Cooper takes the reins in Triabunna

Tasmanian sailor Brett Cooper (Aeolus) has taken a commanding ten-point lead in the SB20 Australian Championship, sailed from the Spring Bay Boat Club in Triabunna, with one more day of sailing to come. Consistency is key to success in one-design regattas and Cooper had this in spades on the second day of racing.

Race Officer Ian Ross worked the fleet hard in the 8-15 knot southerly, completing five races, but wind shifts caused frustration, delays and general recalls, use of the occasional black flag, and three attempts at the final race of the day.

Over eagerness on the start line cost some of the top contenders dearly with Elliott Noye (Porco Rosso) the first team to take a break in Race Four. Cooper started the day in second place behind Nick Rogers (Karabos) but Rogers incurred a black flag starting penalty in the final race of the day taking a 29 point hit, dropping him down the leader-board to seventh place on 52 points.

Cooper may have one hand on the trophy but the young guns from the Taz Racing Team, Will Sargent, Ed Reid, Jacob McConaghy and Oscar O’Donoghue, who won their first ever race in an SB20 national championship, will be pushing hard in the final three races keeping the pressure on Cooper. Sargent is currently in second place on 32 points from Phil Reid (Mind Games) on 47 points.

Australia’s leading SB20 women’s team, Felicity Allison (Cook Your Own Dinner) are handling the tough conditions well, while Rogers and Sargent are leading the Masters’ and Youth Division respectively. Allison, with Bridget Hutton, Issi Declerck and Jill Abel, have gone from strength to strength in the Class and campaign the boat hard each week in Hobart on the River Derwent each week.

Race Officer Ian Ross is thrilled with the new sailing location noting that the open water doesn’t favour one side of the course over the other, and credits the SB20 Association of Australia, backed up by Derwent Sailing Squadron and the Spring Bay Boat Club, with reinvigorating the SB20 Class in Australia.

A highlight for Ross is the impressive sailing from the youth teams. “I think that the performance of the young teams has a few people scratching their heads. The camaraderie in the Class throughout the competitors is terrific with everyone more than happy to help the younger teams but also very happy to see them do well. Charlie Goodfellow and the Obi Kenobi team are sailing brilliantly but a broken rudder cost them a race today which was a shame”.

Three races are scheduled for the final day of sailing.

Words and images Jane Austin

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