Grand Slam: exciting preview of SB20 Worlds

  • January 20, 2017

Queenslander Rod Jones finished fourth overall in the SB20 Grand Slam on the Derwent.

If last Sunday’s racing in the SB20 one-design sports boat ‘Grand Slam’ on the Derwent was any example, Hobart is in for exciting and exceptionally close racing in the Worlds, to be sailed here on the Derwent in January 2018.

Unfortunately, a gale on Saturday reduced the competition to five races on the Sunday for a fleet that included SB20 crews from Queensland and Victoria.

Sunday also produced a fresh to strong nor’-wester of 15-20 knots. gusting to 28 knots, leading to a number of retirements before the last race.

Among the retirements was Big Ted (Tom Stearns and Alice Grubb) dismasted in a collision with Hypertronics (Stephen Catchpool) at the windward mark in race three.

The five races produced five individual winners, with the series going to Nick Rogers at the helm of Karabos.

Rogers and his crew of Andrew Roberts and Simon Burrows sailed a consistent series, finishing with 15 points from a scorecard of 3-1-2-7-2.

“We had some incredible sailing, but five races in one day in that nor’wester proved very tiring,” commented Rogers after Sunday’s racing.

Runner-up was Brainwave (Scott Brain) on 19 points, who did not win a race but also sailed consistently with 2-3-5-3-6, third place going to Pinch (Frazer Read) on 20 points (6-5-6-2-1).

Close astern came Queenslander Rod Jones, sailing CARS-Storage, to finishing with 21 points, closely followed by Aeolus (Brett Cooper) on 24 points, which included winning the first race.

Jones, who first introduced the SB20 class one-design sports boats into Australia said after the series that he was most impressed at the depth of talent in the fleet.

Victorian entry Flirtation in last Sunday’s SB20 Grand Slam on the RIver Derwent.

Victorian Chris Dare, who placed fourth in the SB20 worlds in Portugal last year, finished sixth overall, including winning race four.

The other race winner was Honey Badger (Paul Burnell), taking out race three and finishing sixth overall.

Top placed all-women crew was Pride of Athena,  skippered by Kirsty Gray,  finishing 10th overall.

The next major regatta for the SB20s will the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta over the weekend of 18-19 February.

Words:  Peter Campbell

Photos: Michelle Denney

20 January 2017