Team Russia wins championship
Having lost a day of racing at the IP Office SB20 UK National Championship on Saturday due to 30 knots of wind, with gusts of up to 40, the fleet could not have been more grateful of the conditions that greeted them this morning for the final day of racing at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. The Race Committee released the fleet into Weymouth Bay where the wind was blowing a pleasant ten to twelve knots and the sun was shining; a stellar day to round off what has been a heavy weather event.
After eight races sailed, Team Russia made up of Rodion Luka, Oleg Zherebtsov, Andre Klochko and Anna Stepanova have won the UK National Championship by 11 points. Oleg Zherebtsov explained how delighted he was to win the event: “The UK fleet is the most competitive SB20 fleet that we sail in and winning in this fleet means so much to us. I am so happy and proud to finish ahead of Jerry (Hill), Craig (Burlton) and Joe (Llewellyn), we respect them as our competitors.”
Rodion Luka, helm of Team Russia, and a perfectionist to the end was disappointed to not win the final race today. “When we finish outside of the top three boats, we know we have more to learn.” Team Russia will now compete in local events in Saint Petersburg before the European Championships in Medemblik, The Netherlands, in September.
2011 UK National Champions, Henri Lloyd–Forelle Estates sailed by Joe Llewellyn, Jerry Vigus and Ben Vines, finished as runner up with 27 points. “We are absolutely over the moon! We’re ecstatic to finish second! It was a hard start to the event; the conditions were really challenging, so finishing on a glamour day like today and clawing our way up to second is awesome. It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable event.”
Skandia Team GBR Laser Radial sailor, Alison Young, has raced with Hugh Styles (her coach) and Giles Scott at the Championship. “Finishing the event with a fifth and second place today is great,” explained Scott, who returns to the SB20 class for the first time since Cowes Week 2011. “It’s great to be back in the boat and nice to sail with Ali and Hugh. The fleet’s really competitive and today’s conditions have been lovely.”
It’s fair to say that a buzz has returned to the class following the announcement of the move to Sportsboat World and the name change to SB20. The first new SB20 is due from the UK builder in time for Cowes Week, and other boats have been ordered for delivery in time for the European Championships in September. Alan Hillman has provide event support to the UK National Championships at WPNSA and has worked with crews late into the evening ensuring their boats are repaired and back on the water for the following days racing.
On behalf of the SB20 class thanks are given to title sponsors, IP Office Ltd and supporting sponsors Bolle, Sebago, Zhik and Selden for their generous contributions to the event.