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Dickson's Howth Yacht Club SB20 Leads Irish Charge in Fifth Place at World Championships

7th January 2018
Howth Yacht Club's Cillian Dickson (left) accepts his prize as leading youth boat at the SB20 Worlds in Hobart Howth Yacht Club's Cillian Dickson (left) accepts his prize as leading youth boat at the SB20 Worlds in Hobart Photo: John Malone

Today the fleet at the SB20 World Championship got the hop on the kids of Ireland by going back to school a day early writes Irish crewman Ted Laverty in Hobart.

Trickier than a game of poker at a wizard’s conference, the Derwent in Hobart, Tasmania served up variable conditions to test the whole fleet. The points spread after 3 races is now such that the local Hobart crew aboard Export Roo (Michael cooper, David Chapman and Gerry Mitchell) who placed second in the 2017 worlds in Cowes, finished with 6 points giving them a commanding 13 point lead over their nearest rival, the French crew of Le Grand Reservoir/Mazet & A (Achille Nebout). That kind of day.

The feeling in the club house, where a generous spit roast was served to all competitors in 25c of evening sunshine, was that the majority of crews are hoping they have sailed at least one of their projected 2 discards today.

That said, hats off to the Irish youth crew of Bin Eadiar (Cillian Dickson, Sam O’Byrne, Gordon Stirling, Diana Kissane) who had a strong day with an 8th,23rd,4th and lie in 5th place overall tonight with the bonus of being the leading youth boat of the championship. Some achievement and, given their impressive performances of late, it’s a position they certainly have the ammunition to sustain.

So what made the sailing conditions so difficult to read? Perhaps I am not the most qualified to offer a comprehensive assessment, but it goes something like this. Significant wind shifts, 2 separate breeze systems (both sea breezes apparently) and random holes in the middle of the course that appeared without much warning. Add variable wind speeds from about 5 knots to 25 knots and a river emptying out onto the race course just to complicate matters. It’s certainly a learning curve and one I believe not many locations can match.

The remaining Irish crews aboard (Sin Bin) and both sailed within themselves today with 17th and 34th overall. The silver cloud for the former is that just 4 points separate them from 10th place overall. Like I said, that kind of day.

On our boat ( there is a feeling that we left something out on the race course today – and we want it back! Lots of racing left down here and the Irish boats are representing well. Once we crack this place, anything is possible.

You can track races live or see daily results as they happen here

SB20 HobartCharge of the spinnakers on day one of the SB20 worlds. Photo: Jane Austin

Additional reporting by Peter Campbell

Export Roo hops to the lead in SB20 Worlds

Hobart yachtsman Michael Cooper today made an impressive start to winning the SB20 World championship on the River Derwent that he so narrowly missed at Cowes, England, last August.

Steering Export Roo, with same crew of David Chapman and Gerry Mitchell, Cooper scored two third places and a win on day one of the 2018 World Championship on his home waters.

This has given Export Roo a commanding early lead in the four-day, 12-race regatta for these high performance, one-design sportsboat, crewed by three or four sailors, men, women and teenagers, with skippers ages ranging from 13 to 60 years plus.

Hobart and the River Derwent turned on brilliant sailing conditions for the 59 boats, 18 from overseas, contesting the Worlds – a south-east to south-westerly seabreeze freshening from 12 knots to !8 knots of the end of the day.

After three races, Export Roo has six points on the leaderboard, 13 points clear of his nearest rival, the French boat Le Grand Reservoir/Mazet & A (Achille Nebout) which placed 2-11-7 for 20 points.

Cooper showed his local knowledge by being the first to gybe on the final spinnaker run of the last race and stayed with the breeze while the following boats fell into a ‘’hole.’’

The Hobart businessman lost the 2017 Worlds on The Solent at Cowes to noted British yachtsman Jerry Hill by two points, with Hill using his own local knowledge in the final race.

Cooper has avowed revenge and is not only leading the 2018 Worlds but is also 24 places ahead of Hill, who today placed 4-38-28 in

British sailor John Pollard, sailing Ecellent, is third overall on 24 points (6-12-6) while fourth is race two winner Honey Badger (Paul Burnell) sailing with his sons Oli and Toby and 14-year-old Bailey Fisher.

The Honey Badger’s other placings have been a 19th and a 14th for a total of 34 points.

Today’s three races produced three winners, Export Roo, The Honey Badger and a Russian crew of MST who arrived in Hobart late last week and did not contest the Pre-Worlds.

Vasily Grigoriev and his crew showed great downwind speed to snatch victory in race one, crossing the line just seconds ahead of French Youth sailor Robin Follin in Take Me 5 -French Youth Team.

However, the French boat was disqualified under the Black Flag (BFD) rule following a general recall, along with three other boats.

Leading ten boats after three races on day one:

Export Roo (Michael Cooper, AUS) 7 points (3-3-1)
Le Grand Reservoir/Mazet & A (Achill Nebout, FRA) 20 points 2-11-7)
Xcellent (John Pollard, GBR) 24 points (6-12-6)
Honey Badger (Paul Burnell, AUS) 34 points (19-1-14)
Binn Edair (Cillian Dickson, IRE) 35 points (8-23-4)
EOLIFT Racing (Hugo Feydit, FRA) 35 point (13-17-5)
2Unlimited (Greg Prescott, AUS) 47 points (25-17-15)
Team Musto (George Peacock, AUS) 48 points (32-4-12)’
Flirtatious/Ambition Racing (Chris Dare, AUS) 49 points (29-18-2)
Marvel (Richard Powell, GBR) 50 point z(10-32-8).

Published in SB20 Team

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