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SB20 Asia Pacific Championship - Day 3

by SB20 Class 4 Feb 18:15 GMT 1-4 February 2018
SB20 Asia Pacific Championship - Day 3 © Howie Choo / www.howiephoto.com

As the sun rose over the ONE degrees15 Marina Club, awarded the Best Marina in Asia for the past two years, it appeared that the genius local SB20 fleet weather forecaster was not so clever after all.

Having forecast East Coast hurricanes, the return of NE monsoon conditions for the regatta, boat breaking conditions on Saturday, he had called for the breeze to reduce on Sunday. Luckily for the sailors (but unluckily for their confidence in his future weather forecasting ability) those who arrived at the marina early (and those who had stayed overnight to effect repairs to rudders, rigs and spinnakers) were greeted by palm trees whipping backwards and forwards in the strong Singapore winds. The NE flow had settled in around 14 knots with squally rain clouds bringing through light (but warm) drizzle and 20-25 knots of pressure. It promised to be a great day on the water to conclude the 2018 Asian Grand Slam.

The crews left the marina in a good breeze to sail to the race track. The triage nurses had worked on the boats overnight and the damage tally from the previous day stood as follows: Singapore Poly (Bandit) – OUT (broken rig – irreparable); Sea U Later (Christian Fisher) – OUT (broken rig – irreparable); Simpson Marine (Captain Rehab) – IN (new spinnaker pole installed at midnight); Wallababy (Le Petit Admiral) – IN (rudder transfusion), Rolf Heemskirk (Malaysia) – IN (only minor spinnaker grafts required). This was good news as only two boats had to sit out the regatta's final three races.

Race 7 commenced in the most boring way. It started on time. No boats were over the line early and the breeze was predictable. Race 7 went on to finish in the most boring way with Glasgow Kiss notching up its sixth win of the regatta and the crew (Razmilovic/Burfoot/Salembier) tightening their grip on the trophy. The one glimmer of interest was the battle heating up for second place overall with Pocapena (Mike Buchanan) coming second having fought off a hard-charging Walababy (Agoston Sipos) which finished third and saw just two points separating these boats with two races to go. Notable big boat sailor from HK, Sam Chan had a strong seventh and Dutchess (Steven Kennedy) started to put a regatta together with another top ten finish. Tara with her English crew had another good fifth closely followed by the Malaysians (Rolf Heemskerk) in sixth.

The second race of the day was much more interesting and put the crews to the test. The race also started clean but in a left-hand phase. The regatta leaders showing either overconfidence or the inability to look beyond the first short-lived shift all started in a predictable cluster at the pin end. However, as was obvious to the more astute sailors, the breeze in the left corner started to evaporate and by halfway up the beat, such that the boats which had started at the less favoured boat end were enjoying the extra pressure and right had shifts – a recipe for good results. This saw quite a changeup in the order at the top mark with the usual suspects deep in the order (Pocapena eighth and regatta leader Glasgow Kiss 14th). Le Petit Admiral (Walababy) saw through the left hand gust at the start and having sailed hard right earned himself a commanding lead to round in first and looking to close the gap to second place overall. As the boats set out on the second lap, the breeze remained light.

At the second top mark, the fleet had compressed in the lighter air. However, as soon as the pack rounded the top mark (in some cases three abreast) the breeze began to build. As the run unfolded, the trailing boats in more air compressed into the leasing boats such that by the bottom mark when a 20-knot gust splintered through the fleet, the boats from fifth to 15th all of a sudden found themselves in far too small a patch of water charging into the gate. Amid the flogging kites, broached boats and swearing sailors carnage reined supreme. When the crews were finally able to look up and take a breath, the race order had shaken itself out – leaving some to wonder what could have been. The boats that were able to maintain control in the strong and gusty winds had won through - Pocapena first followed by Walababy second and Glasgow Kiss in third.

The final race of the regatta commenced on time as the race committee continued its splendid work. Glasgow Kiss had won the regatta with a race to spare but a tight battle had developed to fill out the podium with Pocapena two points ahead of Wallababy and the English Invaders on Tara just a handful of points behind. The start got way cleanishly. The fleet was mainly behind the line other than Simpson Marine (Captain Rehab) that hand a dalliance with the pin before crossing the fleet on port. In a comical misunderstanding of the rules, having crossed the fleet on port, Simpson Marine attempted to exonerate itself for the start line infringement with a 360 penalty. – even your most junior Optimist sailor knows that just doesn't work... Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet fearing the light wind on the left (and not being brave enough to try the port tack start) had clustered at the committee boat.

After the Simpson Marine penalty turn, Glasgow Kiss led around the top mark. Walababy was sitting second followed by Tara and Pocapena in fourth. It looked like the final regatta placings had been decided. But then on the last run, the slightly hungover crew on Glasgow Kiss (having perhaps celebrated too early) failed to pull the spinnaker through in a gybe and to the delight of the chasing pack, had a spectacular broach in front of the fleet. Le Petit Admiral (Wallababy), grinning from ear to ear, sauntered past and went on to win the race. Tara was second and Glasgow Kiss (with a wet spinnaker and dented egos) finished third. All eyes were on the lookout for Pocapena (Mike Buchanan) which finished fourth.

Some quick maths were done on the side of the race course and Pocapena and Walababy had tied for equal second overall on 19 points. After the tie-break rules were applied it was to be Walababy (Agoston Sipos/Boniface Constant/Freddie Hall) that prevailed over the well-campaigned Pocapena (Mike Buchanan/Jordan Smith/Christian Englert). Fourth place in the overall went to the English crew on Tara (Paddy Bettesworth/Jamie Binmore/Adrian Peach) on 28 points and fifth overall went to the SMU Alumin (Colin Lim/Pascal Radue/Tan Wei Chong/Ching Pu Feng).

After clinching second place in the overall championship, Le Petit Admiral said: "Yes yes yes". And then went on to clarify that it was an "epic battle for second place. There were no easy points but we really enjoyed the racing."

Nils Razmilovic from Glasgow Kiss was pleased with his result but had great praise for the regatta commenting that "these are the real monsoon season conditions that the regatta should be well known for; we hope to get more visitors next year." And well might the regatta expect continued visitations. Jamie Binmore (sailing Tara with fellow English compatriots) visited Singapore for the first time and could not have been more enthusiastic commenting that he "loved sailing in the sun rather than the cold and the rain and am not looking forward to going back to the Royal Torbay in England where it is cold, grey, miserable and sometime before we can get back out on the water. The sailing was fantastic and I really enjoyed seeing the spectacular skyline we sailed under. This truly was a world class event and it would be superb to have an SB20 Worlds in Singapore – for me at least, it would be a pleasure to attend".

In the rest of the placings, Team NUS (Jonathan Yeo, Katrina Teo, Jeremiah Yeo, Lionel Lim) was sixth, hot on the heels of SMU. The Malaysian Team (Rolf Heemskerk, Dens Rawlins, David Yourieff) were the second overseas boat in seventh place just a whisker ahead of eighth placed Team HK (Sam Chan, Ben Ford, Oliver Marshall), the Australians in ninth (Team Shadowfax: Scott Glaskin, Shelley Bassett, Peter Botman) and the Thais in 10th (Herson Florent, Apple Asawatanaporn, Fabio Kraiczyk). After a gaggle of international entries, the third-placed local team was Zorro (Nicholas Cocks, Elliot Cocks, Richard Howard, Aevar Anderson) in 11th followed by Team NUS2 (Edward Lim, Dillon, Song Lin, Cheryl) in 12th and the fast-improving Katana (Robert Jessing, Colin Tan, Clement Holham) in 13th. Having mended their bow pole overnight, Simpson Marine (Aaron Taunt, Tony Holman, David Clancy) took out 14th - surely a disappointment for the 2017 Western Circuit Champion.

In 15th overall was Dutchess (Steven Kennedy, Peter Demeo, Sumner Lemon) which had some great top ten results followed by SMU Sailing (Bernic Foo, Lynette Tay, Isaac Peck, Daryl Tan) in 16th and Xtra Mile 2 (Low Chin Nam, Dominik Stephen, Sunniva) in 17th just a stone's throw ahead of 18th placed Sticky Beak (Christopher Andrews, Guz Wilkinson, Ian Horsburgh). Werner (John Bateman, Lucas Bateman, Don Good, Wen Rui), under new management, had the youngest crew member competing and came a solid 19th. SMUxy (Christian Chang, Cherise Lei, Alastair Tay, Beatrice Hew) and Slippery When Wet (Bryan Ngu, Jemimah Chan, John Koh, Low Chai Yee) rounded out the placings with Bandit (Andre Chew, Isaac Tang, Evangeline Tan, Sebastian Siew) and Sea U Later (Christian Fischer, Michelle Loke, Niall Mcdowell) both pulling out of the final day due to rig damage.

For the winners and the participants alike, the champagne flowed on the way back to the ONE degrees15 Marina Club and then continued to flow at the Dockside Bar. More champagne flowed at the lavish awards ceremony this evening and praise upon deserved praise was heaped upon the regatta organisers, race committee, participants, supporters and sponsors. We hope to see more boats next year as the regatta continues to cement itself as the region's pre-eminent SB20 regatta.