One year has passed since the SB20 Class was launched by the newly appointed builders Sportsboat World. A lot of improvements have been made for SB20 owners in the past 12 months. Spare parts, sails and new boats are readily available. Manufacturing of the SB20 returned to UK shores and stringent quality control. Parts that previously failed on a regular basis have been re-engineered, improved and released. The first World Championship was held outside of Europe at Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia in December 2012 and tomorrow the first Grand Slam event begins in Hyeres, France. A great success story by anybody’s measure!
Twenty-five boats are expected to compete at the Hyeres Grand Slam this weekend representing seven countries; France, UK, Monaco, Germany, Italy, Russia and Lithuania. The Grand Slam has attracted a high calibre of entries including Helena Lucas, gold medallist in the 2.4mR class at the London 2012 Paralympics. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz, the French representative in the Laser class at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 will compete at the Grand Slam fresh from his 5th place at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyeres last week. Alexey Murashkin, Jerry Hill and John Pollard add further quality to the fleet.
Three days of racing are scheduled in Hyeres, where good breeze is forecast and temperatures will punch into the twenties. At the end of May, the Grand Slam moves on to Malcesine, Lake Garda, Italy before the four day Grand Slam finale at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, UK.
The SB20 Grand Slam events are aimed at those in the class that enjoy sailing in beautiful places and enjoy a lively social scene. Each SB20 Grand Slam will have a winner in its own right and while sailors will be encouraged to take part in as many events as possible, there will not be an overall Grand Slam Champion.
In September 2013, Hyeres will play host to the SB20 Class World Championships.