WINS AT 2014 COPA DE BRASIL FOR AUSTRALIA AND BRAZIL21 Dec 2014
Repeating their form from the 2014 Test Event in August this year, Mat Belcher/Will Ryan wrapped up the win at the 2014 Copa de Brasil, marking their final event win of 2015. In the 470 Women, the home team of Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Barbachan outsailed the 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL), to seal the win.
The series opened with domination from the 470 World Champions Lara Vadlau/Jola Ogar (AUT) who secured back to back race wins in the opening two races.
Their form continued strong, but a run of form from the French pair of Camille Lecointre/Helene Defrance soon had them leading, before the Brazilian team of Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Barbachan came through to lead the fleet going into the medal race.
Consistency is the name of the game, and counting a worst result of 6th positioned the Brazilians strongly.
“It was a Father Christmas present, to end the year. Even more for being in the Olympic streak, so it's a great sign,” said Oliveira.
The 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL) wrapped up 2nd place, with Camille Lecointre/Helene Defrance securing third in tiebreak advantage over Vadlau/Ogar.
Reigning World champions Mat Belcher/Will Ryan did what they had to do to win, finishing 2nd in the medal race to seal victory to top off another successful year of 470 racing.
A second place in Saturday’s medal race was enough for the World #1 470M crew to take home the win. A slow start at the beginning of the regatta converted into a run of five back to back race wins for Belcher/Ryan to position them six points ahead of the USA's Stuart McNay/Dave Hughes going into the final medal race. McNay/Hughes, who were fifth at the Worlds, finished the Copa Brasil de Vela in overall second and Austrian Olympians Matthias Schmid and Florian Reichstädter in third. British crew of Olympic silver medallist Luke Patience/Elliot Willis, who were fourth in Santander, finished the regatta in fourth.
It is still early days in the build-up to Rio 2016, but every moment spent on the Olympic waters is a plus and the seven-day Olympic class regatta with 160 sailors from twenty countries was a welcome opportunity for the winners of the first Rio test event in August to do more training on the Olympic venue.
“You can never have enough practice," Mat Belcher explained. "Christmas is next week and it was a pretty relaxed regatta for us. It was a hard decision for us to come here as unfortunately we missed our World Cup regatta in Melbourne, but it was important and necessary to come over and race. We are here to learn the conditions and just wanted to spend a bit more time in Rio and get used to the conditions and learn more about the venue.”
About the medal race he added, "It was a really difficult day, we had to wait three and a half hours for the medal race and the wind was very shifty. But we are really happy with how we finished the regatta. We won and came second in the medal race and did what we needed to do.”
With many of the top internationals joining the Brazilian event on the 2016 Olympic waters, it was a high quality fleet Belcher/Ryan raced in and an opportunity they did not want to miss as Belcher said, "We had a strong fleet to compete against in this local Brazilian event, which was overrun by the majority of the top ten in the world. We felt we could not afford to miss this event especially with the quality of the fleet that was sailing."
"We are looking forward to some rest now, before resuming our training in our preparations towards Miami. It has been a successful 2014 but a hard one. We are looking forward to 2015 and another year closer to Rio 2016."
The 2014 Copa de Brasil took place in Niteroi from 13-20 December 2014.