This week sees South African Olympic sailors Roger Hudson and Asenathi Jim putting the final touches to preparations ahead of the ISAF World Championships in Santander, Spain.
The Championships are held every four years and bring together all Olympic classes in a single competition and will act as one of three Olympic qualifiers for Rio 2016.
With 1,400 sailors from 95 countries represented, the going will be tough for Hudson and Jim, but they are relishing the challenge ahead of them.
‘We are feeling very fit and ready for all conditions. We’ve had a really busy and good 2014 season so far and made a lot of progress in terms of both results and speed/skills,’ said Hudson from Santander.
‘Our world ranking is currently 19th and we would love to out-perform that ranking at this event. This is the first of three opportunities to qualify the country for Rio 2016 and to do that here by achieving a top-13 country performance would be a dream, but would also require another significant breakthrough performance from us.
‘We will give 100% to that effort, and provided we do that, we will be satisfied whatever the outcome. Our preparation has been good and at this stage we just need to ensure we are well rested and in a good state of mind when we kick off here as it will be a mentally and possibly physically gruelling event, depending on the strength of the breeze,’ added Hudson, who together with his 470 teammate, has been competing in a number of warm-up events at the venue to become accustomed to local conditions.
Speaking about the conditions they can expect to experience once their World Championship event gets underway on 14 September, Hudson explained: ‘The 470 race-course is truly offshore and conditions are extremely technical, big wind-driven chop on top of a 1.5m cross-swell, and strong tide of up to 2 knots. ‘When the breeze is up it is a bit similar to Simon’s Town, our SA training base (minus the tide). It is a fascinating and challenging venue and promises to be an interesting regatta.
‘Conditions-wise it is an open question as to what we’ll get. If the temperatures stay up and the sea-breeze stays alive here in the late summer then it can be quite breezy, as the last few days have been. But if not it can be very light and shifty.’
Either way, the duo will be going all out to secure that Olympic spot, competing in 11 races between 14-20 September. Also part of the SA team in Spain are: Graeme Willcox and Andrew Tarboton (49er class) and Stefano Marcia (Laser class).
Picture: NIGEL COCHRANE