Laser SB20 World Championships 2009 – A Preview
Racing for the 2009 Laser SB3 World Championships begins on Monday 31st August and runs until Friday 4th September in Cascais, Portugal. 56 entries represent 8 countries. There are 14 races scheduled. Racing will start at 1300 hrs each day when the wind is forecast to be a stable 18 – 25 knots. Many of the competitors are wondering if they have woken up in heaven this morning…
Those who have arrived early in Cascais are taking advantage of the Cascais Vela 09 Regatta, sponsored by Quebramar and Chrysler. Sister-ships Spirit of Cape Town and City of Cape Town hold the two top spots after 6 races. Could this be a sign of things to come for the Race Ahead boats? Father and son duo David and Roger Hudson have now split forces and Roger has joined the Spirit of Cape Town team with Tariq Jacobs of 29er Youth World Championship fame.
As host Nation the Portuguese have fielded a strong fleet. Ex Olympian, Fernando Bello, will be aiming high on his home waters whilst Rui Caldas Barreiro, who recently switched to sailing from windsurfing, leads the Portuguese fleet in the warm up event, lying 3rd overall after 6 races.
Michael Quirk and Lauren Calder represent Australia at the World Championships. Calder, sponsored by Audi, sails with the only all girl team of the regatta, no doubt all eyes will be on them and their performance! Quirk enjoys the addition of Michael McLean, ex Australian Rugby League legend, to his crew whose strength will come into play as soon as the wind builds.
Amongst the GBR entries, there are a number of entries worthy of a mention. Team Zimmer comprising Mike Budd, Mark Greaves and Sam Gardner will be looking for a podium position having finished 10th in the 2008 World Championships but 2nd at the 2009 UK Nationals and 1st at the Portuguese Nationals just three weeks ago. Craig Burlton, Steve ‘AB’ White and Adam Heeley will sail their second World Championships together as Gill Race Team and will no doubt feel the pressure from Budd having won the UK Nationals in June. As a team they will also be hoping to lay to rest the ghost of day 5 at the 2008 World Championships.
Other GBR teams to keep an eye on include Chris Darling and daughter Alice in Darling Associates, Jerry Hill, Joe Llewellyn and Paul Kameen the trio of Old Blokes, Guy Jackson and his student team in Team Solent Helly Hansen and In Your Pocket helmed by Andy Oddie with crew Garth Edwards and Andy Rice. Geoff Carveth, 2008 World Champion is unable to attend the Championships to defend his 2008 title.
For those who have made the effort to travel to Cascais from across Europe towing their boats and those that have flown in from the other side of the world, this Championship will not disappoint. The organisation by the Clube Naval de Cascais team, headed by Bruno Santos is first class. The weather conditions are everything an SB3 sailor hopes for, the racing will be highly competitive and the welcome from the locals could not be more friendly. All eyes are now on the coverted Waterford Crystal Laser SB3 World Championship Trophy, and the excitement that will unfold before the 2nd World Champion of the class lifts the trophy next Friday night.
A report and the results will be sent daily, stay tuned……