Exhilarating SB20 sailing on the River Derwent
Day two of the SB0 pre-Worlds regatta has provided competitors with two exhilarating races on Hobart’s River Derwent today.
A north-west to west-nor’westerly breeze averaging 16-18 knots, with sharp gusts as high as 30 knots, has seen spectacular downwind sailing.
Positions changed as boats picked up the gusts and went surfing past others. Downwind gybing techniques were the key to gaining or retaining fleet positions
The strong wind has caused many retirements from the 33 boat pre-Worlds fleet, among them the French boat EOLIFT Racing which broke a spreader. EOLIFT Racing had been third in overall standings after day one. Others boats retired to save damage in the gusty conditions with the 2018 SB20 Worlds only three days away.
In race three Hypertronics (Steve Catchpool) retired after a collision at the windward mark in race one with Big Ted (Alice Grubb) taking a penalty turn. Catchpool then elected not to sail in race four, commenting “the pre-Worlds are in fact practice races for the Worlds and they are only three days away, the serious sailing starting on Sunday.” The Victorian Ikon20 (Kirwan Robb) broke its rudder in race four while at least two female crews retired from the last race.
Racing today began after a general recall for race three of the series, race one of the day, and produced two different race winners.
Results are provisional as there are potential protests following a number of collisions in the brisk breezes.
British boat Marvel (Richard Powell) followed his race two second place (he did not start in race one) with a win in race three. A close second was champion young French sailor Robin Follin sailing Give Me 5 – French Youth team, third place going to Australian champion Aeolus (Brett Cooper).
In race four, Hobart’s Michael Cooper sailed Export Roo to victory from another French boat, Le Grand Reservoir/Maze & A (Achille Nebout) and Victorian boat Flirtatious/Ambition Sailing Team (Chris Dare, AUS). Export Roo was a close runner-up in the 2017 Worlds at Cowes, England.
After four races of the SB20 pre-Worlds Give Me 5 (Robin Follin, Fra) is still provisional overall leader on 8 points (1-1-2-4) with Export Roo (Michael Cooper, AUS) moving up to second with 24 points (12-4-7-1). Australian SB20 champion Aeolus (Brett Cooper, AUS) is now third on 25 points (11-6-3-5) with defending World champion sportsboatworld.com (Jerry Hill, GBR) fourth on 28 points (5-3-8-12).
Words: Peter Campbell
Photos: Jane Austin
1630/4 January 2018