The SB20 class’s second European Grand Slam of the season kicks off today, Friday May 13, at the North Sea Regatta.The North Sea Regatta is the largest Dutch sailing event, attracting around 2,500 sailors annually to Scheveningen, close to The Hague.
This year 20 SB20s will be competing in their own class at the prestigious event, with a breezy forecast and big fleet combining to guarantee four days of exciting white-knuckle racing from May 13-16, 2016.
The Dutch Grand Slam has been added to the SB20 calendar due to the growing strength of the Dutch fleet. Last year one-design expert Hein Ruyten was appointed SB20 dealer for the region and has seen the class reinvigorated with increasing numbers and an active racing fleet.
Among the top local sailors competing at the event is Marco van Driel on ‘MXTC’ and local fleet captain Martijn Buitnehuis (‘Buitenhuis Advies’). Meanwhile the fleet has also attracted entrants from France, Germany, Ireland and Great Britain. British teams to watch include Adrian Peach on ‘Uber’, who won the Cowes Grand Slam last year, while fleet newcomer James Russell on ‘Blackstone Racing’ is also showing some strong form.
The forecast for the event is for strong breezes, with winds ranging from the high teens to mid 20s for the first three days, with a chance of gusts of over 25 knots on today’s opener. SportsboatWorld’s Jerry Hill commented: “If it is as windy as the forecast says it might be, then we could be in for some fun.
"Racing the SB20 in those conditions it’s all about keeping the boat tracking, the rig above the keel, and getting the gennaker up and down safely.”
The SB20 sailors should certainly enjoy some high octane downwind legs, with 12 races scheduled over four days.