When Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen’s (AUS) partnership burst onto the international scene at the 2004 ISAF Youth Worlds their breath taking result offered a glimpse of what was to come.
The pair obliterated the competition, winning 420 gold by 30 points. It was a taste of the future that resembled their resounding victory in the 49er at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition where they took gold with a day to spare.
“I started sailing with Goobs who I sailed with in junior classes in Australia,” explained the Australian. “The Youth Worlds in the 420 in Poland in 2004 was our first big event. That was the first big international event we ever won together having won national titles.
“A few years later we jumped in a 49er, which is very different to a 420, and we’ve been pretty dominant.”
Like many Olympic medallists and campaigners the ISAF Youth Worlds serves as a platform to launch a career as one to watch. For many observers Outteridge certainly fit the bill and the 2004 edition was his third consecutive Youth Worlds gold medal, having won 29er Gold in 2002 and 420 Gold in 2003 with Aydan Menzies.
“The Youth Worlds is an amazing event,” reflected Outteridge.
“I remember the first time I went. I was only 16 years old and travelled to Canada, the opposite side of the world from Australia. I didn’t really know what to expect at the event.
“It was pretty nice to go and represent your country and be the best from your country to go and take on the world. I was lucky enough to do three Youth Worlds and win every time.”
At the 2004 edition Menzies was too old to compete with Outteridge allowing childhood friend Iain Jensen the opportunity to sail with him; this was the start of a golden partnership.
After Outteridge embarked on a Beijing 2008 campaign with Ben Austin, Outteridge and Jensen teamed up again in 2009 they have won three 49er World Championships together but the highlight of their partnership came at London 2012 where their years of hard work paid off with a mesmerising display of discipline, composure and sublime talent.
The next generation sailors will be coming up through the 2014 edition and Outteridge had a few wise words for the sailors, “Go there and just enjoy it. Yes it’s important for your sailing to perform well and those who get to go get a good insight as to what the Olympics will be like.
“There’s a lot more media presence and for me I learnt a lot on how to deal with the extra media pressure. Just be prepared for unusual things to happen compared to other sailing events. At the end of the day you generally stay in a hotel altogether and there’s lots of different parties happening so try and avoid getting involved until the end of the week,” smiled Outteridge.
Racing at the 2014 ISAF Youth Worlds commences on 12 to 19 July in Tavira, Portugal.