New helm, but still on form
Despite only jumping in a boat together for the first time about 8 weeks ago, Olympic Gold Medallist Page and his new skipper Belcher have not taken long to find their sea legs.
In 20-22 knot winds, the strongest of the regatta to date and waves in excess of 1.5 metres, Belcher/Page endured their first hit out in tough conditions with little or no problems – an ominous sign of things to come.
“We jumped the start in the second race so we went back and restarted … it took us a while but we still caught up and won by about a minute and half but it did get a bit scary out there,” Page said with a grin after race 8.
Belcher/Page have opened up a healthy 8 point lead, ahead of their American Olympic counterparts Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl, ahead of Sandringham crew Sam Kivell and Max Taylor, a further 5 points in arrears.
“It was definitely the windiest we’ve sailed together and it was good to get into the first jibe … looking at each other thinking this is going to be interesting. We’ve got different techniques upwind and downwind so it’s just a matter of getting used to each other,” Belcher added.
Kivell/Taylor enjoyed a much day on the water today compared to their disasterous day out yesterday. They crossed the line in third and second place respectively, consolidating their third position overall.
“We had a lot of close calls out there today but unlike yesterday we scraped through pretty well,” Taylor said. “We were winning the second race for most of it but we could see them (Belcher/Page) coming and there was nothing we could do about it.
“We dropped back into third place and then managed to pick up a spot again which was good,” he added.
Meanwhile the heavier conditions played havoc with organizers, forcing the abandonment of several classes and even US Laser Radial Olympic Gold Medallist Anna Tunnicliffe struggled but continues to maintain a 12 point lead over her nearest rival, young Australian Gabrielle King.
King seemed to enjoy the tougher conditions and posted a pair of fourth placings and is now five points clear of third placed Klade Hauschildt (AUS).
After 8 races:
Mat Belcher/Malcolm Page (AUS) 9
Stuart McNay/Graham Biehl (USA) 17
Sam Kivell/Max Taylor (AUS) 23
Warwick Hill (AUS) 9
James Paterson (AUS) 12
Chris Caldecoat (AUS) 22
Matias Del Solar (CHI) 23
Mike Bullot (NZL) 28
Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) 30
Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) 16
Gabrielle King (AUS) 28
Klade Hauschildt (AUS) 33
RS:X Women and Youth
Leung Ho Tsung (HKG) 10
Alistair Masters (GBR) 7
Blanca Manchon (ESP) 7
Nicolas Le Gal (FRA) 18
Antonio Cozzolino (NZL) 23
Benjamin Tillier (FRA) 24
After 2 races:
Mark Jackson (AUS) 3
Andre Blasse (AUS) 3
Robert Davis (AUS) 6
After 6 races:
James Sly/Andrew Gillies (AUS) 5
Bec Tuma/Emma Louise Daly (AUS) 10
Jack Lloyd/James Lainson (AUS) 16
Laser 4.7 Class
Stephen Collings (AUS) 5
Alison Dale (AUS) 12
Zac Pullen (AUS) 13
Michael Leydon (AUS) 6
Peter Russell (AUS) 9
Joshua McKenzie-Brown (NZL) 16
After 4 races:
Duncan McGregor/Andrew Cook (AUS) 6
Chris Riordan/Robert Schahinger (AUS) 7
David Staley/Bruce James (AUS) 11
After 9 races:
Paul Campbell-James/Mark Asquith (GBR) 10
William Phillips/Samuel Phillips (AUS) 19
David McDiarmid/Andrew Archibald (NZL) 23