Export Roo sails to lead at SB20 Worlds

  • August 29, 2017

Export Roo leading the fleet. Photo: Jennifer Burgis

Royal Yacht Club of Tasmanian director Michael Cooper and his crew of David Chapman and Gerry Mitchell have sailed Export Roo to an overall lead after two days of frustrating competition at the SB20 world championship on The Solent in England.

So far racing has been limited to just one race each day because of light winds on this famous waterway between the south coast of England and the Isle of Wight.

SB20 at Cowes on the Isle of Wight..waiting for wind. Photo:  Jennifer Burgis

Export Roo won its first race yesterday and overnight a third place in the Yellow qualifying division has lifted the Tasmanians from equal first with the UK yacht Xcellent to a clear margin of three points from Xcellent which won the Blue division on day one but finished sixth today.

Fellow Tasmanian Nick Rogers and his crew of Robert Jeffreys and Andrew Roberts are seventh overall with a second on day one but 10th overnight in the Blue division.

However, an Australian boat won the Blue division race two, victory going to Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron entrant Brazen, skippered by Jervis Tilly.   Brazen finished 16th in race one and is now 12th overall.

Difficult Woman (Rob Gough) slipped down the standings today, finishing 13th after an opening race fourth and is now 14th overall.

Porco Rosso placed seventh on a tricky day one at the SB20 worlds Photo:  Jennifer Burgis

In other race two results Porco Rosso (Elliott Noye) finished 11th in the Yellow fleet to be 16th overall.  Smigger (Andew Smith) is 52nd overall,  Hypertronics (Stephen Catchpool) 57th in the 71 boat fleet.

Tasmanian sailors have made a great start to the worlds  with Michael Cooper sailing Export Roo to first place in the Yellow qualifying fleet. Nick Rogers finished second in the Blue fleet with his new boat Black.

Finishing a close fourth in the Yellow fleet was Difficult Woman, whose skipper Rob Gough recently won the world masters championship in the foiler Moth singlehanded dinghy class.

In seventh place came Porco Rosso, helmed by young Hobart sailor Elliott Noye who finished runner-up in the recent Cowes Week SB20 grand slam.

Because of the size of the fleet (78 boats from ten nations)  the host club at Cowes, the famous Royal Yacht Squadron,  has split the fleet into two qualifying group.

Well-known Hobart sailor and RYCT past Rear Commodore Claire Cunningham, a crew member of Difficult Woman, spoke to team press officer Jane Austin after the aborted racing.

“We (Difficult Woman) got a good start…but not as good as Export Crew which started at the pin end and crossed the entire fleet,” Claire said.

“We lost a couple of places during the race (to finish fourth) and had a man overboard situation…well not completely.

“We managed to hold onto him and drag him back aboard. It is quite slippery up front and he was rather wet for the rest of the race,’’ Claire added.

Words: Peter Campbell

30 August 2017