Eighteen international crews will be among the 59 boats contesting next week’s SB20 one-design sports boat world championships on the River Derwent.
Many of the crew of the crews from France, Ireland, Italy, Britain, Germany, Singapore and Russia have already arrived to rig their boats and test the waters of the Derwent. The Russian crew flies in today.
France is sending seven crews, including four youth crews, one skippered by 2015 world champion Robin Folin, with French sailors busy yesterday rigging their boats at the Derwent Sailing Squadron yesterday, along with several Australian crews.
In addition to Follin, the current world champion Jerry Hill from Great Britain, will be defending his title, having previously won the Worlds in 2010 and 2017 at Cowes, England.
The DSS and the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania are jointly conducting the championships which start with a three-day pre-Worlds regatta from next Wednesday, 3 January through to the following Friday, 5 January. The Worlds championships, of up to 12 races, starts on Sunday, 7 January and continues through to Thursday, 11 January.
The championship promises to be one of the most spectacular regattas on the Derwent in decades, with forecasts of fresh to strong sea breezes for the mid-summer racing giving the SB20 downwind planing conditions. Racing is scheduled to start at 1.00pm with two to three windward/leeward races each day.
Australia president of the SB20 class Stephen Catchpool has had a setback to his campaign with Hypertronics, with his mainsheet hand Chris Keal falling off a ladder, suffering multiple fractures including a broken pelvis.
“He has been a key member of the crew…the one who calms me down when the wind really blows on the river,” Catchpool said yesterday. “His replacement, South Australian B14 and foiler Moth sailor Ryan Kelly, is flying in from Perth but can’t get here until the morning of the first day of the pre-Worlds.”
The 41 Australian entries for the SB20 worlds have come largely from the Hobart fleet, with entries from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Hobart has one of the largest regular racing fleets in the world.
Heading the Hobart contingent are the current Australian champion crew of Aeolus, Brett Cooper, Darren ‘’Twirler’’ Jones and Corkhill, and the 2017 Worlds runner-up at Cowes, Export Roo, skippered by Michael Cooper with his crew of David Chapman and Gerry Mitchell.
Words and photos: Peter Campbell
1 January 2018