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Spring Bay Mill announced as new sponsor of the 2020 SB20 Australian Championship

by Jane Austin 17 Dec 2019 03:16 PST 7-9 March 2020
Rense on the start line of the SB20 Australian Championship © Jane Austin

Spring Bay Mill, owned by Australian environmentalist, philanthropist and sailor Graeme Wood AM, has been announced as the naming rights sponsor for the 2020 SB20 Australian Sailing Championship.

And in another first for SB20 sailing, next year's championship will be sailed on Spring Bay on Tasmania's stunning East Coast.

SB20 Australia Class President, Steve Catchpool, is excited about the generous sponsorship and is delighted with the new destination which is near some of Australia's greatest natural attractions like Wineglass Bay, Freycinet Peninsula and the Maria Island National Park.

"It's been great to see the energy from our local SB20 sailors Daniel Woods, George Peacock and Charlie Nolan (Team Musto), in pursuing a new sponsor and venue for the 2020 Championship. Coverage of the regatta will offer an opportunity to showcase Spring Bay Mill and the restored natural landscape, as well as the pristine waters of Spring Bay, to the global sailing community," said Catchpool.

Wood and partner Anna Cerneaz have been strong supporters of the SB20 Class in Australia, purchasing four SB20s to form the Athena Sailing Program which was established to introduce and empower women to be confident in the male-dominated sport of sailing.

Wood was keen to support the 2020 national event which combines his love of sailing and the power of nature with a sustainable approach to tourism and development.

"Staging the event on Spring Bay will expose the SB20 Class to a new audience and provide ideal sailing conditions for competitors. I've always liked the SB20 because it is accessible for all age groups and offers the best of competition for elite sailors. Supporting the Athena Sailing Program over the last few years has been a lot of fun, especially seeing one of the all-female crews compete in the SB20 Worlds in France this year," said Wood.

"Tourism is the future for Tasmania's East Coast. Showcasing local food, wine and tourist facilities will raise the area's profile locally, nationally and internationally," said Wood.

And one of the key tourist facilities is the Spring Bay Mill.

"Our team at Spring Bay Mill is proud of the restoration and excited to host the SB20 volunteers and competitors in our unique glamping tents and stylish eco-beach shacks. The project is progressing brilliantly - it is a very special venue which will be open for conferences, gigs and cultural events in January 2020," said Wood.

"The [Spring Bay] Mill offers vastness, history, repurposed industrial venues, regenerated ecosystems, a gateway to Maria Island, beautiful conference facilities, time and place to retreat, imagine and change," said Wood.

Catchpool believes the new venue will create keen interest in the nationals with crews from Singapore, New Caledonia and Victoria already indicating their intention to sail.

"The fleet will enjoy a crew BBQ in the Tin Shed, which is regarded as the heart and soul of Spring Bay Mill and will have an opportunity to meet a few locals throughout the weekend of sailing. And you never know, we might even get a few more sailors from the area interested in sailing an SB20 once they witness the thrills and spills of one design sailing, especially against the backdrop of Maria Island," said Catchpool

Catchpool invited Wood to skipper an SB20 in the event, however Wood has politely declined at this stage, apparently not wanting to embarrass some of the gun skippers in the fleet.

The SB20 is a 20 foot one-design sports boat designed by Tony Castro. The one design class has a crew weight limit of 270kg, allowing either three or four crew.

The last three national championships have been sailed on the River Derwent in Hobart, with the last interstate location at Blairgowrie in Victoria, in 2016.

The Spring Bay Mill SB20 Australian Championship will take place in Triabunna from 7-9 March 2020 under the authority of the Derwent Sailing Squadron and with support from the Spring Bay Boat Club.

Full details of the regatta can be found at dssinc.org.au.

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