SB20 class ready for ‘Tour de Cowes’ Grand Slam


The SB20 fleet looks set to be one of the most colourful and competitive on the water during Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, as they host their four-day Grand Slam event with ‘Tour de France-style’ leaders’ spinnakers for the best performing boat in each category.

As Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week regatta opens on Saturday, August 8, the one-design keelboat SB20 class has taken inspiration from the iconic Tour de France cycle race, with 30 boats competing for three sought-after daily leaders’ spinnakers in distinctive colours.

SportsboatWorld, the class builder and distributor, are sponsoring the overall prize for the Cowes Grand Slam (August 8-11, 2015) and the top boat overall each day will carry the hot pink SportsboatWorld spinnaker. Hyde Sails are sponsoring the Masters’ category, and the fastest ‘mature’ team each day will be flying a black spinnaker.

The class is also delighted to announce Harken as youth division partner, in a three year sponsorship deal to support the SB20 UK Grand Slam and National Events.

The leading manufacturer of sailing hardware and accessories, will provide a red branded gennaker that will be flown by the winning youth boat. In addition Harken will also be providing a highly sought-after trophy, to be engraved year-on-year with the name of the Youth Cowes Grand Slam champion!

“We wanted to do something really exciting for the SB20 Youth Class, we have worked closely with the class for many years and hope the provision of a Harken trophy and kite will heat up competition within this fantastic event! Supporting young sailors is close to our hearts here at Harken and we are delighted to join up with SB20 throughout the next few years in what is always a very competitive and enjoyable event,” commented Hannah Cotterell, Harken Marketing PR & Sponsorship.

Harken will be close by throughout the Grand Slam, based in Cowes Yacht Haven for Cowes Week with their regatta van, providing technical support to sailors and their boats. In addition the Grinder Challenge returns to Cowes Week once again this year.

“The SB20 has seen amazing growth in the youth class over the last three years, particularly with overseas Sailing Federations now actively promoting it,” commentedAlan Hillman of Sportsboat World. “We are delighted to welcome Harken, who exclusively supply all the deck hardware on the SB20, as the youth division partner for our UK Grand Slam and Nationals events. We fully expect to see the Red Harken gennaker very much towards the front of the fleet”.

No Tour de France-style competition would be complete without a ‘Lanterne Rouge’, awarded to the last competitor to complete the cours. The SB20 fleet will also be rewarding the last recorded finisher and supporting resilience right through the fleet with its very own Lanterne this year. ‘Le Tour’ some racers have even been spotted cycling deliberately slowly to win the famous prize – will the SB20 fleet witness some competitive cruising for the title of most determined backmarker?

The SB20 Grand Slam has seven scheduled races, starting from the famous Royal Yacht Squadron line each morning before a second committee boat start. Many teams will also continue to race in the SB20’s own class at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, from Wednesday 12th to Saturday 15th August.

The 30-boat fleet includes international teams from Oman and the Netherlands. Two teams entered from Abingdon school will be among those competing for the Harken-sponsored Youth title, while there will also be some inter-military rivalry between the ‘Royal Signals’ and ‘Sail Navy’ teams. The main contest for the overall Grand Slam title will no doubt be fiercely fought – Dutch team ‘Buitenhuis Advies’, Syd Mclean’s ‘Sponge Bob’ and Tom Clay’s ‘Whyaduck’ all finished near the top of the fleet at Cowes last year, will one of them be crowned champion in 2015?

The class will also enjoy a busy social programme during the Grand Slam, supported by generous sponsorship from Tony Castro Yacht Design, which includes cocktails at the Royal Yacht Squadron and a class social at the Folly Inn. The Grand Slam will be rounded off by a prizegiving at Venture Quays on Tuesday, August 11, with prizes awarded throughout the fleet.

Image credits: © Rick Tomlinson / AAM Cowes Week


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