AUS: SB20’s carving a place on the Australian scene
Rod Jones, the SB3 Australian head honcho, was all smiles at Audi Victoria Week’s – Audi King of the Docklands event which showcased the SB3 class at the end of January 2011.
‘This is the fourth year at Docklands and the first year in this ‘skins’ format though, which is a more exciting format.
‘The SB3 Class in Australia is growing well. We have thirty six boats in the country now and the World Championships have been allocated to us in December 2012 at Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef.
‘We expect to have over fifty in the Australian Fleet by then and we have about fifty more boats coming into the country. The fleet is growing fairly quickly. We have two boats going to the Tasmanian fleet next week and hopefully one into the Victorian fleet and another six on the way from the builder. Things are really taking off in Australia.
‘There’s a mix of old boats and new boats coming, some from the UK, just to try and give a bit of breadth to the market, so we will have boats from the mid twenties and upwards to forty five thousand dollars for sale.
‘This means there are a range of entry points. Like the Etchells and other classics, the older SB3’s perform really well. Glenn Bourke is sailing is the oldest boat in this fleet, a 2004 build. It’s all about maintenance and sails.
‘The boats are very structurally sound. Just FRP, there is no technology in them at all. They are an overbuilt production boat, very strong, 685 kilos in sailing condition with 327 in the bulb.
‘The sails are made by Hyde and are a laminated sail with a Pentex weave. The working sails and the silicon finished spinnakers are 46 screen readers. The sail plan is big but the rig is powerful and the backstay helps a lot.
‘The 2012 Worlds will be run from 13th- 20th December at Hamilton Island in 2012. We are expecting a fleet of around one hundred boats. The Europeans are very excited about coming to Hamilton Island and I think it will be very timely too from a tourist point of view.
‘I think that with the strong Australian dollar that we’ve had and sadly the devastation that has been through Queensland, to have a keystone event in that part of the world, in regional Queensland, will be amazing.
‘We will be racing either in the offshore courses off Cats Eye Bay if it is an easterly or nor-easterly breeze and we could race in good water off south end of Dent Island if it’s a sou-easterly. Either way, spectacular scenery.
‘The boats are fast enough to get out to those race courses and you know the racing won’t be more than half an hour from the marina.
Glenn Bourke, Hamilton Island CEO is one of the top guns on the SB3 scene. The three times Laser Wolrd Champion, while the CEO of the Volvo Round the World Race some years ago was UK based. During that time he won multiple British SB3 titles and three Europeans, in that period before there was an SB3 World Championship. Glenn finished second at the Audi King of Docklands event behind Nathan Outteridge.
Living on Hamilton Island where a golf cart is his normal transport mode,so an Audi A1 would be of limited value, the second place prize of a new SB3 spinnaker seemed pretty useful
Dockside Glenn explained the Islands plans to expand its sailing properties beyond the very popular Audi Race Week. ‘Hamilton Island is the venue for the SB3 Worlds 2012 and that’s great for the Island, and I am very pleased as an SB3 sailor.
‘At Hamilton Island what we want to do is to start to really get international events coming to the Island.
‘We have the SAP 505 World Championships (2011) upcoming, now we have the SB3´s and we will continue to try and fill the sailing calendar with more events.
‘I would love to have a Mid-Winters like Miami do so that the southern base of domestic sailors, if they are not going to Europe, can come and do one middle of winter event in really nice conditions.
‘Rod and I were musing over the idea of the SB3 World Championships and the more I thought about it the more I thought that is a fine idea, a mighty fine idea. Bring them all the sailors to us and have a go in our back yard. It is. I am really looking forward to it and I have just ordered a boat so I will get ready for it’