Hobart’s fleet of high-performance SB20 sports boats is back on the Derwent this weekend with crews returning to championship racing after the hiatus that followed the spectacular world championships last summer.
A fleet of 14 SB20s, smaller than expected but high in quality, will contest the inaugural mid-winter championship over eight races today and tomorrow.
Racing should be spectacular, with 10-20 knot north-westerly winds forecast for today, becoming variable around midday, while on a wet Sunday northerly winds of 10-15 knots are forecast, turning north-west and freshening to 15-10 knots.
While many crews have been taking a break, Elliott Noye, Paul McCartney and Edward Snowball have been racing McCartney’s European-based boat, Porco Rosso, internationally this winter including placing second overall in the Portuguese nationals.
With this most recent overseas competition, the Porco Rosso team will go afloat this morning favourites for the mid-winter championship title, but they face strong opposition.
Michael Cooper, runner-up in the 2017 worlds at Cowes, England, will be hard to beat in Export Roo, as will be Paul Burnell in Honeybadger, Nick Rogers in Karabos, George Peacock at the helm of Team Musto and Frazer Read, helming Pinch.
Two all-women crews from Athena Sailing have entered, Anna Reid steering Essence of Athena and Pride of Athena (Colleen Darcey and Claire Cunningham).
Derwent Sailing Squadron is conducting the SB20 Mid-Winter Championships and will also be running the Nationals on the river in spring.
Words: Peter Campbell
Photos: Jane Austin
27 July 2018