DAY THREE SAILING Five Australian Sailors Make Olympic Debut
Congratulations to Will Ryan, Jaime Ryan, Carrie Smith, Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin on their Olympic debut in Rio overnight.
Guanabara Bay served up a full range of conditions today for Australia’s sailors competing in the Olympic regatta.
With seven different courses on the bay, Australia’s sailors experienced a diverse range of conditions, making it a challenging day for all.
MEN'S TWO PERSON DINGHY - MAT BELCHER AND WILL RYAN
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (470M)
It was a solid start for Mat Belcher & Will Ryan on their first day of racing. Both 470 men and women were racing on Escola Naval course today in very shifty, difficult conditions. Mat & Will were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time early in the first race, falling into a patch of much lighter wind. They managed to climb back through the fleet, finishing eighth. In the second race Mat & Will sailed their way through the fleet from 13th at the first mark, hit the lead at the final windward mark, holding their position to take their first win of the competition.
“Today was probably some of the most difficult conditions I’ve experienced here, if not in my career,” said Mat at the conclusion of racing.
“The games are meant to be difficult and challenging and we saw that today. Will and I were really happy. We were back in a lot of cases and fought our way back to post two good results.
“Coming back and getting that win in the second race was important for our confidence. We’re really well prepared coming into this event. We’re in good shape mentally, good shape physically and the boat is going well. It’s nice to tick away – we’ve had our first win of the regatta”, Mat added.
WOMEN'S TWO PERSON DINGHY - CARRIE SMITH AND JAIME RYAN
Carrie Smith and Jaime Ryan (470W)
Making their Olympic debut, Carrie Smith and Jaime Ryan were clearly excited to finally be out racing, with smiles on their faces. The conditions were quite challenging and got the better of the girls in race one, where they scored a 17th place. In the second race of the day, Carrie and Jaime were within striking distance for most of the race sitting in fifth place, but slipped back to eighth at the finish.
“For us it was a very tricky day, in terms of the wind, we had lots of rain and a cloud-driven sort of day, so it made it really challenging out there. We had to fight for every metre, every second. The first race was not what we hoped to come out with, but we learnt from those mistakes and proved in the second one that we can pull it together”, Carrie said at the conclusion of racing.
“We feel that we’ve got the bad race out of the way and we’ve seen what it’s like be out there and race in the Olympic fleet, having a better understanding of that now, getting the nerves out of the way on the first day. I think it’s definitely onwards and upwards from here” added Carrie.
“It’s funny, I think we’ve tried really hard to make this just the same as any other regatta, not to build it up to put too much pressure on ourselves. But at the same time obviously it’s what we’ve been dreaming of for so long and what we’ve worked so hard for, it’s a pretty cool feeling that it’s all beginning now”, said Jaime.
MIXED MULTIHULL - JASON WATERHOUSE AND LISA DARMANIN
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (Nacra 17)
For the Nacra 17 class, who were sailing close to Flamengo Beach under Sugarloaf Mountain, the gusty and shifty conditions for the first race dropped away, meaning they were only able to complete two of today’s three scheduled races. The Aussies are currently lying fourth overall after crossing the line in sixth and eighth in today’s two races. Competing at their first Olympic Games, the pair were challenged by today’s conditions.
“It’s not over til it’s over, you just never know what’s going to happen here. We’ve spent five months in Rio and we’ve never seen these conditions. So, what a way to start the Olympic Games. It was insane, it was a lot of fun and a bit stressful at times”, Lisa said after coming off the water.
Speaking of the Australian supporters, Lisa said, “I couldn’t identify who was on-shore but I could definitely hear them and it was great to have some Aussies cheering us on and a lot of love and support behind us, so it’s great that they’re here.
“We know everyone is watching at home as well, so hope it was enjoyable and not too stressful for them”, said Lisa.
On sharing the Olympic journey with cousin Jason, she added, “To do it with Jase, my cousin, my best friend, it’s just incredible and I wouldn’t want to be here with anyone else. On a day like today, where it’s just insane, we’re just on this next level together, which is what you need. It’s fantastic”, added Lisa.
Jason also spoke of the family connection, saying, “I see it as an advantage, it’s great to compete with my cousin, or my family. We love each other a lot, we’re just looking forward to going out there and having a really good time and also hopefully producing some results.”
It was the third day of racing for the Laser fleet and race five began after waiting for 15 minutes under postponement. Tom Burton started the day off with a ninth place finish out on Copacabana, where the wind and waves were wild.
In the second race of the day Tom finished 17th over the finish line, but three boats ahead of him were disqualified for starting early. Tomorrow is a reserve day for the Laser class, giving Tom a day off from racing.
Sharing a course with the Laser men’s fleet, the Laser Radial women also battled the wind and waves on Copacabana course today. Ashley Stoddart sailed a very consistent day, scoring two 11th places, putting her into 11th overall. The Laser Radial fleet won’t be racing tomorrow, as this was a scheduled reserve day.
“It was 20 plus knots out there today with massive waves. People were getting knocked out of their boats on the reaches because the waves were so big. There were people in the top 10 capsizing on the reach because of the waves”, Ashley said after returning to shore.
“There are definitely a few moments where you think, ‘I’ve got to keep this going because this is what I’ve been working towards for so long.’ It’s important to dismiss those thoughts and focus your energy on those things that are going to make the boat go faster.”
“I did all right today. I went out and focused on making the boat go faster. Downwind it was a matter of keeping the bow out of the waves”, said Ashley.
In the Finn class, Jake Lilley is currently lying 15th overall after crossing the line in eighth and sixth today. It was a good performance for Lilley today, and he will be looking forward to completing another two races tomorrow.
“Objective was just to survive. It was windy at times which is something I feel comfortable in but today I didn’t really have my usual go, but pulled out two keepers, so that was ok.
“I’m just building, it’s a really long week, and we’re not even a third of the way through yet”, Jake said.
Channel 7 will devote all three of its channels – Seven, 7TWO and 7mate – to coverage of the Games with up to 900 hours of action on the three free-to-air channels and available on the Plus7 streaming service/app which you can download now.
There is also a premium upgrade available for $19.95 with up to 36 channels showing over 3,000 total hours of coverage.
During the Rio Olympic Games, Australian Sailing will be emailing members twice a day with all the Australian Sailing action.
An early morning email will update you on overnight results and an afternoon email will outline the racing schedule for the following morning.
In between the two emails, Australian Sailing will produce a short video direct from Rio with interviews from Our Australian Sailors. This video will be posted on social media and included in the afternoon email.
We encourage you to Support Our Sailors in Rio and tag #GoAusSailors on social media so Our Sailors can see your messages.