Sailing duo praised | SASCOC - SASCOC

Sailing duo praised

Their dream of qualifying for the London Olympics later this year realised, Cape yachting duo Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson are now reeling in as much experience as they can from the remainder of the 470 World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.

The duo made the coveted gold fleet cut earlier this week to guarantee a spot amongst the qualifiers, writes Mark Etheridge.

Following their successful sailing sorties, the crew had some time to allow the significance of their achievement to sink in.

Says the RaceAhead team’s Dave Hudson (Roger’s father): “From all of us, a heartfelt thank you for the flood of messages and congratulations from South Africa, and from around the world. It means so much to all of us.”

The boats were kept ashore on the day following South Africa’s qualification and Hudson says that during this time the two were surrounded by competitors, coaches and officials both congratulating them and offering them help and encouragement.

“It was a great outpouring of admiration, respect, appreciation and, frankly, affection for the two South Africans and what they had achieved in a single year ÔÇô all without the level of funding and technical support enjoyed by so many of the teams they beat. ┬áIt had to be seen to be believed.

“As it turned out, exactly seven of the 22 countries that were going for the seven remaining spots made the Gold Fleet cut (top 32 in the 95-boat fleet).

And so the deal was sealed, because from this stage of the World Championship the Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets race separately.

“After the late night announcement of the final results of the qualifying series, the guys celebrated (moderately!) having achieved the goal they’ve focussed on so single-mindedly throughout the past 15 months. ┬áNow it’s all about looking forward and continuing their climb up the learning curve.

Day four saw the most difficult day yet but the South Africans at least had the satisfaction of knowing that they had already qualified. Racing took place under what the 470 World’s website described as “washing machine conditions.”

And despite failing to make much of an impact the Royal Cape Yacht Club duo spent much of the day in very good company. Conditions were demanding almost constant gear-changing ÔÇô and there’s no substitute for experience in this area.┬áTough racing, but one more day of invaluable experience under the belt.