by Ian Grant
The Queensland SB3 crew of Hamilton Island skipper Glenn Bourke and his Sunshine Coast sail handlers Rod Jones and Greg MacAllansmith have qualified for the Zhik World Championship medal sail off.
Zhik SB3 World Championships day 2
Their pre-title ambition to finish the important qualifying races in the top 20 was achieved in tricky wind conditions on the Royal Torbay Yacht Club courses when they piloted Club Marine into 10th place on 27 points.
Team Britannia continued to rule the waves with the English sailors who have won the past three World Championships dominating the major places in this championship which has attracted 103 crews representing 14 nations.
Peter Saxton and his Rola-Trac crew have shown their advantage of racing on home waters to head the progressive championship score card with 12 points followed by John Pollard Xcellent on 14 points while 2008 World champion Geoff Carveth in Race Team Gill remains in contact in third place.
Olympian Nathan Outteridge and his talented crew including fellow Laser Olympic representative Tom Slingsby and Olympic Bronze medal winning 470 sailor Ian Brown have sailed consistently in the testing winds to head the Australian challenge in seventh place on 21 points just three places and six points clear of Club Marine.
Naturally the Queensland crew are happy with their progressive result but skipper Glenn Bourke and Rod Jones who helped to establish the class in Australia with his Sunshine Coast based OceanBuro Performance Sailing team; remain focused on winning the tactical ‘arm wrestle’ against the British crews.
Big fleet racing experience certainly favours the British crews but both of the Australian combinations have the talent and tactical skill to feature in what promises to be a - them versus us – fight for the honour of defending the Waterford Crystal World title trophy at Hamilton Island in December 2012.
Both the Nathan Outteridge helmed One Design Sailing crew racing under the Lake Macquarie Wangi Sailing Club burgee and the Glenn Bourke skippered Club Marine jointly representing the Maroochy Sailing Club and the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, proved they are on the pace winning a qualifying race but they will need to protect their sailing space to keep their title winning prospects alive.
Glenn Bourke as expected showed little emotion except to say he was happy with winning a qualifying race. But the pressure to remain in the top ten will heat up when the British sailors, who qualified with seven crews in the top ten, defend their unbeaten record in World Championship SB3 racing when the battle-lines are drawn to decide the 2011 series on the tactically demanding English Channel waters on Friday (London Time).