Brits abroad

Skandia Team GBR members are in Argentina ready for the start of the Tornado World Championships

Monday December 4th 2006, Author: Lindsey Bell, Location: United Kingdom
With racing at the 2006 Tornado World Championships due to start on 5 December, Skandia Team GBR's sailors are already in place in San Isidro, Argentina, preparing for what is set to be a close battle for the world title.

Hoping to end Skandia Team GBR’s 2006 success on the world stage on a high are Isle of Wight’s Leigh McMillan and Southampton’s Will Howden, silver medallists at the 2005 World Championships.

Controversy surrounded the 2005 Tornado World Championships when McMillan and Howden were originally named World Champions after Spanish sailors Echavarri and Paz were disqualified from the final race of the last day for being over the line early.

However after hours of deliberation by the International Jury, including the review of video evidence, the Spaniards were eventually reinstated to take the gold, McMillan and Howden taking the silver and French sailors Xavier Revil and Christophe Espagnon taking the bronze.

Currently ranked fifth in the world, Team McMillan-Howden have been training in South America over the past few weeks, in the hope that they can turn their 2005 silver into gold this time round.

Howden reported from San Isidro, “We have been here in Argentina training, competing and learning about the racing area and the new equipment. All in all this is a really hard place to sail, and with everyone on the top of their game this is going to be one of the hardest Worlds to date with realistically six or seven teams able to win.

“Last year we finished second at the Tornado Worlds, in La Rochelle, so our goal is to better that result.”

Also gunning for Great Britain is Weymouth and Portland based Rob Wilson and Mark Bulkeley who finished as top Brits at the Olympic Test Event in Qingdao in fifth place overall and will be hoping to do well in Argentina.

The Isle of Wight’s Chris Rashley and Eastbourne’s Marcus Lynch, who at 18 is the youngest member of Skandia Team GBR to challenge at the Tornado Worlds, will accompany Andrew Walsh from Cornwall and Ed Barney from Loughborough, both 25, and will bring a younger approach to the competition in what is the last Olympic Class World Championship in the 2006 calendar.

The British sailors will be met by a strong international challenge especially from Spanish sailors and current World Champions Fernando Enchavari and Anton Paz and by Argentina’s Santiago Lange and Carlos Espanola, the Olympic bronze medallists from the 2004 Athens Olympic Games who will be sailing on home waters.

Also in the running for a medal will be gold medallists from the Athens Olympic Games, Austrians Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher, who won the Tornado European Championships and a bronze medal at the Olympic Test Event earlier this year.

The race series begins on Tuesday 5 December, with the final race scheduled for Sunday 10 December.

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