by Craig Heydon
Australian Nathan Outteridge is out to create history at the 2012 49er World Championship in Zadar, Croatia, next week as he aims to become the first sailor to win four world titles in the class.
49er Class: Australians Jensen and Outteridge in the lead - Semaine Olympique Francaise 2012
Outteridge, who will represent Australia at the London 2012 Olympic Games with Iain Jensen, won the 2008 49er World Championship with former crew Ben Austin, and the 2009 and 2011 titles alongside Jensen.
The Lake Macquarie based sailor is currently tied on three world titles with fellow Australian Chris Nicholson and Spanish pair Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez, with the three former champions all currently competing in the Volvo Ocean Race.
Outteridge and Jensen, and coach Emmett Lazich, have been preparing in Zadar for the last week with the event the final 49er World Championship before the upcoming London 2012 Olympic Games.
'Our worlds preparation has been going well here in Croatia,' said Outteridge. 'We’ve had four days of training and had a day off the water on Friday, then in to Measurement on the weekend before racing starting on Monday.'
The pair have only competed in one 49er event since winning gold at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships last December, finishing second at the ISAF Sailing World Cup round in Hyeres, France, last week.
'The weather has been very contrasting to Hyeres, it’s been quite light and warm conditions so we have had a good chance to do some training with our training partners, the Kiwis and Irish, and fellow Australians Luke Parkinson and Jaspar Warren,' said Outteridge. 'The training has been going well and we’re feeling confident leading into this event.'
Outteridge and Jensen have had great success since teaming up in the 49er together at the beginning of 2009, finishing on the podium in 18 of the 19 events they have competed in together, including 14 victories.
'As defending World Champions there is pressure on us to perform just as well here as we did in Perth, but no more pressure then we have at any other major event,' said Outteridge. 'It would be a good confidence builder to be the current World Champions leading into the Olympics, and further more it would be my fourth 49er world title, the most of anyone in the class.'
The defending champions will be joined in Croatia by West Australians Luke Parkinson and Jaspar Warren who will be competing in their first 49er World Championship together.
Racing begins in Zadar on Monday 7 May and continues until Saturday 12 May.
Full results will be available at www.49erworlds.org.