by Ian Grant
World Laser Masters sailing champion Mark Kennedy can confidently say he has provided his children son Mitchell (18) and daughter Madison (16) with the important personal skills.
Kennedy Clan L to R Mitchell, Madison and Mark.
The trio of Queensland Olympic Laser dinghy sailors who regard the Maroochy Sailing Club burgee as their battle-flag have continued to make a huge impression since father Mark won his World Crown at the Sydney Masters Games in 2009. While this result remains as a career best result Mark has never failed in the role of offering his talented teenage children the best advice for their individual careers.
Relatively modest Madison gained her first official Australian representative colours when she contested the 2010 Youth Olympic regatta in the unfamiliar Byte class finishing 14th overall. Naturally their careers have become the focal point at the family meal table with Mark providing Mitchell and Madison with the opportunity to talk openly during their post race analysis sessions. Mitchell regards his father who introduced him to sailing at the age of six as the person who has played the most influential role in his career. 'He is awesome to talk sailing with', He said.
However while the Queensland Academy of Sport sailing team members Mitchell and Madison receive the best advice from their dad and QAS coach Adrian Finglas it has been their personal endurance and tactical skills which have gained the excellent results in the heat of the action on the race course.
Mitchell proved his exceptional one-design Laser dinghy sailing skills when he won his first major Gold Medal at the 2009 Sail Brisbane regatta in 2009. He has practiced extensively with open class Laser sailors Ryan Palk and Klade Hauschildt to further improve his personal technique and tactical skills.
Last month Mitchell left the friendly and warm environment of his Sunshine Coast home and headed off to La Rochelle France for his first international regatta tour. Before the first regatta began the rather quite teenager was regarded as just another ‘Aussie’ in the rigging area. But after 12 races the ‘Aussie Battler’ proudly stood on the podium to accept the World U19 Laser Radial championship Silver Medal.
After a few days rest he was back on the course contesting the Open Laser Radial Youth championship against 271 rivals.
During the 12 physically enduring races contested in moderate to fresh winds and larger than normal waves Mitchell continued to show his class finishing seventh overall with the best 10 race to count score of 13-2-4-6-6-4-8-7-5-29.