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NUS's Purple Patch wins Singapore SB20 National Championships Title

by Raffles Marina 12 Sep 2021 14:10 BST 11-12 September 2021
Teams going neck-to-neck as they race to the top mark - SB20 National Championships Singapore © Raffles Marina

The SB20 National Championships took place on 11 and 12 September 2021 at Raffles Marina. This is the largest fleet in the history of Singapore National Championships, comprising 10 races across two days.

Over the weekend, 70-odd sailors - 20 boats took to the seas to compete for the reign of the SB20 National Championships. This regatta was inaugurated in 2009 and has been running strong for the past twelve years. Many boats have raced in the national championships over the years and several names still never fail to show up till this day. Sailors may come and go, but the spirit of the boat will ever be present, and their sails yet fill with wind.

Raffles Marina, Singapore's premier mega yacht marina with country club facilities at the western tip of the island organised and hosted the event for the eleventh time. It has been the home of SB20 sailing since it began in Singapore some 15 years ago. The Club hosts the bi-monthly club races of the SB20 Association and other notable regattas such as the SMU-RM Western Circuit Sailing Regatta and Mayhem Regatta.

"Raffles Marina shares and supports the SB20 Association of Singapore goal of promoting the SB20 as the yacht of choice for sailors seeking competitive one design keelboat racing. It is also the home of Singapore Polytechnic's and Singapore Management University's SB20 Sailing teams" said Siaw Chee Huat, Director of Raffles Marina Ltd.

Boats who fought for the championship included "Xtra Mile 2" who came in a close second in last year's National Championships and "Zorro" which is helmed by Nicholas Cocks and currently holds the SB20 Northernly Monsoon title. Another boat eyeing the prize was "Tara" with Magnus Ekbom at the helm. They were the SB20 National Champions just two years ago and were eager to reclaim the throne.

Race officer Jonathan Kwek efficiently set the racecourse off the coast of Tuas for this championship. Spectators and supporters got a full view of the race off Raffles Marina's breakwater, where their iconic lighthouse stands. It was a picturesque sight with 20 boats flying a variety of spinnakers downwind towards the lighthouse, adding colours to the waters off the marina.

Both days of the competition saw excellent weather as all 20 boats gave their best to secure a lead in the race. The first day was dominated by "Purple Patch", a boat helmed by Riji Wong, representing the National University of Singapore. Riji and his crew finished first in 4 out of 5 races on day one and continued with stellar performance on the second.

After the two days of intense racing, the boat that emerged champion was Purple Patch, close second was Tara and in third was Sin Bad. It was an intense competition and a roller coaster of emotions as those in the lead fought to retain their place, and the ones behind were hungry to take their chance to overtake.

Thanks to the good and consistent performance throughout the two days, the National University of Singapore's "Purple Patch" crewed by skipper Riji Wong, main trimmer Matthew Scott, bowman Amanda Koh and trimmer Serzen Gurung managed to progress in the table until they finished with net 21 points, which secured them the big win.

"We are really happy with the result. Being a new team in NUS, we did our best at this event because it's a big event for us and we came here to work on our skills and give our best. We are very grateful that NUS, Raffles Marina and the SB20 class association support us a lot in this sport and gave us the chance to race. Our team is made up of not only experienced sailors but also fresh faces to the sport in university.", said Riji Wong in a post-race interview.

Matthew Scott added: "The SB20 fleet is still growing in Singapore and there is still a lot of room and potential for the fleet to grow. We are looking forward to the races in the coming months and the Asia Pacific Grand Slam in 2022 and hopefully the SB20 Worlds'. For us in NUS, we are looking forward to develop our programme further because we want to spread the sport with people who have never experienced it and share the sport we love with them."

Congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to sailors who took part in the SB20 National Championships. Stay tuned for the SB20 Autumn Series which kicks off later this month.

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