Sabot sailors whiz through national titles



ONE wants to compete in the Sydney to Hobart, the other is just having fun.

But while their motivations are different, the results were equally impressive for Port Curtis Sailing Club juniors Kris Blanch and Tim Patrick at the QMAS Australian Sabots Championships in Hobart earlier this month.

Blanch finished fifth overall and Patrick seventh among a strong field of 70 one-up sabot competitors from throughout Australia.

For Blanch, 14, the championships represented the highlight of his career as he produced what he described as 'by far' his most successful regatta.

He admitted he was still savouring his performance and a smile refused to leave his face.

'I thought I'd finish around 12th or 15th, but ended up fifth which I thought was remarkably good,' he said.

Already he is talking about the this year's nationalchampionships in Yeppoon in December.

Blanch's success has further encouraged him to pursue his goal of one day competing in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

Patrick, at this stage, has no such goals but was also pleased with his performance at the championships, which were largely contested in conditions ill-suited to his larger frame.

He is preparing to move up to laser competition although he will compete at the River Titles and Bay titles, both of which are to be contested in Brisbane next month.

Despite his talents, Patrick has no grand plans, according to his father Scott.

'He's just enjoying it at this stage so we're not pushing him in any direction,' he said. 'He'll soon develop his own aspirations.'

Also in Hobart was fellow PCSC member Paul Black who joined Yeppoon skipper Amelia Johnson in the two-up competition.

A late call-up to partner Johnson in selection trials in Gladstone before the championships, Black, aged just nine, fitted in so well Johnson asked him to accompany her to Hobart.



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