First ever SB3 nationals
For a boat that was launched at the January Boat Show, with the first boats leaving the factory at the end of May, the number attending in its first year and the high quality of the competitors racing is testament to the success of this new and exciting class.
The eight race series will see current Laser SB3 hotshots fresh from successes at Cork and Cowes taking on a selection of some of the top sailors in the UK as well as the new comers to the circuit.
Russell Peters (of Ultra 30 fame) is teaming up with Zeb Elliott in his boat, straight out of the box and onto the race-course. Although with only a weekend of practice in the boat, his experience in other sportsboats makes him possibly the strongest contender. However, ex-crew member Jerry Hill will also present with a team of sailors including the likes of Tim Robinson who will be keen to leave his previous helmsman trailing.
'Team H20' consisting of Mark Richards and ex-Olympic coach Rob Andrews will also be one to watch for. Rob's experience in the boat is second to none, having been heavily involved in the development right from the prototype stage. They will all definitely be out to beat Stewart Hawthorn in 'Wee Jamarama.' Again from 1720 descent, Stewart's second place in the Sportsboat class during Cowes Week showed serious intent, and with practice under his belt consistent results could well get him on the podium.
A late entry surprise is Mike Budd and Paul Lovejoy (of the Melges and 1720 fleets). Chartering a boat from the newly established Warsash based charter company 'Action Marine' they are obviously out to cause a stir and find how competitive they are in this new class.
So with all manner of different backgrounds making up the crews, the final score sheet will be an interesting read. Whatever happens, the outcome is likely to be down to the wire.