AUS: Ian Brown crowned SB20 national champion
At the end of a three-day 12 race class clash in a wide array of conditions, the new SB20 Australian champion is Ian Brown’s One Design Sailing from Sydney.
The pre-regatta favourite, Brown and his crew of twin brothers Patrick Conway (bow & tactics) and Alex (mainsheet & tactics) and Scott Cotton (fourth hand) sailed a classy series with few errors. Their final scorecard of 19 points, a whopping 32.5 points from the nearest threat, proved an unclimbable mountain.
Brown’s new partner in this SB20 is Alistair Murray, the CEO of Ronstan Australia. With most class action happening in the southern states of Victoria and Tasmania, One Design Sailing will now live in Melbourne closer to the active fleets.
“We didn’t expect to win by such a margin,” admitted Brown. “Fitness in the fresh conditions on the first two days and learning the techniques definitely played a big part. The young fit fellas were very proactive around the course and keen as mustard to go to the next level.
“The race committee did a great job and it’s a top venue,” Brown expanded. “Sandringham Yacht Club’s terrific ambience comes from its mix of sports boats, keel boats and dinghies for its youth program, and it all works; it’s definitely one of the premier yacht clubs in Australia.”
Brown was sheethand when Nathan Outteridge skippered One Design Sailing to victory at the Port Stephens SB20 nationals two years ago. The 470 Olympic bronze medallist has finished top dog again, this time ably helming his own boat.
Next for Brown’s talented 470 sailors are Sail Melbourne and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on James Cameron’s Hick 35 Legasea in December.
Multiple Dragon world champion Nick Rogers, skippering the Tasmanian SB20 Karabos with his regular Dragon crew of Leigh Behrens and Simon Burrows, was second overall with 51.5 points, Rogers’ best class result.
“Our first target as a crew was to lose 20 kilos, which we did. Our second was to convert from the Dragon to the SB20, which we achieved,” said Rogers. “To finish second in this high quality fleet is fantastic, today wasn’t so good for us but we’d done the hard yards in the first two days and it was just enough.”
Nick Dare and his young guns on BMW Brighton, representing the host Sandringham Yacht Club, was third with 57 points and fourth was clubmate Callum Burns’ Purple Patch.
The first two days of fresh winds and a wintry chill blowing off Bass Strait had crews rugged up to ward off the cold. On finals day, Sunday 27th October, the sun shone weakly down on the Brighton BMW SB20 Nationals off SYC’s clubhouse and breakwater. The brave ones shed some layers and even the odd pair of white legs was on show.
The trade off from the high pressure system hanging over Port Phillip was light winds bending south west through south to south east. With the exception of one short postponement it was enough to propel these lightweight 20-footers around the course and complete the scheduled four final races.
After race 9 the wind dropped out to a barely there 1 knot and tracked towards to the west for a spell. The race committee hoisted the ‘Where’s Wally’ flag and postponed racing until a new breeze line answered prayers, filling in from the SSW at a steady 6 knots.
Two general recalls led to a black flag start for race 11, which settled everyone down.
Looking back at the regatta, Principle Race Officer Steve Aulich said, “We had a huge variety of conditions, from 25 knots down to 1; it’s been a very fair regatta for all abilities.
“The volunteers on the race management team were the highest quality, and hopefully that’s appreciated by the class.
“We tried to be all inclusive in terms of understanding what the class wanted. Having a morning session each day gave all SB20 competitors an opportunity to give feedback and request variations, which were agreed to when there was consensus.”
At the trophy presentation crews acknowledged the support of series sponsor Brighton BMW and brand new Australian SB20 champion Ian Brown declared, “We are a happy BMW owner family with our 3 Series Touring, which is great for towing boats!”
Report by: Lisa Ratcliff