The SB20 International fleet is on notice following an impressive silver-medal performance from Tasmanian crew Brett Cooper, Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones and Jock Calvert, sailing the chartered boat Aeolus in the French Cup championship at Hyeres, near Marsaille.
The failure of the breeze to fill in until early afternoon dashed Cooper’s hopes of three races on the final day and a chance to regain the lead from British champion John Pollard sailing Xcellent.
The Tasmanians, representing the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and the Derwent Sailing Squadon finished second on 25 points, finishing with a third in race eight and a fifth in race nine, with the French Cup going to Pollard and his crew of Jack Wetherell and Steve Proctor on a net 20 points.
Pollard had a win and a seventh on the last day for a regatta scoreboard of 2-1-(BFD)-3-2-2-1-1-7 while Cooper’s placings were 1-2-1-(6)-6-4-3-3-5.
Third place went to French youth sailor, Robin Follin. Follin (Give Me Five FFV Youth) on 35 points.
The French Nationals is one of two lead-up events sailed prior to the World Championship in October, also at Hyeres. While it was a good opportunity for training, the 25-boat fleet will have a lot more action on the start line when they face off in the Worlds with a fleet of close to 80 boats from six nations expected.
“The purpose of these warm-up regattas is not only to get to know Hyeres better but to get a few extra days together with each team to work on areas where they need improvement, and with the dependability of the Hyeres winds, this regatta has been an excellent training run for all,” said Ed Russo, President of the SB20 Class World Council.
And this was certainly the feedback from Australian Jock Calvert who is sailing with the Aeolus team for the first time in an international event. “As a team of three, we’ve only sailed together a handful of times. It’s been a good challenge to move forward into the bow position, and it’s taken me a bit of time to master it. The boys have been great and we’re all starting to really sync up and get our processes and teamwork humming,” said Calvert.
SB20 Australian President Stephen Catchpool was equally impressed with Cooper’s performance noting the limited opportunities the Australians have to compete against the international SB20 fleet.
“I’m very excited to see Brett [Cooper} and his crew do so well in the French Nationals. Brett, along with our other Australian entries Porco Rosso (Elliott Noye), The Imp (Andrew Smith) and Essence of Athena (Anna Reid), will be a formidable presence in the Worlds. Noye has already showed his class in Portugal and Ireland and definitely has his eye on the prize in Hyeres,” said Catchpool.
The French Grand Slam will be held 4-6 October and the Worlds from 19-25 October 2019.
Words: Jane Austin SB20AusMedia/Peter Campbell
Photos: courtesy of SB20 Class President,
16 September 2019