Running the rhumblines - Whitsunday sailors 'down under'

Australian Dinghy Championships
Mark Roberts
The Australian Dinghy Championship regattas will present a brand new environment for Whitsunday sailors, who used to thrive in Pioneer’s Bay’s tropical sailing condition. With strong cool winds overwhelming in Tasmania, the Dingy Nationals will be a test of endurance and tactical sailing skills for the participating fleet.

The warm tropical sailing environment of North Queensland’s Pioneer Bay will become a distant memory for several Whitsunday Sailing Club crews who will focus their attention on Tasmania over the Christmas New Year holidays.

Leading the way will be the former Volvo Around the World race challenger the Leo Rodriguez skippered Merit while an equally enthusiastic group of much younger Whitsunday sailors will test their endurance and tactical sailing talent in Australian dinghy championship regattas on the cooler and calmer courses on the River Derwent.

The Merit crew are encouraged by the slug fest forecast of strong winds and the typical flesh and fabric testing seas whipped into a supreme torture test of human and hull torture for the annual Bass Strait bash to Hobart.

They have the distinction of winning the Performance Handicap class blue ribbon before and while they normally prefer to race in T-shirts and shorts will be rugged up in their storm weather suits before they can step ashore onto Tasmania’s historical Constitution Dock to enjoy a warm shower and hopefully celebrate another top result with cold local brewed beer.

A strong fleet of Optimist sailors headed by school girl skipper Eva Lorenz have some important time to continue with their pre-championship preparations on Pioneer Bay before they line up to contest the Australian Optimist series in Hobart from January 6-13.

Their Club coach the former Australian Optimist class Bronze medallist Klaus Lorenz who has now focused his career on the international 420 dinghy will also be in Tasmania competing in the Australian championship followed by the important OAMP Insurance National Youth championship and selection trials for the World Youth team.

Klaus despite racing and training alone with his crew on the familiar waters of Pioneer Bay has progressively shown the required boat speed to match his Interstate rivals in the 2012 Australian 420 series over the Sandy Bay course on the River Derwent from December 28 to January 4.

He has the respect of his rivals and remains as the skipper who has the determination to become the first North Queenslander to set a career path on winning selection as the 420 class representative in the Australian Youth Team.

However while Klaus Lorenz has personally developed his skill from endless hours of practice the time has come for the teenage 420 sailor to produce the results against Australia’s best when the sails are tensioned in Hobart.