This month’s Crown Series Bellerive Regatta will give Hobart a taste of what’s to come from the booming popularity of the International SB20 one-design sports boat class on the River Derwent.
Nick Rogers, a champion SB20 sailor in this high-performance, three-to-four crew keelboat, today forecast a fleet of 20 boats for the Tasmanian championships to be sailed as part of the Banjo’s Shoreline Crown Series Bellerive Regatta.
The Regatta will be held on the Derwent over the weekend of February 19-21, starting with a Friday evening twilight race for the keelboat fleet, with entries already exceeding 50 yachts.
With off-the-beach entries of dinghies, skiffs and catamarans and more keelboats still to come, the final fleet is expected to be close to 200 boats.
“By the end of the year we will have thirty SB20s racing on the river…..when the Worlds are held here in early 2018 the local fleet will be at least 35 boats…and I expect there will be 100-pus SB20s contesting the World Championship, with a strong overseas contingent,” Rogers forecast.
New owners in the class this summer have included well-known sailors Frazer Read, Will Logan, Justin Wells, Jill Abel and Felicity Allison, and Andrew Roberts while teenage Laser champion Sam King has taken over his father’s boat.
Rogers said the Crown Series Bellerive regatta and the State championship would be an important lead-up for the ten Hobart crews entered for the Australian champion at Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron on Port Phillip in early March.
Skippers shipping their boats across Bass Strait for the Nationals include Michael Cooper, Mathew Pilkington, Greg ‘Enzo’ Prescott, Scott Brain, Brett Cooper, Nick Rogers, Andrew Smith, Phil Reid, Paul Burnell, Andrew Blakney, Steve Catchpool and Richard Fader.
Nick Rogers, who in January won his 10th Prince Philip Cup in the Dragon class in a short break from racing his SB20, was one of three entrants for the 2016 Crown Series Bellerive Regatta who gathered for today’s media launch of the regatta.
Joining Nick was Jane McDougall, a mother of two young children and a long-time crew member of Colin Denny’s Benita 40.7, The Protagonist, who spoke of her enthusiasm for the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta.
Jane’s enthusiasm for keelboat racing… “We got a second on The Protagonist in last Saturday’s Betsey Island Race”…is indicative of the number of young women sailing with Hobart clubs.
In fact, she and a friend, Sandy McManus, recently bought a venerable Vanderstadt 28 to race themselves in BYC twilights.
Representing the expected big fleet of off-the-beach sailors in the regatta at yesterday’s launch was 18-year-old Jock Calvert, who recently represented Australia in the BIC sailboard class at the World Youth Sailing Championships for the third consecutive year.
For the Crown Series, Jock will return to the Laser class, sailing a full rig Laser as part of his preparation to move into the Olympic Finn class, his sights set on the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
“It’s a great regatta…lots of boats…well organise and always testing sailing conditions…I began sailing here in a Sabot and this month I will be out racing a full rig Laser,” he added.