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Mistral Arrives in Full Force for SB20 World Champs

11th September 2013
Mistral Arrives in Full Force for SB20 World Champs

#sb20 – It was another early start for the 90 strong SB20 fleet at the Audi World Championships in Hyères, France. The Race Committee set the course even further to the right hand side of the Baie de Iles d' Or to shelter from the "Big Wednesday" forecast of 30 plus knots of wind.

Anticipating the arrival of the mistral, racing was underway on time; even the fleet managed to behave themselves and stay behind the start line for the first race of the day. However, the forecast wind did not arrive and the fleet tacked their way up the course in a very gentle six knots. Stephen Fries (AUS) arrived at the top mark at the head of the fleet with Phil Plumtree (GBR), Pietro Negri (ITA) and Edward Russo (FRA) in tow. In the light conditions and a spreader mark set too low, a number of the fleet hoisted their gennakers early. By the leeward mark a shuffling of the fleet saw Russo in the lead with Rodion Luka (UKR) hot on his heels followed by Sebastien Col (FRA) in third place. Assuming normal form, Luka picked his way through the fleet to emerge the victor of the fifth race of the Championships. Thomas Rouxel (FRA) muscled his way into second position, leaving Col third and Russo fourth.

Following a break in racing to reposition the course, the mistral, as promised, arrived in full force. In the increased pressure, the fleet were recalled twice before a start was got away. Andrew Oddie (GBR) grabbed the premium pin position at the port end of the line in a fabulous manoeuvre that saw him shoot off the line with great boat speed.

But again it was Luka rounding the first mark in poll position, with Adrian Peach (GBR) and his junior crew of 29er sailors in hot pursuit. Luka defended his lead and went on to win what was to be the final race of the day as the pressure increased to beyond sailable conditions.

"I'm hungry and I'm tired," said Luka as he returned to the dock. "It was a hard day today, really tactical racing. On the first downwind leg [of race one] we ripped our kite on the drop, Andre did a great job changing the sail. We are really happy with our results and our boat speed." When pushed for his thoughts on where the overall result might go, Luka said, "To the wire, the last race of the event will decide the Champion."

So there we have it, five races down in the Audi SB20 World Championships. The competition is impressive. With one discard now applied, Craig Burlton (GBR) still leads the fleet with 12 points, but Rodion Luka has closed the gap with today's double bullet performance.

Full results can be viewed here

Published in SB20
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SB20 (formerly Laser SB3) information

The Laser SB3 was designed by Tony Castro and launched in 2002. In 2007 the Laser SB3 was awarded ISAF Recognised Status and the first World Championships were held in Ireland in 2008. In 2012, Tony Castro appointed a new builder, Sportsboat World. At this time, the Laser SB3 was renamed the SB20 and building was returned to the UK from Malaysia. The ethos of the class continues.

The boat is a strict one-design class, economic to buy and campaign, easy to sail with a simple deck layout and electric downwind performance delivered by the generous sail plan. The boat has a lifting keel, can easily be launched from a slipway and towed behind a family car.

Previous SB20 World Champions

2008 GBR: Geoff Carveth, Roger Gilbert, Roz Allen & Sarah Allan

Host National Yacht Club, Dun laoghaire, Ireland

2009 GBR: Craig Burlton, Stephen White, Adam Heeley

Host Clube Naval de Cascais, Cascais, Portugal

2010 GBR: Jerry Hill, Grant Rollerson, Joe Llewellyn

Host Circolo Vela Torbole, Lake Garda, Italy

2011 GBR: Geoff Carveth, Andy Ramus, Ian Mills & Emma Clarke

Host Royal Torbay Yacht Club, Torquay, UK

2012 GBR: Geoff Carveth, Lesley Dhonau, Roger Hudson & Asenathi Jim

Host Hamilton Island Yacht Club, Queensland, Australia

2013 GRB: Craig Burlton, Stephen White, Adam Heley Host COYCH Club, Hyeres, France

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