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Aussie Teams Ready To Go


Two 470 Men Australian teams have entered the 470 European Championships, including Olympic Gold Medal helm, Mat Belcher, who will be racing with his new crew Will Ryan. Joining them so far are brothers Mat Crawford/Robert Crawford …

… but we are expecting more of the boys and girls from downunder to be competing in Formia, Italy.

Belcher cut an historic path in the 470 Class, with his previous partner Malcolm Page, and together they achieved an unequalled three back to back World Championship wins in 2012, 2011 and 2010. The partnership of Belcher/Page was unrivalled over the past few years, and during 2012 they won every Grade 1 event they entered – and topped off with Olympic Gold. For Page, it was his second gold, having already secured his first at the 2008 Olympics with helm Nathan Wilmot. Page himself is the most successful 470 sailor in the history of the 470 Class.

With Page’s retirement after the 2012 Olympics, Belcher needed to find another world class crew to continue Australia’s successful run in the class and the new pairing was announced in November 2012.

“I’m really excited to begin the long road to Rio, building on the success Malcolm and I had,” commented Belcher on the day of the announcment. “Equally I’m really excited to sail with Will, he was our reserve crew for the Olympics and trained with us almost every day for three years. Will’s motivation and dedication is going to keep pushing me hard and hopefully give us the opportunity to defend the gold that Malcolm and I won in London."

Image: Mat Belcher/Will Ryan training in Australia © Victor Kovalenko

Belcher/Ryan first raced together in their new partnership in December 2012 at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne, and made it a clean sweep, winning every race. At Sail Sydney a short time after it was another series win for the pair.

After a winter of training in Australia, the ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma, 30 March - 6 April, will see the start of the European season for them, and provide the opportunity to really gauge their standing against the best 470 teams from around the world. Belcher is the defending holder of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma, so it would be a great start to their season if the Belcher/Ryan team can repeat the success of the Belcher/Page partnership from 2012.

Belcher did not compete at the 2012 470 European Championships, due to the timeframe leading up to the 2012 Olympics, but with Page he won the 2011 470 European Championships.

It won’t be a straightforward ride for the pair though, as there are plenty of other 470 teams, current and new, stepping up to the racing circuit this year, and many with their goals firmly set on the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

More Information:
Mat Belcher/Will Ryan website
Mat Belcher/Will Ryan on facebook

Image: Mat Belcher/Will Ryan training in Australia © Victor Kovalenko


24/3/2013 13:24


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