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Hobart: SB20s set pace in harbour racing

SB20s will be the biggest one design fleet on the Derwent this summer with 17 boats competing.

SB20s will be the biggest one design fleet on the Derwent this summer with 17 boats competing.

Hobart’s SB20 sports boat class this summer will be the biggest one-design fleet racing regularly on the River Derwent for several seasons, but also the largest SB20 club fleet in Australia.

The fleet is expected to total 17 boats, including three women helming these high-performance racing yachts, with a crew of three or four adults.

However, you won’t see the SB20 fleet competing in the traditional Saturday afternoon racing. Owners have elected instead to contest two back-to-back, windward/leeward races on Thursday evenings as part of the Derwent Sailing Squadron/Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania twilight series.

The SB20s opened their season on Thursday evening, with 10 boats turning out for two closely fought races in a chilly, moderate breeze.

Brainwave (Scott Brain) notched up a first and second in one-design results while Karabos (Nick Rogers) had a first and a third.

The SB20s will have only two more days of racing this month on the Derwent before at least six boats are shipped to Melbourne for the Australian championship from October 24-27, including Karabos, Brainwave, Wedgewood, skippered by State class president David Graney, Mind Games (Phil Reid), Hypertronics (Steve Catchpool) and possibly Jacinta and Brett Cooper with a new boat.

This Saturday will see the opening race in the Combined Club Harbour Series, with a fleet of 47 boats so far entered for the eight race competition over the summer.

Surprisingly, only two of Farr 40 class yachts, Wired (Stephen Boyes) and War Games (Wayne Banks-Smith) have so far nominated although the RYCT will host the Tasmanian and Australian championship in February 2014.

“We expect four boats only racing locally this season, but with boats coming from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne for the nationals there will be some great racing on the river,” owner Stephen Boyes said yesterday.

The Combined Clubs Harbour Series fleet will race in four groups, Groups 1 and 2 sailing a mid-river course but not necessarily a windward/leeward race, while Groups 4 and 6 will start and finish off Castray Esplanade, sailing a course around the harbour.

Group 1 fleet includes the Farr 40 War Games and Wired, along with senior yachtsman Don Calvert entering his Castro 40 Intrigue for its 28th season of racing on the Derwent.

Other entrants in Group 1 include Colin Denny’s The Protagonist, Jeff Cordell’s Host Plus Executive, Ian Stewart’s Tas Paints, Michael Denney’s Wild West and Rolex Sydney Hobart entry Martela (Tony Williams).

By Peter Campbell