Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin have won the silver medal at the 2016 Sailing World Cup Miami in the mixed-multihull Nacra 17.
SAILING: Australian Sailing Team's Jason Waterhouse (NSW) and Lisa Darmanin (NSW) have won the silver medal at the 2016 Sailing World Cup Miami in the mixed-multihull Nacra 17.
Two weeks out from the 2016 Nacra 17 World Championships and six months out from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the two cousins and World #1 demonstrated their strong form after going into the final medal race in the lead and taking home silver. The pair was selected on the Australian Olympic Team in December.
Also selected in December to represent Australian at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games were London 2012 gold medallists Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (NSW), who finished the event in eighth. Australian Sailing Team mates David Gilmour (WA) and Lewis Brake (QLD) finished seventh.
Both the Nacra 17 and 49er/FX classes were utilising the Sailing World Cup Miami as a test event for their upcoming class World Championships in Clearwater, Florida from 7 – 14 February 2016.
In the Laser, Australian Sailing Team's youngster and World #2 Matt Wearn (WA) won the final Medal Race to finish fifth overall.
Australian Sailing Squad's Finn sailor Jake Lilley (QLD) posted a fourth in the Medal Race to finish the regatta in fourth.
Already on Friday, 29 January 2016 Colin Harrison (WA), Jonathan Harris (NSW) and Russell Boaden (WA) won the silver medal in the Paralympic Sonar class. See media release here: http://www.australiansailing.org/silver-medal-for-sonar-team-at-sailing-world-cup-miami-waterhousedarmanin-in-yellow-leaders-jersey-for-medal-race/
While Australian Sailing has already qualified all of the three Paralympic classes as well as the nine Olympic classes it aimed to qualify for Rio 2016, final selection is still open in all but the 49er, Men's 470 and Nacra 17.
For the sailors with a confirmed spot in the Olympic Regatta the Sailing World Cup was about sharpening the tactical game, refining equipment, and testing the opposition. Others had a more immediate focus as they are in the midst of a selection series over the next few months.
The Nacra 17 and 49er/FX World Championships in Clearwater, Florida, USA and the 470 World Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina, followed by the Sailing World Cup in Hyères France at the end of April, will be the next major international regattas as the Australian Sailing Team continues to prepare for Rio 2016.
World #1 Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin were the most consistent racers over the 15-race series in the lead up to the Medal Race and with the top three teams holding unassailable advantages over the fourth placed team the Medal Race became a three-way shootout for the Nacra 17 honours. Eight points separated the top three in what has been a high scoring week in the Nacra 17 with every team surpassing 100 net points.
While gold was looking a good, Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin had some catching up to do in the Medal Race after they were penalised at the start and were up against it immediately, crossing the start line well behind the pack to finish the Medal Race in seventh.
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin ended up tied on 119 points with the Dutch crew of Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning, who came third in the Medal Race, but missed out via the Medal Race countback, settling for silver. Switzerland's Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger completed the Nacra 17 podium.
"We had a bit of an incident at the start, so we started off last which is not ideal, but we fought our way back up. In the end we were just one place away from gold. These things happen sometimes and we are learning more and more about these medal races and hopefully can take as much as we can from it," Lisa Darmanin said.
"Jas and I are sailing really well together. Jas is on the ball and I'm keeping busy at the front. We're really gelling as a team and it gives us confidence going into the Worlds and it's good way to start 2016."
And looking ahead to the World Championship she added: "All the good crews were here but I'm sure everyone will step it up and push a bit harder at the Worlds as it means a lot more for a lot of people."
Australian Sailing Squad's Euan McNicol (NSW) and Lucinda Whitty (NSW) finished the regatta in 24th.
After a slow start of the regatta Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen managed to move up into sixth place ahead of the Medal Race with an outside chance to get on to the podium. But a tenth place in the final race meant an eighth place in the end.
"It wasn't a very good race for us today. We had an outside chance of getting into third going into the race. We probably won the start, but three-quarters up the first work a big right shift came in and we were one of the last boats to get on to that and rounded in second last at the top. And that's were we unfortunately stayed, which is really disappointing," Iain Jensen said.
The Sailing World Cup in Miami was a preparation event for the skiff-fleets in the lead up to the World Championships in Clearwater and despite a challenging week the pair remains confident about the tasks ahead.
"We're still happy with the week. It's the year of the Games and Miami was valuable for us to get a week of racing in. Any time we can get in the boat together from here on is like gold for us. We had a few bad results, but overall we're sailing well and are looking forward to the Worlds."
"We'll have a week and a half of training up there before racing starts. We never sailed there before so it will be an interesting week and we're really looking forward to going there and hopefully coming away with a good result," Iain Jensen added
Teammates David Gilmour (WA) and Lewis Brake (QLD) finished the medal race in fifth to keep their seventh position overall. This wraps up a strong week for the pair, who has only sailed together since the end of last year and most recently won the Australian Nationals and were the top ranked Australian Team for most of the week.
"This was a training event for the Worlds in two weeks time. We highlighted before coming here that we needed to work on light winds, which we had this week and we're happy with how it's going," David Gilmour said.
We'll have a few more of the good guys coming to the Worlds and it will be a little bit more difficult but most of the top-ten were here. Everyone will take the Worlds a bit more seriously but this was still a tough event and we're happy with how we are going."
Australian Sailing's third crew of Queenslanders Joel Turner and Tom Siganto finished the regatta in 24th in the 61-boat fleet.
The internal Australian selection battle between World #1 Tom Burton (NSW) and #2 Matt Wearn continued in Miami with Matt Wearn having the upper hand at this regatta.
The 20-year old Western Australian went into the Medal Race in seventh and finished on a high by winning it to wrap up the regatta in overall fifth.
"The medal race was extremely light, probably 3-5 knots, really shifty and quite a short course too, which made for really only one shift per beat so you needed to be on the right side, which I was. I was in second around the top mark the first time and on the second upwind I extended and got into the lead, held that for the downwind and finished the race in first, Matt Wearn said about the Medal Race.
"It was nice to finish on a high but overall the regatta has been a little bit disappointing. I've been able to work on some light air stuff I really needed to work on but as far as consistency goes it was pretty bad. I had a BFD in one race too, which didn't help me. Overall I'm not too happy but happy were I finished in these circumstances," he added self-critically.
Asked about the selection battle he said: "I'm posting some good results and that's all I can do. I just want to go out and win regattas. Going to Rio is a big goal and I'm going to push all the way and hopefully this regatta will even the playing field a bit more."
Teammate and Laser, World #1 Tom Burton missed out of the top-ten medal race after finishing the final series in overall 13th.
"I finished a day earlier than I would have liked and in 13th and nothing really went right. The last few events have been a little like that for me, which is a frustrating and it's hard to link things together. So it's back to the drawing board I think," Tom Burton said.
"Regarding selection it really wasn't ideal for me this week, but I was staying with Matt and he wasn't sailing that well either this week. But his results were slightly better than mine. He will not be has happy as he could be, but for me it's definitely disappointing," Tom Burton said about the ongoing selection.
And about the next steps ahead he added, "We'll have a little bit of time off now from events, before the World Cup. We'll have a month at home training and then head to Rio for some more training there."
Australian Sailing's Finn sailor Jake Lilley went into the medal race ranked fourth and a fourth in the Medal Race secured him overall fourth – a result he was quite satisfied with.
"I managed to get a good start but a small tactical error in the middle of the Medal Race cost me. I managed to finish the race in fourth, which wasn't quite enough to move into the medal position so finished fourth in the race and fourth overall,"
"Miami was a good event for me to keep working on light conditions and sail against the best guys in these conditions. It's disappointing to not come away with a medal but I think the improvements really show that we're a real contender across the board now."
And looking ahead he added: "It's the final year in the lead up to the Rio Olympic Games and we'll have a really packed European season with the Europeans in Barcelona at the start of March and then we have three regattas in a row. It's going to be a busy season but it's what we need to keep racing in the lead up to Rio and if we keep improving like this we're moving in the right direction.
Already on Friday, 29 January 2016 the Paralympic classes finished in Miami and the final series in the Olympic classes wrapped with Australian Sailing's 49erFX, 470W/M crews missing out of the Medal Race.
In the women's skiff Haylee Outteridge (NSW) and Olympic silver medallist Nina Curtis (NSW) missed out on the medal race ranked 13th but finished their first international regatta back together as the highest ranked 49erFX crew.
Nina Curtis reunited in the 49erFX with her former sailing partner Haylee Outteridge after she missed out on selection to the Australian team in the Nacra 17 together with skipper and dual Olympic silver medallist Darren Bundock at the end of last year.
It has been two years since the women paired up first in the 49erFX – women's skiff class, which will feature on the Olympic program for the first time in Rio. They are aware that they have left their run late, but showed promising form over their first events together.
"This event was our first taste of where we sit internationally. We didn't really know where we'd be coming into this. But we're really happy with how we're going and racing against some of the best in the world here. That's been quite exciting for us," Haylee Outteridge said.
"We've been quite hard on ourselves this week because we obviously want to do better and better and we really want to make it into the top ten. But in the end we have to be happy with where we came in our first event and we're just looking forward to the Worlds now. We've got quite a bit of work to do between now and the Worlds and hope we can make it into the top ten in the Worlds.
Also for teammates Olympic silver medallist Olivia Price (NSW) and crew Eliza Solly (VIC) it was the first international event after the pair only returned to the water in November following Eliza Solly's knee injury at the Sailing World Cup in Weymouth in July last year.
They most recently won the Australian Nationals and had a challenging week finishing in overall 28th, but are looking forward to the World Championships next.
"This was one of the first major regattas for Eliza and I being back together and we were working on our communication and relationship especially under pressure, which we put a lot on ourselves during this event," Olivia Price said.
"We struggled a bit with speed in the lighter and bumpier stuff and that showed in the results. We would have liked to put a few smaller scores on the board but we took the most from each of the races and tried to move on to the next one as tough as it was," Price added about the challenges of the week.
"Going on to Clearwater we are really looking forward to getting our own equipment we were lacking here and just having a bit of a selection to figure out what exactly we've got to use. We're looking forward to seeing what we can do and keep building on that communication and relationship and are looking forward to get racing again."
Australian Sailing Squad's third 49erFX crew of Tess Lloyd (VIC) and Caitlin Elks (WA) finished the regatta in 23rd.
All three Australian Sailing Squad 49erFX crews will contest the 49er/FX World Championships in Clearwater, Florida next, which will make for an exciting Australian battle with 49erFX spot for Rio 2016 still to be decided over the next couple of months.
Both Australian Sailing men and women 470 crews competing at Miami missed out of the medal race after finishing the regatta in 13th and 14th respectively.
In the Women's 470 Carrie Smith (WA) and Jaime Ryan (QLD) had an up and down event, including disqualifications and blackflags but finished the regatta on a upward trend and the last two races with top-five results in the 18-boat fleet.
They will be aiming to build on this for the 470 World Championships coming up in Argentina at the end of February (20-27 February 2016).
"The week was tricky for us and we learnt a lot. We've been trying to work on a few different things including our starting and it showed in our results that we were pushing them pretty hard," Carrie Smith said.
"We had a few experiences that we needed to have. And now it's about putting those together for the regattas, which will really count for us and our long term goals versus our short term goals here in Miami."
The pair only recently qualified for the Australian Sailing Team after finishing ninth at the 470 World Champs in Israel at the end of October last year. They also qualified the boat class for Rio at the World Champs and are aiming for selection over the next few months.
"We are off to Buenos Aires for our World Championship now, to the same place where the 49er Worlds were in November, which is our most important event. Our aim there is obviously to do as well as we can and be in that top ten again. We had a great result in Israel but are trying to back it up again and really hope to prove that we are capable of going to Rio in August," Carrie added.
In the men's 470 Australian Sailing Squad's youngsters from Victoria Tom Klemens and Tim Hannah kicked-off the regatta strongly with a third place, but had to settle with a 13th in the 21 boat fleet in the end. They will also compete at the World Championships in Argentina next.
World Champions and World #1 Mat Belcher (QLD) and Will Ryan (QLD), who have already been selected on to the Olympic Team, did not contest Miami, but will start their 2016 international season at the 470 World Championships in Argentina.
AUSTRALIAN SAILING TEAM