SB20 class confirm ‘dream venue’ of Hobart, Australia to host the 2018 World Championships

The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and Derwent Sailing Squadron in Australia are to jointly host the SB20 World Championships in January 2018.

Between 80 and 100 of the high-performance SB20 sportsboats are expected to contest the Worlds, which will be preceded by the Australian National Championship. The event is to be jointly conducted by the two Sandy Bay-based clubs, on Australia’s island State, Tasmania, offering competitors idyllic Southern Hemisphere conditions.

The SB20 class is an international class, with over 13 active fleets around the world including the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Dubai, Singapore and Australia. Hobart has the largest SB20 fleet in Australia, having grown rapidly over the previous four seasons.

Commodore Matthew Johnston of the RYCT and Commodore Stephen Chau of the DSS announced the allocation of the SB20 Worlds to Hobart in 2018, after a tendering process. The Hobart event will follow World Championship regattas for the SB20s at two other famous yachting venues, Cascais in Portugal in 2016, organised by the Club Navale de Cascais, and Cowes on the Isle of Wight in 2017, organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron.

“We listened to the feedback offered following our previous bid and we have worked very hard as a team to present a comprehensive and professional bid to the world organisation,” they said in a joint statement.

“In fact, we told them we will be able to provide an SB20 Worlds that will be comparable to, or better than, any previous event.

“We are campaigning hard to attract a fleet of 80 to 100 boats, with 35 to 40 being ‘local boats’ from Tasmania.

Commodore Johnston added that when he competed at the 2015 SB20 World Championships on Italy’s Lake Garda, he recognised the need for organisers to offer a ‘one stop shop’ for freight and logistics to attract visiting sailors. “We have tackled this issue so it will be a door to door service for overseas competitors,” he said.

The SB20 Australian and World Championships 2018 will be the only major yachting event on the Derwent in early January, allowing full flexibility for the race management team.

Class President Ed Russo commented: “The SB20 class is fortunate to have an extremely active fleet in Hobart with 25 boats, as well as another 20 boats on the mainland.  The commodore of the RYCT, Matthew Johnston is an avid SB20 sailor and, along with DSS, they put together a very attractive event package. There is not another spot in the world that makes people dream more than sailing in Tasmania and there was overwhelming support throughout the SB20 world fleets for this spot.”

The one-design sportsboat offers level, ‘first past the post’ racing for three or four-man crews, whose maximum weight must not exceed 270kg, with a mixture of professional and amateur sailors competing on an equal footing. The class regularly attracts entries of over 100 boats for international events, and the boats are easily transportable.

SB20 racing on the River Derwent ©Peter Campbell

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