Strategy and Tactic

Mathew Belcher: "I really like your concepts."


Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS 11)

Rio 2016: Belcher & Ryan sail into Silver

Mat, Will and Victor Kovalenko (Coach)
Victor Kovalenko (Coach)

Mat Belcher, well known to Tactical Sailing for his advice on strategy and tactic and his crew Will Ryan won the Silver Medal for Australia in the Men's 470 class on 18.8.2016 in Rio de Janeiro. It was an exciting race as Doug Conway reported (see below):

[...] Will Ryan spent a few perilous seconds in the drink at Rio’s Guanabara Bay but he and Matt Belcher recovered almost seamlessly to avoid disaster and claim a silver medal in Olympic sailing’s 470 class. Belcher, guaranteed a bronze going into the medal race, couldn’t quite retain the title he won in London four years ago with Malcolm Page. But he and new partner Ryan helped cap off an Olympic regatta which netted Australia’s sailors one gold medal and three silver. “I just slipped and fell straight in,” said Ryan of the incident approaching the third mark. “Fortunately Matt pulled me back out of the water one-handed pretty quickly and got me back into the boat and back into the race.” For once in Olympic competition all of the action was at the rear of the field, with the medals ultimately going to the boats that finished in the last three places in the 10-nation final race. [...]. Croatia finished eighth to claim gold, Australia ninth for silver and Greece 10th for bronze. [...] The jockeying between the three leading boats meant that all eyes were at the rear. “We had two goals,” explained Belcher. “To try to win the race if we had the opportunity or to control the Greek boat. It didn’t really matter where we finished – we just had to be in front of Greece. “It was quite entertaining at the back. When it became clear Croatia was in front (of us) we changed our strategy out on the water.” The first thing he did on finishing was to race to the beach to see his two kids for the first time in a month. The 33-year-old said the commitment to an Olympics was so great that he would take time out to decide whether to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “We came here to win but to take silver was great,” said Belcher. “We fought in good Aussie spirit and we can hold our heads high.” Ryan added: “It’s hard to be disappointed with silver but the hunger is still there for more.” Reported by Doug Conway ; Sources: © Photos: Salty Dingo Media; Sailing Energy-World Sailing;

Live Tracking of Medal Race in Rio 2016

Live Tweets from Australia Sailing Team – in short: 470M: Medal Race has started
, the fleet is on their way up to the first mark and its 15 knots of breeze. Mat/Will round 6th at first top mark. Mat/Will round 7th at bottom mark. Mat/Will currently 10th at final top mark! GRE just ahead! Very close! Match racing on the final downwind. Mat and Will just passed GRE into silver medal. Mat and Will round just ahead of GRE on their way to SILVER!

Starting line - GRE, CRO, AUS
Final top mark - Will slipped into water, GRE in front, AUS behind
Finish line AUS 11 in front of GRE behind

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Team Mat & Will & Victor - London 2012 to Rio 2016

Will Ryan & Mat Belcher

After Mathew Belcher & Malcom Page won Olympic gold in 2012 in London, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan started a new campaign. Mat & Will make up the new team and are on their way to Rio 2016. Watch them sailing their 470er AUS 11, they are already in the first year as a team very successfully:  European- and World Champion 2013!

First European World Cup win together - Palma de Mallorca

Mat & Will
Mat & Will at Princess Sofia Trophy 2013

Mat: "It is great to be able to share with you all the news of our first European World Cup win together!! It's that time of year again, summer has gone full circle, and we have been back in Palma Mallorca, Spain to compete in the Princess Sofia Trophy. We can not be more pleased from a results perspective winning 8 of the 13 races to actually enter the medal race on 0 points with the new scoring system! Only one of the two scheduled double points medal races were able to be held, but we recorded a 4th place to secure the win. It has been a great week of close racing in a range of conditions and good fleet quality that has provided many tests for us as a team. It gives us confidence in our stage of development that we have a good base to work from, and helped us to identify key areas going forwards.
This regatta not only qualifies Will for the first time as a full member of the Australian Sailing Team; but also extends Mathews impressive regatta winning streak in the 470 to 17months". Source: Mat Belcher & Will Ryan - from London to Rio 2016 | Issue 2 2013 - Olympic Sailing Campaign.

Coach Victor Kovalenko said: "... The team is now focused on Rio 2016”

London to Rio 2016
Victor Kovalenko

Gold medal winning sailor Mathew Belcher has started his Rio 2016 Olympic Games campaign today, announcing that he will sail with new crewmate Will Ryan. “We’re lucky and fortunate that Victor Kovalenko will continue with us as well, we’ve kept the core members of our squad together as we move towards Rio,” said Belcher. “The 470 has been a very successful class for Australia and we’re looking forward to working towards winning Victor’s sixth gold medal for Australia, my second and Will’s first.”

Victor Kovalenko said that while the London Games was a great time for Australian sailing, the team is now focused on Rio 2016. “London was fantastic, a great team effort for all of our sailors and all of our team members but now we are focused on Rio and our whole team is stronger,” said Kovalenko. “Will has been a big part of our team and our success leading up to London and it will be very interesting to work with these two young gentlemen to produce something new for sailing.”

Mat & Victor & Will - the Winning Trio in Hyeres 2013

Will Ryan, born 1988, and previous skipper Sam Kivell, worked closely with Belcher, Page and coach Victor Kovalenko in the lead up to London 2012, most recently finishing 11th at the Sail for Gold Regatta in Weymouth in June. “I’ve been involved in the program for a while and that brings a real sense of familiarity,” said Ryan. “We were in Weymouth with the guys until the day the venue closed before the Games, I know how the program works and know how it operates and am really looking forward to being a part it.”

Visit Belcher&Ryan2016's website and follow their success!