Another clear win for Belcher and Page

As medal races are held at Sail Melbourne

Sunday December 20th 2009, Author: Andy Nicholson, Location: United Kingdom
The Sail Melbourne medal races have been run and won with the crews greeted with great sailing conditions for the final day of racing.

After the unpredictable weather of the last few days Melbourne turned it on for the medal races with a southeasterly wind between 12 and 15 knots for the majority of the day.

Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page finished the regatta as they started it, with a win over Americans Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl. Belcher and Page went through Sail Melbourne undefeated, the first time either of them had done that in the 470 class.

"We had a good medal race, we went consistent on the start and it paid off," said Belcher. "Our goal was to stay close to the Americans and we got some good speed on the first leg and found ourselves in the lead."

"Once we got there we said to ourselves that it was up to them to try and do something special to knock us off," he said.

McNay and Biehl were happy with their performance, staying in touch with the Australians for the entire regatta.

"Mat and Mal sailed an excellent regatta, they were very quick upwind all week and incredibly hard to get around," said McNay. "The medal race was quite good for us, the start line was short which was a challenge but our second place was a good way to cap off a great week of sailing."

Belcher and Page finished the regatta on eight points, ten ahead of McNay and Biehl with Sam Kivell and Will Ryan third.

In the 470 women’s fleet New Zealand crew Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie took the overall victory with their win in the medal race giving them a six point buffer over Australians Stacey Omay and Chelsea Hall with Singaporeans Dawn Liu and Siobhan Tam third.

"We were a bit shaky at the start and got jammed up with a few boats but we came back pretty well," said Aleh. "We managed to get into the lead by the top mark and from then on kept the others in check."

"We had a good range of conditions all week, though we really enjoyed it when there was plenty of wind out there," she said.

Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen finished third in the 49er medal race, enough to give them a four point win over New Zealanders Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, with Will and Sam Phillips third. Outteridge and Jensen now head to the 49er World Championships in the Bahamas with their 100 per cent win record still intact.

"Our goal was to stay close to the Kiwis and go for the low risk options, make sure that we kept it upright," said Outteridge. "There were some pretty big waves considering the wind was only around 12 knots, anymore and it would have been quite tricky."

"The 100 per cent win record is a nice thing to have but it’s not affecting us in any way, we know it’s not going to last forever and we’re just going out there and enjoying our sailing," he said.

Burling and Tuke took the medal race victory on the final gybe, just getting past brothers Will and Sam Phillips as they hit the finish line.

"We were kind of hoping that Nathan and Iain were going to capsize but they’ve been consistent all week and that was never going to happen," said Burling. "We had a pretty good medal race, getting past the Phillips’ on the final gybe which was a good way to put the bad day we had on Friday behind us."

Canadian Michael Leigh claimed victory in the Laser class, with his fourth place in the medal race enough to give him a two point win over American Clayton Johnson, who finished the final race seventh.

"I couldn’t have asked for a better medal race," said Leigh. "I kind of figured that Clayton and I would have a little bit of a pre-start match race, we were playing cat and mouse out there. But once we got underway he went left and I went right and I just had him at the top mark."

"It was tight the whole way and came right down to the final downwind, there was nothing between the ten of us the whole race," he said.

Marit Bouwmeester’s fourth in the Laser Radial women’s medal race gave her victory over American Paige Railey who crossed the line ninth, with New Zealander Sara Winter winning the race and finishing third overall.

"It was a crazy race," said Dutch sailor Bouwmeester. "I got hit by a big wave off the start and the cockpit was full of water and I found myself a long way behind the rest of the fleet at the top mark. But on the downwind everybody else seemed to slow and I went left while they were on the right and managed to pick up a lot of positions."

South Australian James Paterson won the Finn class, 11 points clear of Henry Bagnall with Tim Castles third.

"I didn’t have a great start, I was a little worried that I’d end up being over the line so I held right back and kept an eye on everyone,” said Paterson. “Maybe I was a little too conservative but I did enough to get the result and the win."

"I’m really happy to win the regatta, to tell you the truth it hasn’t sunk in yet," he said.

Jessica Crisp came out on top of the RS:X women’s fleet, her second place in the medal race enough to give her a six point win over Norwegian Jannicke Stalstrom with Angeliki Skarlatou third.

Columbian Nicolas Lozano jumped into the overall RS:X men’s lead after the medal race, with his race win enough to put him three points clear of Australian Tim Gourlay with Singaporean Leonard Ong third.

Canadian Paul Tingley won the final 2.4m race, and in the process won the regatta ahead of Michael Leydon with Peter Russell third.

"Today was great, I won the race and won the regatta," said Tingley. "The wind was a little more consistent and it was more about boat handling out there, going into the race I kept it simple, I knew if I could win the race the overall win would be mine as well.

"I started at the pin end and had good speed off the start, I made sure I protected the left and covered Michael throughout the first half of the race until I had a good lead,” he said.

Duncan and Peter Macgregor won the Skud 18 class, with final race winners Daniel Fitzgibbon and Tim Lowe second overall, ahead of Ame Barnbrook and Lindsay Mason. Byron White and Thomas Koerner won the 29ers, with Adam Lahey and Troy Rushton second and James Sly and Andrew Gillies third.

In the 420 class Angus Galloway and Andrew Gough came out on top, nine points clear of George Davies and Timothy Hannah, followed by Sasha and Jaime Ryan.

Singaporean Seng Leong Koh won the Laser Radial men’s, ahead of New Zealander Josh Porebski and Tasmanian Christopher Jones.

Jack Graves won the Optimists while Jacqueline Stokes and Katie Mullins were first in the International Cadet and Michael Williams won the OK Dinghy.

Full results here

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