Crown Series - SB3 sports boats set to fly on Hobart's River Derwent

Crown Series Bellerive Regatta 2011
Jane Austin
The largest fleet of International SB3 sports boats outside of the class national championship will contest the Crown Series 2011 Bellerive Regatta over the last weekend in February.

The local fleet of eight boats, now the largest one-design class racing in Hobart, will be joined by five or six SB3s and their crews from Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales for the Crown Series.

The Crown Series Bellerive Regatta 2011 will also be a significant preview to holding the Australian championship on the River Derwent in April 2012.

Local enthusiasm is already high, with Royal Yacht of Tasmania conducting regular Friday evening races for the SB3 class and Derwent Sailing Squadron running a six-race sprint series on the river today.

Pioneer of the class in Hobart, champion Dragon sailor Nick Rogers, was missing from the fleet today but fellow Dragon skipper David Graney showed his versatility by winning all but one of six races with his SB3 Wedgwood.

Two weeks ago, Graney was skippering his Dragon in the world championships in Melbourne and on Australia Day he helmed the trimaran Rocket Alice in the Green Island, finishing a close second over the line to Gretel II.

Today he won the SB3 sprint series with Wedgewood on 8 points, well clear of Mind Games (Peter Reid) which won the last race and Hypotronics (Stephen Catchpool) who finished second in that heat.

Crown Series Bellerive Regatta 2011
Jane Austin

Five of the six SB3s from mainland states have already been shipped to Hobart following the spectacular Docklands and Victoria Week racing last week.

They will be skippered in the Crown Series Bellerive Regatta by Victorians Stephen Fries, Jan Talacko and Dean Joel, Queenslanders Rod Jones and Mike McLean and Mark Prince from New South Wales. Another Victorian boat may also join the fleet.

The SB3, an exciting small keelboat with an overall length of 6.15m and carrying more than 73m² of sail, including a massive 45m² gennaker for downwind sailing, is normally sailed by a crew of three.

Designed by UK based Tony Castro, best known in Tasmania as the designer of the champion yacht Intrigue, the SB3 class has attracted some of the world’s best sailors at its world championships and major regattas.

World champion in 49ers and Moths, Nathan Outteridge, currently one of the superstars of Australian sailing, last week sailed a SB3 to victory in the Audi King of the Docklands series in Melbourne for the third time, and then sailed an unbeaten series at the Victoria Week at Geelong.

Runner-up in the King of Docklands regatta was three-time European champion in the class, Olympian and three-time world dinghy champion Glenn Bourke.

Outteridge and 1976 Olympic bronze medallist Ian Brown are now planning a campaign to win the world championship at Torbay, England, in May this year.

'Fortunately for the rest of us, Outteridge is not coming to Hobart for the Crown Series,' Queensland SB3 skipper Rod Jones said yesterday. 'But the competition will be strong as we visitors test out the Derwent ahead of the nationals next year.'

Crown Series 2011 Bellerive Regatta website