#sb20 – The first SB20 Grand Slam of the 2015 season welcomed an international fleet to Hyères, in the South of France, for a fantastically close regatta with some spectacular sailing conditions from May 1-3, 2015
As Afloat previously reported, the international entry featured 25 boats from eight different nations, and included new teams from Switzerland, Italy, Portugal and Russia. There were also two boats from Singapore – both a men's and ladies' crew – who were using the event as a warm-up regatta session before the Southeast Asian Games, which is being held in SB20s in Singapore in June.
The event got underway with three races on Friday, May 1 in light conditions. Winning honours were shared by the French youth entry 'Give Me 5 By FFV France Jeune', who took the first winner's gun, British entrant 'Xcellent' skippered by John Pollard, and the Russian 'BCG Sailing Team' of Vadim Pushev.
The second day of racing saw winds build to a strong Mistral of over 30 knots. Two exhilarating races were completed before race organisers from the COYCH sent the fleet back ashore as wind speeds increased. Class secretary Ed Russo on 'Black Magic' and 'Xcellent' each took a first place in the day's high-speed competition.
The final Sunday brought more moderate 12-15 knot winds, and three races were completed. 'Xcellent', 'BCG Sailing Team' and 'Give Me 5' each took a win, bringing the event to a super-close finish with the final placings decided on countback as John Pollard's team just edged overall victory from the Russian 'BCG' entry.
Third overall was the 'Give Me 5 by FFV' crew of Robin Follin, Emeric Michel, Gauthier Germain and Marine Boudot, who were also the top Youth team. Third and fourth places were also separated on countback. Overall winners John Pollard, Rob Smitt and Mike Schwarz were also awarded the Masters prize, sponsored by Hyde Sails, while the top Ladies' award went to '5G Racing' from Singapore, with Jovina Choo, Daniela Ng, Dawn Liu and Terena Lam receiving prizes from luxury skincare brand Clarins.
John Pollard, skipper of the winning team 'Xcellent', commented: "It was definitely glorious sailing weather, and it's the fastest I've been in an SB20 – we hit 19 knots downwind! Hyères is always a great place to sail, and a good fun regatta with so many international teams from Russia, Singapore, Belgium, France, Holland and England all making it a fantastic Hyères. It was a really quality fleet."
The Hyères event is the first Grand Slam of the SB20 season, before the fleet moves onto Torbole in Italy for three events – the second Grand Slam of the season from May 22-24, the Italian Nationals and then the 2015 SB20 World Championships from July 4-10. The class will also compete at Grand Slam events in Cowes, during Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week in early August, and Cascais in Portugal in September.
The SB20 is one of the world's most successful one-design keelboats, with over 700 boats currently sailed in 22 countries. It is distributed worldwide by Sportsboat World in Netley Abbey and was originally designed by Tony Castro of Hamble, Hampshire. The 2015 World Championships will be held in Torbole, on Lake Garda in Italy from July 4-10, and the UK National Championships from September 5-8 at the Royal Southern YC in Hamble.
1st GBR 3724 Xcellent John Pollard, Rob Smitt & Mike Schwarz 24pts
2nd RUS 37007 BCG Sailing Team Vadim Pushev, Aleksandr MIkhailov & Timur Sabirzianov 24 pts
3rd FRA 3653 Give Me 5 by FFV Robin Follin, Emeric Michel, Gauthier Germain & Marine Boudot 29pts
4th FRA 3706 Black Magic Edward Russo, Cedric Chateau & Giles Favennec 29pts
5th ITA 3637 Diva XS Ferdinando Battistella, Andrea Casale & Andrea Battistella