Latitude 28 by Ian Grant 

SB3 fleet racing.Club Marine Blue targets Dart titles

Glenn Bourke the former Olympian and Laser class World champion has successfully made the transition to the strict art form of SB3 Dart one-design racing by winning the Victorian championship on Geelong’s Corio Bay.
The master tactician took a break from his busy daytime job as CEO of the Bob Oatley owned Hamilton Island Resort to team up with his Sunshine Coast crewmates Rod Jones and Greg MacAllansmith in the high performance sports boat Club Marine Blue.
They were in similar dominating form last August winning the Queensland championship on the more familiar courses set for the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.
However, the Club Marine Blue crew who are currently ranked fourth in the World following the 2011 World championship in England were forced to be selective in their race strategy in the tricky conditions that were presented on Corio Bay.
Their eventual 12 point championship winning margin, from the best 10 races to count included eight wins, clearly showed that the Club Marine Blue crew again set another high standard in this demanding class.
During a post regatta interview Glenn Bourke said, “It comes down to tactics. This was an odd regatta in that quite often the corners paid, and I’m not a corner type of guy. But eventually the conservative option, taking the shifts in the middle and chipping away, won out”.
“You have to be in phase (with the wind) when it’s shifting that much we were in phase more often”.
“Thousands of races over the course of a career bashes what’s right and wrong into you. Then if you have a little bit of natural ability coupled with that it helps,” he said.
The trio of sailors will be forced into employing a different set of tactics to master Hobart idol and former World Dragon class champion Nick Rogers as they prepare to contest the open Australian championship on the equally tricky River Derwent.
Interest will also focus on the performance of class ‘rookies’ including former Sydney Hobart Race winning skipper Roger Hickman from Tasmania and Chris Dare from Victoria.

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Black Jack sailors refine their skills

Vaughan Prentice and Mark Bradford recognised among Australia’s smartest Etchells one-design racing skippers have a full racing diary leading into the Brisbane Gladstone Race over the Easter weekend.
Their commitment started with the 2012 World Etchells championship on the Manly circle last month.
The Brisbane North sail-loft business partners and key crewmembers in the Black Jack ocean racing team finished the 2011 sailing season on a high note, playing an important crew role when Investec Loyal scored a surprise line honours win over the Mark Richards skippered Wild Oats XI in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.
Skipper Mark Bradford already has the career distinction of winning a World Etchells Silver Medal, however, he has confidently handed over the tiller for the 2012 World championship challenge to his talented sailing mate Vaughan Prentice.
“I’m going to be the wave-break in the bow with the responsibility of making sure there are no stuff-ups with spinnaker sets, gybes and drops,” Bradford said.
Both Vaughan Prentice and Mark Bradford have the collective experience of knowing when to ‘crank up’ the boat speed. However, they will be required to base their tactical strategy on thinking ahead of the game to have their skills rewarded.
Meanwhile a top place in the Etchell Worlds remains a priority while Black Jack is being prepared to represent Queensland in the Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Sydney Harbour regatta on similar courses off Sydney Heads on March 10-11.
Black Jack, owned by Brisbane businessman Peter Harburg and crewed by a talented team of Queensland sailors, will use the Sydney regatta as an important evaluation trial before lining up for the 2012 Brisbane to Gladstone Race on Good Friday 6th April.
“Sydney racing sets the benchmark for testing the IRC rating and we have nominated Black Jack to see where we are at in terms of being on the pace,” Bradford said.
Apart from contesting the Surf to City (Southport to Sandgate) race in January, Black Jack has been resting in her cradle for the past eight months while owner Peter Harburg pursued his passion of car racing in Europe.
Now they are back on the IRC racing circuit and are fully prepared to face a searching test on the Manly Circle where they will go head to head against a competitive fleet including Marcus Blackmore’s 2011 Audi Australian Champion Hooligan and Stephen Ainsworth’s Rolex Sydney Hobart champion Loki.

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Old Salt’s Treasure chest

Treasure VIII the Riechel/Pugh 36 skippered by Whitsunday Sailing Club’s Harold Menelaus continues to record impressive results suggesting they have the potential to be a front runner for the club championship.
‘Old Salt’ Harold Menelaus has owned and raced a number of well-prepared yachts during his career of ocean racing at two of Queensland’s most ideal sailing destinations – Mooloolaba and now off Airlie Beach – but few can compare with the personal joy he experiences at the helm of his latest ‘Treasure’.
However, there have been some unexpected disappointments and among the more notable was the failure to live up to their reputation as one of the favourites to win the Airlie Beach Race Week IRC class title in August last year.
But that went ‘pear shape’ when Treasure VIII failed to finish the opening race of the series, the Double Cone Armit Island race, when her steering gave way forcing the crew to clutch the grab rails as the sloop careered into an uncontrolled round-up after they had mastered the brute trade winds to hold a promising corrected handicap position.
Thankfully that unwanted experience is now history, and judging by the results set in the rather warm tropical winds in recent weeks Treasure VIII has shown her pace to ward off the in-form Bobby D (Ross Winterbourne) and the consistent Reignition (Charles Wallis) while also losing a private match race by five seconds against the larger AC 40 the Terry Archer skippered Questionable Logic.
Their current form suggests that the Treasure VIII sailing team will continue to improve and hopefully set the pace to warrant the chance of winning the best local boat trophy when the racing for the 2012 Airlie Beach Race Week class championships are decided over the Whitsunday Sailing Club courses later this year.

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Sailing Passion

Veteran Gold Coast sailor Colin Metcher, 74, again tested his personal endurance at the tiller of his sports skiff Cool Change when the exciting fleet of mixed class dinghies and catamarans contested The Great Race on Saturday 25 February.
This unique and exciting sailing challenge ranked among Australia’s most demanding small boat races over a physically demanding 37.8nm course from the The Southport Yacht Club, Hollywell to finish off The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron on Brisbane’s Waterloo Bay.
Colin Metcher who won his first major trophy The South of Perth YC championship 58 years ago has an impressive list of International and National awards showcased in his personal trophy cabinet.
In fact he has sailed that many miles his race rivals believe he has salt water in his blood stream and turtle-neck barnacles growing on his skin. His personal career resumé includes winning the World Hydra catamaran championship plus a class win in the prestigious Hoek van Holland marathon in Europe.
To say he has a personal passion for the sport of sailing is an understatement as he has focused his career on planning and competing in major marathon events in West Australia before settling on Queensland’s Gold Coast. He is a principal organizer with Southport YC mate David Jorganson and set the safety procedures in place for the inaugural Great Race seven years ago.
“Sure sailing is my passion and I’m proud of it,” he said when pondering over the thought of subjecting his 74-year-old muscles to another test of physical torture.
He has a good idea on what to expect, being the only skipper to have the distinction of completing all seven marathons since the first of these classic marathon races in 2005.