The Australia Sailing Team is keen to repeat at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, its amazing medal performance from London 2012.
Nina Curtis and Darren Bundock - Nacra 17 hit-out on Sydney Harbour
As the team builds towards Rio, there will be a very promising Olympic class pairing making their campaign debut at the ISAF Sailing World Cup - Melbourne, which is being sailed from 1st to 8th December 2013, out of Sandringham Yacht Club.
In the newest Olympic sailing class, the Nacra 17 catamaran, Australia’s leading team after the first season have been Sydney cousins Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin, who won silver medals at the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup on Lake Garda in Italy and at Kiel Week, before placing sixth at the World Championships in July.
But now they have a serious new contender, with Olympic successes behind them keen to grab the lead in the race to Rio.
Multihull veteran Darren Bundock, has 14 multihull world championships, two Olympic silver medals in the Tornado catamaran class (2000, 2008) and has since 2011 coached Oracle Team USA towards its successful America’s Cup 2013 defence, is now turning his attention back the Olympic campaign in the Nacra 17 class.
By 2016 Bundock will be 45, quite an age for a dynamic sport like sailing. He explains 'An old fella for sure, but very fit. The Nacra 17 is smaller than the previous Olympic multihull the Tornado and the loads are much lower, so I can helm and that is where experience really counts. This will be my fourth Olympic campaign and I know how to put it all together at the right moment, while a first Olympics for anyone is a huge learning curve.'
Bundock will be sailing with Nina Curtis, 2012 Olympic Silver medallist in the women’s match racing. Curtis has been sailing on the world circuit in both the Nacra 17 and the 49er FX classes this year, in an attempt to decide which boat she wanted to campaign for Rio.
Curtis commented 'Sailing with Darren is an incredible opportunity. I had to be very heavy and strong for the Elliot 6m match racing boat, now I am working towards building my strength back up to sail as Nacra 17 crew, my program is now based around lots of explosive cardio and being able to back up race after race.
'With good timing and technique and a lot of gym work and time on the water, I'm hoping to be fit and strong enough to match the male crews.'
Bundock summed up 'This will be a very important regatta for us. I find it a very tactical regatta, I have sailed in eight of them. The sea breeze is still quite shifty and it’s not a one way track and you can always make good gains.
'While Nina and I are a year behind the other teams, we expect we will be right on a pace inside the first half of the regatta. We are looking for a great start to hopefully a very successful Olympic campaign.
'We are going to go pretty hard, after Melbourne we have pencilled in at the moment all the Sailing World Cup events in 2014 - Miami, Palma, Hyeres, then the Nacra Europeans, a pre Olympics regatta in Rio and then the Worlds in Santander, Spain in September 2014, before coming back to the World Cup in Melbourne again. '
ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne website