by Ian Grant
Sydney 2000 Olympic 470 Gold Medallist Tom King has set his sights on becoming the first skipper to win back to back championships during the ADCO Etchells Australasian Winter regatta off Mooloolaba next month.
Etchells World Championship Sydney Australia 2012. Tom King’s Iron Lotus.
King the skipper of Iron Lotus and his clever crew mates Ivan Wheen, Owen McMahon and David Edwards who recorded a brilliant win in the World championship in Sydney earlier in the year are naturally nominated as the regatta favourite.
They have the distinction of winning the hotly contested series off Mooloolaba before and are no strangers to adjusting their tactical strategy to master the tricky winter wind which often prevails off the South Queensland coast in June.
The success already recorded in skipper Tom King’s personal log book including an Olympic Gold Medal and the 2012 Etchells World championship suggests he deserves the honour of holding the top skipper’s card.
The winning team, Tom King, David Edwards, Ivan Wheen & Owen McMahon, "Iron Lotus".
However he understands the equally important role contributed by the crew to rank the Iron Lotus racing team as the best to master the extreme test to remain as the best in this strict art form of one-design keel-boat racing.
But the sailing conditions off Mooloolaba have shown at past regattas that they are rarely predictable and have the potential to sort the best from the rest.
Previous major regatta results have proved that skipper Tom King and his Iron Lotus crew are well equipped to handle the tactical pressure and deserve the honour of being the top nomination and the pre-title favourite.
There is also a strong mix of former World championship gold medallists in the fleet which suggests the battle to win the 2012 ADCO Etchells Australasian winter trophy has again attracted another World standard fleet.
Royal Hong Kong Yacht club skipper Mark Thornburrow has added important tactical clout to his title challenge with the former Australian champion Racer X.
Thornburrow has including the exceptionally talented 2009 World Championship Gold Medallist Bucky Smith to his crew.
Bucky Smith regarded among the smartest sailors to develop his career from racing off Mooloolaba will provide the Racer X challenge with an edge in local knowledge while his World title crew mates Matthew Chew and Paul Wyatt promise to be on the pace with Gen XY.
Master tactician Colin Beashel who holds the distinction of representing Australia at six Olympic Games besides being a member of the Australia ll Americas Cup winning crew plus a gold Medal performance at the 1993 Tag Heuer World Etchells in Brisbane returns to the class.
Beashel will skipper North Star with specialist North Sails principal Richie Allanson and Garry Gudmunson making up a highly skilled one design sailing combination that have the proven potential to command respect as a title challenger.
However, while the Iron Lotus crew remain as the pre-regatta favourite the pressure will be on for them to sail consistently to hold the chance of becoming the first to win back to back when the final race is decided off Mooloolaba Beach on June 10.
Fifteen (David Clark) in sprint mode off Mooloolaba.