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23 November 2011, 10:24 am
Belcher And Page Continue To Lead 470 Australian National Championship
Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page
Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page

2011 470 Australian National Championship
Perth, Australia

Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page continue to lead the way after three days of racing at the 470 Australian Championship in Fremantle, Western Australia.
In the strongest fleet seen at an Australian 470 Championship for many years Belcher and Page head into the final two days of racing with a nine point lead of the Dutch pairing of Sven and Kalle Coster with Americans Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl a point further back in third.

Racing on Tuesday was held on the medal race course for the upcoming Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, giving all of the crews a taste of what they could face if they make it through to the final race on December 11.

"Today was quite good to get some experience on the medal race course," said Belcher. "It was certainly a little congested for 40 boats, but nice to get some understanding of the conditions and environment in that area."

After dominating the first four races of the regatta with four straight wins Belcher and Page found themselves back in the pack a bit in race one on Tuesday, crossing the line 22nd before bouncing back with an eighth to round out the day.

"We started the day off in a gusty easterly 12-15 knots, with the top mark only about 100 meters from the beach," he said. "The conditions changed throughout and eventually the sea breeze came in. We were only about 100 metres from the finish in first in the opening race before the committee abandoned the race and waited for the sea breeze to steady."

"The two races were close and intense, we made some good decision and some mistakes but a positive day and some good lessons coming into the worlds," he said.

Fellow Australians Sam Kivell and Will Ryan are fifth overall following a fourth and a seventh on the course in Bathers Bay.

The Bronze medalists from the recent Sail Melbourne regatta are in the middle of a tight group of boats and head into the final four races just two points off second place.

Brothers Matthew and Robert Crawford are the leading junior crew, ending the day 10th overall in the strong international fleet.

New Australian pairing Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell continue to recover from gear breakages on the opening day and are currently 31st overall and the ninth placed female crew.

The West Australians have only had limited time in the boat since teaming up a few weeks back and are competing in just their second regatta together, following their Gold medal at the opening round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Melbourne.

Racing continues in Fremantle on Wednesday and full results are available at www.fsc.com.au.
Craig Heydon
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