Two times World champion in the SB20 one-design sports boat class, Englishman Jerry Hill had good reason to smile when he arrived in Hobart this week for the 2018 Worlds on the River Derwent.’
“You have one of the biggest fleets of SB20s in the world, really amazing to see some 50 local boats,” Hill said in an interview with The Mercury before yesterday’s first race of the pre-World regatta, with the Worlds starting on Sunday with a fleet of 59 boats.
Hill is head of SportsBoatWorld, the international distributors of the SB20, a high-performance small keelboat sailed in Australia, Europe, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal, Singapore and in French New Caledonia.
“The enthusiasm with which the SB20 has been taken up in Hobart is remarkable, as is the range of sailors skippering and crewing the boats, from a former Dragon world champion through to women crews and teenagers,” Hill added.
Hill won the SB20 worlds in 2010 and won the 2017 Worlds once again on his home waters off Cowes, The Solent. Hill’s local knowledge helped him win just two points ahead of Hobart yachtsman Michael Cooper.
The two leading contenders for the 2018 Worlds met again, on dry land yesterday morning at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and again on the water in the first two races of the Pre-Worlds.
In both races, Hill finished ahead in Sportsboatworld.com, placing fifth and third to be second overall. Cooper, at the helm of Export Roo, had a 12th and fourth to be fourth overall.
The Hobart championships are the second Worlds that Hill has contested in Australia, the previous one at Hamilton Island.
He is following in the footsteps of his father Rodney Hill who represented Great Britain in the Southern Cross Cup in Australia.
Today’s racing was sponsored Clennett’s Mitre 10 and Harcourts Hobart.
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