SportsboatWorld.com has won the inaugural SB20 UK Grand Slam on day four of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. Jerry Hill, Craig ‘Spike’ Watson and Richard Lovering sailed an excellent series in a brand new SB20 which was only launched last Thursday.
Day one on Saturday delivered bright and blustery conditions for day one of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. The SB20 class started from the Royal Yacht Squadron line at 1010, downwind heading to the eastern Solent.
A downwind start certainly rang the changes for the SB20 class who are used to sailing windward leeward courses. For newbies to the regatta this was an entirely new experience and the French, Dutch and Russian entrants had a particularly exciting time collecting the course and getting underway for their first leg of the race.
After two races on day one, both Jerry Hill (SportsboatWorld.com) and Joe Llewellyn (Henri Lloyd/Forelle Estates) were tied on equal points, but the pink kite remained onboard with Hill for day two. On Saturday evening the SB20 class enjoyed a BBQ at UKSA which was supported by the class suppliers and sponsors. Mount Gay Rum flowed and the fleet were entertained with live music.
Day two provided a good dose of sunshine and breeze that built throughout the day. Confusion of the marks of the course in the first race of the day saw a number of boats protested and ultimately disqualified. At the end of day two, Joe Llewellyn led the fleet by one point; as ever, competition was tight at the top of the fleet, noticeably between SportsboatWorld.com, SLAM and Volvo, sailed by Helena Lucas, the 2.4m gold medallist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The SB20 class was invited to attend the Cowes Week cocktail party at the Royal Yacht Squadron on Sunday evening; shorts and t-shirts were cast aside and replaced with jackets and ties for an evening of champagne and canapés on the lawn.
The weather forecast for day three of the regatta was unpromising, and it was rumoured that racing might even be cancelled, however the Force 9 didn’t show its face. The SB20 fleet was recalled twice, before they got underway, to the east through the dreaded Norris-Nadgers. A number of the top boats were punished at the back of the fleet and rolled by the majority of the class. The rain certainly dampened spirits but two races were completed and the beer and snacks that were provided after racing had smiles back on faces in no time at all. Class Chairman, Chris Darling hosted the fleet to pre dinner drinks on his new yacht; a very civilised start for another lively evening in Cowes!
AP over AP was raised on the final day of racing and the fleet remained ashore until late morning before heading to the starting area to inspect conditions for themselves. The Race Committee cancelled racing for the day at 1400. Without completing the final two races of the event, just one discard was applied to the six results generated over the previous three race days.
After the discard Jerry Hill and Joe Lewellyn were tied on 8 points, but Hill took the Grand Slam title and lifted the Sportsboat World Trophy on count back.
“We’ve had some great racing in fabulous Cowes condition,” commented Hill, “it’s been brilliant to have a good number of high standard boats to race against, this event always presents a number of different challenges compared to our regular racing, which we really enjoy.”
The new Grand Slam format for the SB20 Class has been a tremendous success for the class, “The competitors have said how much they have enjoyed the new two races per day format,” added Alan Hillman of Sportsboat World. “We are so grateful to Stuart [Quarrie] and Michelle [Warner] at Cowes Week were open to adopting the format that we suggested, it’s definitely meant that more boats in the class have been able to take part and we sincerely hope to be able to repeat the format in 2014.”
The SB20 class now looks towards the 2013 World Championships, in early September in Hyeres, south of France where 100 boats are expected to compete.