Fantastic warm weather is greeting the SB20 fleet on the Dutch coast in Scheveningen.
Sailing mecca on the North Sea, the home of the Dutch Olympic team, host of The Ocean Race and World Sailing Allianz Regatta this year Scheveningen welcomes the participants of the SB20 World Championship from around the globe.
Practice race opened the event yesterday with light offshore breeze allowing the participants to get the feeling of the turning tide in combination with the wind and swell all coming from different directions! These interesting conditions that are new to many SB20 sailors promise some exciting moments on the water this week. Local hospitality of Scheveningen Yacht Club and the Dutch nature for a good party are just about the right ingredients for a great regatta.
10 nations are competing this year with a number of overseas teams, including two Australian entries, teams from Singapore and Dubai. Who are the top contestants for the 2023 title?
Top three in the recent pre-Worlds event here in Scheveningen a month ago will definitely be the ones to watch. Mastering the waves of the North Sea team Xcellent of John Pollard stayed at the top of the leaderboard for three days of the pre-Worlds event. Silver winner of SB20 Worlds 2022 will be racing with the same crew of Finn sailor Henry Wetherell and 49er James Grummett.
Bronze SB20 Worlds 2022 winner team Glasgow Kiss of Nils Razmilovic, Jonathan Lobert OLY and David Salembier, second at the pre-Worlds in the same crew setup. Jonathan sailed with Ed Russo at the last Worlds in Ireland, but joins the Singaporean team instead of Nik Burfoot, who couldn’t come this year.
Irish team TED of Michael O’Connor, Davy Taylor and Edward Cook showed strong performance in the Practice Rcae with tricky tidal conditions. Michale and TED boys just missed the podium last year in home waters and will be fighting for the title.
The 2022 Worlds winning team have split for this year to become competitors! Class veteran and winning helmsman of the SB20 World Championships 2022 Jose Paulo Ramada is bringing a 100% Portuguese crew. It includes top Cascais sailors Henrique Brites and Luis Pinheiro (10th at the SB20 Worlds 2021 in Cascais) and Sebastiao Ramirez. Jose Paulo is hopeful to claim the World title second time in a row, but agrees that it might be difficult.
2022 winning tactician Artem Basalkin and trimmers Gonçalo Lopes and Carlota Gala will be racing with Martin Estlander representing Finland under Portuguese flag onboard Freedom.
All the way from Tasmania come Will Sargent and youth team Ares (Eddie Reid, Paige Caldecoat, Eirini Marios). These young talents have won the AUS National title and finished 7th, also as top Youth team at SB20 Worlds 2022 in Ireland.
This event will see Paul McCartney and team Porco Rosso back to the international racing! Second-placed at the 2018 Europeans Paul will be on the helm brining the star tactician and Class favourite David ‘Chappo’ Chapman and British Finn sailor Cameron Tweedle as crew.
From Singapore Team Tara, who won this year’s Asia Pacific Grand Slam & Nationals, they will be sailing in new crew setup of Agoston Sipos, Magnus Ekbom and Andrew Hewson.
Third team from SB20 Singapore belongs to Daire O’Reilly on Sin Bád sailing with Myles Perrin (GBR) and Ben Gunn (AUS), dinghy sailors at their core having progressed to international yacht racing.
SB20 UAE is represented by two teams superSONIC of Michal Pajakand Yalla Shamal! of Rachel Blackburn, who are starting to prepare for their own SB20 World Championships in less than 7 month!
The closest Dutch neighbours from the UK and Ireland arerepresented by 12 boats in total. On the British side Breaking Bod of Charles Whelan who brings his 2022 Worlds crew of Richard McAdam and Arran Holman will be a strong contestant.
Expect team PBII Twenty ofUK SB20Classchairman Paul Hine, Richard Anderton and Mark Gillet on the helm to be in the top of the leaderboard as well.
Team Leviathan of 49er Tadgh Donnely, Peter Carvill and Dan Little who scored a couple of bullets at SB20 Worlds 2022. Former Irish SB20 Class chairman Colin Galavan, on Carpe Diem will be racing with his 2022 Worlds crew of Aaron Jones and Kevin O’Rourke from Greystones.
Four boats from France this year, including two FFVoile Youth teams, that have already shown their skills at the SB20 Worlds 2022 and at the Dubai Duty Free regatta 2023: skippers Ian Garreta and Ange Delerce from SR Antibes.
As expected the majority of the fleet are represented by the Dutch teams, where we will see a lot of familiar names in the SB20 world as well as some young and promising talent from local sailors.
Team 3J’s – local stars and winners of the Masters category at SB20 Worlds 2022 of Jeroen van der Velden,Jeroen Kop andJan van der Meijden. Marco van Driel on MXTC sailing with Joost Assman and Martijn Worseling will provide strong competition.
Teams Vliegensvlugge Vlieg of Ko Stroo,Koen Verhaeghe de Naeyer and Ralph van Etten and Team Kesbeke of Ronald Veraar,Pim Mommersteeg andEelco Blok showing strong competition on the local level. Of course, to mention long standing Class chairman and supporter of Youth SB20 sailing in the Netherlands Martijn Buitenhuis sailing withGilbert Figaroba andFrank Dobbels.
The organisers have decided to run the event based on crowdfunding and managed to get onboard an amazing list of partners and sponsors.
Sailmon, the Dutch manufacturer of sailing instruments, will support the event with Sailmon MAX or MAX mini devices for tracking and allow the sailors to try its product that also connects the sailing community through their mobile app.
Hein Ruyten, the Dutch SB20 dealer and boats charter will once again support the SB20 fleet with boats and logistics as well as spares ahead of and during the event. Promotex and Hein Ruyten will provide every competitor with nice event clothing. Dubarry of Ireland will contribute to the prize-giving ceremony.
First warning signal is scheduled for today, 19th of June at 12:00 with two races scheduled. The wind on the North Sea has turned to its more habitual direction blowing 15 knots from the West gusting over 20 for the opening day. Great racing, great fun and good memories guaranteed! Racing continues until Friday, 23rd June.
Tracking available through Sailmon: https://sailmon.com/racing/sb20-world-championships-scheveningen
See event website: www.sb20worlds2023.com for all entries and results.
Photo credits: Anna Zyk. You can find all high-resolution photos here.