Photos: Hamilton Island Photography

Two bullets for 'the pesky kids'

The Saxton brothers make an emphatic start to the UON SB20 World Championship in Hamilton Island

Friday December 14th 2012, Author: Lisa Radcliff, Location: Australia

It’s been a case of the apprentice showing the masters on the opening day of the UON SB20 World Championship at Hamilton Island with Great Britain’s 22 year-old Ben Saxton scoring two bullets.

With an average age of 23 among the four crew on Bango Powered by SLAM, the youngsters won the first race having led the fleet around the course in Turtle Bay, to the east of the award winning island, in a 12-14 knot easterly breeze.

It was no fluke, the young Brit picking up the second gun of the day after match racing the Italian team of Stenghele, led by Pietro Negri, around the track to a photo finish just four seconds clear when it counted.

When asked between races whether the first bullet was a surprise, the winner of the Endeavour Trophy, the UK’s Dinghy Champion of Champions event, grinned from ear to ear, “not at all” he said with typical Gen-Y confidence.

“We hoped both races would be easier, but we finished feeling like we’d worked really hard, which is a credit to the rest of the fleet. The line-up has some serious quality to it and that’s the reason we are here,” added Saxton. “We looked at the entry list and thought ‘we have to get involved in that!’”

On their prospects at the end of the six-day world title the skipper commented, “We’d like to be in the game going into the last day”.

Current SB20 world champion, Geoff Carveth, who has also won the Endeavour Cup, has in the past affectionately referred to Ben and his twin brother Tim as “the pesky kids". Ben Saxton was a credentialed British Sailing Team 470 development squad sailor who has transferred to the Nacra 17 mixed catamaran for the Rio Olympics.

Sailing four-up with his brother Tim, Maria Stanley, 24, and Johnny McGovern, 26, on the bow, Saxton joked dockside this afternoon, “We have a bit of wisdom at the front of the boat to tell us where to go”. McGovern also has Olympic designs, in the 470 class, while Tim’s happy to let his brother shoot for the stars. “I have a real job,” he jests.

Behind the young Brits, the minor placings shuffled at each top mark rounding in race one with 2010 SB20 world champion Jerry Hill’s Sportsboatworld and Australia’s own Glenn Bourke on Club Marine grabbing vital opening points from the 42 strong fleet.

In the slightly pressured up race two, the Italians found their mojo in the Med-like conditions, Steghele and Andrea Racchelli’s Altea placing second and third.

The best placed Australian in race two was Bourke, a multiple Laser World champion, who was buried on the right side of the course when the breeze unexpectedly came out of the left.

Denis Thompson and his heavyweight team of international umpires, including Oracle Team USA’s rules advisor Richard Slater, New Zealand’s Bevan Woolley and American Charlie Arms, reported a great opening day in light to moderate easterlies.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for sunny skies and SE-E winds at 8-14 knots.


Pos Boat Skipper Nat R1 R2 Tot
1 Bango Powered by SLAM Ben Saxton GBR 1 1 2
2 Stenghele Pietro Negri ITA 5 2 7
3 Team Russia Rodion Luka RUS 6 4 10
4 The Beard Robert Greenhalgh GBR 4 8 12
5 ALTEA Andrea Racchelli ITA 10 3 13
6 Club Marine Glenn Bourke AUS 3 10 13
7 Jerry Hill GBR 2 16 18
8 Hyeres2013 Rouxel Thomas FRA 13 6 19
9 Aquaholics Anna Basalkina RUS 12 7 19
10 UBER3 Adrian Peach GBR 9 11 20
11 WKD Geoff Carveth GBR 17 5 22
12 One Design Sailing Ian Brown AUS 8 15 23
13 Darling Associates Chris Darling SCO 15 9 24
14 Karabos Nick Rogers AUS 11 17 28
15 Sailboat Deliveries Sarah Allan GBR 7 25 32
16 Flirtatious Chris Dare AUS 18 18 36
17 Black Rat Troy Forrest AUS 16 21 37
18 WYSIWYG V Stephen Fries AUS 20 20 40
19 New Caledonia1 TUGDUAL Piriou FRANC 22 19 41
20 Zeus Ed Russo FRA 28 14 42
21 Still Out of control Mark Wolfenden AUS 14 30 44
22 Harry powered by Und Andrew Oddie GBR 21 23 44
23 And Then Peter Jones AUS 34 12 46
24 Cube II Martijn Buitenhuis NED 24 24 48
25 Borgo Scopeto Giulia Tobia ITA 38 13 51
26 Purple Patch Callum Burns AUS 19 32 51
27 Got a bit on Matt Wenke AUS 27 26 53
28 Marine Tech Gareth Owen UAE 32 22 54
29 Blue Tac Trevor Martin AUS 26 31 57
30 Jump! Dennis Winstanley AUS 25 33 58
31 New Caledonia2 Alan Quere FRANC 31 27 58
32 Wedgewood David Graney AUS 30 28 58
33 Dart Vader Mark Prince AUS 23 37 60
34 Typhoon Craig Nicholls AUS 33 29 62
35 Chota Hazri Chris Kameen AUS 29 35 64
36 Mountain Goat Racing Mike McLean AUS 35 34 69
37 UON Hamilton Island Tim Henderson AUS 36 36 72
38 NURI Andrea Zanforlin ITA 37 38 75
39 Sidewinder Declan Keogh AUS 41 39 80
40 Squalo Bianco Paris Stowell AUS 39 42 81
41 Oceanburo Discover S John Gardiner AUS 40 41 81
42 Geronimo Simon Hume GBR 44.0R 40 84

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