Setting sail on Westernport
Some of world’s fastest catamaran sailors will race on Westernport Bay next month when Somers Yacht Club hosts the Tornado Asia Pacific Championship in tandem with the Australian Championship from 4-9 January as part of the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
A Sail Melbourne event, it has attracted more than 40 entrants. Crews are expected from the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Austria, Spain and Great Britain, as well as Australia’s World Ranked number 1 pair of Darren Bundock and Glenn Ashby and others.
Considered to be a great hope for a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, the Aussie pair will evoke added interest for Victorians, as Ashby is a local from Bendigo, whilst his NSW skipper is the silver medallist from the Sydney 2000 Games.
Ashby was named 2007 Victorian Sportsman of the Year in October and has further shown his world-ranked skills by winning the world A Class catamaran title held recently in Florida. He also holds a number of other catamaran world and national titles.
The Tornado Asia Pacific Championship It is believed to be the first international event of its type sailed on Westernport Bay.
John Copeland, Commodore of Somers Yacht Club, which was named Yacht Club of the Year in 2004, said: “The event will be a unique opportunity to see some of the world’s best and fastest sailors competing,” adding: The club would like to invite all enthusiasts to come along and enjoy what should prove to be spectacular sailing.”
The event starts from 2.30pm on 4 January and is expected to draw a big crowd to see Olympians and Olympic prospects contest back-to-back races over the six days.
“It is a great honour for Somers Yacht Club to be able to host this event and a tribute to the hard work of Andy Griffin, a club member and president of the Australian Tornado Association,” Copeland said.
“It is also recognition that Westernport Bay offers a tremendous challenge for sailors and that it is a worthy venue for such a high class event,” he added.