Saturday, 16 April 2011
Tom Slingsby (AUS) on his way to a silver medal in the Laser class in Palma. Image copyright Neus Jordi/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.
by Craig Heydon
Australian sailor Tom Slingsby has won a Silver medal in the Laser class on the final day of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Spain.
Slingsby headed into the final race with a slender lead over the Great British pair of Paul Goodison and Nick Thompson with the shortened medal race a winner takes all affair on the waters of Palma bay.
Ultimately it was Goodison, the reigning Olympic champion, who brought home the Gold medal, with his third place finish enough to get him over the line while Slingby’s fifth gave him Silver overall and Thompson’s seventh left him with Bronze.
“It wasn’t the best day on the water,” said Slingsby. “The medal race was in a light sea breeze and I didn’t get away to a great start and then never found a passing lane.
“Second is a good start to the European season and now I’m looking forward to going racing at the next World Cup round in Hyeres in France in a few weeks time.”
The three time World Champion and reigning ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year was happy to be back racing in the Laser class for the first time since December last year and keen to build on his strong start to the year.
“I felt that I was sailing well enough all week to win here,” said Slingsby. “I’ve been racing in the Laser class for a long time now so I seem to be able to have long breaks and come back well.
“Next event I will do one better,” he said.
The Australian Sailing Team’s 470 men’s crew of Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page were also in action on the final day in Palma and headed into the medal race sixth overall.
The 2010 World Champions crossed the line seventh in the 10 boat medal race fleet, leaving them seventh overall for the week.
“I think the race started quite well for us and we actually got the start of the week and were the best out of the fleet,” said Page. “We managed to go the way we wanted but the wind shifted opposite to what we expected and we were mid fleet. Again at the critical moment we didn‚t have the boat speed to keep our position and rounded the first mark last.
“From there we fought very hard and managed to get back to seventh place at the last top mark and held this position until the finish,” he said.
The Australian pair went into the medal race in a close battle for fifth, sixth and seventh with the two teams closest to them on points, Japan and Great Britain.
“The Japanese got the first shift perfectly and had a large lead at the first mark but we found ourselves in the mix with the Great Britain team,” said Page. “But again they could get through us on the upwinds which left us in the position of trying to make a miracle on the last downwind. But today we couldn’t pull the rabbit out of the hat.”
Belcher and Page next head to France for the 470 Spring Cup, followed by round four of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, also in France, where they get the opportunity to test themselves against the best 470 crews in the world again.
“We came out of this week with a bit of a speed issue and need to stabilise a few things and work out if it‚s equipment of us,” said Page. “We’re looking forward to having another go at our competition at the next World Cup round where I would like to think we will be in better form.
“We’re never happy unless we’re winning,” he said. “But saying that it is always good to meet your problems with enough time before your major peak regatta, so hopefully these lessons will make us stronger and a better team.”
In the Women’s Match Racing competition the Australian crew of Nicky Souter, Nina Curtis and Olivia Price finished the week in 10th, while fellow Australians Katie Spithill, Jessica Eastwell and Lucinda Whitty were 14th.
Brendan Casey was 20th in the Finn class and in the Laser fleet Australian Sailing Squad member Ashley Brunning was 15th and Australian Sailing Team athlete Tom Burton was 28th.
In the 470 class Sam Kivell and Will Ryan ended their regatta in 16th while Krystal Weir was 22nd in the Laser Radial fleet.
Full results from Palma can be found at www.trofeoprincesasofia.org
For more information on the Australian Sailing Team visit www.australiansailingteam.com.au or follow the team on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AusSailingTeam