Bourke takes Australian Nationals

11017022_782883431793565_5759564945605491690_oGlenn Bourke and his crew of Rob Jeffreys and Jake Lilley on ‘Red’ capped off an incredible week of sailing in Tasmania to be crowned the SB20 2015 Australian Champions.

Following an impressive win at the Tasmanian State titles last week, Bourke and team won four of the 10-race series.

New SB20 owner Michael Cooper and crew Matt Johnston and David Chapman (‘Export Roo’) had a strong start to their regatta, but in variable and shifty conditions on the River Derwent on the final day, the former three-times Laser World Champion and SB20 European champion Bourke came into his own.

In the penultimate race, starting in very light conditions, Tasmanian SB20 Class President Scott Brain (‘Ronald Young Builders’) crossed the line first, after a change in course for the second lap. Bourke was second, followed by Rob Gough (‘Ciao Baby’) and James Burman (‘Masterclass’).

Race 10 was postponed for 90 minutes as the breeze shifted from a light south-easterly to north-westerly. After a general recall and a black flag, the race was finally underway in 8-10 knots.

Michael Cooper (‘Export Roo’) got away to lead the fleet around the top mark. In the tightest and most colourful racing of the regatta, the breeze softened after the first lap making conditions tricky for the fleet. Bourke (‘Red’) managed to claw back the lead to take his fourth win of the series from Cooper with Rob Gough (‘Ciao Baby’) in third place. After two attempts to start Race 11, the race was eventually cancelled.

Bourke and his crew have had a very successful Tasmanian campaign. “This win feels fantastic. It’s been hard fought – we’ve enjoyed every minute of it – it’s been a great result for us. The River [Derwent] feels familiar now having sailed here a few times. I really like the conditions you have down here – the boat feels pressured up all the time,” said Bourke.

And Bourke is impressed with the growth in the local fleet. “Tasmania has the predominant fleet in Australia and one of the best fleets in the world. I am sure that the class will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Bourke was full of praise for his crew of Rob Jeffreys and Australian Sailing Squad member Jake Lilley. “Jake is a very strong young man, very thoughtful, very analytical – but together we have had our fun times on the water, and really enjoyed this regatta. I expect that Jake, a very fine sailor, will be representing Australia at an Olympics very soon,” said Bourke.

Full results at www.dssinc.org.au

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Photograph courtesy of Derwent Sailing Squadron/Dane Lojek