by Rod Jones
The 2012 SB3 sailing year starts in earnest at Royal Geelong YC's Festival of Sails 2012, 26-29 January. For many teams it’s a case of 'How Many Miles to go' as they embark on a year’s preparation that will culminate in the 2012 SB3 World Championships at Hamilton Island in December this year.
SB3 racing - Hamilton Island Race Week 2011
With up to 15 boats expected at the Victorian Championships at Festival of Sails, the pressure starts to build with the next regatta only a few weeks later in Hobart. Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania will host the 2012 Australian Championships, 18 to 20 February, with up to 30 of the 51 strong Australian SB3 Fleet expected to greet the starter's gun.
Moving back to the mainland after the Nationals, SB3s will sail at Sydney Harbour regatta in early March and then trip north to the Gold Coast's Sail Paradise for the Queensland Championships 20 to 23 March.
A short sojourn south again for Sail Port Stephens in late April and the NSW States before heading to the winter paradise that is Mooloolaba for a number of weekend regattas in May, June and July.
Up to 30 the Oz fleet will move to Hamilton Island in August for the 2012 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week and the subsequent pre-world regattas that the Island will host in October and November. Others will continue to train at home prior to heading north in December. SB3s are now sailed in Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney, Fremantle, Newcastle, Metung, Mooloolaba and Hamilton Island.
The International circus heading to our Worlds (50 or so SB3s) will by then be making a migration south with the first overseas boats schedule to arrive at HI in early December. Entries for the Worlds are expected from GBR, IRL, NED, GER, UKR, RUS, SIN, UAE, ITA, FRA, NZL, DEN, POR, BEL as well as our home grown entries.
A fleet of approximately 100 boats is expected for the 2012 Worlds. Thanks to the Queensland Government through its Queensland Tourism and Events organisation, the boats travelling to HI will have their logistics simplified. Hoegh Shipping is providing a RoRo service for some and a containerised option is close to being offered for others.
It’s not too late to join the SB3 party in 2012. A limited number of used boats are available though the fleet importer 'Oceanburo' from $23k upwards. New boats may still be ordered for delivery in the middle of this year. The SB3 is fortunate as a class in that older boats and newer boats compete equally. The 2011 Worlds were won by Geoff Carverth and team from UK in a 2003 build. The top ten was a mix of old and new. As are boats are from the same moulds and the same builder has been building since 2004, the Sb3 is true to its Laser origins and one design spirit.
For those wanting a taste of SB3 life before committing, there are also some charter opportunities through Oceanburo for the Victorian Championships, Queensland Championships and New South Wales Championships.
As a recognised ISAF class with a strong international ruling body, growing fleets in Australia and around the world, the SB3s is a fun and cost effective way to enjoy top end racing without busting your bank. Shifts Happen - get into our game Now!!