by Ian Grant
Whitsunday Sailing Clubs International 505 dinghy sailors skipper Paul Mitchell and crew mate Sam Haines will need to have their tactical thinking caps on when they compete for the SAP World championship honours at Hamilton Island later this month.
Bill Cuneo (Left) and John Warlow - Whitsunday Sailing Clubs International 505
The combination have proved their skill to be worthy of testing their tactics against the world’s best but all of the best intentions can fall apart with the simplest of errors.
Paul Mitchell raced at the 2009 World championship on San Francisco Bay where he found out the small errors in race strategy and sail handling technique placed his title aspirations in damage control.
He and Sam Haines will have a slight technical advantage of sailing in familiar conditions to the wind and current which they regularly experience with club racing on Pioneer Bay.
But the contest of protecting individual reputations in the 2011 SAP World championship will heat up dramatically with an expected fleet of 81 crews all having the same intention of improving their international ranking by contesting sea room on the start line.
The time spent with crew training sessions on Pioneer bay is important but the pressure to make all the correct split-second decisions including being aware of the racing rules will test the happy sailing character of Mitchell and Haines.
However they remain proud to represent their club State and Nation in the first World championship to be raced under the prestigious Hamilton Island Yacht Club burgee.
It’s an honour which they deserve and their preparation suggests that they will be race ready for the tactical battle.
They are also happy to be respected members of the friendly International 505 class family and understand the friendship will remain onshore when the fleet faces up to the exciting challenge for championship points.
As to be expected the contest to win the 2011 SAP World championship at the International standard venue of Hamilton Island has attracted a very competitive fleet including the defending champions Wolfgang Hunger and Julien Kleiner of Germany.
The championship is already billed as a tactical fleet racing showdown between the World’s best open dinghy sailors has attracted a very strong Australian line up including the 2008 Australian champions Bill Cuneo and John Warlow in Daring Kestrel 11.
They possess a familiar understanding with racing at Hamilton Island having won their Australian championship three years ago with a day to spare.
Both skipper Bill Cuneo and John Warlow follow a career path of their famed father’s 1972 Olympic Dragon class Gold Medallist John Cuneo and Brisbane to Gladstone race winner Bill Warlow.
A reserved John Warlow says 'the world title brings out the best of the best and you have to be physically and mentally prepared with all the boxes ticked before you set foot on Hamilton Island'.
Skipper Bill Cuneo was in a similar frame of mind 'we will be playing with the good guys and there is simply no margin for error’ He said.