by Ian Grant
Rod Jones withdraws from UON World Championship at Hamilton Island because of a nagging knee injury
The UON World championship 2012 lost a tough competitor in Rod Jones after veteran Sunshine Coast sailor decided to pull out of the SB20 One-Design sailing battle in Hamilton Island because of a nagging knee injury.
The injury which occurred away from the water during his personal fitness program meant that he would be restricted and virtually become a ‘passenger’ alongside skipper and master tactician Glenn Bourke and the talented Sunshine Coast bowman Greg MacAllansmith.
All three sailors who finished fourth overall in the 2011 World championship held in England have since made a clean sweep of all major regatta trophies including the Australian championship on Hobart’s River Derwent and the SB 20 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week series.
These results confirmed the Glenn Bourke, Rod Jones and Greg MacAllansmith Club Marine racing teams ranking as a front line contender to end the domination by the English fleet, who have won the past four World championships.
However while Rod Jones who introduced this exciting One-Design sport boat class to the Australian sailing scene has stepped aside with his sheet-hand role filled by former champion New South Wales Laser sailor and Americas Cup crew member Andrew York.
The exceptionally talented Andrew York while being unfamiliar with the demands of SB20 fleet racing has spread his experience over a number of classes and will quickly adapt to ‘learning the ropes’ for skipper Glenn Bourke to race Club Marine in the fast lane.
However class racing history at the World championship level places England’s Geoff Carveth as the pre- regatta favourite.
He has won two of the four SB 20 World championships all of which were decided at Northern Hemisphere venues.
How Geoff Carveth and crew will adjust to racing in a warm tropical climate and sailing on an unfamiliar tactical ‘play ground’ laced with swift flowing current and short white crested waves will be revealed when the battle lines are drawn for the proposed 18 race 6 day regatta starting on Friday December 14th with the 2012 champion crowned after the final race on Thursday December 20th.
While England’s Geoff Carveth and the Australian class champion Glenn Bourke remain as the pre-championship favourites they will need to be on the pace to protect their reputations against an impressive list of top line crews including former Olympian Ian Brown and his One Design racing team including London Olympic Gold Medallist Malcolm Page and Noosa Laser sailor Klade Hauschildt.
This trio along with Rodion Luka who has escaped from the freezing winter in Ukraine to enjoy some sun drenched racing in the Whitsunday Islands have the tactical skill to attract respect but the tactical demand for racing on unfamiliar waters in possibly strong trade winds should favour the Glenn Bourke skippered Club Marine who has an enviable undefeated record in racing over the physical and mentally demanding Hamilton Island race track.