by Ian Grant
Ryan Palk of Noosaville has spent little time enjoying the comfort of family life at his Noosa Waters home over the past year as he pursues his Olympic dream. He has basically lived out of his ‘sail bag’ competing in major Olympic class regattas in Europe and England with the Australian team.
Ryan Palk (Laser)in action
However as all sailors in the Olympic Laser class understand there is no quick fix to the top of the International rankings presently dominated by multiple World champion New South Wales skipper Tom Slingsby.
Tom Slingsby is a super fit aquatic athlete and a master tactician and remains as the first choice skipper to represent Australia at 2012 Olympic regatta in England.
As expected Tom Slingsby has continued to mature with his career targeted towards racing in the Gold Medal round in England while his Australian team mates Ashley Brunning, Tom Burton and Ryan Palk remain in the chase as future Olympians.
All four talented one-design dinghy racing skippers again reflected Australia’s dominance at major International regattas with Tom Slingsby predicably claiming the ISAF World Cup Gold Medal in Melbourne earlier this month.
Slingsby won five of the ten races and was placed in the top three in every race to win the series by a commanding nineteen points over England’s Nick Thompson while Ashley Brunning won the Bronze Medal.
Tom Burton fifth and Ryan Palk eighth completed a convincing result for the Australian Team which attracted a sixty-three boat fleet representing 25 nations.
The Australian Olympic Laser squad coached by Sydney 2000 Bronze medallist Michael Blackburn has remained in full training for the Perth World cup regatta from December 3-18.
Then there will be little time for Ryan Palk to enjoy some time relaxing with friends and family before he is due back on the race course to contest the 2011-12 Australian championship on Brisbane’s Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron courses from December 27th to January 4th.
More importantly the super fit 23 year old will have the chance to train with some familiar friends including Noosaville’s Klade Hauschildt and Maroochydore Sailing Club brother and sister Mitchell and Madison Kennedy.
Klade Hauschildt is particularly interested in testing his personal endurance and boat speed against Ryan Palk when the two friendly rivals tension the sails for the National championship points on Waterloo Bay.
They are great mates having spent endless hours in training together however while that respect remains the racing involves a more personal perspective.
Both have won Australian intermediate rig championships on Waterloo Bay however the slightly older Ryan Palk could be forced to protect his sailing space when the two long term training mates press their individual challenge for National Olympic Laser class medal honours later this year.