SB20s at the Vice Admiral’s Cup

Vice Admiral's Cup 2015, Cowes ©

‘Forelle Estates’, winners of the SB20 class at the Vice Admiral’s Cup 2015, Cowes ©

The SB20s once again enjoyed their own class start at this year’s Vice Admiral’s Cup, hosted by the Royal Ocean Racing Club incorporating the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club. The Solent put on a mix of conditions, including a stunning final day, for the 9-boat fleet.

The opening day saw three exciting races held in light to moderate airs after a two-hour postponement ashore. Race Officer Rob Lamb’s timing and assessment of the conditions proved to be spot on and by the revised start time of 13.30 the fleet was in the race area and a light west-south-westerly breeze was building.

There was a short additional postponement on the water while one of the mark laying boats was called away to assist with a May Day rescue. However, the race committee set up a compromise windward-leeward course using Solent marks to reduce waiting time for the competitors.

The very newly launched ‘Forelle Estates’, owned by the Llewellyn/Wakefield/Virgus partnership, dominated with three confident race wins. Charles Sheppard’s ‘Sharc’ was equally consisted with three second places and the Russell/Westlake partnership owned ‘eDigital Research’ took three third places.

For day two the sun made a welcome appearance, joined by a lovely north-westerly breeze which kicked off the day in the high teens with guests up towards 25 knots, and gradually dropped to around 10-12 knots for the later races. The sparkling conditions enabled the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Race Committee to run four more windward-leeward races, bringing the discard into play.

In the SB20 class ‘Forelle Estates’, gave another masterclass with all firsts, putting them in the enviable position of discarding a first place to lead the regatta with six points, eight clear of the chasing pack. Leading that charge was Charles Sheppard’s ‘Sharc’, who scored one second, two thirds and a fourth place, while ‘eDigital Research’, owned by the Russell/Westlake partnership, was still in close contention after two second and two third places.

The final day opened with light airs and overcast skies so crews were initially held crews ashore, with time to enjoy a relaxed Sunday morning coffee. By noon the sun was out, a classic Solent sea breeze was building from the south-west and racing was underway for the first of two windward-leewards.

‘Forelle Estates’ owned by the Llewellyn/Wakefield/Virgus partnership added an eighth win to their scorecard to claim an impressive straight bullets overall victory, and elected not to take part in the final race. However, the fight for second and third places was still very much on. Charles Sheppard’s ‘Sharc’ went into the day in second and rounded the first mark of race eight in third place, but on hoisting it their spinnaker ripped around the tapes. They managed to cling on and finish fifth but it left them on equal points with ‘eDigital Research’, owned by Russell/Westlake, going into the last race. The two boats were neck and neck all the way round the course but on the line it was ‘Sharc’ that claimed victory and the second step on the podium by just a single point from ‘eDigital Research’.

Full results are available here

With thanks to Fiona Brown for event report information and photographs

Vice Admiral's Cup 2015, Cowes ©

Sparkling conditions for the SB20s at the Vice Admiral’s Cup 2015, Cowes ©