Strong opening for the 1st SB20 Winter Series 2017/2018

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On 4-5th November the season opener of the SB20 Winter Series 2017/2018 witnessed almost 30 boats registered for the race in Cascais, Portugal. International presence with 2 Ukrainian and 2 Russian teams with some more foreign names scattered along the fleet. Again the Series and the fantastic conditions of the Atlantic attract this high number of participants. Last year the same event saw only 14 boats registered. The doubled number of this year is the result of continuous efforts that SB20 Portugal and overall Class management are pursuing. Together with the recently created sailing services company SailCascais, that rents boats and provides all-around local support, reinforced by strong marketing approach, SB20 Portugal is bringing more and more newcomers to the Class as well as secures the participation of prominent Portuguese sailors of Olympic background and high performance sailing.

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The forecast for the weekend promised strong winds and starting from Saturday morning it was obvious that sailing was going to be tough. The weather provided a solid breeze of 15-20 knots from the North with some shifts, which made the competition interesting, forcing boats to find the pressure zones. The Madeira Islands team sailed beautifully coming from fourth on the first mark, surfed downwind in the glorious Portuguese sunshine and from there took the lead and built a solid gap on the 2nd upwind when the upwind mark was changed. Followed by the rainbow and the rest of the fleet Madeira team of John Tavares, Gustavo Lima and Paulo Vasco Manso scored their first bullet. Animal/Mobiag – Clever Mobility of Vasco Serpa followed in second and the team of Portuguese 49er Olympians – Jorge Lima & Jose Costa and Goncalo Gonçalves took 3rd. Top result in race 2 was for Vasco Serpa and his all-Portuguese team with “animal” spirit (Joaquim Moreira, Pedro Costa Alemão), as they call themselves. Team Animal took over IT Perfume on the last run when they decided to gybe early on the run and took a handy gust that delivered them the speed and angle they needed. With 2 races Team Animal had built already a 3-point lead over the Ukrainians 5th at SB20 Worlds in Cowes this year. Unfortunately for Madeira they had a breakage and almost lost their mast, which led them to withdraw from racing for the day. For Race 3 the Race Committee decided to go for Course 2 with 3 upwinds and the finish line on windward. Local heroes Dom Pedro Hotels/Generali of José Paulo Ramada took the first place from IT Parfume after a nice duel on the tricky conditions. A little bit behind team Patris/Real Vida arrived in 3rd. Overall results featured Mobiag in the 1st place, followed by the Ukrainian “it Parfume” in 2nd and Dom Pedro Hotels/Generali in 3rd. Click here to see full results.

For the second day the race committee sent the fleet to the water at the assigned time, however by the time the boats reached the racing area it became obvious that the 30 knot wind would not allow to call any races. Without further hesitation and not even anchoring the RC boat, the fleet returned to the marina almost flying to the moorings. Overall the weekend in Portugal was highlighted by the presence of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet and after the SB20 racing was cancelled for the day on Sunday, many participants were still able to watch the grand spectacle of the seven VolvoOcean65s cutting the waves in 30knots of wind towards Cape Town. This edition features the participation of at least 3 Portuguese sailors, all of whom sailed SB20 regattas as recently as last SB20Worlds and the Winter Series 2016/17. Bernardo Freitas and Frederico Melo from Clube Naval Cascais and Antonio Fontes, a solo ocean sailor, represent Portugal, which raised even higher level of interest in the country in this edition.

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For the next event on 1-3rd December, traditionally christened as Christmas Regatta, SB20 Portugal expects over 30 boats at the starting line with even bigger international presence. See you soon in Cascais!

Click here for more info on the Winter Series in Cascais.

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