sailing Team had a mixed opening day at the Olympic classes Princess Sofia Trophy Iberostar in Palma, Mallorca - Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot got off to a flying start in the 49erFX skiff, but were subsequently protested in Race 2 and dropped to second place.

Originally the pair's scorecard read 1-2-3 after three races, but changed after the protest. "It was an incident after the start of the second race. The Italian girl hit our boat with her hand - I think the protest was invalid, but it happens," Bryant said.

"We just have to put the DSQ behind us. It's a long week, we were bound to have a tricky one, it just happened to be on the first day," she said.

"Otherwise, we are really happy with the day. We don't usually have the goal to lead a regatta on the first day, but it's good to be up there, especially after we waited around all day for the sea breeze that came in late in the afternoon at 5 to 8 knots.

"It was a very good course - it made the racing tight. Our first start was really good; we nailed it mid-line and put ourselves ahead from the beginning. Our second start wasn't that good, but we chipped away at the fleet upwind - and the same with the third race," she said.

Fellow 49erFX crews, Tess Lloyd and Jaime Ryan currently sit ninth overall, while Amelia Stabback and Caitlin Elks are 33rd.

The 470's finished their two races, with Mat Belcher and Will Ryan initially second overall after scoring 5, 1 results in the 470 Men's, but were disqualified from the first race and dropped down to 37th overall. Chris Charlwood and Josh Dawson had a solid day for seventh overall, while Nia Jerwood and Monique de Vries are 19th in the 470 Women's.

"We got a DSQ for an incomplete 720 after receiving a Yellow Flag (for pumping) from the start of the first race. We did the turns immediately, but they said the time between them was too long," Belcher remarked. "We are sailing well, so we will take it on the chin and go out tomorrow with a positive attitude."

Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin finished second in the opening Nacra 17 race, then backed up with fifth and third places for sixth overall, on a leaderboard that is very tight at the top: "Everyone seems to be at their best on Day 1. I think things will change during the week," Darmanin commented.

On the conditions, she said: "The first race was in 4 knots and we had a disastrous start, but worked our way back. We waited for an hour before the next race, because of a 180 degree wind shift. The breeze filled in at 8-11 knots on choppy water. We had two good races, with good starts, so happy with those.

"In terms of quality, everyone is here - except Nathan and Haylee," she of the Australian Outteridge siblings.

Racing was due to start at 11am in all but the Men's 49er skiff (their first race was scheduled for 1pm), but the AP flag was flying across all courses, as there was not enough stable breeze for racing. Crews were held ashore until afternoon, when finally they headed out to the course areas.

Commenting on the Team's results, Iain Murray, the AST Performance Director said: "Mat and Will had a good day. They only got news of the protest when they came ashore. Chris and Josh had a solid start too.

"Natasha and Annie sailed really well, so it's disappointing the protest went that way. On the water, they had a 1,2,3 – it shows they have come a long way - all the girls in the class have. They've stepped up the ladder a lot," he said.

"Jason and Lisa also had a good day, but Jake had a tough day at the office – a penalty in one race – not a great start to the Finn competition."

Murray finished: "A long day for all really, we were out there nine hours. The 49ers did not get on the water at all."

Racing at Palma continues from 11am local tomorrow and finishes on Saturday, 6 April, 2019. There are 1225 sailors from 67 nations competing and the Australian Sailing Team squad is representing in the 470 Men's, 470 Women's, 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17 and Finn classes.

For full results and all information, see here: www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/en/

By Di Pearson/AST media manager

 

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