Sailors from over 10 countries and opposite sides of the globe are gathering in Singapore for the inaugural Asian Grand Slam for the SB20 class, and this year’s Asia Pacific Championships.
Now in their third year, the Asia Pacific Championships are hosted by the glamorous ONE°15 Marina Club in Sentosa Cove, Singapore. For this year the regatta also includes the first ever Asian Grand Slam for the international keelboat class, which has four Grand Slam events throughout the year.
Racing begins today, January 29, 2016, with three days of competition scheduled. The regatta is sanctioned by the Singapore Sailing Federation, who will run nine races. There is also a packed social programme, including a pool party with live music, welcome cocktails and post-sailing drinks, and daily prizegivings. Onshore entertainment ranging from fashion shows to jet-ski demonstrations, supercar shows and a live DJ, look set to give the Asian Grand Slam a carnival atmosphere.
The ONE°15 Marina Club in Sentosa Cove, Singapore
Entries from as far afield as Australia, France, Belgium, Ireland and Great Britain have joined the active Singaporean fleet and visitors from Thailand, with over 20 teams taking part.
The high calibre fleet includes local champions Johannes Babendererde and his team on ‘Wermer’, who are the current Singapore SB20 National Champions. French America’s Cup sailor Gilles Favennec will be one of the hot favourites, along with French National Champion Ed Russo and his team on ‘Black Magic’. British sailors taking part include former SB20 World Champion Jerry Hill, of class distributors Sportsboat World, and the 2015 British Grand Slam winner Adrian Peach.
Edward Russo of France, Chairman of the SB20 World Council, commented: “After sailing a couple of weekends in France in December and January with full foul weather gear, you can’t imagine how much I’m looking forward to sailing the SB20 Asian Grand Slam & Asia Pacific Championships in Singapore. But it’s not only the weather we’re coming for, the Singapore SB20 fleet is impressively active with top local sailing talent and this event will give us the opportunity to thank the Singaporean teams that came to the French Grand Slam in Hyeres in May 2015.”
Dr. Benedict Tan, President of the Singapore Sailing Federation, added, “This landmark event brings our sailing friends from all over the Asia Pacific region and the world to Singapore, and SingaporeSailing is proud to be a part of it.”
Local SB20 sailor Nils Razmilovic, Chairman of the Singapore SB20 Class Association added, “The SB20 Grand Slam and Asia Pacific Championships is now one of Asia’s premier one design sailing regattas with top international competition, excellent organisation and a great social program, making it an event not to be missed!”
The seasonal North East Monsoon winds are reported to have arrived in Singapore in full force this week, bringing sunshine and steady winds of 20-25 knots with gusts up to 35 knots. Together with Singapore’s tropical temperatures these conditions may produce some stunning sailing conditions for the international fleet.
The SB20 class is a one-design keelboat with active racing fleets in 13 countries, including the UAE, Russia and the Ukraine, as well as across Europe. Other Grand Slam events in 2016 will be held at Cannes in the South of France in April, Holland in May, and Cowes, on the Isle of Wight in the UK in August. This year’s World Championships will take place in Cascais, Portugal from August 27-September 3, with future World Championships taking place at the prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, UK in 2017, and the stunning Australian venue of Hobart, Tasmania in 2018.
Follow the event at http://sb20asiangrandslam.com/, there is also a link to a video of yesterday’s practice race.