Until late this past week, it was touch and go with regards to whether or not the shipping container transporting six DNA A Class Catamarans from the Netherlands, would arrive in sufficient time for the 2012 John Cootes Furniture Australian A Class Championships which get underway January 3 at the Wangi Amateur Sailing Club.
Fortunately, the container has safely arrived at Lake Macquarie. Glenn Ashby, James Spithill, John Kosteki, Dirk de Ridder, Tom Slingsby and Nathan Outteridge are now busy preparing their boats for the event. They should have the next four days to familiarise themselves with the attributes of their boats.
These Championships will be a unique event on the Australian Sailing Calendar, bringing together three current World Champions: Tom Slingsby (Lasers), Nathan Outteridge (49ners), and Steve Brewin, sailing on these high performance, efficient 18 foot catamarans.
Added to the mix are the four sailors from Oracle America’s Cup Syndicate (Spithill, Kosteki, de Riddder, Darren Bundock), Ashby from Team New Zealand, as well as the three former Olympic medallists Andrew Landenberger, Chris Cairns and Scott Anderson.
The form guide suggests that this will be a very tightly fought series, and the top ten places should be quite a battle. Ashby, with seven A Class World Championships to his resume, remains the favourite for the event.
Bob Bier, the current European champion, will be competing on a chartered DNA, adding his name to the Northern Hemisphere contingent.
Simon McKeon, who is the current Australian of the Year, will be taking a break from his official duties to compete.
The practice race will be held late in the afternoon on January 2, with the nine race series commencing the following day under the watchful eye of PRO Tony Outteridge.