Olympic stars to sail SB20 Nationals
Just days after completing the 2012 Sail for Gold Regatta, WPNSA will welcome forty two SB20s, who will take to the Olympic waters on Thursday 14 June to compete for the IP Office SB20 UK National Championship title.
Eleven races are scheduled over four days for what will be a hotly contested competition. With entries from Belgium, the Netherlands and Russia, the UK fleet will have to work hard to defend their home trophy. The SB20 class have not raced at WPNSA since the European Championships in 2007.
2011 National Champions, Joe Llewellyn and Nigel Wakefield welcome the return of Jerry ‘Pasty’ Vigus, who was unable to compete at last year’s event due to a shoulder injury sustained at the 2011 World Championships in Torbay. They have put in strong performances to date in 2012 and will be battling to defend their title.
Great things are expected of Team Russia owned by Oleg Zherebtsov and skippered by Rodion Luka. Team Russia won the SB20 class at the Vice Admiral's Cup, but they are yet to take the title at a major class event. The team have certainly suffered more than their fair share of bad luck over the years they have sailed in the fleet and no doubt they will be looking to put that behind them and win in Weymouth.
A great addition to the event will be Hugh Styles and his star Laser Radial pupil, Alison Young, who won gold at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta on Saturday. Completing the crew Styles/Young crew is Finn class Champion Giles Scott. Scott also won gold at Skandia Sail for Gold, but lost out on Olympic selection to Ben Ainslie. Undoubtedly they will benefit from their local knowledge, but will it be enough to overcome their lack of time sailing together as a crew? Only time will tell.
Sportsboat World will be supporting the fleet on and off the water. Jerry Hill will compete in SportsboatWorld.com with Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado; while Alan Hillman will fulfil the event support role for Sportsboat World, the newly appointed sales and marketing operation for the SB20 class (formerly Laser SB3).
A number of owners will compete in their first National Championships in the class; a very warm welcome awaits them in Portland (although there is no sunshine forecast). As is traditional at SB20 events, there is a great social programme planned and the class will take in the Lizard Lounge on Thursday evening, Weymouth Town Sailing Club on Friday night and WPNSA will host a championship dinner on Saturday. Mark Rushall will be offering his wisdom and feedback after racing on Thursday with a video debriefing session.
Title sponsors of the championship are IP Office Ltd and supporting sponsors Bolle, Zhik and Sebago.