Belcher & Page after winning the 2012 470 World Championship
Belcher and Page end week of dominance with 2012 470 World Championship title
Released: Sunday, 20 May 2012
Australian sailors Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page have won the 2012 470 World Championship following a dominant week in Barcelona, Spain.
Belcher and Page’s win was the third World Championships for the Australian Sailing Team in the space of 10 days as the paired joined 2012 world title winners Tom Slingsby in the Laser class and Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen in the 49er.
The defending World Champions led the regatta from start to finish and went into the medal race with a 19-point lead over France’s Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos, meaning that they just had to have a clean start to claim the title.
The pair got that clean start and eventually finished the race sixth in challenging conditions, with only three to five knots of wind, a strong current and large waves testing the 10 crews.
“We knew that we just had to get around the course so we had a very conservative start, probably sitting about two boat lengths back off the line,” said Belcher. “You can’t expect to go out and win every race and today was one of those days, we knew what we had to do and executed it.
“We’ve had a great week, to win any World Championship is special but to get three in a row is amazing,” he said. “It’s certainly something that we didn’t expect, you spend time focusing on yourself and working hard on our own game so to then come out and get results like this is a great feeling.”
The 2012 World Championship win extended Page’s run as the most successful 470 sailor in history and was the third straight world title he has won with Belcher since teaming up together in 2009.
“Mat and I have had an incredible week, to have a scorecard like that and to sail as well as we did we couldn’t have asked for much more,” said Page. “To win eight races, including the first six was pretty impressive, I’ve never had a regatta like that.”
“This win makes it six regattas in a row stretching back to last November, including two World Championships, we’re in a good position, are sailing well and feel like we’re getting better and better each time we go out on the water,” said Page.
The pair has made a habit of winning their world titles by healthy margins, claiming the 2010 World Championship with a race to spare, taking 17 points into the medal race in Perth last December and winning six of the 13 races this week in Spain to eventually win by 11 points.
With the 2012 470 World Championship wrapped up the pair’s attention now turns to London 2012 and defending Page’s gold medal from 2008.
“Gold this August is everything that we’ve been working towards for the last four years,” said Page. “I feel the focus is different this Games, heading into Beijing the objective was a medal after a tough Olympics in Athens but this time gold is the aim and I feel that we are so much better prepared and our consistency has shown that.
Belcher will make his Olympic debut in London and has his sights set on gold.
“To win in London will be a great reward for our commitment and success over this Olympiad,” said Belcher. “Life is not always fair so we have to prepare the best we can and see what happens. To be on the top step of the dais would be a dream come true.
“It’s a great feeling to be part of our team, Malcolm and Victor are both amazing people to be working with them at our level of sailing is just a great experience, but we know that we still have many things to do before the Games.”
Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell ended their regatta on a high, finishing second in the final gold fleet race on Saturday.
For Rechichi and Stowell the focus for the 2012 470 World Championship was getting as much quality racing in as possible while managing Stowell’s recovery from a back injury.
Even though they sat out the first day of gold fleet racing Rechichi and Stowell eventually finished the regatta in 27th, with three top 10 finishes during the week.
Next stop for the pair is Weymouth and round six of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, the one and only chance they will have to race there together before the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Sam Kivell and Will Ryan finished 16th overall in the men’s fleet, finishing in the top seven in seven of the 13 races during the week.
Scott Cotton and Rob Size were the next best placed Australians in 55th ahead of Matthew and Robert Crawford in 60th.
Alexander and Patrick Conway were 65th, with Matt and Ben Taylor 79th.
Belcher and Page one race start away from 470 world title
Released: Saturday, 19 May 2012
Australian sailors Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page are one good race start away from securing the 2012 470 World Championship in Barcelona, Spain.
Belcher and Page are 19 points ahead of French duo Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos, with just the double points medal race left to contest on Saturday, meaning that as long as the pair don’t jump the start in the final race the title is theirs.
The win is set to be a historic one for the pair as it will mean that Page extends his run as the most successful 470 sailor in history with an amazing seventh world title and his third in a row with Belcher.
“We feel pretty good, it’s a huge credit to our coach Victor in getting us into such good shape this season and particularly for this event,” said Belcher. “To win any World Championship is special but to be in a position to win three in a row is truly remarkable, something we did not expect.
While the 2012 470 World Championship is a key event for the pair for Page the important thing for him was sending a message to the competition this close to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“With the Olympic Games just 70 days away it’s great to show our dominance, come the first start gun in Weymouth I’m sure a lot of it will be forgotten and the racing will hard fought but at the back of everyone’s mind results like this will be there,” he said.”
Friday featured the two final gold fleet races with the crews fighting for a place in the 10-boat medal race.
Belcher and Page had their worst result of the regatta in the opening race, a 20th, with their French opponents winning, but bounced back in style to win race two and open up a 19 point lead.
“Certainly, the 20th today was a little unexpected for us,” said Belcher. “We had a good start and went towards the right side, which we thought was the favoured one. About a minute off the start we experienced a 25-degree shift to the left that just continued to swing. We were unable to recover from this with very little passing lanes, just going from mark to mark. It was unfortunate but certainly made us determined for the last race to keep our lead.
“Even after race one today we had a comfortable 17 point lead,” he said. “So we didn't need anything special, just had stay close to our competitors. We had a good start and went where we wanted to and after coming into the top mark in first we knew we would be fine. We just continued to sail our own race and pull away.”
Fellow Australians Sam Kivell and Will Ryan narrowly missed out on a place in the medal race, ending the penultimate day of the event in 13th.
Kivell and Ryan finished sixth and 14th in Friday’s two races to be nine points outside the top 10.
Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell had a consistent day on the water with a 13th and a 18th from the day’s two races, leaving them 27th overall.
“It’s been tough not racing the entire regatta but we are rebuilding each day,” said Stowell. “We’re still maintaining a conservative approach with the bigger picture in mind to ensure that my back is looked after.
“Each day is showing strong signs that the back is recovering well as we progress towards the Games,” she said.
Scott Cotton and Rob Size are 51st in the men’s fleet, ahead of Matthew and Robert Crawford in 60th.
Alexander and Patrick Conway are 66th, winning another race in the bronze fleet, with Matt and Ben Taylor 75th.
Belcher and Page continue to lead the way at 470 World Championship
Released: Friday, May 18, 2012
Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page have taken a further step towards defending their 470 World Championship title following another consistent day of racing in Barcelona.
Belcher and Page have been the team to beat all week at the 2012 470 World Championship and this continued on day five of racing with the pair winning the opening race and finishing fifth in race two.
The results leave the Australians 21 points clear of French duo Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos with two gold fleet races and the final 10-boat medal race left to contest.
“Today was a really tough day,” said Page. “We were postponed again and finally got racing started around 3pm. We ended up having a pretty good breeze around 12 to 15 knots but it was tough, long courses, big separation and at times you couldn’t tell if you were going the right way or not.
“In race one we went around the top mark just behind the Finnish crew in second and managed to squeeze by for the win but things were much tougher in race two,” he said. “We rounded about fifth last and had a real fight on our hands. We gritted our teeth, didn’t give up and fought our way back through the fleet to get up to fifth by the finish.
“At the end of the day we’ve a gained a few points on the Israelis in third and kept the same gap to the French with a few more races under our belts so things are tracking along well,” said Page.
Belcher and Page have been incredibly consistent all regatta, winning seven of the 10 races and having worst finish of fifth, an impressive feat in such a close class.
“At this stage of the event we wouldn’t want to be in anywhere else in the fleet,” said Page. “We love having that gold dot on the sail.”
Sam Kivell and Will Ryan have slipped slightly on the leader board to end day five in 15th overall.
Kivell and Ryan had a 19th and a 21st and find themselves 12 points outside the all-important top 10 with two races left to close the gap.
After sitting out the first day of gold fleet racing Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell were back on the water, ending the day with a 27th and an 18th.
The pair is enjoying the opportunity to gain experience racing against the top female 470 crews in the world as Stowell continues to recover from a back injury.
“It was great to be back on the water and working on a number of areas in these conditions,” said Stowell. “We suffered some equipment failure today which isn’t acceptable but happens nonetheless. But overall things are back on target and heading in the right direction.”
In the men’s fleet Rob Cotton and Scott Size are 48th overall with Matthew and Robert Crawford 60th.
Alexander and Patrick Conway are 65th and had a great day in the bronze fleet with a first and a second from the two races. Matt and Ben Taylor sit in 74th, following a black flag and a ninth.
Belcher and Page extend lead at 470 World Championships
Released: Thursday, May 17, 2012
Australian sailors Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page have extended their lead on day four of the 2012 470 World Championship in Barcelona, Spain.
The pair went into the finals series with a perfect six wins from six races and even though they didn’t keep the record going Belcher and Page have moved further ahead of the fleet.
The defending World Champions took a six point lead into the finals, finishing the day with a second and a fifth to be 20 points clear of Israeli crew Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela.
“Today was another good day for us, our streak is over but very happy with our performance today,” said Belcher. “The conditions were very challenging and we tried to make the most of the cards we were dealt.
“You can certainly feel the change of pace in the fleet today being the first day of gold fleet,” he said. “Everyone was closer to the line, pushing the boat harder and taking more risks.”
The crews spent much of the day on shore until the breeze filled in, finally able to begin racing around 4pm.
“We raced in between eight and 12 knots today and it was very shifty,” said Page. “There were big differences on either side of the course and both sides paid at different times.
“If you look at the results it was a wonderful day, we didn’t go out to maintain the winning streak and it wasn’t our best day in the boat but it was as good as it could have been in these conditions and against a strong fleet,” he said.
Four more gold fleet races remain before the final 10 boat medal race on Saturday.
“The intensity picked up on the water today,” said Page. “Maybe it was because of the weather and everybody was wishing to be on other parts of the course but a boat lengths mistake in qualifying cost you three or four in gold fleet. That’s the racing that we came here for and are looking forward to another two races tomorrow.”
Sam Kivell and Will Ryan have moved up one spot to be 11th overall following a fifth and a 21st.
The pair is 13 points away from a spot in the top 10 with four races remaining.
Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell made the decision to stay on shore on Wednesday as Stowell continues to recover from a back injury.
“My back is coming along quite well but we had made the decision earlier in the week to sit today out and give it a rest,” said Stowell. “Our goal is the Olympic Games and we’re continuing to work towards that and develop as a team.
“While it’s disappointing to miss a day of racing in gold fleet at a World Championship we made the decision to take a break today and it’s for the best,” she said. “The back is further ahead of where we thought it was going to be at this stage and I’m continuing to test it each day.”
In the men’s class Scott Cotton and Rob Size are 44th overall following a pair of eighth place finishes in the silver fleet.
Matthew and Robert Crawford are 62nd with Matt and Ben Taylor 65th and Alexander and Patrick Conway 68th.
Racing resumes in Barcelona on Thursday morning with the 2012 470 World Championship to conclude on Saturday.
Belcher and Page make it a perfect six from six
Released: Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page have kept their winning streak going at the 2012 470 World Championship, with another two race wins making it an incredible six from six at the end of qualifying.
Belcher and Page have been the crew to beat in Barcelona and that has continued on day three of racing, with a further two wins giving them a perfect scorecard.
The pair is racing for a third straight world title and they have built the perfect foundation as racing enters the finals series on Wednesday.
“Today was another great day for us, rounding out qualifying with a perfect scorecard, six wins from six races,” said Belcher. “We’re obviously really happy with our performance across a range of conditions.”
Page said that the pair was very pleased with how their World Championship defence had started.
“You’ve got to take days like these whenever you can,” said Page. “This is definitely the first time that Mat and I have won six straight races at a World Championship and the first time that I know of in the 15 or 16 years that I’ve been following the class.
“Our coach Victor doesn’t know of any times when it’s happened while he’s been involved in the sport so that stretches it out to about 25 years which all three of us are thrilled with.”
While the scoreboard may look like the pair is doing it easy at the front they had to fight for both wins on Tuesday.
“Today was really tricky and we certainly had our fair share of luck to come away with the win in race five,” said Belcher. “We were fighting hard down the run and second work after rounding in around 13th to catch the leaders.
“The wind shifted in our favour and we managed to position ourselves to take full advantage and just got the win from the Israelis,” he said. “In the three to eight knot south-easterly breeze we had today anything can really happen so to have this consistency has been great.”
On Wednesday the 2012 470 World Championship enters the finals series with the top crews facing off against each other for the first time.
“While we’ve had a great run so far our streak is certainly going to end tomorrow with the first day of finals,” said Belcher. “Things will certainly get interesting with everyone fighting hard. We only have a six point buffer and you can lose that on a bottom mark rounding so we have plenty still to do.”
Belcher and Page currently lead Portuguese pair Alvaro Marinho and Miguel Nunes by six points with Finnish crew Joonas and Niklas Lindgren a point further behind.
Page said that the racing will step up a gear in the finals series.
“These regattas are won and lost in gold fleet racing,” said Page. “We haven’t made a wrong step so far but the top five or six boats will probably be saying the same thing.
“We’re starting from scratch tomorrow and you could say that the marathon is only just reaching it’s middle point so we’ve got to be patient and take each race as it come,” he said.
Fellow Australians Sam Kivell and Will Ryan ended the qualifying series in 12th overall, with the congestion on the scoreboard meaning the pair is just 10 points off fourth position.
Kivell and Ryan had to fight back in both of the day’s races, eventually finishing with a fifth and an 11th to be well in truly in the mix as the finals begin.
Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell will enter the women’s gold fleet in 24th position.
Rechichi, gold medalist from Beijing 2008, and Stowell, gold medalist from Sydney 2000, finished with a 10th and a 14th on day three.
The pair head into the finals in a tight group on the scoreboard with just 14 points separating positions 17 through 24.
In the men’s fleet Scott Cotton and Rob Size is 50th overall, ahead of Matthew and Robert Crawford in 64th.
Alexander and Patrick Conway are the next best placed Australians in 66th, with Matt and Ben Taylor 70th.
Perfect day on the water for Belcher and Page at 470 Worlds
Released: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page have had a perfect day on the water at the 470 World Championship in Barcelona, Spain, with three wins from three starts.
The pair won the opening race of the event on Sunday and backed the result up with a dominant display on day two.
The three wins have given the defending World Champions a six point lead over the Portuguese crew of Alvaro Marinho and Miguel Nunes with one day of the qualifying series remaining.
The crews enjoyed conditions which were a stark contrast to day one, with 12 to 18 knots of breeze allowing for good racing throughout the fleets.
“Today was a great day for Malcolm and I, winning all three races,” said Belcher. “We feel very comfortable in these conditions and with the groups split into three it made it a little easier.
“We’re really happy with how things are progressing but we are focusing on each race as it comes, it's going to be a long week so see what happens towards the end,” he said. “However, to win three races in a single day is quite special. I’ve only managed this four times now, with two of them being in the last two World Championships so it's a good sign.”
Page was also equally enthusiastic about their performance.
“It wasn’t a bad day at the office today,” said Page. “We had good speed, ensured that we kept things simple and didn’t throw the dice, we just made sure that we played with the competition.
“Once you’re out in front you’re in a controlling position, we were able to keep a safe distance and while we could have gone faster we couldn’t ask for more at this point of the regatta with four bullets from four races,” he said. “Though we’re not going to let it affect our racing, winning regattas is not about winning races, it’s about getting consistent results and there’s no need to be heroes at this stage, we’re putting together the building blocks for later in the event.”
Fellow Australians Sam Kivell and Will Ryan are well and truly in the mix after the opening four races, with the pair currently sitting eighth overall.
Kivell and Ryan finished the day with a seventh, a fifth and a sixth to be just 10 points off second position.
“Today wasn’t our greatest day on the water but it was enough,” said Ryan. “The real racing starts in the gold fleet and after a tough day for both of us yesterday, despite a very nice result, the focus today was just trying to get three keeper results.”
Australian’s Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell are currently 24th in the women’s fleet.
Rechichi and Stowell began the day with a 14th, before a 21st and an 11th to be in the middle of a tight group on the leader board.
The pair is extremely pleased to have been able to compete in all three races on Monday as Stowell continues to recover well from a back injury.
In the men’s fleet Scott Cotton and Rob Size are 44th overall, just ahead of Matthew and Robert Crawford in 48th.
Alexander and Partick Conway are in 59th with Matt and Ben Taylor one place further behind in 60th.
Racing continues in Barcelona on Tuesday with the final medal race to be held on Saturday.
Belcher and Page make winning start to 470 world title defence
Released: Monday, May 14, 2012
Defending champions Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page have gotten their title defence off to a winning start on the opening day of the 2012 470 World Championship in Spain, Barcelona.
Light winds kept the crews on shore for much of the day, with only one race able to be completed late in the afternoon.
Belcher and Page started the event with a win in their group, leaving them in a three-way tie for the lead.
“We only managed to complete one race today in what was a very, very, long day,” said Page. “We were originally postponed on shore for three or four hours and then when we finally hit the water we drifted around for another two hours before finally getting a race in.
“It was a very difficult day with strong current and only four or five knots of breeze which shifted around all afternoon,” he said. “We managed to get off the line well and got ahead, it’s great to get a win to kick off our world title defence.”
Belcher and Page have had a winning start to the Olympic year with victories at ISAF Sailing World Cup rounds in Miami, Palma and Hyeres, in a range of conditions.
“We’ve got quite a contrast in conditions here to what we had at our last event in France where the breeze was strong all week,” said Page. “The breeze isn’t forecast to get into double digits all week here so it’s going to be a patience game.
“You have to be prepared for some bad races and make the most of the good ones when they come along,” he said. “Being Australian we always feel more comfortable in the medium and strong conditions but we’ve made a real effort to improve in the light stuff, after our win in Palma in conditions like today we felt that we improved a lot and it was good to reinforce that here.”
Fellow Australians Sam Kivell and Will Ryan also had a good start to the event, with the pair finishing second in the opening race.
The second place finish leaves Kivell and Ryan fourth overall with three races scheduled for Monday as the race committee attempts to get back on schedule.
In the women’s competition Australians Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell also find themselves at the pointy end of the fleet, finishing fifth in Sunday’s only race.
Rechichi and Stowell, competing in just their second 470 World Championship together, are currently ninth overall in a count back.
Scott Cotton and Rob Size are 37th, ahead of Matt and Ben Taylor who are 52nd. Matthew and Robert Crawford are 73rd and Alexander and Patrick Conway 79th.
Racing continues in Barcelona on Monday with the 2012 470 World Championship scheduled to finish on Saturday 19 May.
Belcher and Page lead the 2012 470 World Championship
Malcolm Page, Mathew Belcher and Victor Kovalenko after the 470 World Championship prize giving
Belcher & Page continue to lead at the 2012 470 World Championship
Belcher and Page on day four of the 2012 470 World Championship
Belcher and Page racing at the 2012 470 World Championship
Belcher and Page on day two of the 2012 470 World Championship
Belcher and Page on day one in Barcelona