by Ian Grant
Sunshine Coast ocean racing yachtsman Rod Jones the only owner skipper to win two open Audi Australian IRC championships with his Archambult class sloops has gained further major results in the international Dart SB3 sports boat.
(AUS3108) "Club Marine" Glenn Bourke; Rod Jones; Greg Mcallansmith - ZHIK SB3 Worlds 2011
His vision to invest in the introduction of this exciting strict one-design sports boat to the Australian sailing scene has added a new dimension to the tactical test in proving the best of the best.
This strict clone design class which provides all crews with an equal chance off the start line has as expected attracted a number of Australia’s best including multiple World champion Glenn Burke while Olympic 49er skipper Nathan Outteridge and Matthew Belcher ranked as the World’s best in the Olympic 470 class have contested recent championships.
Both Nathan Outteridge and Matthew Belcher presently committed to preparations for the 2012 Olympic regatta at Weymouth have shown a special interest in the high energy style of tactical racing and are keeping their career options open to contest the Dart SB3 World championship at Hamilton Island in December 2012.
Meanwhile the talented crew combination of Glenn Bourke and his Sunshine coast crew mates Rod Jones and Greg Macallansmith expressed their combined fresh wind sailing skill to pilot Club Marine-Hamilton Island to a runaway win in the recent Queensland championship at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.
They were clearly the superior crew winning the championship by a mammoth 34 points over the Tasmanian skipper Brett Cooper in Please Explain while Matthew Belcher steered One Design Sailing into third another point of the pace.
Naturally the strong wind warning and the associated 32 knot gusts produced a superior test of survival sailing which featured a high number of spectacular wipe-out broaches.
However apart from finishing fifth in race 2 the combined skills of Glenn Bourke, Rod Jones and Greg Macallansmith expressed unmatched boat speed when they showed their ability to sail fast in the fresh and frightening breeze eventually finishing with the impressive 12 race score card of 1-5-1-2-1-1-1-3-2-1-2-1.
There were moments when the experienced Club Marine crew were on the fine line between distinction and disaster but survived from being slammed into a wild and uncontrolled knockdown with their split second reaction and respect for the power of the brute breeze.
Sure winners can afford to be grinners but the Club Marine crew collectively experienced the physical torment to protect their reputations as Australia’s best SB3 sports boat racing team. 'It was a physically tough grind rewarded with some career best downwind rides' Rod Jones said.
However while the win was important the Club Marine crew who finished fourth in the 2011 World Championship in England earlier this year remain totally focused on featuring in the Gold Medal sail off when the next world championship is decided at Hamilton Island in 14 months time.