Audi Hamilton Island Race Week : Rod Jones set for SB20 Championship

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week : Rod Jones set for SB20 Championship

Dual Audi Australian IRC ocean racing champion Rod Jones will further test his tactical racing skill on familiar waters when he contests the SB3 sports boat championship at Hamilton Island.

The Sunshine Coast skipper who has set a high bench mark on the Mooloolaba Yacht Club honour board has left nothing to chance when he contests the inaugural SB3 championship at the prestigious Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.

His tactician will be the Beijing Olympic coach Adrian Finglas who has just returned from the Australian Teams successful World championship campaign in England and Europe.

Finglas besides being a highly respected coach is an outstanding sailor and a master tactician and his inclusion with skipper Rod Jones and the Club Marine Blue crew lists them as a short priced favourite to win the weeklong series starting on Saturday.

“I’m looking forward to racing with Rod again it’s been awhile but we have a good understanding”.

“The racing will be very competitive with every crew holding the chance to win in this strict one-design class”. Finglas said.

Rod Jones has proved to be a crafty ocean racing sailor but his talent will be tested by former Australian Sailboard champion Dennis Winstanley in Jump and Australian 505 champion Phil Gray in Dulon.

Both Winstanley and Gray like Rod Jones possess the tactical skill to add an interesting mix to the championship.

Winstanley will be racing in his own playground and his knowledge of the local conditions could provide him with a marginal edge in selecting the best options in sailing against the swift flowing current.

Naturally he has gathered all the important tactical data but will need to protect his sailing space because he will surely have some followers when they line up for the first race on Saturday.

Phil Gray who has contested an Australian 505 dinghy championship off Catseye Bay is also tactically well prepared.

Interest will also focus on the all female crew challenge headed by Lauren Calder and her Audi Sailing Girls racing team.

Calder has been known never to offer any favours to her male rivals and this is not expected to change when the battle lines are drawn off Hamilton Island.

Her crew list yet to be confirmed by Race Week officials is expected to include teenage Solo Globe sailor Jessica Watson.

Should this be the case it will be the first SB3 championship event for Jessica Watson.

However she certainly has the proven endurance and the super human will to beat the odds as proved during her seven month globe sailing adventure.

Racing in a warm water environment will also be a welcome change and in complete contrast to experiencing wild knockdowns in the cold Atlantic Ocean.

Ian Grant.

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