Vicky Blog

Aussies clean up the gold on final day of Sail Melbourne

Sunday, December 09, 2012
Today’s final medal races have been completed and gold, silver and bronze medals have been won – and mostly by Aussies!

As we all expected, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan cleaned up in the 470 class, remaining undefeated throughout the whole week. Throughout the medal race the pair lead at every mark, and ended up taking their win by more than a minute. As well as winning the gold, the boys have also been named as the first 470 crew to win every race at an ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta, a perfect beginning to their 2016 Olympic campaign, and Mat’s ninth straight regatta win.

Will Ryan and Mat Belcher competing in the medal race

Tom Burton also scored gold in the Laser class, going into the medal race with an 18 point lead, and two-time Olympian Krystal Weir came first in the Laser Radial and gold for Brendan Casey in the Finn.

Sasha and Jaime Ryan made it a second gold medal for the Ryan family this week, mirroring their brother Will’s performance with a win in the 470 women’s class, while New Zealand pair Alex Maloney and Molly Meech won the new 49erFX class. Steven Thomas and Rhys Mara won the 49er class and Luke Baillie won the RS:X men’s title.

As expected, Germany’s Florian Gruber took out first place in the gold men’s kiteboarding class and got up on the podium with his bright green board, while France’s Ariana Imbert took gold for the women’s class.

Winning kiteboarders on the podium

The athletes wrapped up an incredible World Cup event with a BBQ and celebration on the yacht club balcony, in a perfect ending to a competitive regatta filled with highs and lows.

Sailing off,

Australians in front for medal races

Saturday, December 08, 2012
It looks like our Aussie sailors are going to be bringing home the gold at Sail Melbourne on Saturday, after an incredible day of racing which sees Australian crews coming first in the 470, Laser, Laser Radial and the Finn class.

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan have also set a new record, after winning their ninth straight race of the week and becoming the first 470 men’s crew to ever sweep the fleet racing component of an ISAF Sailing World Cup event.

What makes it even more impressive is that it’s the pair’s first competitive regatta together in their 2016 campaign bid for the Rio Olympics!

FX fleet at Sail Melbourne

Men’s and women’s kiteboarding fleets have been showing off their stuff on HUGE waves during the week and have been attracting admirers, who have been watching them compete from the watchpoint at Sandringham.

It looks like Germany’s Florian Gruber is going to clean up the men’s class, while France’s Ariane Imbert is looking like the winner for the women’s fleet, even though she was unsuccessful in her races today.

Local school kids have also been enjoying the sailing atmosphere at several yacht clubs along the bay this week, including Sandringham as part of Discover Sailing Week. A Yachting Australia initiative run in conjunction with event partner Play it Safe by the Water and part of Water Safety Week, the program aims to give kids the opportunity to experience sailing and club life with a program of free activities throughout the week. Despite some questionable weather, hundreds of schoolchildren have been introduced to sailing – possibly even to become our next generation of Olympians!

Schoolchildren enjoying Discover Sailing Week at Sandringham

Tomorrow’s set to be an intense day on the bay, with a forecast of 37 degrees celsius and high winds. Make sure you’re following me on Twitter @VickyBoat on the final day of medal races at Sail Melbourne!

Sailing off,

From gale winds to light breeze at Sail Melbourne

Friday, December 07, 2012
Today all our Olympic and Invited classes got back on the water ready for a full day of competitive sailing, following gale force winds over the past few days. The 49erFX and 49er fleets were first to get out on the water after they had missed two days of sailing due to winds.

This included our own silver medallist Olivia Price, who this year is racing with a boy, James Sly, and therefore won’t qualify in the medal races this Saturday.

Our new dream team Mat Belcher and the lovely Will Ryan are undefeated in their 470 class so far and it looks likely they will pick up on the gold for Sail Melbourne! They only managed one race today because of the light winds but the boys aren’t worried.

Krystal Weir is also leading her Laser Radial class and tearing up the water in her quest for gold.

Sail Melbourne Optimist fleet

Today groups of corporate guests arrived at Sandringham Yacht Club for the Sail Experience Luncheon. Not only were they treated to a Q&A with some of our amazing sailors before racing began, but also heard from international speaker and professional yachtsman Nick Moloney, who entertained guests with his tales of success in sport and sailing.

John Bertrand at the Sail Experience Luncheon

Will Ryan and Mat Belcher at the Luncheon

Not only has Nick raced in two America’s Cups, but he has also sailed the globe solo on THREE different occasions. Not many people can say that! He has also achieved 10 individual Sailing Speed World Records, including a Guinness World Record, and is the winner of an Australian Sports Medal for his services to sailing.

After lunch, guests relaxed on the balcony while those adventurous souls boarded gorgeous luxury motor boats and cruisers to get up close to the sailing action.


Tomorrow will see the athletes put on their game faces and battle it out for the best possible starting point in the medal races on Saturday.

Sailing off,

Young sailors get their own Golden Moment on Sail Melbourne Day Five

Thursday, December 06, 2012
On the fourth day of Sail Melbourne the breeze finally died down a little bit so we could get some racing in. The wind was even too much for me down on the bay – I was staying rugged up inside watching the waves!

Our Aussies are of course, still on top, with Mat and Will in the 470s picking up where they left off on Monday, scoring three wins. They are still developing as a team but boy, are they leaving the others competitors eating their waves.

Krystal Weir, Brendan Casey, and West Australian boy Matthew Wearn are also leading in their classes, while sisters Jamie and Sasha Ryan coming first in the Women’s 470.

RS:X Windsurfing at Sail Melbourne

Some very lucky young Optimist and Cadet sailors also got the chance to have their own Golden Moment as day turned into night. They met their Olympic sailing heroes who provided inspiration to our next generation of world class sailors.

Today will see the yacht club taken over by corporate groups and other guests for the Sail Experience Luncheon.

Sailing off,

Kiteboarding the only ones in on the action on Day 2

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Day 2 of Sail Melbourne saw crazy gale force winds shut down racing for the day, with kiteboarders the only ones who were able to get out on the water.

No racing at Sail Melbourne today

Germany’s Florian Gruber is currently leading the race in the men’s class, scoring four first places over the first two days and took advantage of the 25 knot winds yesterday to stay on top of his competitors. In second place we have New Zealand’s Torrin Bright and Germany’s Dirk Hanel.


Kiteboarding at Sail Melbourne

In the women’s competition, French kiteboarder Ariane Imbert is in first place with three wins, with Lisa Hickman from Australia and our own Aussie Marine Sudre from Sydney behind her.

Once the day’s kiteboarding had ended, our Olympic sailors got all spruced up for Official Sailing World Cup Dinner at the spectacular Sandringham Yacht Club. Guests enjoyed a very entertaining speech by Andrew Plympton of the Australian Olympic and Sports Commission who shed some light on the future of sailing for Australia, along with speeches from the Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Hon. Hugh Delahunty MP and Sail Melbourne Chairman Bruce Griffiths.

Guests enjoying Glenn Ridge's speech at the Official Dinner

The highlight of the evening was definitely the Q&A session with my favourite sailors including Mal Page and Mat Belcher, Olivia Price and Lucinda Whitty, and Brendan Casey and Krystal Weir. It was incredible to hear about their Olympic experiences, what it felt like for Malcolm to carry the flag for Australia at the Closing Ceremony, and just how hard it was for Olivia to get back on her boat during that infamous knock out race!

After an inspiring speech from the Medal Maker himself Victor Kovalenko, guests ended the night on a high, and with a delicious chocolate desert.

Today the kiteboarding is scheduled to begin at 12.00pm again and the rest of the sailing classes will hopefully kick off at 2.00pm. Keep updated on the action by following me on Twitter @VickyBoat.

Sailing off,

Aussies on top after first day of racing!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012
The first day of racing at Sail Melbourne yesterday began with strong winds and delayed races and ended with our Aussie sailors on top, right where they belong!

470 darlings Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan are sitting in first place after a perfect start to their 2016 campaign for Rio after only racing together for one week. That’s true talent for you.

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan on Day 1 of racing

Brendan Casey was back in the Finn class since competing in London and also scored two first places in his two races, while fellow Aussies Oliver Tweddell and Jake Lilley are tied for second. London 2012 representative Elise Rechichi and Olympic rower-turned-sailor Sarah Cook finished their first day of racing together third overall in the 470 women’s fleet.

Ashley Stoddart and Krystal Weir are tied for the lead in the Laser Radial class, with both beginning their regatta with a win and a second.

Krystal Weir racing in the Laser Radial class

Beijing 2008 470 women’s gold medallist Tessa Parkinson and her crew Kate Lathouras sit at the top of the leaderboard after three races in the new 49erFX class, finishing with two wins and a fourth. Women’s Match Racing London 2012 silver medallist Olivia Price is a point behind in third, sailing alongside James Sly.

While the athletes were competing out on the water, some of the best minds in the business were brainstorming industry growth and development at the 11th International Sailing Summit at Sandringham Yacht Club.

International keynote speaker and former executive director of Sail America, Jonathan Banks shared his amazing Discover Sailing success story with guests and he even told us how impressed he was with how Australia encourages kids to get involved in sailing.

The Founder of the ISS Alistair Murray commented that it was a great call to action for the sailing and marine industry to inspire growth following our country’s amazing success at the Olympics this year. I for one can’t wait to see what the future brings for our sport!

This morning there is gale force winds down at Sandringham so everyone is waiting on the edge of their seats to find out if racing will go ahead today. We are also preparing for the Official Sailing World Cup Dinner tonight – let’s hope we have a dolphin sighting like last year!

Make sure you’re following me on Twitter @VickyBoat during the week.

Sailing off,

Three days to go until Melbourne’s bay comes alive!

Thursday, November 29, 2012
There’s only a few days to go until Sail Melbourne comes to Sandringham and my oh my, did we get some colour in our sails today.

Gold medallist Mat Belcher who’s down in Melbourne preparing for next week’s competition came down to the Yarra River with his new crewmate Will Ryan and their Medal Maker coach Victor Kovalenko to launch not only their new Olympic campaign, which is starting at Sail Melbourne next week, but also to kick off the ISAF Sailing World Cup 2012/13.


We had a gorgeous gold yacht that was glistening in the Melbourne sun moored on the banks of the Yarra – mind you, it was a 38-degree day! – and a perfect backdrop with the iconic city skyline in the background.


As we prepare to welcome more than 400 competitors from 27 countries to our shores, the local community will have the chance to meet our Olympians face-to-face this weekend as the Olympic Roadshow visits Mornington Yacht Club, Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron and the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria on Sunday 1st December.

We’ll also have hundreds of schoolkids down at the yacht clubs next week as part of Discover Sailing Week, where they’ll learn all about sailing and having fun safely on the water, as part of Water Safety Week run by event partner Play it Safe by the Water.

There’s so much going on during the week, it’ll be hard to keep up, so make sure you follow me on Twitter @VickyBoat and also follow Sail Melbourne on Instagram to make sure you’re up to date with everything happening on the bay!

Sailing off,


Lily Robusti to join the Sail Melbourne Cup Carnival!

Monday, November 26, 2012

It’s only one week until Sail Melbourne returns to Sandringham and I’ve been busy preening my fins to ensure I look my best for a few certain dark-haired Olympians…

Assisting our delightful team to look fabulous at this year's Cup is luxury fashion label Lily Robusti. The brand’s unique and modern kaftan collection, inspired by global culture, prints and fabrics from across the world will be modelled by hostesses during the Sail Melbourne Cup Carnival, with eastern and western-styled kaftans on show set against the stunning backdrop of Port Phillip Bay.


The Sail Melbourne Cup Carnival will feature lovely pieces inspired by stories and colours from Mexico, France and Morocco – just a few of my favourite places, darlings!

The label will be on show at the Sailing World Cup Official Dinner as well as the Sail Experience Luncheon. I may even try to make a surprise appearance myself in one of the kaftans; I wonder if they make them in yacht-size?

I’ll see you all on the bay next week, but in the meantime follow me on Twitter @VickyBoat for all the latest info.


Sailing off,


Mat Belcher kicking off Olympic campaign at Sail Melbourne

Thursday, November 22, 2012
News just out everyone…Olympic gold medallist and one of my favourite sailors Mathew Belcher announced today he’ll be kicking off his Rio 2016 campaign with new crewmate, 23-year-old Will Ryan at Sail Melbourne this year!

Will, who has previously competed with another young gun in the 470 class Sim Kivell, was Mat and Malcolm Page’s crewman in London and is also the reigning youth match racing champion.

Will has big shoes to fill with Malcolm retiring from Olympic competition sailing, but Sail Melbourne will be the perfect regatta for him to test the waters on the gorgeous Port Phillip Bay.


Malcolm Page and Mat Belcher competing at Sail Melbourne 2011

Sail Melbourne is inching closer and it’s set to be an amazing week. Joining Will and Mat will be Beijing gold medallist Elise Rechichi, Krystal Weir and Brendan Casey, and our 2012 Ambassador Malcolm Page will be spending time not only down at Sandringham, but also across the bay, inspiring our young future Olympians.

Nathan Outteridge’s younger sister Haylee will also be kicking off her 2016 Olympic campaign, while the sailor who’s been called ‘the next Tom Slingsby’ by some, Tom Burton will be vying for gold in the Laser class.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @VickyBoat and keep checking my blog during the week for all the up-to-date action.

Sailing off,


I’m back and making a splash at Sail Melbourne 2012!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hello again to my loyal readers. I’m thrilled to announce that I’m back on the bay again for this year’s ISAF Sailing World Cup!

Sail Melbourne is nearly here and I am thrilled to kick off this year’s Cup, which will be taking place December 2 – 8 at the gorgeous Sandringham Yacht Club. Sure to be filled with fun, entertainment and crafty competition from the world’s best, this is an event that is sure to knock Melbourne’s socks off.

I don’t mean to brag, but sailing has definitely had a golden year (literally!), winning the majority of Australia’s gold medals at the London Olympics. As we embark on what’s sure to be a great year ahead for the sport, the ISAF Sailing World Cup promises to show the best of sailing with competitive racing and a lifestyle hospitality program for everyone to enjoy.

The Official Sailing World Cup Dinner on Tuesday 4th December will pay tribute to our Olympians and will see guests enjoy a delicious three-course dinner and sailing themed entertainment. The Sail Experience Luncheon will also return, with groups able to experience the fabulous world of sailing from the yacht club.

One of my personal favourites, Family Day on Saturday 8th December will offer exciting activities for the kids including on and off-shore games, face painting, jumping castles and adrenaline pumping water sports such as surfing, stand up paddle, kayaking, kite boarding demonstrations and of course, sailing!

This year we’ve also introduced the Golden Moments program so all our aspiring sailors can come face-to-face with our Olympians including the legendary Malcolm Page and Mat Belcher.

Be sure to get involved with all the action as there is no excuse to miss out, with the event offering the chance to learn, experience and enjoy all that sailing has to offer. The ISAF Sailing World Cup is the best chance for sailors to start their 2016 Olympic campaigns, so join in the week’s festivities and you never know, you might just discover your own burning passion to sail the mighty seas!

I’ll be blogging in the lead up to and during competition week so make sure you keep checking in to catch up on the latest goss. Also, make sure you’re following me on Twitter @VickyBoat for up-to-the-minute live action, straight from the bay.

I can’t wait to spend the next few weeks with the sailors, the sea and of course you, the readers.


Sailing Off,


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