SB3s round the island

Dan Griffey reports on how Laser's new SB3 fared in Saturday's Round the Island Race

Wednesday June 26th 2002, Author: Dan Griffey, Location: United Kingdom

The first two Laser SB3s (above) to leave the production line made history this year as the smallest ever yachts to brave the high endurance Round the Island race. Competing in the 48-strong RYA/RORC Sportsboat Class, both boats achieved stunning results with a 2nd and a 4th place in the historic race.

Boat 1 (3010) was skippered by Mark Rushall with Adrian Jones on the kite and Paul Bedell trimming. Skipper of the second Laser SB3 (3009) was Nico Honor, with David Graham on the kite and Richard Gibson trimming.

Thankfully the forecast light wind was replaced instead with a breeze of 15-18 knots starting South Westerly and later veering West. With the sunshine beating down hard when it came out through the clouds, conditions were perfect!

Honor had the better start, on the line with space; however Rushall came back and was about a minute and a half ahead at the end of the beat up to the Needles lighthouse. At this renowned landmark both Laser SB3s opted for the 'inside the wreck option', hoisted and headed down to St Catherine's Point at a speed of about 15-16 knots.

At the start of this three sail reach Rushall was 500 yards ahead of Honor and the gap didn't change all the way. Both crews worked hard to ensure they caught every possible wave, blasting past Melges, 1720s and Mumm 30s. The Laser SB3 proved to be electric downwind, producing an exhilarating ride. At St Catherine's Point the Laser SB3 was right at the front end of the Sportboat pack!

The leg from St Catherine's Point to Bembridge Ledge provided the opportunity to sail the angles on the run, gybing off the waves and on the plane all the way!
At Bembridge Ledge both boats were neck and neck but Rushall once again demonstrated his genius and won 500 yards on the two sail reach to No-Man's-Land Fort. After a beat back home to Cowes, Rushall beat Honor by 2 minutes.

"I was amazed at the speed of the boat downwind," observed Honor, racing the Laser SB3 for the first time. "The wind was blowing about 18 knots and we were reading 15-16 knots. What a sensation when she gets surfing."

Laser SB3 Product Manager, Richard Gibson, added, "I am delighted with the overall results from the race. Finishing 2nd and 4th in her class is a great result for Laser SB3's debut Sportsboat regatta.

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