Boat owners are reminded that in order to calculate their race results an up to date handicap appropriate for the class they are racing in is required.
Designed by David Thomas, well-known for cruiser / racer designs such as Sonata, Impala, Sigma 33 and 38, as well as the Hunter 707.
The original concept was to design a 35 footer to compete for acceptance at the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s 1978 Offshore One-design Conference, which was to select three one-designs to promote in substitution for the then-prevalent IOR system.
The three chosen were the Impala, the 101 (designed by Jan Kjaerulff) and Jeremy Rodgers’ OOD 34. Sensing that the 33 foot 101 was too Scandinavian for British tastes, David Thomas decided to scale down to 33 feet. His intention was to design a moderate displacement yacht that would look racy and be competitive under IOR, but be tractable and easy to sail to near optimum speed.
The RS Elite was commissioned and born by a group of sailors from Hayling Island Sailing Club - (on the South coast of England, just to the East of Portsmouth). Twelve boats were ordered from Hayling Island Sailing Club syndicates and a Class Association was formed to represent the interests of initial and future owners, both at HISC and elsewhere.
The fleet is promoted as the 'Modern, classic keelboat for the discerning sailor'. It is non hiking, and although fast, it is not a sportsboat. When drawing up the specification for the boat it was labelled as a 'classic for the 21st Century'. This has undoubtedly been achieved.
The design brief was for a boat which was suitable to sail inside Chichester harbour, with its shoal waters and yet to be equally at home in Hayling Bay (often very choppy), and similar waters throughout the UK and beyond.
Since its beginnings in 2004 the enthusiasm for the boat has spread within the UK and beyond. There are now fleets at the Royal Burnham Yacht Club, Falmouth, Northern Ireland (Belfast Lough), Lymington and there are groups of boats in Guernsey, Holland, Norway, Sweden and the Caribbean. In total over 65 boats have been built.
The SB20 (previously Laser SB3) is a one design class manufactured by Sportsboat World, it was designed by Tony Castro and launched in 2002.
The yacht is an open keelboat and is designed for racing with a crew of up to 4 whose maximum weight must not exceed 270 kg. With a high aspect ratio keel with a very high ballast ratio the yacht is very stable, but also quite fast due to the substantial sail area.
The SB20 is unique in that it does not allow hiking, using a small stainless steel bar to prevent hiking by the crew, this allows competitive crews of all shapes, sizes and ages.
The majority of boats are located in the United Kingdom,Ireland, Portugal, Singapore and Italy and the Class has attracted considerable support.
In 2005 the SB20 became the second largest One Design fleet at the Cowes Week Regatta with 66 entries. In 2006 it became the largest fleet with 89 entries pushing the XOD into second place, an accolade it held for two further years.
There are over 600 boats worldwide, sailed in over 20 countries. Growth in fleets internationally enabled the class to successfully apply to ISAF or the right to host a world championship, the first of which was hosted in Dublin during 2008.