Outteridge and Jensen close in on 49er World Championship title
Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have taken another step towards defending their 49er World Championship title following a consistent penultimate day of racing in Zadar, Croatia.
Just three races now remain at the 2012 49er World Championship and Outteridge and Jensen hold an eight point lead over New Zealanders Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, with French sailors Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis a further 21 behind.
The crews again faced light conditions in Zadar on Friday with three races shuffling the pack, though the constant was the trans-Tasman pair at the front.
Outteridge and Jensen finished the day with an eighth, a fourth and a win, with Burling and Tuke closing the gap slightly.
“We had another great day today,” said Outteridge. “Again we were just aiming for consistent results and we did just that.
“It’s great to see the Kiwis right up there with us,” he said. “We have been training together for about three years now and it clearly shows that we have a very strong training group.”
Two gold fleet races remain for Saturday and then the final 10-boat, double points, medal race, meaning plenty of movement can still happen on the leader board.
“Even though it looks like we both have a big lead over the rest of the fleet we still have two races to go before the medal race,” said Outteridge. “So we need to ensure we have a good first race tomorrow then we can focus on the Kiwis.
“The first two races tomorrow are scheduled to be nice and early where it going to be very light as the wind hasn’t been coming in till around 12pm,” he said. “The points are close but we have a good drop at the moment being an eighth versus the Kiwis 19th so we are in a good position.”
If the Australians finish tomorrow on top of the podium Outteridge will become the first sailor to win four 49er World Championships and along with Jensen will have won three of the last four.
“If we win tomorrow it would mean a lot to us for a number of reasons,” said Outteridge. “I think is shows that we can win in any condition, we won the worlds in Garda and Perth in typically windy conditions and we are known for being good in the wind.
“In contrast this week we haven't had a race over 10kts and have mostly been sailing in 6 knots so it’s great to show that we can do it in the light winds,” he said. “It also feels like we are being rewarded for the years of hard work and attention to detail.”
With the London 2012 Olympic Games fast approaching Outteridge and Jensen are looking forward to getting to Weymouth to finish off their preparations.
“We’re really excited about the level we’re currently at,” said Outteridge. “We spent a lot more time on the water back home earlier this year and have made some discoveries about the way we sail and are looking forward to working on those areas once we get to Weymouth at the end of this month.”
Fellow Australians Luke Parkinson and Jaspar Warren are 21st overall in the silver fleet.
The West Australians finished eighth in their first race of the day, before a 13th and a black flag. The silver fleet has two races scheduled for Saturday to finish off the regatta.