Hamilton Island Race Week - Strong performances by Tasmanian crews in the SB3 sports boat class this week have boosted mainland interest in the Australian championship for the class to be sailed in Hobart next autumn.
SB3 racing - Hamilton Island Race Week 2011
Thirteen SB3s raced at Hamilton Island, including four chartered to Tasmanian crews who filled three of the top six placings. More than 20 SB3s are expected for the Australian championship on the Derwent.
Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania members Brett and Jacinta Cooper sailed a chartered boat, re-named Please Explain and using their own sails, to finish second overall to three times world Laser champion and Olympic sailor Glenn Bourke, helming Club Marine HI.
Bourke dominated the regatta in the Whitsunday Island Group of Far North Queensland, winning seven of the 12 races sailed in most fresh to strong tradewinds.
The Coopers finished one point ahead of 470 Olympic sailor Matt Belcher, helming One Design Sailing, who finished with three wins in the last five heats.
Just one point back, in fourth place, was Toll Shipping, skippered by current SB3 Tasmanian champion Nick Rogers. In sixth place overall was another Tasmanian boat, Wedgewood, skippered by David Graney.
The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania will host the Australian championship for the SB3 class next autumn, with the fast-growing one-design sports boat class back at Hamilton Island for the world championships late next year.
In Hobart there will be at least nine SB3s racing with the RYCT this coming summer season, including a popular Friday twilight series and the new interclub racing summer series.
'We expect a strong contingent of mainland boats to come to Hobart for the Australian championships next year, particularly as we have shown them the competition they can expect on the Derwent,' said Jacinta Cooper, who has been one of the driving forces behind the development of the class in Hobart.