Unbeaten for two years in the 470

Kurt Arrigo / Rolex
We talk to Aussie London 2012 Gold medallist Mat Belcher about his incredible run
Mat Belcher has just won the ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year Award, presented to him at a ceremony at the ISAF Conference in Oman. While this is ISAF and predictably they made the award to an Olympic sailor over and above the youngest ever Vendée Globe winner or Paul Larsen, who earlier this year knocked the ultimate speed sailing record into the stratosphere with Vestas SailRocket 2, Belcher is a particularly special Olympic sailor. The last event the 31-year-old Aussie 470 helm lost (when he finished second) was two years ago and he has scored an unprecedented number of consecutive regatta wins since, including Gold at London 2012 and three World Championships – all in an ultra competitive Olympic class. Belcher hasn’t finished off the podium since April 2011 and has won every 470 World Championship since 2010 – a record that even the likes of Ben Ainslie would be envious of. In addition, Belcher has maintained this record despite a change of crew, with legendary 470 sailor (and double Olympic gold medallist) Malcolm Page hanging up his Olympic sailing boots after London 2012 and Will Ryan stepping in to replace ‘the irreplaceable’. “We are having a good run, which is nice,” Belcher acknowledges. “It is a little bit surreal, because if you are in good shape - which we were this year - you can go into the these events and, if everything goes well, you know that you’ll at least be fighting for the medals. We are also experienced enough to know that things go wrong, you have a bad day or you pick your moments wrong, the talent in the 470 fleet is such that you get punished. So we have probably been a little bit lucky in some cases to come away with a win,