Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania director Michael Cooper and his crew of David Chapman and Gerry Mitchell have finished fifth overall in the SB20 Italian nationals in an impressive lead-up to the World championships on Lake Garda in Italy.
Sailing in an international fleet of 52 boats, the Tasmanian crew began the regatta with a 14th and a 15th but improved markedly with a 6-4-2-2-9 scorecard before slipping to 14th in the final race. The Tasmanian’s net score of 51 points was just one point behind the fourth placed British crew with the top three placings going to crews from Italy, the Ukraine and Russia.
Crews from Italy, the Ukraine, Great Britain, Australia, Ireland, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands and France contested the Italian nationals on stunning Lake Garda. Overall winners was Niccolo Bianchi and his crew from the home club, Cerculo Vela Torbole, which will also host the worlds starting on July 4.
Cooper, who skippered his boat Export Roo to second place in the Australian championships in Hobart in March, will be joined by that crew for the worlds: David Chapman and RYCT vice commodore Matt Johnston.
Also competing will be fellow Tasmanians Phil Reid and his crew and Andrew Roberts, who will be crewing for Victorian Stephen Fries at the worlds.
Heading a strong Australian contingent is national champion Glenn Burke and his winning crew from Hamilton Island while other skippers competing include Chris Dare and Robert Jeffries.