by Ian Grant
Dart SB3 preparations (Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week 2008)
Australian sailors Kai Timm, Chris Annear and Greg McAllansmith have been selected to represent Australia in the inaugural Laser SB3 World Championships on Dublin Bay, Ireland later this month.
The trio of exceptionally talented One Design sailors leave for Ireland on Saturday to gain an important ‘handle’ on the local conditions before facing up to a tactically strong 139 boat fleet representing 13 countries for the prestigious World Championship from 20 to 25 September.
They will take a healthy Whitsunday suntan into the cooler Northern Hemisphere after finishing second in the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week IRC Division 2 championship two weeks ago.
Their tactical focus will remain on protecting hard won reputations against a top class fleet of specialist One Design racing crews who have spent valuable time in big fleet racing in recent weeks.
Skipper Kai Timm, Chris Annear and Greg McAllansmith are exceptionally talented and experienced individuals with Timm and McAllansmith playing key roles with Rod Jones to win the 2007 Audi Australian IRC championship with the Archambault 35 Alegria while Annear has dominated the Australian Blazer 23 Go to Blazers championship held on the Southport Broadwater and the Noosa River.
However this championship and the strict ‘clone’ design nature of the class promises to test both their character and reputations in a hard core racing environment where the results are more likely to be decided in centimeters rather than seconds. Stealing a critical access to clear wind and sea room will be the most serious challenge for helmsman Kia Timm and his Sunshine Coast crew who have had limited opportunity to race in big fleets.
It will be physically and mentally tough with all of the 139 crews having an equal chance before the more important human element related factors of tactics and technique separate the best from the rest. There is no doubt that the starts will be hectic and the Sunshine Coast crew will need a lot more than ‘the luck of the Irish’ to protect their option to start from the front line and in clear space.
'The starts will be a challenge particularly with the class so strong in England and Europe where they regularly race in big fleets, however I’m happy with our boat handling'. Skipper Kai Timm said.
Racing conditions will be in complete contrast to their training sessions off Mooloolaba where the course has been set well offshore in very deep water and exposed to a strong flowing current. Sure it is quite different to sailing conditions off the Australian coast however all three have the required skill and experience to adjust.
'I’ve been in regular contact with a friend in Ireland and the information suggests the sea surface will be bumpy also we will need to be prepared to race in conditions similar to our winter. Last week it was bleak cold and raining with a 14 degree temperature'. Timm Said.
The National Yacht Club course in Dublin may not be the best place to expose a Sunshine Coast sun tan but at least they will gain valuable experience while enjoying the opportunity to conduct their debriefs over a pint of Guinness.