Sargent cements SB2O World Class in Australian championship

The Ares Racing Team, skippered by Tasmania’s Will Sargent, won the SB20 Australian sailing championship in Hobart on Monday, with a perfect score of nine points after a one race discard.

Sargent, the reigning SB20 youth world champion, who also took out the SB20 Australian youth division, was full of praise for his team’s performance. “This win feels really special and it’s cool to do it again with a new team. This year we brought on Paige Caldecoat, an Australian laser sailor who came back early to Australia from her sailing program in Europe specifically to race in the regatta. She fitted in perfectly with Ed Reid and Eirini Marios, our regular crew,” said Sargent.


It was the first time in the SB20 one design fleet for Caldecoat. “My whole sailing career I’ve been racing in single-handed boats, so the biggest learning point for me stepping onto an SB has been communication, which is important when we have a lot of boats around us and when we are going fast, as it’s so easy to go fast to the wrong side of the course,” said Caldecoat.

And just how did the Ares Racing Team pull off such a monumental victory?

“I couldn’t tell you how we did it – we always had the boat in the right position – it wasn’t as easy as it looked as all but two of our races were really close, and for a lot of them, we had someone right on our tail. Our plan was to get a good start and work out what to do from there, but it helped being the first boat making the correct decisions. The boys also think the boat is definitely very fast downwind, which may have helped,” said Caldecoat.


Ed Reid, a member of the Ares Racing Team that brought home the SB20 youth world title said that today’s win was the sweetest. “This one feels a lot better as it’s a bit more of a domination,” said Reid.

And while the rest of the fleet was left bobbing in Sargent’s wake, Sargent puts down his team’s performance to patience and preparation, while also acknowledging that the new 21st anniversary edition of the boat is fast.

“We brought the new boat back from Ireland after the worlds, and this week, spent hours and hours setting it up and testing our processes out on the course. I think our boat speed showed that the pre-regatta work and training really paid off. We are also really lucky to have this new boat – so far only two have been manufactured in the world and we have one of them,” said Sargent.

Former national champion Michael Cooper (Export Roo) was overawed by the prowess of the Ares team. “The young guys smashed us and sailed exceptionally well, they deserved to win, but equally, all boats had a chance at being up the front,” said Cooper.  Phil Reid, skipper of Mind Games and the previous winner agreed that this regatta saw the closest SB20 racing that we’ve had for some time.

World-champion sailor, Nick Rogers, was effusive in his praise for the young crew. “The highlight for me this year was watching how well Will Sargent and his team sailed– I take my hat off to them,” said Rogers.

The regatta was sailed over three days in Hobart on the River Derwent, with sailors coming from interstate and from Olympic classes to compete in the one-design sailing contest. David Chapman from Sydney, tactician on Export Roo, was happy with their performance. “We finished where we thought we would – we haven’t sailed much recently which shows. Ares sailed well – they had the benefit of a new and quicker boat, they have been sailing a lot, and they picked the shifts and the course right most of the time. They also had the advantage of being able to cover a small fleet when they were in front, which was most of the time,” said Chapman.



Race Officer, Scott Price, was thankful that the weather gods provided favourable conditions, despite some flukiness in the last race, and praised Will Sargent and his Ares Racing Team.  “They sailed a brilliant regatta – they were very professional and are a very well-oiled crew,” said Price.

While the fleet of 13 boats was smaller than expected, the competitors were high calibre and represented some of the best sailors in the class in the world. SB20 World and Australian Class President, Scott Glanville, was encouraged by the number of young sailors sailing the SB20 and the inclusivity of the class. “The number of young sailors, male and females, has been phenomenal, and they have been taking the racing right up to the older and more experienced SB20 sailors,” said Glanville.

Nick Jones, skipper of Warwick Dean and a member of The Hutchins School Sailing Academy, was exhausted after the three-day event but was thrilled with his team’s performance in the event. “Our team is very fresh, and it was my first time skippering the SB in a championship like this, but we were pretty happy with our sailing overall,” said Jones.

Indy Cooper, an Australian laser sailor and the daughter of Aeolus skipper Brett Cooper, was a member of the only team to take a race off Ares. “We just sailed well as a team, kept our eyes out of the boat and picked the shifts well, and we always have a lot of fun,” said Cooper.

Brett Cooper (Aeolus), Sam Tiedemann and Will Tiller finished in second place on 21 points while Michael Cooper (Export Roo), David Chapman and Lewis Noye placed third on 36 points. Nick Rogers (Karabos) took out the Masters’ Division, sailing with Samuel King and Simon Burrows.



Words and images: Jane Austin /