Bundock onto the wire
While former round the world team-mates Carolijn Brouwer and Liz Wardley are hoping girl power will sweep them to their second major win as a Viper team, multiple Olympic medallist Darren Bundock will be relying on youthful exuberance and enthusiasm to keep at bay a rising tide of young sailing talent.
The two-time Olympic Tornado silver medallist has enlisted the aid of teenage Viper skipper to match it with some of the top multihull sailors in the world and the rising stars of the game on beautiful Lake Como in Italy in this week's F16 Euro Challenge.
Dutch sailor Froukje Feenstra, just 17, will be calling the shots on the Viper with Bundock assuming the unusual role of crew for the event which starts today.
"I have a suspicion I am not going to like being bossed about but as we all know, the skipper gets the final say on the boat so I'll just have to do as I'm told,'' commented Bundock, a multiple world championship winning skipper who less than a fortnight ago won the silver medal at the Formula 18 world championships on a C2 Formula 18 with British sailor Will Howden.
But Feenstra said she will be happy to listen to any advice she gets from her crewman given his stellar record in multihull sailing. "I have been looking forward to this event for months and I think one of the best things about this is that I expect to learn a lot,'' she said. "I also can't wait to compete against Carolijn. She is amazing. And hopefully having Darren on the boat and all his experience will mean we will be close to them in the racing.''
While Brouwer and Wardley, who in their first ever Viper regatta together won the Eurocat, France’s largest catamaran championship, are considered two of the leading female sailors in the world, they are also expecting to be kept on their toes by a number of younger sailors competing at the regatta.
The pair, who raced together on a Volvo round the world campaign, will race the Sojasun Viper at the regatta which is scheduled to involve 15 races and which will conclude on Friday 23 July.
"Racing a Viper are two of the most talented young sailors in the world in the Australians Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin,'' Brouwer said. "They won a world youth title together and you have to be right at the top of your game to do that. There are also the Sicouri sisters from Italy, Lara and Silvia, who we will be keeping our eye on along with the Dutch sailor Thijs Visser and Diemer Feenstra who are just 20 and 17. I cannot believe how good some of these young sailors are. They are really keeping us on our toes.''
Waterhouse said despite having only limited time in the Viper, he and Darmanin are thrilled to be racing. "We have only sailed the Viper twice in Australia together and it was awesome so we are really pumped about this regatta. We just can't wait to get started,'' he said.
Team Viper is made up of:
BEL Carolijn Brouwer & Liz Wardley - Female
AUS Jason Waterhouse (18yrs) & Lisa Darmanin (18yrs) - Mixed
NED Froukje Feenstra (17yrs) & Darren Bundock – Mixed
ITA Lara Sicouri (24yrs) & Silvia Sicouri (22yrs) - Female
NED Thijs Visser (20yrs) & Diemer Feenstra (17yrs) – Male
GBR Chris Sproat & Rossana Jury (18yrs) - Mixed
AUS Christa Van Helden (25yrs) & Brett goodall (25yrs) - Mixed