505s in Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island is to play host to the SAP 2011 505 World Championship and Australian Championship from 20 March to 1 April, and will feature some high-profile and surprising entries from around the globe. 85 boats representing Australia, Germany, Great Britain, the USA, France, Denmark, Hong Kong and Sweden are set to converge on the Catseye Bay race course area.
Among the notables taking part is regular 505 sailor and 1996 Sydney Hobart line honours winner, Hasso Plattner, who broke the race record with Morning Glory, the name of all his boats. America’s Cup, Flying Dutchman, windsurfing, have all figured in his life.
One of Team NZ’s sponsors in 2000, the German sailor is the co-founding CEO of sponsor SAP who returned to Australia in 2005 to contest the Farr 40 Worlds. Now he is coming to Hamilton Island to try his luck again aboard his 505 with recurrent crew Peter Alarie.
Olympic 49er double world champion and reigning Moth world champion Nathan Outteridge is in ‘world title’ mode. He was hoping to add the Farr 40 World title to his growing list in February, but had to settle for fifth place aboard one of the Aussie favourites, Estate Master.
Now he and his 49er crew, Iain Jensen, are looking forward to getting their hands on the 505, but with little practice time on the boat, which is new to both, Outteridge is realistic about their chances. “We don’t expect to win, but we’ll be trying to anyway,” he said.
”It’ll be great fun – we can’t wait,” added Jensen, who confirmed it will be the last hurrah for the two who will head straight back into serious 49er training for their imminent Olympic European season.
One of their adversaries will be Ayden Menzies who captured 420 dinghy Gold as crew for Outteridge at the 2003 ISAF Youth Worlds. Outteridge replicated that result with Jensen a year later.
Melbourne friends Andrew McCole and James Ryssenbeek last came to prominence in 2007 when they lost their keel in the double-handed Melbourne-Osaka Yacht Race. Ryssenbeek has been keeping his hand in sailing an Etchells and now the two experienced dinghy sailors will reunite for these Worlds.
Other big names are Brett Beyer (NSW), winner of an unprecedented seven Laser Apprentice Master’s world titles; Hamilton Island’s perennial windsurfing champion and SB3 convert Dennis Winstanley, who will crew for John McLean.
American 18ft skiff champions and past 505 World Champion, Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn, placed fourth at the 505 Worlds in 2010. On Sunday, Hamlin finished fifth at the Winning Appliances JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship, great preparation for the SAP 505 Worlds.
Joining them are Robin and Nick Deussen, a father and son from South Australia who will be pitted against each other at Hamilton Island. Dad, Robin, is a former America’s Cup sailor and 505 champion, while Nick is a multiple dinghy talent and 505 sailor on the move.
Shane Guanaria (NSW) comes with the 2009 Rolex One-Design Trophy in hand after winning every race with his Sydney 32, while Hong Kong Etchells rivals, Mark Thornburrow and Laurence Mead, have decided to try their luck combining to sail a 505 with Mead to swap the helm for the pointy end.
Reigning world champions, Germany’s Wolfgang Hunger and Julien Kleiner return to defend their title, as does 2010 bronze medallist and 2008 world champ, Ian Pinnell, with new crew Charles Dwyer (GBR). Mike Martin and Jeff Nelson (USA), the 2009 World’s title holders, are also coming.
Returning too, is 2008 Australian champion Bill Cuneo (Qld), son of John Cuneo; 1972 Olympic gold medallist in the Dragon, America’s Cup sailor and 505 Australian champion of 1965.
Holder of three Australian titles, including 2010, Michael Quirk (NSW) is aiming not only to defend, but to grab the World title too, but the 2009 winners, South Aussies Sandy Higgins (a four-time winner) and Jordan Spencer, sailing separately this time, also have the same idea.
There are also a number of ladies sailing as skipper and as crew, fathers and sons, brothers and married couples, like Carol and Carl Buchan (USA) who started sailing together in 1976 – and don’t think they are a pushover either – they won the 505 North Americans in 1985 and also won the Tasar Worlds in 2001.
Carl also won a Youth Worlds, the 1983 FD Worlds, 1984 FD Olympic Gold and 1992 Star Worlds. Carol, who helms, won the Women's Double-handed Nationals in 1989 and the Canadian Women's Match Race Championship.
The Australian crews have a lot to prove, not having won the 505 World’s since multiple winners Chris and Darren Nicholson did the job in 2002. Sailing on home turf, the time is ripe to put Aussie pride reputations on the line.
At the 2010 Worlds, in Aarhus, Denmark, the best placed of the nine Australian crews was the Michael Quirk/Simon Reffold combination in 15th place. Surely, with 45 boats at these Worlds, the Aussies can come up with the magic needed?
Although he does not rate himself much of a chance, as all of his spare spending is being spent putting the SAP 505 World’s together in place of training, event organiser and competitor Carter Jackson says: “The competition amongst the Australian fleet is going to be tough.
“I’d be keeping a close eye on Sandy Higgins/Paul Marsh from South Australia, Peter Chappell/Matt Smith from Western Australia and Nathan Outteridge/Iain Jensen (NSW), who although new to the class, are outstanding sailors.
“It’s never easy in the 505 fleet,” Jackson says, “any day you finish ahead of any of these guys is a good day.”
Hamilton Island was chosen over some of the most beautiful island resort locations in the world. Boasting the Great Barrier Reef, fabulous sailing waters in a tropical location, plenty of accommodation options, a world-class golf course, all in a location begging for partners and family to come and enjoy what the Island has to offer, it is little wonder.
The 505’s last visited the Queensland Island in 2008 for their Australian Championship - and the post-event stories of this fun bunch were legendary. Having been through it once, Hamilton Island Yacht Club commodore and sailing legend, Iain Murray, suggested it was time the 505’s revisited – and they were happy to comply.
The Island’s CEO, Glenn Bourke has gone to a lot of trouble to make sure the sailors and their families have a good time and has made sure there is plenty for partners and families to do while the sailors are out on the course.
Commenting on the choice of venue, Jackson explained: “I chose Hamilton Island a while back after a suggestion from Iain Murray (Commodore of the Hamilton Island Yacht Club). Next thing I knew, another mate Glenn Bourke was named as the new CEO there and everything seemed to fall in place.
“One of the main reasons we are going to Hamilton Island is not just for the outstanding sailing conditions, but more for the family friendly environment that the Island offers. Our sport is not that family friendly; so we, as sailors, should select venues that will accommodate everyone,” he said. “Hamilton Island offers all of that, plus the Island staff is outstanding and will ensure this world championship will be unrivalled.”
Interested parties and spectators will be treated to a preview of the SAP 505 World Championship when the Pre-Worlds are sailed on March 22 and 23, then the main event gets underway on 26 March.