SB20 ASIAN GRAND SLAM & ASIA PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS
Source & more at : www.sb20asiangrandslam.com – 22 January, 2017
After three days of waiting the crews sailing in the 3rd SB20 Asian Grand Slam finally got what they came for. With warm turquoise waters and strong winds, the fleet enjoyed great planing conditions zooming around off the East Coast of Singapore.
The final day of the championship started with great drama. As the first race for the day started, the North East monsoon whipped herself into a frothing frenzy of white water and spray. The fleet pounded up the beat towards the coast and rounded the top mark. Glasgow Kiss rounded the top mark first and skittered off down the run hotly pursued by Team 3LB (Anthony Kiong), Xcellent (John Pollard), Tara (Nik Burfoot) and Walababy (Steven Manning). The breeze continued to build and increased from wild and wooly to fresh to frightening. Glasgow Kiss had extended her lead to several hundred meters when drama struck. In the most powerful gust of the day, the crew on Xcellent reached for the green tack line and as they snugged down the spinnaker, the squall struck knocking their rig spectacularly from the boat. Sadly, this left Team Xcellent and crew unable to finish Race 6 or the regatta. Glasgow Kiss meanwhile carried on to finish first by almost half a leg from her nearest rival. Many wondered if this was to set the scene for the hat trick. The remaining boats reveled in the conditions and every crew finished with a grin as they sped across the line. The finishing order for Race 6 was Glasgow Kiss (first), Tara (second), Walababy (third), Pocapena (fourth) and Madame Zenda (fifth).
Having completed the 6th race, the drop now came into play and only a single point separated Tara (15 points) from Glasgow Kiss (16 points). In the glorious breeze, the race officer launched into Race 7 without delay. The breeze had moderated slightly and become very shifty around the top marks which were re-located sufficiently close to the beach to provide the large spectator crowd with stunning views of the top mark roundings. Having shortened the race course, the race officer sent the fleet on a three lap race which would certainly test the boat handling skills of all competitors. Race 7 saw a change of fortunes with Tara sailing way with a commanding lead and leaving the remaining boats to scrap it out in a series of tight contests. Glasgow Kiss held on to second place while a strong 3rdplace by Team 3 LB (Anthony Kiong) put them back in the hunt for the trophy.
Despite some ominous clouds on the horizon, the breeze continued to blow and Race 8 was commenced. Full race details here. Video of the finishing line below!
Heading into the last race, Tara lead the fleet on 20 points followed by Glasgow Kiss (23 points), Team 3LB (24 points) and Walababy (27 points). The North East monsoon wind had reasserted itself and increased to 18-20 knots. The race committee valiantly tried to re-anchor in the strong wind but could not find good holding and kept drifting off station. The tension built as time leaked away and the 1600 deadline loomed. With just a few minutes left before the cut-off, the race committee was able to station itself and start the race. Glasgow Kiss put in a commanding performance to lead the fleet from start to finish. Walababy found herself deep in the pack and unable to battle through to clear air finished 7th. Team 3LB found herself in trouble and retired from the race. As the carnage unfolded around, Tara, with a comfortable 3 point buffer took matters in her stride and attached herself like glue to Glasgow Kiss finishing in a very respectable second place. Bandit took third while Pocapena (Mike Buchanan) had a much better day securing fourth place.
The crews, exhausted after a long day on the water, made a spectacular sight as they blasted their way back down the shore and through the port of Singapore to ONE15 Marina. Beers were consumed in the Boater’s Bar as the race committee calculated and re-checked the results. Once the final tally was in, Nik Burfoot (former Laser world chamption) and his crew in Tara had come in first with 22 points. Glasgow Kiss fell agonizingly short of the three-peat in second place on 24 points. Walababy crewed by Steven Manning and his fully pro team filled out the podium on 34 points.
The trophy was presented to Nik Burfoot at a lavish ceremony in the stunning ONE15 Marina ballroom and as the crews toasted their new champion, plans were already being made to come back next year to do it all again.