by Ian Grant
Zhik SB3 World Championship, Torbay, England.
Rod Jones and Greg MacAllansmith have sailed a lot of intensely competitive nautical miles but none will be as important in comparison with their bid to win the 2011 Zhik World SB3 championship in England.
The specialist one-design Sunshine Coast sailors who have the distinction of winning two Audi Australian IRC championships have teamed up with Glenn Bourke from Hamilton Island in what represents a strong challenge to win the series against the tactically strong English crews who have won the past three World championships.
Four Australian crews have entered the tactical arm wrestle with Glenn Bourke, Rod Jones and Greg MacAllansmith listed as a major contender along with the master dinghy sailing helmsman and Australian Olympian Nathan Outteridge and his crew of World Olympic Laser champion Tom Slingsby and 1976 Olympic Bronze Medallist Ian Brown.
Nathan Outteridge who has made a miraculous recovery after suffering a broken back in vehicle accident in 2004 has personally demonstrated the fighting spirit to be now recognised among the World’s best in the Olympic 49er class.
His exceptional talent has allowed him to win World championships including the 2011 Moth title on his favoured Lake Macquarie course.
He alone presents an enormous tactical challenge for the Club Marine crew of Glenn Bourke, Rod Jones and Greg MacAllansmith to overcome but the Queenslanders remained confident as they began their campaign with pre-title training on the Royal Torbay Yacht Club course earlier this week.
'We are in the process of making sure our boat will be up to speed for the pre-world regatta finals and the 14 race World championship on May 16-20'.
'Of course the dream team of Nathan Outteridge, Tom Slingsby and Ian Brown headline the Australian challenge but our crew backed by the proven World championship winning helming skills of Glenn Bourke is expected to be strong front line contenders' Rod Jones said.
How the warm water Australian crews will fare in the colder northern hemisphere climate will remain unanswered until the sails are tensioned for the first race of the World title on Monday May 16.
Sure the battle for the major places in the pre-worlds will be important but all of the 119 crews representing 14 nations will place their tactical one-design racing skill on the line to be crowned as the 2011 Zhik World Laser SB3 World champions after the final race on May 20.
Both Nathan Outteridge who races under the Wangi Amateurs Sailing Club burgee and Glenn Bourke jointly representing the Hamilton Island Yacht Club and the Maroochy Sailing Club have the proven skills to be listed among the championship favourites.
However while the career results of Nathan Outteridge and Glenn Bourke are respected that respect will be left onshore when the battle-lines are drawn to sort the best from the rest with the 2011 Zhik World champions invited to defend the championship at Hamilton Island in December 2012.
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