Australia's Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE have taken a reasonably unorthodox approach to the start of their Sail Melbourne 470 World Championship campaign, which begins at Mordialloc Sailing Club tomorrow.
Bypassing the optional practice race today, Nathan WILMOT
spent the day relaxing with family and friends.
WILMOT, 28, prepared for his potentially record-breaking fourth world title, soaking up the atmosphere at a regional winery.
Obviously relaxed and confident about their chances, the affable WILMOT appeared unfazed by the daunting task that lay ahead for him and his crew at a regatta that will probably prove just as tough a task as the Olympic Sailing Competition in Qingdao, later this year.
WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE
have already secured their berth on the national team to go to Qingdao and with numbers here far greater than what they will face in China, the world #1 ranked pair appear on track to continue their dominance.
"At the moment I'm at a winery so I'm pretty relaxed and staying away from the boat park but everything is going really well,"
WILMOT said today.
"Last week [Sail Melbourne Asia Pacific Regatta] we tested a few things and finalized all of our equipment and we were going fast there, so I think everything is really on track as far speed and teamwork goes,"
A win here for the pair would simply solidify their status as hot favourite for the gold at Beijing, despite the fact they were in exactly same position heading into Athens four years ago and could manage just 12th. They admit to being a lot more experienced and a lot more familiar with racing under pressure and a win at the Olympic test event last year proved that the light air conditions are no problem either.
Hot on the Aussies' heels will be Dutch crew Sven COSTER
and Kalle COSTER
, Gideon KLIGER
and Udi GAL
(ISR) and Mathew BELCHER
and Nick BEHRENS
(AUS) ranked #2, #3 and #4 in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings
Meanwhile, the Women's 470 World Championship doesn't appear so outwardly cut and dried for the Australian contingent.
Following a couple of minor setbacks late last year, Elise RECHICHI
and Tessa PARKINSON
(AUS), who won the Olympic Test Event in Qingdao, will have their work cut out stopping Dutch crew Marcelien DE KONING
and Lobke BERKHOUT
from winning their fourth World title in four years.
"We're very excited to start the regatta now that we've been in Melbourne a month now,"
"This will be a good stepping stone to getting back on our feet and I feel we're back on track now,"
Racing starts at 13:00 tomorrow.
470 World Championships - www.sailmelbourne.com.au/event/470worldchampionships2008