Tight Racing Determines Midway Standings at Sail Sydney

Published Fri 16 Dec 2022

Australian Sailing Squad athletes in the 49er and 49erFX classes were locked in a battle with one another and the swells of Sydney Harbour on a busy day two of Sail Sydney.

The gusty conditions proved tricky again for the skiffs, with several teams capsizing and ensuring things are tight atop their respective leader boards.

With winds building throughout the day to average 25 knots by the second shift, the competitors were faced with conditions that varied by course.

In the 49er class, Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron pair Tom Needham and Joel Turner are leading the fleet despite a swim in the final race of the day. 

“We had a decent day with a couple of bullets and then a capsize in the last race. Not exactly the best finish but a good day overall,” began Turner. 

“We had flatter water and a bit less breeze today, so it was more racing than survival. We’re happy with our racing today, it was a shame to swim at the last turn but we’ll come back tomorrow and look forward to two more days of strong wind.” finished Needham.

Tom Needham and Joel Turner CREDIT Beau Outteridge

New 49er teammates Tom Burton and Max Paul are debuting their partnership at Sail Sydney and are currently sitting in second after suffering some breakages mid-race.

Another tight battle is brewing in the 49erFX class, with Victorian pair Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan one point ahead of the NSW team Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot at the half-way mark.

“It was a pretty tricky day today, a little less breeze than yesterday which was nice but it was a pretty funky racetrack with shark island basically in the middle of the course,” began Harding. 

“There’s a lot to play for on the upwinds and downwinds, so it was good fun.”

Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot CREDIT Beau Outteridge

Tokyo Olympians Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin continued to assert their dominance in the Nacra 17 class, winning the first two of their races before a close encounter with a passing cruiser saw them retire in what was the last race of their Sail Sydney campaign due to family commitments.

Grae Morris CREDIT Beau Outteridge

While all morning racing went ahead as scheduled, the afternoon shift was cancelled for the 29er and Nacra 15 boats due to the Seabreeze increasing above class limits.

Nacra 15 pair Riley House and Abbey Miskle are currently sitting in second place, and are looking to chase that top spot over the coming days.

“We launched from the Harbour today which was very sketchy, thankfully we had our dads to help us get out,” said House.

“It was full on trying to make it to the racecourse in one piece. As soon as we made it out the racing got cancelled, but luckily, we had a pretty fun sail in.” he finished.

Big winds are forecast for the rest of the weekend, ensuring plenty more action is to come over the remaining two days of competition.

Racing is scheduled to commence from midday AEDT tomorrow.

Visit the Sail Sydney website for more information on the regatta, and view a full list of results here.