Australian SB20 sailors take on best in Ireland

Australia’s top SB20 sailors are set to take on the best of the best in Ireland when the Provident CRM SB20 World Championship 2022 gets underway in Dublin on Monday, with current Australian champion, Phil Reid (Mind Games), leading the Australian charge with crew of Rohan Langford, Andre Declerck and Esther Read, from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania (RYCT).

Reid hasn’t sailed on Dublin Bay before but will rely on his team’s collective prowess and preparation to respond to the big winds and chop which could face them on the course. Reid’s inspiration to purchase an SB20 came from seeing footage of the fleet racing at 22+knots across the Bay over ten years ago. Fortunately, better conditions are expected for the regatta.

Will Sargent (Ares), fresh from the 55th Governor’s Cup Youth Match Racing Championship held in California in July where he raced for the CYCA, is in red-hot form and loves nothing more than helming in in an intense, one-design battle.

Ares L to R Eirini Marios Ed Broadby Will Sargent and Eddie Reid – Jane Austin pic

Sargent is eyeing off a podium finish in the overall championship and will be piling the pressure on for a top performance in the Youth Division. And there is every reason to expect good results from this young but well-credentialled team of Eddie Reid (Phil’s son), Ed Broadby and boat owner, Eirini Marios from the Derwent Sailing Squadron (DSS), with national and state SB20 trophies already in the pool room.

Marios has left no stone unturned in the preparation for this campaign, with her new SB20, just delivered to Ireland from UK manufacturer, White Formula UK, expected to be quick through the water.

Rounding out the Australian contingent is Brett Cooper (Aeolus), with Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones and Sam Tiedemann (DSS/RYCT). Cooper is one of the classiest SB20 sailors you will see on the water anywhere in the world and is not shy of the calibre of the international fleet, finishing fifth at the last world championship in Hyeres, France in 2019.

Cooper is hoping for heavier conditions than the current 7 knot average wind speed but admits to being a bit in the dark regarding the local conditions.

Aeolus powered up on the River Derwent in Hobart – Jane Austin pic

“Our research shows quite big tides – we have engaged professional weather consultants who will provide daily briefs to our team which will hopefully assist in understanding what the breeze does in the waters adjacent to the club,” Cooper said.

He is also leaving nothing to chance, chartering the same boat from the 2019 Worlds but giving it a complete makeover with new ropes, blocks and two sets of sails. ‘Twirler’ and Sam are very match fit and fresh from Hamilton Island Race Week – I’m confident we will be on the pace with good boat speed.”

Standing between the talented Australian trio and the Waterford crystal trophy is a fleet of talented sailors in the middle of their summer sailing season. “The fact is that Europe has been sailing through the pandemic and as such are match fit and well trained. This will be the only issue I can see that will possibly hurt the Australians, our lack of top-level competitive sailing,” Cooper said.

Tasmanian SB20 sailor Elliott Noye finished second in Dublin in the 2018 SB20 Europeans. Currently focused on offshore racing, he offered some advice to the Australians on the eve of the regatta.

“The racing will be very tough for the visitors with the conditions constantly changing. Whether it’s the shifty offshore breeze or the large tidal flows, the Aussies will have to be on their toes to position themselves in the right spot. The fleet is looking very strong from around the globe, but we have such a strong fleet here in Australia, I’m sure we will have some of the Australian boats bringing home the silverware,” he said.

Cooper, Sargent and Reid see the French Youth teams, the Irish locals and the Portuguese entries as threats from the 55-boat fleet, but all expect current UK champions, Xcellent, skippered by John Pollard to be the boat to beat.

“Our UK teams have been training hard, but we have a fantastic international entry list, and of course, the greatly travelled podium contenders from Australia, Singapore and Dubai will be teams to watch,” Pollard commented.

The regatta offers racing across the Open, Female, Corinthian, Masters and Youth Divisions. The Australian teams will also be pressing for the Nations Trophy with the winner the country that has the lowest score of their first three teams.

Racing starts from the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire on Monday 5 September with a practice race followed by a 12-race series, concluding on Friday 9 September. And whatever the racing holds, sailors and supporters will be on the end of the warm and generous hospitality for which the Irish are renowned.

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M.O.S.S Australia
West Systems