James Boyd Photography / www.thedailysail.com

Laser SB3 Worlds preview

Glenn Bourke, Nathan Outteridge, Tom Slingsby, Rodion Luka plus three British champions - who to choose?

Friday May 13th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

One of the most significant regattas to be held in the UK this year is currently firing up in Torquay with the World Championship for the Laser SB3s, the 10th anniversary of the class’ launch. Yesterday and today the pre-Worlds are taking place with the Worlds proper running from Monday until Friday next week on Torbay.

Among the 119 boats taking part in the Worlds, with boats from 13 different nations, the majority obviously from the UK, but also from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Two of the hottest prospects are from Australia in the form of three time Laser World Champion and ex-Volvo Ocean Race CEO Glenn Bourke, now holder of the cushiest job on the planet, running Bob Oatley’s Hamilton Island resort in the Whitsunday Islands. Then there is the Aussie equivalent of ‘Ben and Percy’ – double 49er World Champion and present Moth World Champion Nathan Outteridge and triple Laser World Champion Tom Slingsby, who are both sailing with Ian Brown, Slingsby set to arrive in the early hours of Monday morning straight from the RC44 Austria Cup.

Glenn Bourke claims not to have done much sailing over the last three years since moving back down under. However when he was living in the UK he won both the UK Nationals and Cowes Week twice and was generally considered the form sailor. Since then what little sailing he has done has been in the SB3, including recently the Aussie Nationals and the Audi-backed King of the Docks event down in Melbourne. However he remains enamoured with Laser’s keelboat: “I just think they are the perfect stepping stone between a dinghy and a yacht and I’m not ready to sail yachts,” he told thedailysail. “I loved dinghies when I sailed them and these things are just like a blown up dinghy.

“It is a great boat. It is good in light air, heavy air, upwind and downwind. It is just the perfect design. It doesn’t have any weird idiosyncrasies. If you sail it well, you can get it around the track really easily. I just think they are a special boat and I am committed to them. I have loved them ever since I stepped into them.”

On this occasion Bourke isn’t too happy with the amount of time he’s put in prior to the Worlds having jetted in to sail with Australia’s SB3 distributor, Rod Jones. However he is threatening to put the hours in for the next Worlds, that are to be held on his home turf of Hamilton Island in December 2012. “That will be a great change for the Europeans. The weather conditions in the middle of winter – they’ll be able to sail in a T-shirts for a week.”

The game has also moved on in his absence. “It is getting trickier and trickier - everyone is getting better at it. When I stepped out of it there were some tricks about rig tension and sheeting angles and how you like to sail it and maybe two or three boats were doing it, now 20-30 boats are doing it! The spreader angles are all different on the boats, so the rig set-up is really important, getting the luff matching the mainsail and it is all a compromise. And then there are obviously things with the keel – you’ve got to have that finished nicely.”

But the biggest change since his tenure is that the weight discrepancies between the boats - in particular between the first 60 or so boats built in the UK by the Whites and subsequent SB3es constructed by DK - has been evened out to 685kg with weight correctors. Bourke acknowledges that today speeds of the SB3s are much closer than they once were.

Nathan Outteridge says he was to have competed with Ian Brown at the SB3 Worlds on Lake Garda last year with Ian Brown, but this didn’t work out. However this time the Worlds shoehorned in nicely before Holland Regatta, which he and Slingsby will be heading to directly at the end of next week.

With Ian Brown they competed at Geelong Race Week and the Docklands regatta where Irish SB3 skipper Dave Cheyne came out to sail with them (they in turn are sailing Cheyne’s boat in Torquay). In Melbourne they won the Docklands regatta with first prize being the use of an Audi A1 for a year, which Outteridge’s parents are now motoring around in.

So how does he find the SB3? “They are quite good. They have the keelboat aspect to them upwind, when it is a slow tactical race, and then downwind in variable conditions you can choose whether to get them up and go planning or you keep soaking and when it is windy you are sending it downwind the whole time. So it is quite exciting for a sportsboat and I think for the price they are quite good to race.”

The Aussie supreme team of Outteridge and Slingsby sailed together previously at the Docklands Regatta in 2008 when the Laser guru was on mainsheet. “We spent about an hour and a half in the boat and that as it and since then he’s never sailed an SB3,” says Outteridge of that occasion. “He’ll be on a steep learning curve and he won’t arrive until about midnight on Sunday. He’ll do tactics and keep the front of the boat sorted and I’ll just try and make sure it is going fast upwind the whole time, because it’s so shifty here that you can’t do both. I’ll be looking forward to some of his help for sure. And Tom’s has some experience sailing Etchells with [John] Bertrand...”

A wildcard at the Worlds will be International 14 and 18ft skiff World Champion, Rob Greenhalgh, sailing Red, the SB3 owned by local businessman and Melges 32 campaigner, Joe Wood. Greenhalgh, who has returned to his Popeye physique in preparation for his third Volvo Ocean Race this time with Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing campaign, is helming with Shane Hughes and Hamble legend Jerry Eplett up front.

“I won the Nationals a long time ago, crewing and came third a long time ago,” said Greenhalgh, “but this was my first time helming one, because I’ve always ended up sailing with someone else. And it was Jerry’s first time on an SB3 today. We are just taking it easy. With the Volvo boat not launching until mid-June, we have time to fit this event it. There are a lot of boats and it is interesting.”

Other British campaigns looking good in the form guide are those of the past three World Champions – Geoff Carveth, who won in Ireland in 2008, Craig Burlton in Portugal in 2009 and Jerry Hill, the defending champion, from last year’s Worlds on Lake Garda.

Jerry Hill (left) rates Joe Llewellyn (sailing with Nigel Wakefield and Jerry Vigus), who races with him on Lake Garda last year and is now campaigning the boat that was once upon a time Glenn Bourke's. John Pollard was third at the Worlds last year and has the benefit of having the ‘English Riviera’ as his home waters – Torbay is a notoriously tricky venue, read Jim Saltonstall’s venue guide here.

Of the international entries, Hill also rates the ex-Team Russia Volvo Ocean Race campaign owner Oleg Zherebtsov, who has Athens 49er silver medallist, Ukrainian Rodion Luka, helming for him. Having finished eighth at the Worlds last year, they have done a lot of training in Torquay.

Also, consistently up there having finished second at the last three World Championships, is Race Ahead, the campaign of Roger Hudson, which gets under privileged young South African sailors out on the water (read more here). In Torquay they have Jim Asenaithi helming with the more familiar figures of Marlon Jones and Wamdisile Xayimpi up front.

Costing around £24,000 new, although secondhand boats start at around £7,000, the Laser SB3 continues to gain popularity across the world, with 600 now built, boats in 18-20 countries and particularly active fleets in the UK, Ireland, Italy and Portugal, with fleets picking up in Germany, Holland and Belgium and new fleets getting a foothold in Le Havre, France and Singapore. We will be watching this World Championship with interest.


Sail No Boat Name Helm Tactician Crew Crew2
AUS3063       Nathan Outteridge       Ian Brown Dave Cheyne
AUS3108 Club Marine Glenn Bourke       Rod Jones Greg McAllansmith
AUS3224 Jester 3 Dave Bull John Crawford Zorana Bull      
AUS3607 Wysiwyg VI Stephen Fries Jessica Fries Ali Blundell Bryce Penfold
BEL3472 Los Zaperteros Alex Schoenmakers Cedric de Bleye Jan Decorte      
FRA3078 Tad Minus                        
FRA3423 Morpheus Edward Russo                  
GBR3014 Sponge Bob Steve McLean       Matt Waite Tristan Hutt
GBR3021 Here Comes Bod Charlie Whelan Richard McAdam Richard Hall      
GBR3027 Zyke Darling Associates Chris Darling Alastair Shaw Sian McCleave      
GBR3029 3-SOME                        
GBR3032 Rumbleflurg David Cummins             Guy Jackson
GBR3038 TeamB4Ego,com2 Will Brooks Grant Doe Olly Poole      
GBR3041 Robina Dan Goodman Patch Fillery Martin Vinson Jo Lloyd
GBR3042 Gill Racing Team Craig Burton                  
GBR3047       Rob Gullan Pieter Heyn Sarah Hickman Ben Ainsworth
GBR3048 Control-Alt-Delete Ann Ashworth Finn Houlihan Hugo Fitzjohn      
GBR3053 Race Team Gill                        
GBR3055 Bish Bash Bosh                        
GBR3056 Woohoo Tom Davidson Andrew Aldwinckle Richard Hill      
GBR3058 Xcellent Rob Smith Charlie Hook            
GBR3060 Finitor 7 Stewart Reed       John Mandsley Mathew Gray
GBR3065 Rola-Trac Peter Saxton       Mark Longstaff Dave Lucas
GBR3069 Not just a number Paul Hine Thomas Campbell Declan O'Riordan      
GBR3074 Tonic Douglas Paton Rory McWhirr Roddy Anderson      
GBR3077 Skallywag Rob Day       Nina Day      
GBR3079 Excuse Me Gents Ann Jackson Niki Birrell Ally Martin Sam Brearey
GBR3081 Prostate Cancer Charity Ross Lang Dan Challis Mathew Thomas      
GBR3082 Henri Lloyd/Forelle Estates Joe Llewellyn Nigel Wakefield Jerry Vigus      
GBR3084 Eau No! Mark Stokes Craig Watson James Eastbury      
GBR3088 Healthy1.co.uk Ray Davies Dick Stephens Ray Newman      
GBR3094 Xceptable Ian Lievesley       James Lievesley      
GBR3096 Red Kite Roger Harford Tim Bigg Declan Clamp      
GBR3104 Retail Therapy Charles Sheppard       Andrew Roberts      
GBR3106       Richard Clay Matt Reid            
GBR3123 Mini Mayhem                        
GBR3126 Geronimo Simon Hume Billy Ayres Ian Sullivan      
GBR3134 Marilyn Dom Ford Tom Mallindine Jeremy Fowke      
GBR3149 Poor Buoy Mark Gillett Graham Camm Ade Layton Fran Gifford
GBR3183 Respect John Danby       Nick Jones Andrew Baird
GBR3198 Time on the water.co.uk Hugh Styles                  
GBR3212 Echo3                        
GBR3215 Sail Navy Les Hardy Darren Roach Dan Ellis      
GBR3267 Heart of Gold Tom Hayhoe       Ben Rogers Graham Iles
GBR3276 Trouble & Strife Ian Armstrong       Mark Sherwood Martin Wadsworth
GBR3292 Chill Pill Tich Summers Scott Graham Nick Elder      
GBR3305 Rigging Gurus Mark Richards Davey Ellis Mini Allison Claire Booth
GBR3309 Narwhal David Bates James Whale William Bates      
GBR3319 Devils Advocate Tony Jaffa                  
GBR3335 Royal Signals Stu Southan Julian Bunce Jane Turner      
GBR3336 Uber 3 Adrian Peach NiallMyant Ali Sutherland Morgan Peach
GBR3362 Polarbear Tim Newton Paul Whitbread Olly Love      
GBR3366 Hooligan                        
GBR3368 Kapow Nick Barnett       Gus Murdock Lance Mysyrowicz
GBR3379 Joyride Nick Andrews       Michael Jones Mike Wells
GBR3462 Underground Toys Andrew Oddie Gareth Edwards Mike Hicks      
GBR3464 Eric Scott Allen Alex Ried            
GBR3465 3 Sad Old Blokes Jerry Hill       Grant Rollerson Matt Alverado
GBR3468 Fully Badgered Paul Lovejoy Jeremy Entwistle Leslie Greenhalgh      
GBR3473 Sceptre Nathan Bailey       Richard Jennings Tony Rayer
GBR3475 My Other Boat's a Squib Jez Entwistle       Mark Greaves Tom Hewitson
GBR3489 Red Robert Greenhalgh Shane Hughes Kirsty Skinner Jerry Eplett
GBR3510 Hutton's Richard Wharram Ben Williamson Nick Wright      
GBR3515 The Young Pretender Callum Calder       Callum Reid Sam Dryden
GBR3516 TeamB4Ego.com Geoff Gritton       Nev Herb Carl Outhwaite
GBR3517 Doolalli Colin Simonds Raymond Simonds Gavin Simonds      
GBR3519 May contain nuts John Greenaway Richard Taylor            
GBR3531 Carnage Nick Over Rob Partridge Peter Kent      
GBR3540 Water Music viii Jonny Foot                  
GBR3546 Orthteam Richard Catchpole Adam Hoad-Reddick Alan Woosey      
GBR3566 Herbie Phil Tilley Steve Venables Richard Brown      
GBR3575 Sailboat Deliveries Sarah Allan Lizzie Vickers George Kingsnorth Ellie Draper
GER3360       Hendrik Witzmann Maz Koch DominikMeibner      
GER3561 Razzmatazz Sebstian Dohrendorf Jon Griffiths Frieda van Belle Alexander Tinoco
GER3600 Isobella 111 Reinhard Schroeder Sven Gauter Benedict Spiegal      
GRE3251 Slippery When Wet Ruairi Bradley Vicky Bradley Debbie Muir      
IRL3033 Bluebird Cathy MacAleavey       Con Murphy      
IRL3226 Quantitative Easing Paul McMahon       D Corr I McSweeney
IRL3297 Sunday Brunch Richard Tate       Pat O'Brien Eoin o Fearghail
IRL3298 Toucan 3 Ross Vaughan       Andrew Vaughan      
IRL3307 Bad/Kilcullen                        
IRL3312 BomchickaWahwah John O'Driscoll Owen Laverty Joe O'Reilly      
IRL3315 Sirius Black                        
IRL3324       Mel Collins       Kieran Dorgan Killian Collins
IRL3338 Milvus Milvus Robert Howe Jason Losty Joanne Sheehy      
IRL3484 Seriously Bonkers x 3 Martin Cuppage Peter Lee Michael Galvin      
ITA 3596 Briefing Lucca Bacci Duccio Cowmbi Cristian Ferro      
ITA3073 Stenghele Roberto Caresani                  
ITA3187 Sbadatella                        
ITA3437 Lupi D'irlanda Marco Sorgassi                  
ITA3506 Stanga di Barroccio                        
ITA3543 Bravi Thytronic Giovanni Meloni Jacopo Pasini Vincenzo Graciotti      
ITA3598 Alghero Giorico Hotels Alessandro Balzani Umberto Ferrarese Guiseppe Sotgiu Alessandro Nughes
ITA3606 Lunatico XS Aurelio Bini                  
NED3441 Rivium Paul Gast Wouter v/d Ende Arno Boot      
NED3470 Cube Martijn Buitenhuis Chris Muilwijk Edward Van Der Poll      
NED3511       Marco van Driel Martyn Worseling Joost Assman      
NZL3287 Sailing West - Sharkbait Brian Moran Rick Morris            
POR3103 Vida Madrasta Piedade Colaco Diana Caldeira Luisa Figueiredo Caterina Bociro
POR3203 Roff Antonio Mello       Manuel Arriaga Joao Mello
RSA3469 Race Ahead Roger Hudson Marlon Jones Wamdisile Xayimpi      
RUS3554 Team Russia Rodion Luka Eugeni Didyk Oleg Zherebtsov Maria Rudskaia
RUS373       Vladislav Ivanovski Natalia Sukhareva Mikhail Erokhovets Frank Dobbels
TBA Savage Sailing Team Chris Savage Richard Hughes Adam Wheeler      
UKR3443 Transbunker Polovy Valeriy       Stasyuk Volodymyr Bosomolkin Volodymyr
UKR3522       Valentin Klymentyev Valentin Veytsman Ben Sternberg      



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