#sb20 – The SB20 keelboat class will hold its 2017 World Championships at the prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes.
It's somewhat disappointing news for Irish sportsboat sailing following a competitive tender process from five international sailing clubs including three Irish ones from Cork, Galway and Ulster.
The SB20 World Council voted for the RYS to host the championships. Event dates will be confirmed early in 2015.
As Afloat.ie previously reported last August, Irish SB20 Class President Justin Burke had been urging Irish clubs to get behind the sportsboat bid and bring the Championships here for a second time.
Ireland previously hosted the inaugural worlds – when the class was known as the SB3 – in 2009 at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire attracting a massive fleet of 163 boats divided into two flights.
Ed Russo, President of the SB20 World Council, commented: "We are excited about the opportunity of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes hosting the 2017 SB20 Worlds. The Solent is where the first SB20 fleet began and we expect a significant number of participants from the 13 fleets around the world to return to the founding waters for this event."
The Royal Yacht Squadron is one of the most prestigious yacht clubs in the world, the host club of the very first America's Cup race (held around the Isle of Wight in 1851), and founder of the famous Cowes Week regatta. With its spectacular canon start-line at Cowes Castle, the Squadron hosts top level racing events on the Solent waters each year.
Rear Commodore (Yachting) Jonathan Perry commented: "The Royal Yacht Squadron is delighted to have been selected to host the SB20 World Championships in 2017. The Solent provides challenging sailing conditions for this truly international class, which we look forward to welcoming to Cowes."
The SB20 class is an international one-design keelboat sailed by three or four people which offers incredibly close 'level' racing, attracting both amateur and professional sailors of all ages. It is a familiar sight on the Solent, and provides superb value for money with class starts and one-design fleets at major regattas such as Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, as well as its own class championships and Grand Slam circuit.
The SB20 class has over 750 boats sailing worldwide with established fleets in the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Dubai, Singapore and Australia, and regularly attracts fleets of over 100 boats for international events. A global fleet is expected for the 2017 World Championships as well as a strong UK entry.
The SB20 will hold its 2015 World Championships at Torbole, on Lake Garda, Italy and in 2016 in Cascais, Portugal, giving the fleet three superb venues for the next three overall World Championship contests, which also include Youth, Masters and Ladies titles.