Main photo: Australian Sailing Team & Squad competing at 2022 49er, 49erFX & Nacra 17 European Championships in Aarhus, Denmark. Photo by Beau Outteridge / Australian Sailing Team

A wide range of conditions in Aarhus, Denmark tested all on the opening day of the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 European Championships, including the Australian Sailing Team (AST) and Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) athletes taking part.

The 49erFX (the fleet of 70 split into two groups for the qualifying series) and Nacra 17s went out first for the morning session.

Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot came to grips with the conditions. Photo Beau Outteridge

Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (ASS) are the best placed Australians in the 49erFX, keeping their cool after placing 20th in the first race to pick up second and third places in Races 2 and 3 respectively, ending the day in ninth overall.     

“We had anything from 12 to 20 knots. In one race a squall came through, so they had to abandon that one. It was a super shifty day, but nice flat water until the squall came through and the chop built,” Harding said.

“In these types of conditions, you have to be quite open and take each race as new one, reset and keep your head out of the boat,” the Victorian athlete explained.  

“We’re super happy to have a few good scores on the board already. We just have to try and keep it that way through the qualifying series.”

The 49ers took to the water for the afternoon session and conditions remained unchanged. Split into three fleets for the qualifying series, three races were put to bed. Jim Colley and Shaun O’Connor (ASS) came out best of the Aussies with 3-5-9 results, “All keepers,” as Colley put it.  

“It was really, really, shifty. We had two golden rules; lifted tack and be in pressure, so we made sure we got the starts that allowed us to do that. We stayed on the front foot as much as possible.

“It’s a long regatta and most of the regatta will be shifty, so sailing consistently is the goal,” the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club athlete ended.

Tom Needham and Joel Turner (ASS) also sailed well, with 11-7-2 results, to be placed 13th overall in the 49ers.

Others spread throughout the three classes also enjoyed successes. Cousins and Rio 2016 Olympic medallists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST) are 13th in the Nacra 17 and best placed of the four Australian pairings.  

Racing in the three Olympic classes resumes tomorrow (Wednesday local time) and concludes on Sunday 10 July with the Final Series and Medal Races.

With the Paris Games little more than two years away, every point and event counts, with selection the target for each athlete and only one place available per class for each country.

The Europeans are being held at the Aarhus International Sailing Centre, with racing taking place in the Bay of Aarhus, a few nautical miles east of Aarhus Harbour and the city centre.

Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark, located on the eastern shore of Jutland, approximately 187 kilometres north-west of Copenhagen.

Nacras preparing for the day at the Aarhus International Sailing Centre. Photo Beau Outteridge

Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) results and overall placings:

Nacra 17 (33 entries) – 3 races  

  • 13th – Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST) 15, 13, 10 = 38pts
  • 19th – Jack Liddell and Lucy Copeland (AST) 14, 23, 23 = 60 
  • 21st – Brin Liddell and Rhiannan Brown (ASF) 26, 16, 19 = 61
  • 28th – Archie Gargett and Sarah Hoffman (ASF) 20, 28, 31 = 79

49erFX (70 entries) – 3 races

  • 9th – Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (ASS) 20, 2, 3 = 25pts
  • 17th – Tess Lloyd and Dervla Duggan (ASS) 12, 17, 5 = 34
  • 35th – Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (ASS) 21, 14, 17 = 52  
  • 42nd – Chloe Fisher and Laura Thomson (ASF) 16, 24, 18 = 58 
  • 67th – Mina Ferguson and Madeleine McLeay (ASF) DNC, DNC, DNC = 108
  • 67th – Lilly Richardson and Matilda Richardson (ASF) DNC, DNC, DNC = 108

49er (93 entries) – 3 races

  • 10th – Jim Colley and Shaun O’Connor (ASS) 3, 5, 9 = 17pts
  • 13th – Tom Needham and Joel Turner (ASS) 11, 7, 2 = 20
  • 26th – Jack Ferguson and Max Paul (ASS) 5, 6, 18 = 29
  • 31st – Thomas Cunich and Miles Davey (ASF) 10, 13, 13 = 36
  • 42nd – Tom Burton and Simon Hoffman (ASS) 28, 7, 11 = 46
  • 78th – Otto Henry and Flynn Twomey (ASF) 26, 29, 19 = 74
  • 89th – Ryan Littlechild and Jack Hildebrand (ASF) DNC, DNC, DNC = 96

For full results and all information click here