High hopes at SB20 Worlds

RSYS Member David Chapman is in Hobart for the SB20 World Championship being jointly hosted by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and the Derwent Sailing Squadron from 2-11 January. 

Here is a summary of the action so far as reported by former RSYS Member Peter Campbell:


Hobart yachtsman Michael Cooper today made an impressive start to winning the SB20 World Championship on the River Derwent that he so narrowly missed at Cowes, England, last August.

Steering Export Roo, with the same crew of David Chapman and Gerry Mitchell, Cooper scored two third places and a win on day one of the 2018 World Championship on his home waters to establish a commanding early lead in the four day, 12 race regatta.
After three races, Export Roo had 6 points on the leaderboard, 13 points clear of his nearest rival, the French boat Le Grand Reservoir/Mazet & A (Achille Nebout) which placed 2-11-7 for 20 points.

Cooper showed his local knowledge by being the first to gybe on the final spinnaker run of the last race and stayed with the breeze while the following boats fell into a ‘’hole.’’

The Hobart businessman lost the 2017 Worlds on The Solent at Cowes to noted British yachtsman Jerry Hill by two points, with Hill using his own local knowledge in the final race.

Cooper has avowed revenge and is not only leading the 2018 Worlds but is also 24 places ahead of Hill, who today placed 4-38-28 in sportsboatworld.com



The starting line for the 59 boats contesting the 2018 SB20 World Championships on the River Derwent is providing a spectacular sight for Hobart residents living up the hillsides of Sandy Bay and across the river at Howrah.

Day 2 began after a short delay with race four of the series, with the crews hitting their straps at 1.15pm in a light northerly breeze.

Local crews took up the leading positions on the first beat to windward and consolidated this on the first spinnaker run, with Australian champion Brett Cooper opening up a handy lead with Aeolus.

In second place was 2Unlimited (Greg Prescott, AUS), followed by the British boat Marvel (Richard Powell, GBR),  Difficult Woman (Rob Gough, AUS) and Honey Badger (Paul Burnell).

Overall leader from day one, Export Roo (Michael Cooper, AUS) was in 12th place at the leeward mark for the first time.

Brett Cooper extended his lead with a brilliant spinnaker run, with Powell moving into second place, followed by Prescott and the French boat Give Me 5 – French Youth Team (Robin Follin) the big mover on the spinnaker run, lifting its place in the fleet eighth to fourth.
For the third consecutive day, the 59 boat fleet in the SB20 Worlds are enjoying great sailing conditions on Hobart’s spacious River Derwent, a freshening sou’-wester sweeping up the river at 13-19 knots with gusts of 24 knots.

The fresh breeze versus the outflowing current has also kicked up choppy conditions with whitecaps on the river.

The first race of the day, race six of the championships, has seen a great duel between the young French sailor Robin Follin in Give Me 5 – French Youth Team and Hobart’s Malcolm Cooper, helming Export Roo.

Follin took the lead on the first windward leg but Cooper surged past on the downwind spinnaker run, hitting 12 knots in the gusts.

However, the young Frenchman,  world SB20 champion in 2015, regained the lead on the second beat to windward and held this to the finish.  His winning margin over the Tasmanian boat was a matter of seconds.


Export Roo, Tasmania’s major hope to win the SB20 World Championship 2018 on the River Derwent today slid down the leader board from first to sixth place overall.

Export Roo, skippered by Hobart yachtsman Michael Cooper, began day three with consistent sailing, notching up a second and a seventh place in the 59 boat fleet. Then came race eight of the 12 boat series with a disastrous 32nd as his British and French opponents turned in high placings.

Unfortunately, Export Roo has to carry the 32nd place in its overall score as Cooper has already used his race five UFD disqualification (60 penalty points) as his discard. Cooper’s hopes of winning the SB20 World title he lost so narrowly at Cowes, England, last August now rest on at least 10 of the 12 races being completed, allowing skippers to discard two races.

And, of course, Export Roo and her crew must sail as brilliantly as they did earlier in the series. Export Roo’s sensational fall from grace, hopefully short-lived for the local Hobart fleet, has seen the British yacht Xcellent moved to the top of the leader board with a net 41 points after placings yesterday of 10-1-3. One of skipper John Pollard’s crew is Matthew Johnston, Commodore of the co-host club, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. Ironically, Johnston previously sailed with Michael Cooper.

The SB20 World championship is still wide open with British, French and Australian boats all in contention with four races to sail over the next two days.


Words:  Peter Campbell
Photos: Jane Austin
More informnation at http://sb20worlds2018.com