After a tough few months, Australia’s Mat Belcher and Squadron Member Will Ryan worked their way back the more familiar top of the podium in Sanremo, Italy, at the 470 Open European Championship.
With pressure on going into the medal race in light winds, the Australians finished second to the Kiwis in the double-point single race, giving them a 15 point break to the Swedish team in the open division.
On hitting the dock a grinning Will Ryan said: “I haven’t seen this flag (country flag) for quite a while; it’s nice to get it back.”
Skipper Mat Belcher spoke to Australian Sailing’s high performance director (and fellow Squadron Member) Iain Murray: "That’s the satisfying thing, to work in the lighter stuff. It’s been good to put it together; it gives us confidence going into the pressured moments. It’s been a busy and difficult couple of months and it’s nice to start the season this way, and keep working towards next year.”
Coach Victor Kovalenko proudly embraced the winning pair, saying “Welcome back! I think it’s a great comeback to the podium in the right position. A very impressive medal race, they showed their domination in heavy winds but now they did well in light winds. Congratulations and enjoy the winning place!”
Fremantle Sailing Club’s Nia Jerwood and Monique de Vries couldn’t have pushed any harder, an OCS in the medal race ending their chance of bettering ninth overall but encouraged by making it into their first open medal contest.
Two afternoon medal races sailed in perfect Mediterranean conditions wrapped up the 470 Europeans organised by local Yacht Club Sanremo and Marina degli Aregai with the co-operation of the national and international 470 class.
Iain Murray concluded: “It’s been a very positive week for the Australian Sailing Team in Sanremo, the women into their first medal race and the men putting on a clinical performance with scores of ones and twos. Now it’s on to Marseille for the World Cup Final then the test event in Tokyo.”
470 Men’s (70 boats)
1st Mat Belcher and Will Ryan 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, (7), 2 = 8 points
31st Chris Charlwood and Josh Dawson 11, 18, 11, 17, (29), 25 = 82 points
470 Women’s (40 boats)
9th Nia Jerwood and Monique de Vries, 16, 18, 3, 20, 1, 5, OCS = 65 points