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Australian sailors at Tokyo 2020 Test Event - Day 5

by John Curnow / Australian Sailing Team 21 Aug 2019 13:37 BST 15-22 August 2019
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan - Ready Steady Tokyo, day 5 © Beau Outteridge

Day Five of the Ready Steady Tokyo Olympic test event delivered highs and lows in relatively light southerly conditions, with improvements along the way for the Australian Sailing Team as a whole.

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan continued their winning ways, with a win first up and then a third place in the second race seeing them take a two-point lead into tomorrow's all-important 470 medal race.

After holing the boat at the start of the week, a couple of 360 degree penalties and a port start gone wrong, Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin have spent the second half of the week working on their boat-on-boat situational awareness. With really solid consistency over the whole week, they finished 4th and within one point of the podium. The result leaves them nicely positioned for their tilt at the World Cup Series event next week after a run of victories earlier this season.

Australia has two entrants in the Laser division here in veteran sailors Matt Wearn and Tom Burton, and they both find themselves in tomorrow's medal race and each with a chance of taking Gold. Australian fans will be hopeful that the pair can find themselves in another one-two finish, just like in the recent Laser World Championship.

Sitting comfortably in eighth place just before the final race, Finn sailor Jake Lilley dashed his medal hopes by being over at the start. A devastated Lilley said, "I will chase more consistency. It is what you strive for in this fleet."

Equipment was being tested along with human performance in Enoshima. Two incidents pointing to gear failure - a small but critical collision on the Nacra at the start, and a vang breaking in the Men's 470 - both affected outcomes today.

"We were about to retire that piece," said Iain Murray, the Director of High Performance at Australian Sailing. "Extending its life was a function of the fact that we have had to split all of our equipment all over the globe. No doubt it contributed to the 8th place for them (Belcher and Ryan) yesterday, and we replaced it with a whole new boom," he said.

Giving the helicopter view, Murray continued, "Being here to test things like routines, understanding the distances to racecourses, the timings, and especially the heat management has been an invaluable experience. Just on that last point, it is 30-33 degrees and 90-95% humidity. It is draining and uncomfortable, so working out how to manage energy levels and fluid intake is critical."

The team's youngest athlete Mara Stransky, seemingly impervious to the conditions, sailed like there was no tomorrow, finishing the day with two top ten placings including a wonderful second placing in the Laser Radial. She finished 28th out of 41 boats, and provides strong footing moving into the upcoming World Cup Series event at the same venue.

Tess Lloyd and Jaime Ryan played a very cool hand in the 49erFX medal race to take fourth place, which moved them up to sixth overall. In the last few moments of the race, Lloyd and Ryan carried their penultimate tack just that little bit further to climb up the placings.

"It was split second decision making," said Lloyd. "We saw it as the only opportunity to pass the Kiwis, so we went for it knowing the boat end of the line was favoured, ducking in and under to get the extra place. There were more shifts out there than we thought, and we had wanted to stay away from congestion. Owning a clear lane was the name of the game, and it paid off."

Nia Jerwood and Monique de Vries in the Women's 470 finished in 14th place, and with a collection of races that were nearly top ten they will be very aware of what it will take to be in the medal race in the future.

49er skipper Will Phillips reflected on the challenges he and brother Sam encountered this week, failing to see the wood for the trees after a few false starts. "We were jostling with other crews and got carried over. Our focus was too much on boat on boat scenarios, and not the big picture. The good races are in us. Now we have to string it together. It is disappointing; the bad ones stand out more, and they hurt even more than that."

After long days on the water, thoughts for the fraternal duo turn to next week's World Cup. A perfectly sensible trip to Mt Fuji should clear the mind.

Dick Sargeant, Australia's first Olympic sailing gold medallist sent a few words of wisdom for the sailors down the line for the World Cup to come. "Anything is possible on the occasion. It certainly was for us," he said, recalling the 1-6-6 victory on the waters of Enoshima in 1964. "Pod (O'Donnell) and I were confident in our roles and our ability to get the best out of the boat. Along with Bill Northam, we were quietly confident we could do well."

Racing will commence from 1:30pm local time tomorrow, with the medal race for the Laser scheduled for 2:30 and Men's 470 at 3:30. Follow the live tracking here.

Results after Day Five:

Men's 470 (22 boats)
1st: Mat Belcher and Will Ryan 2, 3, 3, (8), 3, 1, 8, 1, 1, 3 - 25pts

Women's 470 (20 boats)
14th: Nia Jerwood and Monique de Vries 7, 7, 16, 12, 7, 16, 16, 11, (19), 11 - 103pts

49er (21 boats)
14th: Sam and Will Phillips 5, 5, 2, 8, 18, 12, 16, 16, (22 UFD), 22 UFD, 2, 19 - 125pts

49erFX (23 boats)
6th: Tess Lloyd and Jaime Ryan 4, 13, 8, 15, 3, 19, 6, 3, (20), 9, 8, 5; 4 - 101pts

Finn (22 boats)
14th: Jake Lilley 9, 11, 8, 14, 7, 3, 17, 10, 17, 10, 15, (23) UFD - 94pts

Laser (35 boats)
2nd: Tom Burton 4, 8, 6, 4, 7, 13, (27), 15, 4, 2 - 63pts 4th: Matt Wearn 3, 4, 8, 14, 8, 4, (22), 1, 14, 11 - 66pts

Laser Radial (41 boats)
28th: Mara Stransky 29, 41(BFD), 5, 22, 38, 25, 38, 27, 8, 2 - 191pts

Nacra 17 (21 boats)
4th: Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin 4, (20), 13, 5, 5, 4, 3, 3, 4, 2, 3, 9, MR 14 - 69pts

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