Life after the America’s Cup

Published on August 14th, 2014

Now with Mathew Belcher’s reign halted as Team Australia’s skipper for their America’s Cup bid, a result of the team cancelling their plans to compete in the 2017 event, the 2013 ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year can narrow his focus on the 2016 Olympics, and repeating his 2012 Olympic gold medal performance in the Men’s 470 event.

Little appears to be in the way of that goal, aside from the refuge that litters the Olympic sailing venue in Rio. Here Mathew comments on his successful win at the Olympic test event last week:

A lot has been published about the Rio 2016 Olympic waters, most of it true. We were fortunate to do most of our racing on the outer courses where the waters are relatively clean and the current stable.

The waves out there were massive (3m+) which made for some challenging and exciting sailing. Lasers, Finns and 470s were the only classes to race off-shore during the event, as the sea state couldn’t make it possible for the other classes to safely race. Racing on the inner courses was an entirely different experience with large geographical shifts, mass amounts of current swirling around the bay and quite a bit of rubbish in the water.

The racing in itself was quite amazing. It is a complex place to race and will require the sailors to have a large diversity of skill sets to be the winner. Will (crew Will Ryan) and I were in good form throughout the test event and enjoyed our first experience on Olympic waters.

We were only able to complete 7 races after 5 days of competition – mostly due to the small sailing window from the sea breeze arriving (12.30-1pm) to getting dark (5.15pm).

We were able to carry a 17 point lead into the medal race which was fortunate for us, after landing a plastic bag up the first beat of the medal race put us towards the back of the fleet. We ended up finishing 9th in the medal race which was still enough to secure the overall win.


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