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Thunderstorm and rugby at the SB20 Singapore National Championship

27th October 2019


Sunniva Stenmark

The SB20 Singapore National Championship 2019 fought a tight competition with the Rugby World cup 2019 at Raffles Marina last weekend. At the Saturday's briefing, the race officer announced for the sailors that no start would be made after 3:15pm in order to be back on shore before the rugby kick off.


Nine enthusiastic SB20's headed out on the water in the light southern breeze ready to race fast. The fleet had a clear first start and the outgoing current ensured fast upwind legs with not so fast downwinds. Team Zorro with Nick Cocks at the helm sailed a super race and steadily increased their lead throughout the race before receiving their victory whistle from the committee boat at the finish line.

During the second start procedure, the dark clouds hanging over Malaysia decided to pull out a trick for the sailors. Within a minute the wind shifted 180 degrees and increased its power. The whole course was shifted around, and as the dark cloud passed overhead the race was back on. The conditions were indeed changing, and shortly after rounding the bottom mark, it was in fact time to hoist the kite again for what was no longer an upwind leg. The thunder and rain crept steadily closer to the fleet, and the correct decision was to abandon the race and go to shore.

In the pouring rain and passing thunder, the sailors changed their sport enthusiasm, embraced their cold beers and gathered inside to watch England and New Zealand playing in the semi-final of the Rugby cup. While England outperformed New Zealand in the sport with the odd-shaped ball, Team Zorro held onto the lead in the national championship.

On Sunday, the race committee wanted to make up for the lack of races on Saturday by changing the first start from 1pm to 12pm. The wind, however, was not informed by this decision, and the fleet got some quiet tanning time on the water before the first gun.

Finally, the E-flag was shown, and the sailors were back in race mode. Four races were run back to back in steady wind and good mood. Again, the tide current was pushing the fleet too quickly towards the start line, and the X-flag was waved after the three first starts. Several boats had to admit that their hull had been spotted over the line and had to take the bitter turn back.


The two lap courses were quick to sail around, and a new manoeuvre was needed every odd minute. The competition was tight, and there were lots of changes in the positions, some even happening within the last few seconds of the races.


After five good races, the fleet could discard their worst score and the results were finalised. The podium was tight, as both second and third position ended up with 10 points. Meraki, sailed by Geoff Masters, Andrew Crombie and Alec Cochrane secured the second place overall in front of Pocapena with Mike Buchanan, Ryan Lo and Daniel Norman Tan onboard. Tara, with Magnus Ekbom, Boniface Constant and Sunniva Stenmark won the championship after discarding a second place.


Again, the beers were cold and the mood fantastic at Raffles Marina, as Nick Cocks, the fleet captain awarded the winners. Nick is also the chairman for the World championship in 2021, and he used the opportunity to spread the word of the exciting upcoming regattas for the SB20 fleet in Singapore: The SB20 Grand slam week in February 2020 and the World Championship in February 2021. All sailors – these are events not to be missed!


Thanks to Raffles Marina and the race committee for a great weekend of sailing, and to all sailors for good competition. See you back racing at Raffles on the 7th December for the X-mas shoot out!

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