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Thrilling contests to decide Sail Sydney

by David Sygall 13 Dec 2017 10:41 GMT 11-14 December 2017
Lasers on the start line at Sail Sydney © Robin Evans / Australian Sailing

Tasman rivalries will come to an exciting crescendo on Sydney Harbour tomorrow when medallists are decided in the seven Olympic classes contesting Sail Sydney.

After a cracking three days, staged in perfect sunny and breezy conditions near host Woollahra Sailing Club, the Laser and 49er classes remain on a knife's edge.

Australian Sailing Team World Championship bronze medallist Matt Wearn leads the strong 24-boat Laser fleet by a solitary point from New Zealand's Sam Meech, the Rio Olympic bronze medallist, and Meech's countryman Tom Saunders, who is three points off the lead in third place. Australian Sailing Squad member Luke Elliott is equal on 14 points with Saunders and ready to pounce.

With Olympic gold medallist Tom Burton out of contention, Wearn will hope to be rewarded for consistency across the opening six races and go one better than his silver medal at Sail Melbourne a fortnight ago.

The 49er class has been a classic battle with Australian Sailing Team crew David Gilmour and Joel Turner locked on 19 points with New Zealand crew Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey in what has become a two-horse race at the head of the field.

"The Kiwis, as a nation, are always well represented in the 49er class," Turner said.

"The boats that are here have been getting some pretty good results. They've definitely shown some good speed and it's good to be racing them.

"Consistency is always key. On the first day we didn't have a lot of speed. We sorted that out by the second day but we found a few more weaknesses today in the stronger breeze. We've de-briefed that and hopefully we'll come out tomorrow firing."

In the other classes, multiple World Champions Mat Belcher and Will Ryan have not dropped a point all week and have the 470 class all-but sewn up. Rio Olympian Jake Lilley has a three-point break over World Champion Max Salminen in the Finns, with Australian Sailing Team member Oliver Tweddell in the bronze medal position.

Jacinta Ainsworth leads Australian Sailing Squad Laser Radial sailor Marlena Berzins by three points, while Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin are unbeaten in the Nacra 17 and New Zealand's Alex Maloney and Molly Meech hold an unassailable lead in the 49erFX.

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