Sail for Gold Regatta - Aussies take to the water in Weymouth

Nacra 17s preparing for a start in Weymouth - 2013 Sail for Gold Regatta
The 2013 Sail for Gold Regatta has commenced in Weymouth, with the opening day marking the first international races for a number of new Australian crews. Crews were greeted by moderate conditions which lightened throughout the day, with smaller fleets at the London 2012 venue this year providing a great opportunity for the new teams to race on a less crowded course. Olivia Price and Caitlin Elks, and Haylee Outteridge and Nina Curtis, are fifth and sixth respectively at the end of their first day of 49erFX racing. Sail for Gold marks the first time any Australian crews have been in action in the new women’s skiff class in Europe. Price and Elks got off to a strong start, with a third in the opening race, and an eighth and a seventh in the next two races leaving them fifth overall. Outteridge and Curtis were over the start line early in race one, but bounced back well to finish fourth in race two and fifth in race three to be tied on points with their fellow Australians. In the Nacra 17 class Pip Pietromonaco and James Wierzbowski are the leading Australian crew at the end of day one, in their second regatta together in the new class. The pair is currently sixth overall, after a seventh, a ninth and a fifth from Sunday’s three races. Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin are currently two places further behind in eighth overall, after finishing the opening day with an eighth and a pair of sevenths. 'Today was a difficult day with light wind and big waves,' said Darmanin. 'We didn't make it easy for ourselves as we struggled getting off the start line so spent too much time getting out of dirty air rather that executing our strategy. 'Despite the results, we’re happy with our progress today as towards the end of the day we were gaining places rather than losing them,' she said. 'Today we were able to identify some key areas to work on in our campaign, which is what this regatta is all about.' Euan McNicol and Lucinda Whitty are one place behind in ninth, finishing 10th in the first race of the regatta, fourth in race two and ninth in race three. Just one race was possible for the Laser fleet on Sunday with the sole Australian entry, Jared West, crossing the line in 16th position. Five Australian crews have lined up in the 49er class with Will Phillips and Rhys Mara the best placed Australians at the end of day one. Phillips and Mara are currently eighth overall, beginning the week with a 15th, a fifth and a fourth. 'For Rhys and I it’s a significant event because it’s our first one as a team, so that’s a big thing,' said Phillips. 'As we prepare for the Europeans it’ll be pretty important to get some good racing in, and that’s why we’re here really. We want to go well, learn a bit about each other and improve together.' Luke Parkinson and Fang Warren are currently in 12th after an 18th, a ninth and a seventh. Australian 49er crews hold down positions 15, 16 and 17 after the opening three races, with David Gilmour and Sam Phillips in 15th. Gilmour and Philips had an 11th, a 13th and a 17th to finish the day one place ahead of Peter Kendall and Harry Bethwaite who were 19th, 14th and 10th in the three opening races. George Davies and Jack Lloyd are currently 17th, with the pair finishing 17th, 15th and 14th in their first three international 49er races together. Racing continues in Weymouth on Monday and continues until Thursday. Sail for Gold website Australian Sailing Team website