BELCHER/RYAN AND SMITH/CATT WIN AT AUSSIE 470 NATIONALS13 Feb 2017
Six races over two days of tricky racing pitched Mat Belcher/Will Ryan to overall victory, with Carrie Smith/Amelia Catt in second and top women's team at the 2017 Australian 470 National Championships, hosted at Wangi RSL Amateur Sailing Club on Lake Macquarie, 11-12 February .
The fleet of ten teams were small but fiercely competitve, featuring three of Australia's Rio 2016 line-up in the form of Belcher/Ryan and Carrie Smith.
No surprise to see Belcher/Ryan control the fleet from start to finish, apart from a momentary slip in race 2 of the opening day, when the pair had to walk away with a third place as Chris Charlwood and Josh Dawson stepped up to seize victory.
As NSW sweltered in the heat, the sailors enjoyed some mixed conditions over the regatta, with strong seabreezes coming in across the weekend.
“We’ve had some really good seabreezes,” said Ryan at the conclusion of racing on Sunday. “It was really warm, but the racing was very close and quite interesting and we all really enjoyed it.”
For Belcher and Ryan it was the first time they had sailed together in a 470 on Ryan’s home waters of Lake Macquarie.
“It was a really good week for us,” said Belcher. “We didn’t have a lot of preparation, but to come away with another national championship win was a good achievement.
“We’re really enjoying how the 470 fleet is progressing, and it’s great to be able to spend some time with some of the younger sailors. That’s our focus this year.”
Meanwhile Rio 2016 Olympian Carrie Smith teamed up with Amelia Catt for the event. The pair finished second overall, and won the women’s national title.
“It was a great event,” said Smith. “Unfortunately I didn’t have Jaime crewing with me, but I had a great time with Amelia. We came away with a second overall and the national title for the girls, which we were pretty happy with.”
Alexander Conway/Patrick Conway pushed hard to finish third overall, just 1 point behind Smith/Catt with Chris Charlwood/Josh Dawson first juniors and fourth overall. Olympic 470 coach, ‘medal-maker’ Victor Kovalenko was also at the event working with the athletes.
Enjoy the video wrap: