Outteridge saves best till last in Audi King of the Docklands
Audi King of the Docklands 2010 winner, Nathan Outteridge (NSW) saved his best till the last of the day at the 2011 event today, in a stunning race between the remaining three in the knock-out style competition being held on day one of Audi Victoria Week in Victoria Harbour off Waterfront City at Melbourne Docklands.
Fourteen crews planning an assault on the 2011 SB3 World Championship put on a show worth watching as they went through their paces in the ”Skins” style competition aboard the three to four person SB3 keelboat class.
The final race finished after 6.00pm with Outteridge defeating a crew skippered by multiple world champion sailor Glenn Bourke (NSW) and reigning Australian champion Jono Shelley from the United Kingdom. It was a big win that increased as the race wore on.
Outteridge and others did not need to be at the best throughout the competition; the idea was just not to finish last, as last place in each round was eliminated until there were three!
Bourke looked to be top dog throughout the day, with Outteridge not showing his true colours until late. “I guess you could say that, but we’ve still got tomorrow to go,” said Outteridge who just last week won his third world title when he won the Moth Worlds to add to his two 49er Worlds wins.
“Bourkey’s doing well, but then so is Jono Shelley. If it’s windy tomorrow, everything could change,” said Outteridge who figures he has a slight advantage. “It’s a long day with short spurt-racing and a 20 minute break in the middle – that’s pretty much what we do when we’re 49er training,” Outteridge said with his grin widening.
Bourke also feels confident, despite not having seriously raced any type of boat for three years. “I gybed off in the last race and we were punished for it,” the former three-time Laser world champion and America’s Cup sailor said.
“I feel confident about tomorrow – it could be the old fox beating the young hen yet. One penalty, a bad start, sloppy crew work, a bit of bad luck – or good luck – could change the game. I hope it’s shifty, because you get chances to make a comeback,” Bourke added.
The three will now face-off tomorrow, taking the points they earned today with them. Outteridge is on 1400, Bourke on 1300 and Shelley on 1200, giving Outteridge the upper hand.
Today’s racing started in an 8-10 knot breeze with little puffs, but eased off to 5-6 later in the day.
Other competitors included former Dragon world champion and national Etchells champion Nick Rogers (TAS), successful Etchells skipper Damien King (VIC) and Gary Gietz (NSW) an Olympic 470 sailor and sailmaker.
A surprise first exit was Gietz, courtesy of Outteridge. “We ran into Nathan’s boat going around the top mark and he fell off the boat, so we picked him up – and next thing I knew, we were flagged and told we were out – it all happened so fast and I’m disappointed,” Gietz said.
A Gietz crew member and former champion windsurfer, Dennis Winstanley, was a little more upbeat: “We were sailing with a world champion – for a minute,” he laughed. Outteridge had to call to his crew to slow down, so he could dive back aboard his own boat.
The competition finishes tomorrow afternoon with the finals. The lucky winner will spend 12 months behind the wheel of the brand new Audi A1.