Main photo: Haseldine and Price on the podium. Photo by Sailing Energy

Australia’s 49erFX team of Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine have won a bronze medal at the 2023 Sailing World Championship, a best-ever World Championship performance by Australian sailors in the 49erFX.

With this record-breaking performance, the Sydney-based team also secured a nation quota for Australia in the class at next year’s Paris Olympic Games.

“I don’t think we could have imagined this,” said Price after race management cancelled their Medal Race due to a lack of breeze.

“We’re pretty happy to come away with a podium finish here at the World Championships,” added Haseldine. “It was a tough week of racing, but it has shown what we are capable of and that we can mix it up with the top of the fleet.”

The fact that they are sailing together is “a really cool story”, as Price explained.

“Our Dads used to sail together in the 16ft Skiffs at Drummoyne Sailing Club, so I have known Evie since she was born.

“We’re eleven years apart, but Evie approached me late in 2021 to be her mentor. She sounded like she had the exact right attitude, and the timing was right for me to start loving sailing again. The two of us teamed up after stepping into the boat once and it feeling natural, so to have this evolution 18 months later is pretty cool.”

The lack of wind meant the only race run on the day was the Men’s Skiff Medal Race.

With no racing in the Women’s Formula Kite class, Queenslander Breiana Whitehead fell agonisingly short of the top-ten Medal Series in eleventh.

“I really would have liked to step up a place or two, but it wasn’t to be,” said Whitehead.

But there was a silver lining, as Australia also secured a Paris 2024 Olympic Women’s Kite nation quota with Whitehead finishing as the 5th highest unique nation (not including France, who as hosts already have a nation quota).

With no racing in the Men’s iQFOiL, Grae Morris has now qualified for the top-ten Medal Series in fourth place. This also secures Australia a Paris 2024 nation quota in the class.

His Medal Series will be broadcast live on Kayo Sports and World Sailing’s YouTube Channel from 10pm AEST/8pm AWST.

The ILCA 6 and ILCA 7 classes will look to complete their final two Gold fleet races tomorrow before Sunday’s Medal Race, with Tokyo Olympic Champion Matt Wearn sitting in second and circumspect on the impact of the unexpected lay day.

“In the case of this year’s world’s missing racing today has been welcomed by most,” said Wearn. “It has been a tough week so far so it’s a good chance to rest up. On the other hand, it’s sometimes difficult to stop and get going again the next day at this stage of an event, so it will be important to keep moving.”

Australia’s High Performance Director Iain Brambell is pleased with the team’s performance so far at this World Championships.

“It was fantastic to see Olivia and Evie’s impressive regatta reward this afternoon with a well-earned podium performance,” said Brambell.

“Although today’s weather conditions didn’t cooperate the team’s grit and determination throughout the week confirmed Australia with three nation qualifications with another two on the line in tomorrow’s ILCA 6 & 7 final Gold Fleet races. This is an excellent initial step towards Paris, with lots of work still left to complete over the weekend here in The Hague.”

Visit the 2023 Sailing World Championship website for more details on the event, see full results in the Results Centre and follow the racing via the trackers on at the SAP Sailing website each day.