by Ian Grant
Queensland Laser Dinghy Championship 2013. Tropical storm Oswald forced the champion group of Sunshine Coast Laser dinghy sailors to revise their training schedules for this weekend’s competition on Moreton Bay.
Ryan Palk enters as the favourite to win the upcoming Queensland Laser Dinghy Championship
The storm tormented waters of the Noosa and Maroochy Rivers reluctantly forced the skippers to take the safer option and remain ashore when the gales and torrential rain turned the river systems into a no go zone last weekend.
The destructive storm initially generated into a cyclone from the tropical monsoon in the Gulf of Carpentaria to weave a path of record breaking floods and unparalleled destruction along Australia’s eastern seaboard has finally blown out in the Tasman Sea.
Predictably it has left a return to the normal hot and humid weather and moderate sea breezes which promise to provide prefect tactical racing conditions for the high performance Queensland Laser fleet when they tension the sails for the honour of winning the 2013 Queensland championship on the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron’s Waterloo Bay courses this weekend.
Unfortunately the flood run off from the Brisbane River and Lota Creek has littered the racing venue with debris including tree, branches palm fronds and plastic bags which presents the fleet with an added challenge.
Noosa Skipper Ryan Palk a member of the Australian High performance sailing team coached by London Gold Medal winning mentor Michael Blackburn is the nominated favourite to win the blue ribbon event.
However he can expect to face a challenging tactical encounter form his Queensland Academy of Sport training partners Klade Hauschildt (Noosa) and the younger Maroochydore Sailing club helmsman Mitchell Kennedy.
All three skippers have the proven tactical skills to win the championship however Ryan Palk, the Bronze medallist from the recent Australian championship held on the windy River Derwent, remains as the skipper to beat.
He first sailed into prominence when he won the Australian Laser Radial Gold medal on Waterloo Bay and has gained valuable experience form racing against and training with London Olympic Gold medalist Tom Slingsby.
His results from this weekend’s Queensland championship will be watched with interest as the Australian Olympic campaign continues to defend the Olympic Laser Gold Medal in Brazil in 2016.
The championships will also present a guide to the form of the talented Sunshine Coast teenager Madison Kennedy who already has the career distinction of representing Australia at the junior Olympics held in Singapore.
Madison who has the benefit of growing up in a laser family with older Brother Mitchell and her Australian Masters championship winning father Mark remains focused on improving her ranking as one of Australia’s most talented and respected junior female Laser skippers.
She is poised to add another important Laser trophy to impressive list of career achievements this weekend while Father Mark is the short priced favourite to win the Master trophy with Mitchell expected to claim a minor medal in the open championship.