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#sb20 – The 2014 SB20 World Championships have been awarded to Yacht Club Hercules in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Championships will run from 5th to 11th September.

The Russian SB20 fleet has seen significant growth since 2009 and the Russian teams are highly competitive on the international circuit. Oleg Zherebtsov, Chairman of the SB20 class in Russia won the 2012 SB20 European Championship in Medemblik and was placed 3rd (on equal points to the Champion) at the recent 2012 UON SB20 World Championships in Hamilton Island, Australia. Oleg has been the driving force behind the growth of the SB20 Class in Russia, and was delighted that the 2014 World Championships will take place in St. Petersburg. Today there are 23 boats in Russia and there is strong growth forecast for the coming years.

The Yacht Club Hercules organised the finish of the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race and has experience in hosting European championships. Hercules boasts a highly qualified technical staff and secretariat. Further news and developments about Hercules can be followed on their website: .

The SB20 Class received four high quality bids from yacht clubs in sailing hot spots around the world to host the 2014 World Championships. "It's been a difficult task separating these bids from each other," explained Ed Russo, SB20 World Council President, "And we are extremely appreciative of the effort and interest from these competing Clubs."

Ahead of the 2014 World Championships in St. Petersburg, the SB20 Fleet will contest their 2013 World Championships in Hyeres, France from September 7th to the 13th where a fleet of over 100 SB20 boats is expected.

The SB20 class provides low cost, high intensity, big fleet racing and attracts some of the most recognisable names in sailing today.

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The Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) SB20 sportsboat fleet get together for a beer and a catch up in the Royal Irish YC at 8pm this Friday. The bay class, the biggest in the country with up to 20 boats, has its annual dinner on Friday 1 March 2013 at the Royal St. George YC and no doubt both functions will be opportunities to discuss both the local DBSC calendar and the national fixture list both of which were published this week.

One other topic up for discussion with DBSC SB20 captain Doug Smith over the winter has been the the possibility of the Dragon class joining in the SB20 Sunday sailing. Up to ten Dragons have indicated they would switch to Sunday from traditional Saturday racing. It is something of a compliment to the SB20 DBSC format and the windward/leward courses. Perhaps other classes, such as the Flying Fifteens and Squibs, might consider the same too if separate starts could be given?

(Proposed) DBSC SB20 Sunday Series in 2013

May – Sunday 5th, 19th & 26th

June – Sunday 23rd & 30th

July – Sunday 7th & 21st

August – Sunday 4th, 18th & 25th


SB20 2013 Irish Calendar

Spring Warmer Howth Y.C. April 6/13/20

Easterns Howth Y.C. April 27/28th

Westerns Lough Ree May 11/12th

Southerns (Kinsale) June 08/09th

Dun Laoghaire week July 11/14th

Nationals Galway July 26/28th

Northerns Aug 10/11th Royal Ulster

Worlds France Sept. 7th – 13 th

Midlands Lough Derg Oct 19/20th

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#sb20 – Three British teams were in the top three of the SB20 Worlds at Hamilton Island with three boats tied for first place.

It was a gripping finish on the deciding day at the UON SB20 World Championships at Hamilton Island with Geoff Carveth sailing into the class history books, crowned SB20 world champion for the third time.

It was the closest finish at any SB20 worlds with Carveth's British WKD team, Glenn Bourke's Australian entry, Club Marine, and Rodion Luka's Team Russia all wrapping up their series tied on 41 points after six days and 12 races. A countback was needed to separate the ultimate victor from second and third.

"Going into race two today we decided to take a risk. We gambled for a better ranking and took the right hand side of the course," said Carveth this afternoon. "It's the only time, during the whole event that the right hand side paid off. Glenn and Rodion went left and suddenly the chance came.  When we finished we were in disbelief that we'd put the number of boats between us.

"The crew have worked really hard. We trained hard here just days before the event started. Lesley and Squirrel really got up to speed and Roger has been fantastic. He's broken his run of seconds at SB20 world championships!"

WKD's South African bowman, Asenathi Jim, leapt off the boat once the result was known while the crew of Roger Hudson, Lesley Dhonau and Carveth embraced, then fell in, joining Jim for a victory swim.

"We've got to say a huge thank you to WKD and Joe Woods for making it possible for us to be here," Carveth added.

Hamilton Island CEO Glenn Bourke almost added another world title to his belt. "I have the utmost respect for the two guys we tied with," said Bourke. "It's testament to Geoff's talent and their crew work that they kept working their way out of deep positions, particularly in the last six races".

Team Russia's helmsman Rodion Luka was gracious in defeat, "Geoff is a great mate and I am happy that he won. We'll be back for another event and we look forward to that. Hamilton Island is beautiful and a great place to sail. The competition has been so tight, it's not often you have three boats tied on points at a world championship".

Winds were easterly and shifty for the final day of competition at 7-9 knots for the first race and up to 14 knots for the decider.  Denis Thompson pulled his black flag out again in race 11 after three general recalls due to wind shifts and antsy crews. On the fourth attempt the fleet got away cleanly. Three SB20s were pinged and individually recalled in the final race 12.

A countback separated first and second, Team Russia and Club Marine, with WKD, a mere three points off the frontrunners heading into today's final two sprints. The tension on the dock this morning was palpable with a world title riding on the final act for the three contenders, and points still to be claimed for those with their sights on the minor placings.

Competition at the UON SB20 World Championships began last Friday in light to moderate ESE breezes and after Monday's layday, midway through the competition, fresher ENE winds made for a very different set of conditions and a change in gears for the one design fleet of 42 international entries representing nine countries.

"I'm very pleased for Hamilton Island that we've had a range of conditions and such depth of talent for this truly international competition," said Bourke.

"I think the island put on a great regatta and the race management was outstanding. I feel Hamilton Island has come of age in terms of running world class sailing events."

Bourke also took the opportunity to acknowledge a number of valuable event partners. "I would like to acknowledge UON not only for their naming rights, but for entering two boats and being an active part of these world titles.

"Events Queensland gave us tremendous support to run a truly international event by assisting with shipping the SB20s to the island, which in turn attracted many overseas competitors and their families to the Whitsundays."

Bourke also thanked the SB20 World Council for its decision to grant Hamilton Island the event rights, and for their ongoing cooperation and assistance.

The SB20 class will hold their 2013 World Championship in Hyeres in the south of France next September.

Results at

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19th December 2012

SB20 World Title is All Tied Up

#sb20 – Places at the UON SB20 World Championships at Hamilton Island have shuffled with each race, but there has been one constant – Oleg Zherebtsov and Rodion Luka's Team Russia, which has occupied the top spot since day two.

This afternoon Glenn Bourke and his classy Club Marine crew of Andrew York and Greg Macallansmith caught up to the pointscore leaders. Bourke's second, fourth and bullet in the last race on day five has put them on equal 33 points with Team Russia and second on a countback.

The formidable Russian crew dropped their worst result, a 15th in race 10. They and the Australian Club Marine team led by Hamilton Island's CEO are heading into the final day pressure cooker barely separated.

"I will try to focus as much as I can," said Luka this afternoon. "There is a lot of pressure but I have experience. Tomorrow will be like the first day of racing. We will have dinner tonight and save some energy for tomorrow."

Bourke says his latest results reflect the fact he's getting comfortable with the level of competition. "I'm getting into the rhythm of the event, it's coming at the right time and we are improving a little bit each day. Tomorrow will be won and lost on who gets off the start line well."

Bourke, a multiple Laser world champion, says the buzz of international competition is a thrilling experience. "It's the most exciting thing you can do in your year".

Geoff Carveth's WDK (GBR) is third on 36 points and still in the hunt while Robert Greenhalgh's The Beard is fourth overall with 49 points.

The penultimate day of competition produced more superb sailing in the tropical Queensland Whitsunday Islands in the 10 knot average NE breezes.

Race 8 was a clean start. Race 9 was another general recall for the jumpy fleet at the sharp end of their world title followed by individual recalls for two SB20s, including the aptly named Still Out of Control (Mark Wolfenden), which tangled with the Italian SB20 Nuri while trying to re-start.

The top mark roundings were loud and lively as the fleet bunched up, and the downhill runs were spectacular with a straight line of spinnakers against the afternoon glare of another perfect summer's day. The area is crying out for water but the afternoon thunderstorms typical of this time of year have stayed away.

Sydney based Craig Nicholls picked up his best result of the series, an eighth in race 8 with Typhoon. Nicholls has paired up with Scott Glaskin, a 16 foot skiff state champion from Royal Perth Yacht Club and Morgan White, one of Australia's most sought after bowmen whose dance card is full for the Australian summer calendar including the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Club Marine Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta, Festival of Sails and Farr 40s.

Having never sailed an SB20 previously, Nicholls and his cohorts had 45 mins training two days out and two hours the day before the world championship commenced last Friday.

"Coming into the world titles the Typhoon crew were happy to wing it, falling back on their experience in other classes," admitted Nicholls.

Other well placed Australians teams include Ian Brown's One Design Sailing in 6th, Nick Rogers' Karabos in 14th and Peter Jones' And Then in 18th.

Two of the crews black flagged in race 7 yesterday, after being called OCS, were reinstated last night and this morning. The Beard and Ben Saxton's Bango Powered by SLAM sought redress and the international jury decided in favour of the two British crews. Both have been granted average points up to the end of race 10.

The forecast for tomorrow's final two races is SE to NE winds 10-15 knots. Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson has scheduled an 11am start so the SB20s being shipped back to Europe can be packed into containers before most crews head off Friday to be home in time for Christmas.

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#sb20 – Nine sequences, six competitors black flagged and disqualified, two general recalls, two postponements, two course changes, an abandonment and a partridge in a pear tree. A mini-series could be made on the highs and lows of day four of the UON SB20 World Championships at Hamilton Island.

The 42 international crews contesting their world title in the 20-foot sportsboats set off from the marina at 9.30am this morning, most towed to the course area in the light winds. Nearly five frustrating hours later after the race committee twice moved the racetrack further east chasing steady wind, the first race of the day got underway in a building NNE breeze.

Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson finally settled on Chance Bay off Whitsunday Island and that's where the magic began. After three days of light air the adrenaline was pumping and the spray was flying as the Whitsundays turned put on its best face for the visitors, up to 18 knots of breeze, white caps and sunshine galore.

Race 6 was a thriller, on the risk of a black flag disqualification following two general recalls the fleet judged the current right and got away cleanly in 15 knots of NNE breeze. Glenn Bourke's Club Marine was first to the top post chased by the two British boats, Robert Greenhalgh's The Beard and Geoff Carveth's WKD.

The crews turned the corner and powered up for the downhill slide, bodies crammed at the stern quarter to balance out the pressure over the right shoulder and keep the boat on its feet. By the second top mark rounding places had swapped, WDK led Club Marine and Pietro Negri's Stenghele (ITA), and this was how they screamed through the finish gate under kite.

Race 7 was another black flag start only this time Thompson's gavel came down with a bang. Six SB20s were disqualified, including top contenders The Beard, Ian Brown's One Design Sailing and Ben Saxton's Bango Powered by SLAM, an expensive penalty which will become their discard race. A number of those disqualified are seeking to be reinstated with 'night sailing' about to commence in the jury room.

Carveth and his crew of mainsheet Roger Hudson and bow 1 and 2, Lesley Dhonau and Asenathi Jim, picked up back-to-back wins today to move into third overall.

"Finally some good hard racing, that's what we came here for," said an exhausted Carveth this evening. "When the wind came in it was worth waiting for. There were some tense moments with the black flag and in the second race we nearly lost our lead to the French and Rodion [Team Russia], but we climbed back over them and put ourselves in charge again".

Second in race 7 was Rouxel Thomas' French entry, Hyeres 2013, named ahead of next year's SB20 worlds venue, and again, the Italians in third.

Team Russia's grip on the pointscore top spot is tightening, their eighth and fourth enough to keep the wolves at bay for another day. After tomorrow's scheduled race 8 a discard will come into play.

Glenn Bourke, Andrew York and Greg Macallansmith's Club Marine has moved into second on the overall pointscore after seven races, eight points from the Russian masters and just one ahead of Carveth, a previous SB20 world champion.

One Design Sailing is the next best Aussie boat on the pointscore, currently 10th, followed by Tasmanian Nick Rogers' Karabos in 13th, Stephen Fries' WSIWYG V in 17th, Peter Jones' And Then in 19th, Troy Forrest's Black Rat in 20th and Victorian Chris Dare's Flirtatious in 21st place.

It's been a long day for competitors and officials and as the sun set over Hamilton Island, SB20s and official vessels were still making their way back to the marina.

All crews enjoyed yesterday's only series layday. Great Barrier Reef tours, a visit to the famous Whitehaven Beach, a round at the stunning Hamilton Island golf course and relaxing crew lunches at the many restaurants were just some of the activities crews opted for before competitors gathered at the main pool for the Bundaberg Rum layday pool party.

With two days and five races of the SB20 world titles scheduled there is still plenty more to come.

Tomorrow's forecast is for NNE winds 5-10 knots tending ENE 10-15 knots in the afternoon.

Published in SB20
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#sb20 – At the half way point at the UON SB20 World Championships at Hamilton Island, the Russian team spearheaded by Oleg Zherebtsov and his helm Rodion Luka is still leading the international fleet of 42 sportsboats.

In a first-class display of tactics and crew work, sailing wunderkind Ben Saxton and his Great Britain team closed the gap on the clubhouse leader with a bullet in today's only race. Saxton's Bango Powered by SLAM is now seven points off the leading Team Russia.

Australia's Glenn Bourke and his Club Marine crew have held onto third overall but lost their grip on the countback that had them on equal points with Saxton at the close of racing yesterday. This will only motivate the cool multiple world champion racing with bow number 07, which has some island staff referring to their boss as '007'.

"There were a couple of opportunities we didn't grab with both hands but in the light airs we are not unhappy with our sixth today," said Bourke, the CEO of Hamilton Island.

Ian Brown's One Design Sailing has moved into fifth overall. Dual Olympic gold medallist Malcolm Page, who is on the mainsheet, said "Conditions today were fickle. When you got it wrong you paid big. There's a lot to play for, and a lot to lose.

"We are happy to be where we are, it's a bit better than I expected. We are just sailing our own races."

Ian Brown is also happy with their current standing on the results sheet. "We are working hard at maintaining our place" he said this afternoon. Between now and the end of the series Brown is hoping to find some time to tweak the rig. Tomorrow's layday could be opportune except "A few are playing golf tomorrow and they need a silly buggy driver...that might be me" the skipper conceded.

Today's big mover was Russia's Anna Basalkina and her in-form SB20 crew on Aquaholics. The Olympic 470 and Yngling sailor picked up a third place today to be sixth overall.

"It's quite difficult in the light winds, we took a good start today and kept our left side and that was the right way. Downwind we were fast, I am happy," the pleased skipper said. "I will try to come in the top three, that's the golden place".

On the steamy conditions Basalkina commented, "It's hot compared to other countries and cities where I've sailed, it's hard to keep concentration going". While the locals are swimming in the warm Whitsunday waters, the reputation of some of Australia's sea creatures has so far kept the Russian crew in the boat and unwilling to take a gamble on a refreshing dip.

Also breathing down the necks of the top tier is the Italian team of Stenghele, led by Pietro Negri and eighth overall, and UK entries, Geoff Carveth's WDK, fourth overall, Jerry Hill's, seventh overall, and Robert Greenhalgh's The Beard, ninth overall.

The race committee signalled a postponement before today's one and only race. Patience paid off and it wasn't long before a 5-6 knot ENE breeze came to answer competitors' prayers, cooling baking bodies and setting things in motion for what ended up being a consistent fifth race of the 12 race series.

The light ENE winds ran out of puff just as the backmarkers cruised through the finish line under spinnaker. Cloud cover threw a blanket over the race course and with no sign of anything promising on the horizon the race committee lifted anchors and all boats headed back to Hamilton Island marina where crews are now enjoying an early mark.

Tomorrow is the one and only layday for the SB20 sports boat fleet contesting their world title. Racing will resume on Tuesday and conclude on Thursday, December 20.

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#sb20 – Lighter breezes and one of the biggest tides of the year combined to create tricky conditions for the 42 international crews contesting the UON SB20 World Championships yesterday , and the race management team who were kept busy setting and re-setting fair courses.

Current SB20 European champions, Russian Oleg Zherebtsov, his helm Rodion Luka and their 470 crew on Raketa are, as anticipated, in menacing form. A bullet and a third on day two has put them comfortably at the top of the Hamilton Island series pointscore.

This afternoon the Ukrainian born Luka said, "We are not worried about being first or second, it's about being in the top three. Today the owner is more happy, this is most important."

With currents up to five knots in the Whitsundays at this time of year, some crews are finding it hard to fit that piece of the puzzle. Luka's not concerned, commenting, "I grew up on a river with big tides so I am not worried, but here it's a more specific tide.  You can never get relaxed, you always have to look out of the boat to see what's going on".

Not so fortunate was yesterday's young standout, Ben Saxton, who scored a ninth and an 11th today with Bango Powered by SLAM. Yesterday's opening volleys gave the young British crew enough of a head start however to be second overall this afternoon and well in the running with four days remaining.

The consistency of Glenn Bourke and his Club Marine crew is paying dividends for the multiple world champion. The Hamilton Island CEO is now third on the pointscore after four races.

The might of two-time SB20 world champion, Geoff Carveth from the UK sailing WKD, is also starting to spoil the party for the rest. Carveth collected a second and a first today to be fourth on the pointscore.

"Today we had a clearer idea what was going on in the bay, and a bit of a theory," said Carveth just now. "Yesterday I broke the start and I think I was tired from performing major surgery on the boat the day before after we ripped the side of the keel.

"We had a decent start in race four, we stuck to our guns and we gradually picked off our opposition."

On the plan for the remainder of the week, Carveth says it's all about the starts. "All I want is to be on the start line going fast, after that we can do the rest. It's easier said than done though; you need some luck on your side".

The Aussies, which make up half the international fleet, fared better in today's light airs. Sydney's Ian Brown and his crew of dual Olympic gold medallist Malcolm Page, bowman Klade Hauschildt and 14 year-old Finn Gilbert on One Design Sailing picked up a handy third and fourth respectively to be sixth on the pointscore.

The fleet was recalled at the start of race four but got away cleanly on the second attempt. As the majority converged at the top mark in the best pressure of the day, peaking at 12 knots out of the east nor'east, there was a boisterous bunch-up and red angry flags were drawn.

The international jury however sat idle as the sun set over Hamilton Island and the sailors gathered on the Hamilton Island Yacht Club boardwalk to quench their thirst and talk over the day's events like gentlemen.

Andrew Oddie's GBR entry, Harry, picked up best result so far, a sixth in race three. Harry has been named after the bowman Freddie Blencke's son Harry, who was killed in a car accident last year. Blencke has used these worlds to launch fundraising efforts for Taronga Zoo's new Lemur exhibit, to honour his son's short life. The online auction has raised an $18,000 with other donations taking the tally to $30,000 so far.

"I've been really impressed by the support from around the world," said a grateful Blencke this morning.

Tomorrow's forecast is for similar conditions with Monday a planned layday before the final deciding half of the UON SB20 World Championships.

Results here

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#sb 20 – Racing kicked off today in the Hamilton Island Resort area in Western Australia for the 2012 SB20 World Championships hosted by Hamilton Island Yacht Club. Early results are in, showing youngster Ben Saxton having early success with two wins in the first two races. Current world champion Geoff Carveth only managed a 5 & 17 in comparison.

The Russian team led by current European Champion and hot favourite Rodion Luka, are in 3rd just behind Italian Pietro Negri onboard Stenghele. Although none of the Irish crews travelled to the event citing cost as a major factor, one Irish boat is in fact entered. Perth based Irish sailor Declan Keogh, who works for sponsor UON Power Air Water will be sailing his boat Sidewinder in the World Series.

Declan has also just announced that he has just secured the distribution rights for Western Australia for the SB20 Sportsboat (formerly the Laser SB3) from UK based distributor and manufacturer Sports Boat World.

It's been a case of the apprentice showing the masters on the opening day of the Championships at Hamilton Island with Great Britain's 22 year-old Ben Saxton scoring two bullets.

With an average age of 23 among the four crew on the SB20, Bango Powered by SLAM, the youngsters won the first race having led the fleet around the course in Turtle Bay, to the east of the award winning island, in a 12-14 knot easterly breeze.

It was no fluke, the young Brit picking up the second gun of the day after match racing the Italian team of Stenghele, led by Pietro Negri, around the track to a photo finish just four seconds clear when it counted.

When asked between races whether the first bullet was a surprise, the winner of the Endeavour Trophy, the UK's Dinghy Champion of Champions event, grinned from ear to ear, "not at all" he said with typical Gen-Y confidence.

"We hoped both races would be easier, but we finished feeling like we'd worked really hard, which is a credit to the rest of the fleet. The line-up has some serious quality to it and that's the reason we are here," added Saxton. "We looked at the entry list and thought 'we have to get involved in that!'"

On their prospects at the end of the six-day world title the skipper commented, "We'd like to be in the game going into the last day".

Current SB20 world champion, Geoff Carveth, who has also won the Endeavour Cup, has in the past affectionately referred to Ben and his twin brother Tim as "the pesky kids".  Ben Saxton was a credentialed British Sailing Team 470 development squad sailor who has transferred to the Nacra 17 mixed catamaran for the Rio Olympics.

Sailing four-up with his brother Tim, Maria Stanley, 24, and Johnny McGovern, 26, on the bow, Saxton joked dockside this afternoon, "We have a bit of wisdom at the front of the boat to tell us where to go". McGovern also has Olympic designs, in the 470 class, while Tim's happy to let his brother shoot for the stars. "I have a real job," he jests.

Behind the young Brits, the minor placings shuffled at each top mark rounding in race one with 2010 SB20 world champion Jerry Hill's Sportsboatworld and Australia's own Glenn Bourke on Club Marine grabbing vital opening points from the 42 strong fleet.

In the slightly pressured up race two, the Italians found their mojo in the Med-like conditions, Steghele and Andrea Racchelli's Altea placing second and third.

The best placed Australian in race two was Bourke, a multiple Laser world champion, who was buried on the right side of the course when the breeze unexpectedly came out of the left.

Denis Thompson and his heavyweight team of international umpires, including Oracle Team USA's rules advisor Richard Slater, New Zealand's Bevan Woolley and American Charlie Arms, reported a  great opening day in light to moderate easterlies.

Tomorrow's forecast is for sunny skies and SE-E winds at 8-14 knots.

Two races have completed so far with provisional results posted here,

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#SB20 – The SB20 Class World Council have announced the class will host their sixth World Championships in Hyères, France in 2013. Racing will take place between Monday 9th and Friday 13th September and will be hosted by the internationally acclaimed COYCH.

COYCH has a wealth of experience running excellent national and international regattas including the Hyeres Olympic Week and the Club was recently named by the ISAF as the host for one of the six Sailing World Cups.  Entries for the SB20 2013 Worlds are expected from over 15 countries with crews coming from as far away as Australia, Singapore and the UAE. The number of entries, which will exceed 100 boats, will be significant from Italy, UK and Russia while the French entries will represent about 30% of the total fleet.

The SB20 fleet has experienced strong growth in France recently; the local class is supported by the dealer, Marçon Yachting, base in Martigues. "In France, we are delighted to host the SB20 World Championship next year, a truly international class" explained Edward Russo, President, SB20 World Council. "One of the key ingredients in a successful SB20 event is choosing the correct location and we are confident that by  awarding the Championship to COYCH in Hyères we have ticked this very important box!"

The SB20 will be exhibited at Salon Nautique de Paris from 7th – 16th December at the Porte de Versailles. To view a new SB20, built by White Formula in the UK, please visit stand number EF90.

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#sb20 – Sportsboat World promoters of the SB20 one design sportsboat announced the launch of a SB20 Grand Slam circuit that will take place in Europe in 2013. The SB20 Grand Slam will consist of three events that have been scheduled to take place at three favourite SB20 sailing locations giving Irish crews an extra travel incentive in 2013.

The SB20 Grand Slam will kick off in Hyeres at the beginning of May (3rd – 5th) with three days racing before heading to Malcesine, Lake Garda for the second Grand Slam event (24th – 26th May). The third SB20 Grand Slam will take place at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week (3rd – 6th August), where a special race format has been agreed with the organisers.

The SB20 Grand Slam events are aimed at those in the class that enjoy sailing in beautiful places and enjoy a lively social scene; which will be set up to support each of the Grand Slam events. Each SB20 Grand Slam will have a winner in its own right and while sailors will be encouraged to take part in as many events as possible, there will not be an overall Grand Slam Champion.

"One of our missions when we formed Sportsboat World was to provide events that would appeal to sailors internationally; in top locations with great socials" explains Alan Hillman. "The SB20 Grand Slam will do just that and we're really looking forward to kicking these events off in 2013."

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Page 21 of 23

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.


The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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