by Ian Grant
The one-design sailing skills of Hamilton Island skipper Glenn Bourke and his Sunshine Coast crew mates Rod Jones and Greg McAllansmith will be placed on notice on Hobart's River Derwent this weekend.
The Tasmanian SB3 fleet in action on the River Derwent
As expected the talented trio, who race Club Marine Blue under the Hamilton Island Yacht Club burgee, are listed as the pre-title favourite for the 12 race Australian SB3 sports boat championship to be contested on the tricky Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania courses from Saturday 18 to Monday 20 February.
They have been the National pacesetters in this one-design racing class since finishing fourth in the 2011 World championship in England.
However while the trio of Club Marine Blue sailors have gained enormous respect they will need to be at the top of the game to master the class of local Tasmanian helmsman and former World Dragon Class champion Nick Rogers at the tiller of Toll Shipping.
Victories in the heavy weather Queensland championship at Hamilton Island last August, followed by an equally impressive win in the open Victorian State title on Geelong’s Corio Bay in late January, has set the form guide for Queensland’s Club Marine Blue racing team to be listed as the pre-nationals favourite.
But as every sailor realises there is no margin for even the slightest error in your tactical strategy or crew technique.
The stakes are high and an expected variable forecast represent a challenge for all crews.
Close racing is expected on the River Derwent this weekend.
Knowledge of the local conditions suggests Nick Rogers and his Toll Shipping crew has the experience and skill to present a serious challenge to the inform crew of Club Marine Blue.