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Ultra 30 Grand Prix - Round 2 Preview

by Sue Warden-Owen 30 Jun 1999 18:20 BST


The Hoya Vision Care Ultra 30 fleet will be staging the second of its three Series regattas at Portsmouth off the historic south coast venue of Southsea Castle. The six boat fleet, known as the Formula 1 of the yachting world, had a brilliant and close run first event of the 1999 season in Sunderland just over two weeks ago which saw the defending champion, Russell Peters, skipper of the DBS boat grasp the overall lead position.

On July 3rd and 4th the Ultra 30s will be providing fast action on the water off Southsea beach between the Castle and the Pyramid Centre providing a natural amphitheatre for spectators to view the racing. Valuable on-shore support will be provided by Portsmouth City Council and Sunsail, market leaders in the field of world wide yacht charter and watersports holidays.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the Circuit a new boat, the first addition to the Ultra 30 fleet since its inception, is being raced by International Match Champion, Eddie Warden Owen, for Team Hoya. Ben Ainslie, the 1996 Olympic Silver Medallist will make his debut on board Team Hoya for the Portsmouth Regatta providing a formidable addition to the squad. Winner of numerous national and international championship titles including the current Laser National, European and World Champion, 22 year old Ben is a serious Sydney 2000 Olympics campaigner.

Other newcomers to the 1999 Circuit include Mark Rushall, Laser 5000 European Champion who steers United Airlines, previous RYA Youth Champion, 21 year old Rob Greenhalgh who has a team of young sailors racing David McLean’s Ultra 30 and Jim Hunt, helmsman of Team Gul, who has won the Solo World and National Championships and was Flying Fifteen Champion two years ago. Star Alliance, also new for this season, will be skippered by Kevin Sproul, who claimed 3rd overall in the 1998 Series.

The lightweight Ultra 30s are oversize dinghies with clouds of sail and with nine crew on trapezes can be powered up to speeds of over 25 knots. The boats have three 30 minute races per day over very short courses close to the shore, providing spectators with spectacular entertainment. A resident Ultra 30 commentator is on hand to provide on-shore explanation of all the racing action as it unfolds. Spectators can visit the 'pit lane' at the local marina to see the boats prepare for the race or post race to meet the Skippers and crew.

Hoya Vision Care’s Sales Director, Ray Owen, has been delighted with the results the company has achieved from their involvement with the sport. "It was the BBC’s coverage of the Ultra 30’s that first attracted my interest in sailing," he said. "We wanted to build our company profile and create awareness of our name. Through our sponsorship of the Hoya Round the Island Race, Hoya Royal Lymington Cup and Team Hoya Ultra 30 we have successfully created brand awareness for Hoya Vision Care and customer loyalty. This will be further enhanced by our sponsorship of the entire circuit."

Ultra 30 Website:

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