1720s head east

For UK National Championships this week

Sunday June 29th 2003, Author: Becci Eplett, Location: United Kingdom
The H.R. Owen 1720 Sportsboat UK National Championships gets underway in the River Blackwater on the East Coast this week (2-5 July), hosted by the West Mersea Yacht Club and Dabchicks Sailing Club.

Sponsored by automotive retailers H.R. Owen, it’s the first UK event for the class with 28 competitors entered from as far away as Tarbert in Scotland and Pwllheli in Wales plus a contingent from Ireland.

Sportsboat racing is widely regarded as the most exhilarating in the sport and a wealth of talent will be lining up on the start line. Helming Yachts & Yachting, three times Laser World Champion Glenn Bourke, now CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, will be vying with his old rival Mike Budd on Gul who is current J/80 Sportsboat national champion.

Ranked among the favorites for the event is the crew of STBD helmed by Rob Larke of North Sails. STBD won the Warsash Spring Series this year and Larke helmed the Irish boat Wet & Black to victory in the Irish National Championships.

Scotland’s father and son team Graeme and Ruairidh Scott, winners of the 2003 Scottish Series aboard King Quickwill be looking to better their second place in last year’s English Nationals while Irish boat Aquatack, helmed by Prof O’Connell will attempt to demonstrate why they are the current European 1720 national champions.

"We have a fantastic line up and some exhilarating sailing to look forward to," said event organiser and competitor Peter Rowe. "Sportsboat racing is a real spectacle – there’s no handicapping so you can see exactly who’s leading the pack," he said.

"By bringing such a high profile event to the East Coast we really hope to raise the profile of sailing as a competitive sport. Sportsboats are the ideal step up for the dinghy sailor looking to move into big boats and they provide club members with a huge amount of fun and excitement in a performance class."

H.R. Owen divisional director David Presley said they were delighted to be involved in the event: "Sportsboat racing is to the sailor as rally driving is to the motoring enthusiast and, in that respect, the 1720 championships offer perfect synergy."

Eleven races will be run over four days culminating on Saturday 5th July.

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