by Ian Grant
Rod Jones and crew
Champion Sunshine Coast skipper Rod Jones had his attention focused on another sailing venue when a 52 knot South East gust was recorded at Double Island Point lighthouse last Tuesday afternoon.
The savage breeze which followed an equally wild summer storm turned the open ocean between Cape Moreton and Double Island Point into a frenzy of white water cancelling any chance for Rod Jones and his Club Marine Blue crew to have a final practice session before heading to Hobart for the Tasmanian SB3 championship this weekend.
Both Rod Jones and his crew of experienced one-design sailors Sean O’Rourke and Greg MacAllansmith Silver Medallists from the 2010 Audi Australian championship are predictably ranked among the top chances despite facing a strong group of Hobart crews who have the valued advantage of regularly racing on the tricky River Derwent.
As expected the ‘Tassie Teams’ headed by former World Dragon champion Nick Rogers are equally experienced and determined to protect their one-design racing reputations when the sails are tensioned for the important first races of the three day regatta on Friday afternoon.
They have been forced to respect the talented Tasmanian skippers with Nick Rogers, David Craney, Brett Cooper, Stephen Catchpool and Andrew Crisp showing the recent form to present a tactical challenge to the Mooloolaba based Club Marine Blue crew and other high profile sailors from New South Wales and Victoria.
Predicting who will stand tall on the victory dais on Sunday afternoon will be determined by the crew who has both the skill to protect their sailing space and limit their technique and tactical errors.
In fact the nature of the tight racing format so often produced when Australia’s best SB3 crews go head to head has the potential for the championship to be decided in the final metres of the last race.