Big Winds and Big Waves for the SB20’s in Sunderland
The second round of the VW Touareg sponsored SB3 Grand Prix Series was hosted by Sunderland Yacht Club from the 24 – 26 May 2008. 9 Races were planned by the host club over the 3 days however the weather forecast was ominous indeed with 20 – 30 knots of wind and big seas predicted. Saturday dawned presenting what can only be described as champagne sailing conditions; a 15 – 22 knots NE breeze, a 10ft swell and glorious sunshine. There was little margin for error with downwind and down wave planning speeds in the region of 20 knots and upwind wave technique critical.
David Campbell-James and his excellent race team got the first race away under an ‘I’ flag at the second time of asking which saw 2 boats called OCS. Geoff Carveth and crew in Palava and David Hudson’s team in City of Cape Town made clean starts towards the Port end of the line and soon tacked to head out to sea towards the stronger tide crossing the leading boat from the Starboard end bunch – Jono Shelley in Team VW Touareg. At the windward mark Carveth had established a clear lead followed by Hudson, Shelley, Ian Sullivan in Cheeky Monkey and Jerry Hill in 3 Sad Old Blokes. By the final downwind leg Carveth had established an unassailable lead with Hudson and Shelley clear ahead of the chasing pack and locked in a downwind tussle for second and third which ended in Shelley protesting Hudson on a port starboard incident – the protest was eventually dismissed by the protest committee under rule 16 with Hudson counting a second and Shelley a third.
The second race saw Jerry Hill quickly out of the traps and he crossed the fleet on Port and was followed around the windward mark by Carveth, Shelley and Hudson. Hill led most of the way round but was passed on the final downwind leg with Hudson making good use of his downwind speed to close in on the leaders and eventually take the race win from Carveth in second. Shelley finished 4th with Duncan Hepplewhite and the Laser Scotland team in 5th.
The final race of the day saw a small increase in wind strength. Shelley in Team VW Touareg won the favoured starboard end of the line and along with the (well known) new comer to the class Howard Steavenson crossed the boats coming out of the Port side. Shelley played the left hand side of the beat and rounded the windward mark with a clear lead from Carveth, Hill and local boy Neal Piper in Mutley. On the first downwind leg Shelley suffered a breakage to his rudder fittings and was unable to continue leaving the path open for the ever consistent Carveth to take victory from Hill and the flying Hepplewhite in third.
Once again Sunderland Yacht Clubs world renowned catering and entertainment facilities kept all of the competitors extremely well fed and watered into the night with a Commodores Reception on Saturday evening and a Curry and Quiz night on Sunday.
Unfortunately the forecast North Sea weather conditions took hold on Sunday meaning that no further racing could be held on either day to increased winds and very large confused seas. Sunderland YC slick craning facilities assisted by a VW Touareg from the sponsors meant that the competitors were able to pack up and be on their way in good time with memories of an exceptional days racing, quality race management and an incredibly welcoming club. Thanks also go to Ian Mills, Duncan Hepplewhite and Rob Gutteridge from PSE for the provision of event support.
With no discards all of the races held on the Saturday were to count leaving Carveth first, Hudson Second and Hill third. At the prize giving there were prizes for the top 10 and a special prize for the Geronimo crew for their performance in Sunday nights extra curricular activities.
Boat SailNo Helm R1 R2 R3 Total Nett
Palava 3053 Geoff Carveth 1.0 2.0 1.0 4.0 4.0
CityofCape Town 3451 David Hudson 2.0 1.0 5.0 8.0 8.0
3 Sad Old Blokes3465 Jerry Hill 5.0 3.0 2.0 10.0 10.0
Laser Scotland 3371 Duncan Hepplewhite 7.0 5.0 3.0 15.0 15.0
Cheeky Monkey 3302 Ian Sullivan 4.0 6.0 8.0 18.0 18.0
Baloo 3057 John Outhwaite 8.0 7.0 7.0 22.0 22.0
Sail Navy 3215 Joe Henry 9.0 10.0 4.0 23.0 23.0
Wet Nuts 3388 Chris King 10.0 9.0 9.0 28.0 28.0
Team VW Touareg 3134 Jono Shelley 3.0 4.0 26.0 DNF 33.0
The Baron 3132 James Williamson 6.0 12.0 16.0 34.0 34.0