As any good sailor knows, the most common heard phrase at any major regatta is, ‘the conditions are never like this’.
Adelaide, the host of the SAP 505 World Championships, has been experiencing it’s worst drought on record. Level 3 water restrictions apply, meaning residents are only able to water their gardens once a week and our beautiful parklands have been left to die.
The organiser’s have even had to buy in water so competitors can wash their boats after sailing. Yet the day the containers lobbed, and the international competitors started to arrive, we experience four days of monsoonal showers.
There are six year old kids in Cooper Pedy, a town North of Adelaide, who had never seen rain before and it has been over 200 days since we have had anything meaningful. With the rain has come either no wind or gales, so our visitors have no idea what to expect. Typical conditions remain absent.
Already the club is a hive of activity, with containers being unloaded, boats being prepped and old friends becoming re-acquainted.
So far we have seen Mike Holt, the American with the Pommy accent, Peter Alarie – Hasso Plattner's man on the ground, Adrian Finglass – super coach and former Australian Champion and Bill Cuneo and John Warlow from Queensland.
Today (Sat 20/1) there is a local club race scheduled and we may have our first chance to see the early form. However severe thunderstorms are forecast and I suspect the prudent may stay ashore.
The Australian Open (an invitational regatta, not the Australian championships) was held two weekends before, with several boats visiting from interstate. The winner there was the form boat in South Australia, Hawaii 5 0, sailed by Sandy Higgins and Paul Marsh.
For the local media, Sandy and Marshy have been tipped as the favourites for the Worlds. The last time they sailed the Worlds was Santa Cruz 05, where they finished sixth and won a heat the day Sandy’s father in law passed away.
Since then, they have stepped up their performances enormously. Our first true form guide comes Tuesday (23/1) with the start of the Pre-Worlds and Australian Championships.
The Pre-Worlds will be over three days, with two races a day, to complete a six race regatta. The first Australian boat will be the Australian Champion.