Latitude 28 by Ian GrantJunior World Moth champion Jack Sherring.

Youth rewards

The picturesque aquatic play ground of the Southport Broadwater has produced the ideal environment for the Southport Yacht Club to promote a successful youth sailing program.
Children including the ‘baby of the fleet’ five-year-old Optimist dinghy skipper Blake Wilson recently represented Queensland in major National championships interstate with youth squad member Jack Sherring winning the World Junior Moth championship on Lake Macquarie.
Principal Coach and youth squad mentor Shane Smith was naturally proud of the results achieved by his happy and enthusiastic young squad.
“We have applied a high degree of fun factor into our courses which has a relaxed appeal with the students as they gain the personal confidence to handle the skills of sailing against the tricky combination of wind and current on the Broadwater,” Shane said.
Shane Smith has a good knowledge of the local conditions having developed his personal skill from being a rookie learn-to-sail student to win Australian Sabot and 420 dinghy championships.
He has related his skill and teaching methods to first encourage and then build a very successful youth squad who have access to all the disciplines of fleet, match and ocean racing.
Southport Yacht Club Youth squad.“Our plan is for the students to first enjoy the challenges of  learning to sail in what I believe to be on a tough ‘training track’ with the mix of variable wind, fast running current,” he said.
“Mastering these elements with the associated wake wash from passing leisure craft provides our students with the required mental toughness to handle the more difficult environments at other venues.”
Their medal count on the recent Australian championship circuit was impressive with Tom Siganto (13) winning the Senior Sabot class bronze medal, while sister Abby (11) crewed with 10-year-old Ezra Pritchard to win the silver medal in the junior class.
Fellow squad members Kyle O’Connell (12) and training partner Tom Cunich (12) have been selected in the Australian Optimist dinghy team to compete in the New Zealand and Singapore national regattas later this year.
“We are a small club but big on performance and it is encouraging to see the students rewarded for their commitment,” Shane Smith said.
Further information about the learn to sail programs is available from the Southport Yacht Club on (07) 5537 7030. Or www.southportyachtclub.com.au

___/) /) /)___

Bertrand chases Grand Slam

John Bertrand became an international sporting idol when he and the Australia II crew defeated Dennis Conner’s Liberty to win the America’s Cup in 1983.
Now almost 28 years later John Bertrand has continued to express his gifted skill in International Etchells class racing winning the 2010 World championship in Ireland and the 2011 Australian championship on Geelong’s Corio Bay during January.
However, while his personal trophy cabinet includes an Olympic Finn class Bronze Medal and memorabilia from his success in the America’s Cup along with Australian Lightweight Sharpie championship trophies, he still remains unsuccessful in major Etchells championship racing off Mooloolaba.
He escaped the chill factor in Melbourne but was unrewarded with a sixth place after suffering a black flag disqualification in opening race last June.
Since then he and his talented long term crew mate Andrew Palfrey have beaten the best in the World and they will carry this reputation into the 2011 Musto Australasian championship over the Mooloolaba Yacht Club courses on the June Queen’s Birthday weekend.
Their present form suggests they will be a front line challenger but first they will have to be on the speed to allow John Bertrand to match the 2010 top five Alistair Gair (New Zealand), David Clark and Mark Johnson from Sydney, Mark Thornburrow (Hong Kong) and Melbourne’s Graeme Taylor, to become the first to complete the Etchells Grand Slam.

___/) /) /)___

Whitsunday kids have class

The exceptionally talented Klaus and Eva Lorenz extended their club racing results with the small Whitsunday Sailing Club fleet into the Australian Optimist dinghy championship record books.
Both young sailors overcame the handicap of regular big fleet racing experience to prove their will to succeed, with Klaus scoring a career best Bronze medal, while his younger sister Eva racing for the first time at the National level finished 46th in the 110 dinghy fleet competing on Pittwater in January.
Their results were a reward for the time they spend with their after-school training on Pioneer Bay.
Klaus and his kid sister are great mates but they become equally competitive when they grip the tiller and tension the mainsheet. She instinctively follows the ‘foot steps’ of her older sibling and has progressively bridged the gap on the race course.
Both Klaus and Eva deserve to be happy with their 2011 National championship results, however, they are not resting on their laurels with Klaus committed to compete in the New Zealand National championship in April while the pair will represent the Whitsunday Sailing Club at the Queensland championships off Mooloolaba in June.
They will also leave the comfort zone of a warmer winter tropical environment to compete in the mid-winter championship over the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron’s Waterloo Bay courses in July.

___/) /) /)___

Spinnaker blowout

A critical gust of wind at  the wrong time proved to be a deciding factor in deciding the Audi King of Docklands SB3 ‘Skins’ match racing championship in Melbourne last month.
There are always some hard luck stories in this type of intense one design match racing and the Sunshine Coast crew of Sean O’Rourke and Greg MacAllansmith, who were racing with multiple World champion and Olympic Laser representative Glenn Bourke of Hamilton Island, have one to tell.
As the story unfolded they were engaged in a tactical arm-wrestle with the eventual winning crew helmed by Nathan Outteridge when the flapping spinnaker hit the rounding mark forcing skipper Bourke and his Club Marine Blue crew to execute a penalty turn.
“We went for a late drop (of the spinnaker) thinking we might get Nathan on an overlap at the mark but a big gust hit us and the kite (spinnaker) got away,” Bourke conceded.
Experienced observers unanimously agreed the error and time consuming penalty executed in the 20 knot South West breeze proved the difference between Nathan Outteridge and Glenn Bourke winning the highly competitive series and the prize of driving an A1, courtesy of regatta sponsor Audi, for the next 12 months.
The regatta also proved to be an important tactical exercise for O’Rourke and MacAllansmith as they prepare for the upcoming Audi SB3 Australian fleet racing championship at Port Stephens before heading to England to compete in the 2011 World championship with their normal skipper Rod Jones.
Jones who introduced this exciting class to promote One-design sports boat racing in Australia has successfully laid the foundation for the exciting SB3 sports boat to gain increased fleet numbers with a strong line up racing regularly off Mooloolaba, and this number is expected to increase when the official 2012 World championship burgee is hoisted at Hamilton Island in late December.
As expected the opportunity to contest a World championship in the Whitsunday trade winds has attracted a number of interesting entries including the all female Sunshine Coast crew skippered by Lauren Calder.
Calder has raced at the World championships before and showed that her young Mooloolaba Yacht Club crew have developed an aggressive tactical maturity to counter their male rivals.
“We know the rules and are happy to shout and protect our space,” she said.