‘Uber’ crowned Cowes Grand Slam champion

SB20 Cowes Grand Slam decided after six superb races at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week

With a mirror calm Solent, and no sign of any developing seabreeze, the organisers of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week wisely decided to cancel racing for the day early on Tuesday, August 11, 2015. Fortunately the SB20 class had already packed in six great races for their Cowes Grand Slam over the first three days of the event, for the 30-boat fleet.

Adrian Peach’s ‘Uber’ is the 2015 Cowes Grand Slam winner, scoring one win and three third places to take an eight-point advantage. The Torbay-based team of Garry Phare and Jim Short, skippered by the UK Class Chairman, were consistently in the top 10 and finished their week on a high with a win in Race 6.

'Uber', winners of the 2015 Cowes Grand Slam

‘Uber’, winners of the 2015 Cowes Grand Slam

“It’s a great result, really close points until the final day,” he commented. “This is my first Cowes Grand Slam and it’s a different style of racing but I think it was really enjoyable – it definitely kept the old grey matter stirring away yesterday, we had big long races, one race was 2.5 hours long, and very exciting.”

What does he think was the key to their win? “Consistency and not being too greedy – basically trying to manage the fleet with which side of the beat to go, and some fairly good crew work. Our crew came together this year and did a bit of practice down in our home waters. The key to the SB20 is practice, you’ve got to go sailing in it, you need to do as much of it as you can in order to make your crew work slick, and with that comes trust in your boat speed.

“It’s a team effort – because all of us are new to the Cowes sailing in tides and orienteering style of racing, all of us were engaged in what was going on. We had a briefing every morning at breakfast to go through what we thought the tides were going to be doing.”

©Rick Tomlinson/Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week

©Rick Tomlinson/Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week

Second overall was ‘Baloo’, skippered by Dave Atkinson. The team from the north of England were also awarded the Hyde Sails prize for the first Masters’ boat. Crew included the class’s international measurer John Outhwaite, he commented:

“We’ve been in the class for over 10 years, since its inauguration. It’s fun that keeps us in the fleet. It’s one of the keelboat classes with the best craic for sure – a good group of sailors, a fun boat, great sailing, what more do you want!

“We’ve had six brilliant races – they’ve been hard races, very close competition. Just three seconds on the finish line between first and second yesterday is super, and the starting was brilliant this week.”

'Baloo', second in the 2015 Cowes Grad Slam

‘Baloo’, second in the 2015 Cowes Grad Slam

Third overall was ‘3-Some’. Duncan Pryde’s team got off to a great start with two straight wins on the first day of the Grand Slam, but were OCS in Race 3 and also picked up a 10th place.

Edward Handasyde Dick’s team on ‘eDigitalResearch’ were fourth overall, having taken a first, send and third place, but two 10th places just edged them off the podium. Five different teams won races over the three-day series, with Charles Sheppard’s ‘Sharc’ taking Race 4.

The Youth category, sponsored by Harken, was won by ‘Trouble and Strife’, a team from Radley College. Skippered by 17-year-old George Chilvers, with a crew of three school mates aged just 14, they were regularly beating experienced campaigners and are sure contenders for the title of youngest crew at Cowes this year.

Radley Sailing Master George Barker explained: “George Chilvers is the skipper, who’s just about to go into his final year. Then we’ve got another George who does the spinnaker, and Kit and Felix – and it was their first experience of sailing on the sea! So one 17-year-old, and the others are all 14, all really young, and it’s been a great experience. It’s also the first time they’ve sailed a regatta without me on board, and they’ve been absolutely fine.

“The SB20 sailing teaches them about team work, because all the other sailing we do is in dinghies so just one or two onboard. Here is particularly challenging because they’ve not only got to sail the boat, but they’ve also got to work out where they are going – navigating, and the tides. Yesterday when the mist came down they did particularly well, they actually gained places, probably because they are dinghy sailors so they could sail the boat through feel, and they overtook seven boats.”

The Radley College team were first Youth boat, sponsored by Harken

The Radley College team were first Youth boat, sponsored by Harken

The SB20 Grand Slam not only had ‘Tour de France’ style coloured spinnakers for the leaders in each category, but also a ‘Lanterne Rouge’ for the last team to complete all races, which went to another Youth team from Abingdon, on ‘Doolalli’. The Oman Sail team skippered by Fahad al Hasni were also awarded a special prize from Harken for being the best foreign visiting team after finishing sixth – appropriately enough they were given some warming woolly bobble hats for their efforts in making the 4700-mile trip.

The SB20 Class will return to Cowes for its World Championship in 2017, hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron, where a 100-plus international fleet is expected.

©Rick Tomlinson/Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week

©Rick Tomlinson/Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week

Results 2015 Cowes Grand Slam:

1st UBER (Adrian Peach)
2nd BALOO (Dave Atkinson)
3rd 3-SOME (Duncan Pryde)
4th EDIGITALRESEARCH (Edward Handasyde Dick, Alec & Clairey Russell and Emily West)
5th HERE COMES BOD (Charles Whelan and Richard McAdam)
6th OMAN SAIL 01 (Fahad al Hasni)
7th SHARC (Charles Sheppard)
8th WHYADUCK (Tom Clay)
9th POWERED BY PUSSER’S RUM (Simon Hume)
10th BUITENHUIS ADVIES (Martijn Buitenhuis)

Calm stops play on Day 4 of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week ©Rick Tomlinson

Calm stops play on Day 4 of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week ©Rick Tomlinson