Tom Burton in the Laser fleet. Image copyright Thom Touw.
by Craig Heydon
Australian crews have made their way up the leader board on day four of racing at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyeres, France.
Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan have moved into the lead in the 470 men’s class, while Tom Burton has worked his way into fourth in the Laser fleet.
Belcher and Ryan began the day second overall, with a 13th in race one and a win in race two giving them the lead. The pair is now nine points clear of French crew Pierre Leboucher and Nicholas Le Berre with two fleet races and two medal races remaining.
“Today was a tricky day, the breeze didn’t really live up to the forecast and it was hard to have a good understanding of the pressure, but it was really tight racing,” said Ryan. “We were able to develop our racing skills and teamwork in the variable conditions which was really positive, and on top of that we were able to record another win.
“We struggled again at the start of the first race, and with a slightly one-sided racetrack at times it makes it tough work trying to work our way back through the fleet,” he said. “The fact that we were able to do this is certainly very satisfying for us. The pressure built in the second race but again we had some very close racing.
“We were in the top group for most of the racing but only managed to sneak through on the final downwind for the win,” said Ryan. “Tomorrow the forecast again looks a bit varied but we are scheduled for afternoon races so we’ll enjoy a bit of a relaxing morning before the final two fleet races.”
Tom Burton continues to work his way up the leader board in the Laser class, finishing day four in fourth position.
Burton won the opening race of the day and was 11th in race two, moving him to within nine points of the final podium position, currently held by dual Olympic gold medallist, Robert Scheidt of Brazil.
“Today ended up being pretty good,” said Burton. “I had some nice starts and got to the front in the first race of the day to take the bullet. It got a little shiftier in the second race and I didn’t find the right side and ended up in the bunch around the top but managed to pull to back for an 11th which is pretty solid in the gold fleet.
“So I’m still in the game with a day of fleet racing to go and hopefully I can get a little closer to the lead heading into the medal race,” he said.
Ashley Brunning is currently 10th overall, closely followed by Ryan Palk and Jared West who are 14th and 15th respectively. With two races scheduled for Friday ahead of Saturday’s double medal race all three sailors are in with a chance of making the top 10.
Matthew Wearn is currently in 19th position with Luke Elliott in 58th.
Oliver Tweddell is 13th in the Finn fleet following a 10th and a 19th on Thursday, ahead of Brendan Casey in 18th, Jake Lilley in 33rd and Rob McMillan in 58th.
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin sit 18th in their first regatta in the Nacra 17 mixed multihull, continuing to learn with every race start.
Matthew and Robert Crawford are 44th in the 470 men’s fleet, ahead of Angus Galloway and Tim Hannah in 50th.
In the RS:X women’s class Joanna Sterling is 25th, with Paris Stowell 36th and Annalise Gilbert 38th. Patrick Vos is 32nd in the RS:X men.
Racing continues in Hyeres on Friday, ahead of Saturday’s medal races.
Full results can be found at http://swc.ffvoile.com/.