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Sail-World.com : Can Sailing become Australia’s number two Olympic sport?

Can Sailing become Australia’s number two Olympic sport?

'2012 London bound Australian sailors Matt Belcher, Tom Slingsby, Jessica Crisp,Malcolm Page and Iain Jensen (Natthan Outteridge absent - sailing)'    Andrew Gough - copyright

Looking ahead to August 2012, it’s quite possible to see Australia with at least three Olympic Gold medals and if all goes well more medals from possibly another three classes. Should that dream come to pass it would likely deliver the Australian Olympic sailing team the prestigious second place behind the Australian Swimming team in the 2012 Olympic medal race.

But there is many a slip between the cup and the lip.

We watched all the medal races at the 2011 ISAF World Sailing Games, We saw Beijing gold medallist Malcolm Page and 470 dinghy helm Mathew Belcher, and 49er skiff wunderkind Nathan Outteridge and Iain Goobs Jensen win their World Championships.

Then we cheered from the Grandstand, when Tom Slingsby triumphantly sailed to his fourth Laser World Championship. We and most observers expect Australia should start Olympic favourites in those three classes.

It can all go pear shaped of course. We watched Tom Slingsby with head in hands at the end of the first day of the Qingdao regatta, but these days Tom is a much more experienced and stronger sailor. As he said to us before Perth 2011, 'these days I go into every event as favourite, so it's just another event,'

We hope that’s true but we expect to see some pre-event nervousness in Weymouth in less than 200 days. If not from the athletes certainly from the YA support team and athletes families.

Sail-World will have our biggest ever Olympic reporting team for London 2012 and we certainly hope we don’t have to write a story title such as the tragic title that Bob Ross wrote for us at the end of a Australian Sailing team medal-less Athens 2004. It was ‘Sob'

But right now the sailors are pushing hard Outteridge says he sails 300 days of the year and spends about 30 travelling. One would hope he might have a few days off between now and end July.

He is certainly on fire, he and Iain Goobs Jensen have a worst of fourth in all their 49er regattas so far. Outteridge is on the water racing, as you’d expect today. He was 11th at the A-Cat Worlds three years ago, sailed into second against a stronger than World’s fleet at the Wangi Australian Championships and this week he is at the Australian Moth titles. He was the Moth World Champion in 2011

On the Olympic scene there are critical months ahead, Jessica Crisp is putting in the hard yards, we just so wish to see her on the RS:X Womens podium in Weymouth. Hopefully by May we will have a Womens Match Racing selection between the two crews skippered by Nicky Souter and Olivia Price and more good results from Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell in the 470 Womens class and Krystal Weir in the Laser Radials putting them into the Olympic squad.

Another GME EPIRB facilitated rescue last week. Good to see Australian manufacturers to the fore.

Today we feature another interview with Glenn Ashby, where he explains the virtues of downwind trapezing and there is news from Ben Ainslie Incorporated and as you’d expect Richard Gladwell gives you some thoughts on that.
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A-Class Australian Championship 2012 - Wangi Wangi (AUS) - 03/01/12
Glenn Ashby  © Andrea Francolini?nid=92765 Photography  


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BTW - NSW Maritime has issued an alert following a Bureau of Meteorology warning about strong winds on Sydney closed waters. The forecast is for southwesterly winds increasing up to 30 knots this evening.




by Rob Kothe & the Sail-World Team

  

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3:51 AM Wed 11 Jan 2012 GMT






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