Aussie sailors set task after earning Paris quota spots

Australian sailors have achieved nine of a possible 10 quota spots for the Paris Olympics, but they've been warned the competition's only just begun to earn a berth at Marseille Marina.

Jim Colley and Shaun Connor sealed their Sail Sydney regatta victory in the 49er class, ahead of two other Australian teams, one of which included Rio 2016 laser gold medallist Tom Burton.

That secured Australia a quota spot in the event at next year's Paris games, while Samantha Costin earned another on her way to the iQFOiL national title.

Those followed quota spots in the Mixed 470 and Nacra 17 achieved on Thursday, while five others had been fulfilled before this week's Botany Bay event.

Hector Patarau was third and the best-placed Australian in the men’s kitefoil, but beaten to a quota spot by New Zealand's silver medallist Lukas Walton-Keim.

“We’re really happy to cap off the season with a win on home waters,” Colley said.

“We got four days of different conditions which was great. 

"There were some light and shifty days early and some bigger breezes later in the week which kept racing really close among the Australian squad which is what we want.”

While Australia has earned quota spots, only kitefoil talent Breiana Whitehead has so far punched her ticket to Paris.

The other spots will be fought out in crucial regattas, Australian Sailing high-performance director Iain Brambell stressing there remained international baseline performances to meet before any sailor boarded a plane to France.

A panel will have the final say on the team, with depth in some classes likely to cause welcome selection headaches.

“Our athletes are aware of our internal nomination process and will be working diligently to perform at the designated events to earn the coveted Olympic nomination places," Brambell said.

Various world championships will take place next month before Palma and Hyeres regattas in April give a look at form leading into July's Olympics.

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