by Craig Heydon
The Australian Sailing Team’s Nathan Outteridge has again shown his versatility and skill at the highest level, finishing second at the recent Australian A Class Championships.
Nathan Outteridge at the top mark
Outteridge finished second behind Olympic Silver medalist Glenn Ashby in a star studded fleet that included former World Champions, Olympic medalists, America’s Cup winners and fellow Australian Sailing Team member and four-time Laser World Champion Tom Slingsby.
Outteridge and Slingsby overcame the late arrival of their new A Class catamarans to be second and 11th overall respectively in the 70 boat fleet on their home waters at Lake Macquarie. 'It was pretty tight to get everything organised for the regatta as the new boats only arrived on the Wednesday before the regatta started,' said Outteridge.
'I spent two full days getting it ready then hit the water for the first time on the Friday before racing started on the Monday, it was a busy couple of days.
'Glenn Ashby gave me a hand to get everything ready and I managed to work it out pretty quickly, without his help I wouldn’t have been up there at the end of the event,' he said. 'I spent a lot of time with him each day and he was happy to share all his information which was great.'
Outteridge was on the pace from the first race and incredibly consistent throughout the regatta, finishing in the top three in six of the nine races, an impressive performance given he hadn’t raced in the A Class since competing in the 2009 World Championships.
'The racing was incredibly close all week, with 70 boats out there if you made one mistake you really paid for it,' he said. 'Everyone had a sketchy moment at some stage in each race.
'I was one of only a couple of guys, Tom included, who was out on the trapeze while going downwind. It was pretty high risk but you got a lot of speed out of it,' he said.
Ashby came out on top overall, with Outteridge finishing just ahead of 2011 A Class World Champion Steve Brewin with multiple World Champion and dual Olympic Silver medalist Darren Bundock fourth and America’s Cup winning skipper James Spithill fifth.
Outteridge didn’t give himself much time to celebrate, with the three-time 49er World Champion up at 4am the next morning to fly to Melbourne to compete in the 2012 Australian Moth Championships at Mornington Yacht Club, with racing beginning just a few hours after arriving.
Again, the short preparation time didn’t slow him down with Outteridge sitting third overall, just six points off the lead after the opening six races. Following the event Outteridge will take a couple of weeks off before returning to the 49er with crew Iain Jensen as the pair continue their preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
For more on the Australian Sailing Team visit www.australiansailingteam.com.au and follow the team on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AusSailingTeam