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SB20 Australia In-Conversation Series connects the class during COVID

by Jane Austin 2 Oct 2020 08:50 BST
Backstay tension image © Andrew Lechte

SB20 Australia has been using the winter break to keep momentum up through the SB20Aus In-Conversation Series. While the local fleet has been taking the usual break from sailing during the winter months, SB20 sailors in the northern hemisphere have experienced considerable restrictions and regatta cancellations during what would normally be a busy summer sailing season.

The SB20Aus In-Conversation Series regularly drew guests from around the world including the UK, Portugal, Singapore, Ireland, Belgium and Turkey, and the Holland Ocean Racing Academy which was training on SB20s during the restricted season.

The series covered a range of topics with former Olympian and multiple SB20 National Champion, Glenn Bourke AM, leading off in the What it Takes to Win session, in which he shared the highs and lows of SB20 and Laser sailing, with shared wisdom from current SB20 National Champion, Will Sargent and SB20 Australia Vice President, Chris Dare.

The SB20 designer, Tony Castro and distributor Simon Russell, both of Sportsboat World, joined the series to provide the background to the design of the SB20, while Robert White from White Formula UK, the current manufacturer, gave some insight into the manufacturing journey over the last ten-plus years.

One of the most challenging and perhaps controversial aspects of sailing the 20-foot sports boat is boat tuning. World leading sail designer, Andrew Lechte from Doyle Sails, professional sailor Darren 'Twirler' Jones and Tasmania's Nick Rogers shared their experiences, with Lechte giving a technical presentation which covered jib and mainsail shape in 6, 10, 14 and 18+ knots, and included in-depth analysis of the effects of vang and backstay tension on mast bend.

One-design sailing is often won or lost on tactics and teamwork. SB20Australia welcomed the wisdom of teams that have performed well in the Class including America's Cup campaigner and tactician Ben Lamb and skipper Chris Dare (Ambition), tactician 'Twirler' Jones and skipper Brett Cooper (Aeolus), who are currently fifth in the SB20 World fleet, and successful professional sailor David 'Chappo' Chapman.

Other guests included Vasco Serpa, CEO of SailCascais in Portugal with classy young Portuguese sailors Carolina Joao and Bernardo Torres Pego, and local talent including Tim and Oli Burnell, Meg Goodfellow and Felicity Allison, and the 2019 SB20 Worlds bronze medal winner, Andrew Smith.

The series can be viewed on the SB20 Australia YouTube Channel. With the upcoming season less than two weeks away, SB20 sailors might consider the boat preparation episode an important one to watch before hitting the water on 8 October 2020.

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