Tassie SB20 crews to face world-class foes at championships in Portugal
by Peter Campbell
Two Tasmanian crews will take on some of the world’s best sailors when they contest the Cascais 2016 SB20 one-design sportboat world championships in Portugal this week.
The 73-boat fleet from 13 nations is packed with Olympic medallists, round the world sailors and champions from the SB20s and other classes, with the 14-race regatta running through to next Saturday.
The regatta is being sailed off Portugal’s historic seaside port of Cascais, noted for its strong breezes and big seas, with the three Australians also promoting the 2018 worlds to be sailed on Hobart’s River Derwent.
The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania crew aboard Export Roo, containing Michael Cooper, Matthew Johnston and David Chapman, has already shown they will be strong contenders, finishing eighth overall in the pre-worlds regatta, last weekend.
Cooper sailed Export Roo to placings of 7-14-22-2-9 to finish a close eighth to crews from France, Russia and Great Britain.
Victorian Chris Dare, sailing Flirtatious, finished 19th overall in the pre-worlds, including a third in the second last race.
Mind Games, skippered by Phil Reid and also representing the RYCT, finished 28th overall.
Heading the line-up for the worlds is young French 49er sailor Gabriel Skoczek, who is the defending champion, while another leading competitor is expected to be Rodion Luka from the Ukraine, an Olympic silver medallist in the 49er in 2004.
Tasmania now has a local fleet in Hobart of more than 42 boats ahead of hosting the world championships in January 2018.
Action starts today.