The Cascais SB20 World Championships got off to a strong start yesterday with three races held in testing but hugely enjoyable conditions with Portuguese sun and strong breezes. Ireland has four entries in the 76–boat event.
Bango (James Gorman, Rory Fitzpatrick, Neil O'Toole & Laura Jackson) from the National Yacht Club are top Irish in 18th place with Ger Dempsey steering Royal Irish YC entry Venuesworld with Chris Nolan, Maeve Judge and Blair Stanaway 38th next. Wahoo (Colin Galavan, Chris Arrowsmith & David Cahill) is 40th with Royal Cork's, new Irish SB20 national champion, Stefan Hyde with Graeme Grant and 420 duo Douglas Elmes and Colin O Sullivan from Howth Yacht Club in 62nd after counting a Did Not Compete in the opening race. Full results are here.
The first two races of the day were held offshore on an Atlantic course, in 15–25 knot north-westerly breezes with gusts in the high 20s, creating magnificent downwind conditions for the asymmetric sportsboat fleet. Competitors enjoyed a sleigh ride on the Atlantic rollers on the offwind legs, reaching speeds of up to 18 knots.
For the third race organisers from the host Clube Naval de Cascais moved the racing closer inshore, which added a tactical element to the day with reading the shifts proving key.
In a day that tested both boat handling, crew work, stamina and wind strategy, few teams managed to avoid a mid-fleet, high scoring finish. By far the boat of the day was Hugo Rocha, sailing New Territories (RUS 3711), who scored 2, 3, 1 over the days’ three races to clearly lead overnight. Rocha is a Portuguese Olympic medalist who was runner-up at the 2014 SB20 World Championships and is looking to go one better this time.
Vasco Serpa and team on Animal/Clever Mobility (POR 3114) had a strong start to their regatta with a 1-2 finish, coming back from their first result of an 11th. Chris Dare’s Australian team on Flirtatious also picked up two podium finishes and a 14th to finish third at the end of the day. The first race win went to Ukranian Olympian Rodion Luka (Luka, UKR2042), but a 25th in the third race could prove a problem with just one discard over the series.
Gabriel Skoczek and France Jeune SB20 (FRA3653) and his Youth team are currently in 4th place, while first Master helm is Jerry Hill in 14th on Sportsboatworld.com (GBR3750). Top lady helm is Mathilde Geron with Team Xavier Bourhis Generali (FRA3423) in 19th place.
With six different nations represented in the top 10 competition looks set to be fierce for the Nations Cup, the trophy that will be awarded to the country with the three best results. Currently Russia is in the lead, followed by Portugal with 92 points and then France with 134 points.
The Cascais SB20 World Championships feature live tracking, allowing spectators to watch the action online here
Racing continues until Saturday, 3rd September, with 14 races scheduled in total for the 75 competing teams. The 2016 World Championships are hosted by the Clube Naval de Cascais, and sponsored by the city of Cascais, together with supporting sponsors including porcelain makers Vista Alegre and sailmakers Hydes