The first of November marked one month to the close of paperwork for this year’s UON SB20 World Championships when an extraordinary line up of Olympians and sailing world title holders in the SB20 and other classes will rendezvous at Hamilton Island.
The 2012 UON SB20 World Championships will be the first time the class has held its world title in the southern hemisphere. Up to 45 SB20s are expected on the start line for the Whitsunday battle to be staged from December 12th – 20th.
SB20 World Council President Edward Russo says, ‘There are few opportunities like this in one’s lifetime; in the deepest part of a cold and rainy winter in Europe to head to Hamilton Island, Australia, for 10 days of the highest level of one-design competition available in average winds of 15 knots plus and temperatures of over 25°’.
Australia’s own London Games 470 gold medallist, Malcolm Page, will be on the mainsheet for Ian Brown’s entry, One Design Sailing. Brown’s no slouch either; his credentials include Olympic 470 bronze medallist and Olympic coach, Moth world champion and top four in the world in numerous classes.
Brown mentored a young Malcolm Page and 30 years later the pair has reunited to continue their SB20 alliance. Their for’ard hand is 22 year-old university student, Klade Hauschildt, who has trained with Olympic super coach Victor Kovalenko and his 470 squad but is now focusing on Lasers. Sabot and Flying 11 sensation, 14 year-old Finn Gilbert, will rejoin Brown’s crew assisting the bowman and wherever else his nimble hands are needed.
Brown came across Finn Gilbert by chance on the beach at Clontarf, Sydney, while searching for his missing car keys. Finn and his father Lachlan were returning from an outing on the family’s Mirror dinghy and struck up a conversation after the youngster located Brown’s keys. Due to his size, weight and sailing nous Finn was handpicked for Brown’s SB20 campaign, and has become a successful dinghy sailor in his own right.
The One Design Sailing team began training out of Manly Yacht Club in September; Page sneaking time out from his busy Australian Farr 40 program and even busier public speaking and other post-Olympic official duties.
To fit in with Finn’s high school timetable, three training sessions a week are slotted in before and after school. For the final run in to the worlds, the opportunity for match practice will come from competing in a number of Melbourne SB20 regattas.
Page cites the UK as the country to beat at the world championship and Glenn Bourke as Australia’s standout chance. As for the likelihood of Brown & Co. picking up a trophy Page says, ‘We have the potential, just not the time. We’ll go and have fun’.
Hamilton Island is fast becoming the preferred Australian destination for hosting major warm water sailing events, including sports boats titles and the preeminent keelboat regatta, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Come December a multinational fleet will take to the course area, likely to be east of the award winning destination. Ashore families and supporters travelling with the competitors will be enjoying the many pools, restaurants, shops, wildlife zoo and other facilities on offer.
To date the countries represented on the starters list include Italy, United Arab Emirates, France, The Netherlands, Russia and the UK.
One of the most anticipated entries is coming from a crew of Perth based indigenous school girls whose inaugural SB20 campaign is being sponsored by the 2012 world championship naming rights sponsor, UON, supplier of power generation, air compressors and water pumping solutions to industry.
Entries close December 1.