Posted in GybeSet - 2012 Articles
Following the 470 Sail Melbourne event in early December, Roger & Asenathi linked up with Great British sailor Geoff Carveth for the 2012 SB20 World Championships at the idyllic Hamilton Island off the coast of Queensland Australia. Geoff is a UK sailing legend having won their champions of champions event, The Endeavor Trophy, several times as well as being a multiple World Champion. Here’s Roger’s update at the halfway stage of the regatta:
“We’re loving the opportunity to sail with and learn from Geoff at this event", says Roger. "Having been entirely focused on the 470 Olympic campaign in 2012 we weren’t in a position to mount an outright RaceAhead campaign for the SB20 Worlds this time around. Fortunately Asenathi and I bumped into Geoff at a party in Weymouth on the final evening of the Olympics and he asked us to join him and his 2012 SB20 campaign. We were both super keen. Asenathi was especially up for learning the front of the boat and to broaden his experience with some headsail trimming. And I was really interested to try out the helm-mainsail combo with Geoff having raced against him a lot over the past 5 years. Following the discussions, I linked up with Geoff for the SB20 Dutch Nationals in September which we managed to win and also for the Europeans a week later where we finished 3rd.
After the Sail Melbourne 470 event in early December, we headed directly up to Hamilton Island for 5 day’s training. Hamilton Island is a miniature tropical paradise, one of the 74 Whitsunday Islands which are about 1000km North of Brisbane at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. The place feels like a fantasy land – there are no cars on the island, only Golf cart buggies. The prices here are also something out of a fantasy land. We had a bit of a disaster on our final training day when we hit one of the Island’s famous Giant Turtles while cranking it downwind at around 16 knots. We’re not sure what happened to the Turtle, there was a lot of concern for him all round, but our keel shaft was half destroyed and it took a lot of heavy repair work on the day before the event to get it ready for racing. Apparently turtle incidents are not too uncommon at Hamilton Island – one of the boats at the 505 Worlds here 2 years ago hit a Turtle and took off their entire transom. We also heard that a coconut dropped out of a tree and went straight through a 505.
The hazards we were most concerned about were the high quality competitors we were about to face in the racing. Amongst the 42 entries there are some serious sailing credentials including Rodion Luka, 49er silver medalist and world champion, Glen Bourke, 3 time Laser World Champion and Finn Olympian, Ben Saxton, current UK Endeavor Trophy Champion and rising UK sailing wunderkind, Ian Brown Olympic 470 Bronze medalist, Malcolm Page, Olympic 470 two-time gold medalist, Rob Greenhalgh, Volvo Ocean Race winner, Pietro Negri’s team, the 2012 Melges 24 World Champions, Anna Basalkina, 470 Olympian, and other former world champions from classes such as Dragon’s, J24’s and the SB including Chris Dare, Nick Rogers & Jerry Hill.
After training for a week in big 20-25 knot conditions, the breeze switch off for the regatta and we’ve had really tricky light switchy tidal conditions. And the locals reel out that famous and well worn regatta line: “It’s never normally like this!”
We’ve done ok so far, lying 4th overall after 5 races. But we need to improve our consistency if we want to really compete for the title. We’ve had a 17, 5, 2, 1 & 10 and we can’t really afford another slip in this single discard regatta. Someone who has yet to slip at all is the Russian entry helmed by Rodion Luka, but with 7 races to go there is plenty to come and it’s going to be light breeze and tricky tides by the look of the forecast.
Today we’re enjoying the lay-day, complete with a pool party for all the competitors. Asenathi and I are enjoying this short rest having trained and raced for 32 out of the last 40 days. From tomorrow we’ll give it our best for 3 more days of hard sailing in 2012 and hopefully we’ll all have a little extra something to celebrate over the Christmas holidays.
Thanks to all of our supporters and especially to Geoff and his SB20 sponsor WKD for inviting us to this event.”