By Craig Heydon
Australian crews had a good day’s racing at round three of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Spain, with men’s 470 crew Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page jumping two spots to third overall while the Australian Women’s Match Racing Team crew skippered by Katie Spithill qualified for the quarter-finals in fifth and Nicky Souter won her way into the quarter-finals by finishing second in the repechage round robin.
In the Women’s Match Racing competition Nicky Souter and crew Nina
Curtis and Jessica Eastwell won their way through to the quarter-finals
by the smallest of margins after finishing second on a count-back in the
repechage round robin.
Australian Nicky Souter and crew racing in Palma - Nico Martinez
'We had two races today with the first one against American Anna Tunnicliffe which was a must win,' said Souter. 'Anna had the edge off the start but we managed to fight back by the top mark to be just in front on the downwind where Anna got a penalty which was enough to give us the win.'
'We lost the next race against Bossard of France which left us in a three way tie for second place with Anna and Dorte Jensen of Denmark,' she said. 'On the count-back we went through in second place because we’d beaten first placed Silke Hahlbrock of Germany the day before and even that race was really close with just half a boat length in it.'
'It doesn’t matter how you get there, we’ve now got a clean slate and head into tomorrow’s match against France’s Claire Leroy who is first overall with nothing to lose. We’ve raced against Claire plenty of times in the past and know that we can beat her, the competition is so tight here that anyone can be beaten and we’ll head into tomorrow’s best of five races knowing that,' she said.
Fellow Australian Women’s Match Racing crew of Katie Spithill, Olivia Price and Rayshele Martin qualified fifth for the quarter-finals and will face off against fourth placed Lucy Macgregor of Great Britain on Thursday for a place in the semi-finals.
The Australian Sailing Team’s 470 men’s crew of Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page had a strong day on the water in Spain, moving up to third overall after the day’s three races.
Following the postponement of Tuesday’s races Belcher and Page were happy to get three races in on day four, even if it was extremely light wind.
'The conditions were quite difficult today as it was really light and shifty on the course,' said Belcher. 'We started the first race in between 13 and 15 knots from the north but during the race the breeze died and shifted 60 degrees to the west and at the finish died away to nothing and right on the line we went from seventh to 13th.'
'After about an hour the wind settled in from the west and we were able to get in two more races in between five and seven knots,' he said. 'We had a third and a sixth in the last two races which gave us a good overall result moving us up two places to third overall.'
'There’s been nothing between the crews on the water, the last race today was one of the closest I’ve ever raced in,' said Belcher. 'If you look through the fleet there are some very mixed results so to be heading into tomorrow’s three races just six points off the lead and with a worst result of 13 we’re pretty happy.'
The Australian Sailing Development Squad crew of Sam Kivell and Will Ryan are currently second in the Silver fleet, just one point off the leading French crew. The pair finished the day’s three races with an 11th, first and 10th.
In the Star class Australians Paul McKenzie and Phil Toth moved up to 17th overall with a 15th and ninth placed finish.
For more information visit http:// www.australiansailingteam.com.au or visit http://www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/portada.php