Sailing: S’pore to host SB20 World C’ships after four-year delay

Sailors in action in the SB20 Asian Grand Slam and Asia Pacific Championships at One15 Marina Sentosa Cove Singapore on Jan 27. PHOTO: DONOVAN HO

SINGAPORE – After a four-year delay, sailing’s SB20 World Championships will finally take place in Singapore in January 2025.

The competition was initially slated to be held in the Republic for the first time in 2021, but was eventually moved to Clube Naval de Cascais, Portugal, owing to the pandemic.

It is the latest sailing event to come to Singapore’s shores after the Sail Grand Prix held at East Coast Park a fortnight ago. A first in South-east Asia, the US$1 million (S$1.34 million) hydrofoiling series features some of the world’s best sailors and will return here for the next two seasons as part of a three-year deal.

The 2025 SB20 World Championships will feature 80 teams – 40 local and 40 foreign – and are hosted and organised by One15 Marina Sentosa Cove Singapore, the Singapore Sailing Federation and the SB20 Association of Singapore.

Magnus Ekbom, SB20 Association of Singapore president, said: “This is a big milestone to host an international event like the SB20 World Championships, not just for the Singapore sailing scene, but it’s also a big step forward for sailing in South-east Asia.”

Conceptualised in 1999 as a one-design class of sailboat, the SB20 is an open keelboat designed for racing with a crew of three or four, whose maximum weight must not exceed 270kg.

As it is the largest one-design keelboat here, the SB20 is the boat of choice for Singapore sailors progressing from dinghy to keelboat racing.

Sailing enthusiasts will not need to wait two years to catch the SB20 World Championships as the SB20 Asian Grand Slam and Asia Pacific Championships are being held at One15 Marina until Sunday.

Twenty-four teams from around the region, as well as one from France, will be in Singapore and among the sailors this weekend is Singapore sailor Jovina Choo, a two-gold SEA Games champion who also competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The 32-year-old said: “This is the first-ever sailing World Championships that Singapore will host, which is a big step for Singapore as a sailing nation.

“It is a great way to provide opportunities and exposure to local sailors for high-level competitive racing.”

Fellow sailor Bertha Han, who competed in the 2013 Optimist World Championships and won gold medals in the team and girls’ categories, will also be competing this weekend.

The 24-year-old, who also raced in the 420 and 29er International Sailing Federation World Championships, said the events will “inspire more young Singaporean sailors to try out keelboat racing and in the future potentially represent Singapore at SB20 Worlds themselves”.

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