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Aust sailing teams cling on in Denmark

Three Australian sailing teams are clinging on to top 10 positions after tough day-four conditions at the European Championships in Aarhus.

With fluctuating 14-22 knot winds combined with extreme wind shifts all afternoon, the Australian Sailing Team (AST) and Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) did well to hold their own in the Gold fleet and Finals Series.

Three ASS crews made it into the Gold fleet which raced in the afternoon.

Jim Colley and Shaun Connor (ASS) came off best in sixth place overall after posting 10-6-7 results.

The pair nailed the Race 11 start to lead for most of the course before being overtaken and finishing sixth. Tom Needham and Joel Turner (ASS) were seventh.

In Race 12, Needham and Turner led off the start but were overtaken before the top mark, missed some shifts and finished 14th for ninth overall.

Colley and Connor did not start that race so well but fought their way back to place seventh.

“It was a massive game of snakes and ladders with massive shifts, especially at the top of the course, huge bullets that you didn’t see coming,” Colley said.

“You had to have a mindset that no result is ever set. We led the second race then went the wrong way. We were behind in the third race, but then went the right way.”.

Needham agreed: “It was a very up and down day. A tricky course, they put us close to land to keep us sheltered from harsher winds further out. It was very easy to get yourself in a good position and lose it just as easily. Very changeable conditions.

“There were a couple of opportunities we let slip, but we’ll keep pushing in the next four races before the Medal Race (for the top 10 only). “We’ve got to keep up with the shifts,” the Queenslander said.

The 33 entries in the Nacra 17 fleet are in their Final Series, with three races held today.

Rio Olympic silver medallists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AST), held onto 10th overall, after a best place of seventh in Race 11 despite being plagued by breakages throughout the week.

National Nacra 17 coach Darren Bundock said: “Jason and Lisa are struggling in the shifts and in linking them together, it’s just not coming together for them.

“The pleasing thing is that their speed is good. They’ve had bit of bad luck as well. The tiller broke the first day and broke in a tack in the second race today.

“Lisa’s trapeze belt broke yesterday when they also had problems with a cleat that adjusts the rudder,” he said.

The Olympic classes regatta continues Saturday local time and concludes on Sunday.

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