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Ger Dempsey of the host club is the top Irish boat of 22 home entries in an international fleet of 47 after two races sailed at the SB20 European Championships at the Royal Irish Yacht Club yesterday.

Russia's Victoria Sailing Team of Vadim Pushev, Ivan Gromov and Aleksey Kolobanov lead overall from Australia's Porco Rosso, Elliott Noye, Paul McCartney and Edward Snowball. Third overall is RUS3708 Melston Team Kirill Frolov, Egor Ignatenko and Egor from Terpigorev Yacht Club from Saint-Petersburg.

Dempsey sailing with Chris Nolan, Rory Groves and Tim Norwood is seventh overall and three places ahead of Howth Yacht Club entry Binn Eadir sailed by Cillian Dickson, Sam O'Byrne Gordon Stirling and Diana Kissane in tenth place.

SB20 RIYC 1542Overall leaders Russia's Victoria Sailing Team of Vadim Pushev, Ivan Gromov and Aleksey Kolobanov Photo:

Three races were scheduled but just two sailed under International Race Officer Jack Roy in some very variable southwesterly winds on Dublin Bay.

SB20 RIYC 1526This race two start (above) was abandoned but the one (below) got away under the 'U flag' Photo:

SB20 RIYC 1562

SB20 RIYC 1599Race Officer Jack Roy (left) with RIYC's Peter Fleming (centre) and John 'Hammer' Veale Photo:

Full results are here

Racing continues today.

SB20 RIYC 1624SB20s raft up at the RIYC Photo:

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Many of the international teams have now arrived in Dublin for the SB20 European Championships at the Royal Irish Yacht Club from Tuesday 28th August to Saturday 1st September. Racegeek's Ric Morris, one of the event sponsors, runs through the likely contenders for next weeks SB20 Europeans

VIS Sailing Team of Saint-Petersburg announced their intentions with a win at last week’s East Coast Domestic Regionals, dominating the final day of racing with 3 wins out of 4.

Equipment for the Australian Porco Rosso team arrived at the venue last night and the team arrives this Friday. Their second-place finish at the recent Portuguese Nationals marks them out among the favourites. The Portuguese team Animal of Clube Naval de Cascais that won that event is also here in Dublin.

Michael O'Connor’s Sixth Place is Irish High

Multi-world champions Give Me 5 are absent, but a strong French contingent of 5 teams is led by Alain Roig. Ukrainian team #GAMECHANGER is also expected to mount a challenge.
The SB20 class has had a strong presence in Ireland since its inception and any of four local teams can be expected to be in the mix. Despite patchy form since Michael O'Connor’s 6th place at the 2017 World Championships remains the stand out performance by an Irish team at the top level.

Jerry Downing and Stefan Hyde of host club have won the national championship several times. No big event in Ireland would be the same without Marty O'Leary and after a couple of seasons dominating the RS200 racing nationally he switches over to helm Boomsticks for this event. A Howth Yacht Club team with Cillian Dixon and Sam Byrne as regulars joined the class this winter and will be strong contenders.

After 3 months of sunny and stable weather, Autumnal equinox conditions arrived in Dublin last week. The first day of the east coast championship served up winds pushing past 35 kts. It's a testament to the resilience of the SB20, and the suitability of the venue for sportsboat racing, that racing continued in conditions that may otherwise have been of concern. Dublin bay can be a tricky venue with a strong tidal influence and the long-range forecast indicates there is the potential for similar full-on racing next week.

Racegeek is one of a number of sponsors for the event. The company has been associated with the class previously as a sponsor of the 2017 Worlds in Cowes, England and 2018 Worlds in Hobart Australia. 

More on Racegeek here

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Michael O'Connor's Sin Bin crew were winners of the SB20 Southern Championships that kicked off Cork Week in Crosshaven yesterday and dominated by Dun Laoghaire entries. After six races sailed in a seven-boat fleet, the Royal St. George YC entry was three points clear of Royal Irish rivals Colin Galavan, Chris Arrowsmith and Owen Laverty in Carpe Diem. Third was RIYC's Stefan Hyde, Jerry Dowling, Jimmy Dowlin in Bad Kilcullen.

SB20 Southern Championships overall

1st IRL3544 Sin Bin Michael O'Connor RStGYC
2nd 3761  Colin Galavan, C Arrowsmith, O Lavery RIYC
3rd IRL3741 Bad Kilcullen  RIYC
4th IRL3040 Provident CRN John Malone, Killian Collins, Mary Collins
5th 3065 Bango Ewen Barry & Stanley Brown MBSC SB20
6th 544 Alan Ruigrok, David Kelly, Paddy Kelly Rush Sailing Club
7th IRL3433 Chris Chapman, Richard Franks, Fionna Al RStGYC 

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In a series led from start to finish, Strangford Lough Olympian Peter Kennedy, sailing with Stephen Kane and Hammy Baker, was the winner of the SB20 National Championships at the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay.

The former Flying Dutchman crew from both the Seoul and Barcelona Olympics, finished seven points clear of a Howth Yacht Club crew led by Cillian Dickson with Sam O'Byrne, Gordon Stirling and Diana Kissane. The result confounded pre-race predictions that favoured Dun Laoghaire crews to take the title.

The top Dun Laoghaire boat was Royal Irish Yacht Club skipper Jerry Dowling sailing with Stefan Hyde and Jimmy Dowling in third overall.

Download overall results below.

The National Yacht Club hosted event attracted 16 entries for the three–day sportsboat contest. Today's final two championship races, under race officer Colin McMullen, were set in the northern part of Dublin Bay and again sailed in light but steady northeasterly breezes.

SB20 Peter Kennedy 3187Team Ridgeway's scoresheet included three race wins Photo:

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Olympic sailor Peter Kennedy from Strangford Lough continues his overall lead at the SB20 National Championships on Dublin Bay after six races sailed. 

Download overall results below.

The National Yacht Club hosted event has attracted 16 entries for the three–day sportsboat contest. Today's three championship races, under race officer Colin McMullen, were set in the south of Dublin Bay with light and steady northeasterly breezes.

Kennedy, with crew Stephen Kane and Hammy Baker, were an uncharacteristic tenth in race four when all other results scored by the Ridgfence sponsored crew have been in the top three overall.

SB20 start 3168A start at the 16–boat SB20 National Championships Photo:

A Howth Yacht Club crew led by Cillian Dickson are second overall. Sailing with Dickson is Sam O'Byrne, Gordon Stirling and Diana Kissane.

Royal Irish Yacht Club skipper Jerry Dowling sailing with Stefan Hyde and Jimmy Dowling is third. Fourth are Kennedy's County Down clubmates Darren Martin sailing with Simon Murray and Roger Pannell. 

Racing continues tomorrow for the final three rounds of the championships.

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Olympic sailor Peter Kennedy from Strangford Lough leads the SB20 National Championships on Dublin Bay after three races sailed. 

The National Yacht Club hosted event has attracted 16 entries for three–day sportsboat contest. 

Kennedy, who sailed in the Flying Dutchman class for Ireland in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics has taken a commanding lead with crewmates Stephen Kane and Hammy Baker. Kennedy took two wins and a third place in the light, easterly breezes on the Bay.

Second overall is Royal Irish Yacht Club skipper Jerry Dowling sailing with Stefan Hyde and Jimmy Dowling. Third is Kennedy's County Down clubmate Darren Martin sailing with Simon Murray and Roger Pannell. 

Racing continues tomorrow on a busy Dublin Bay race track that also features the RIYC Regatta.

Download results below

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Current form shows Royal St. George and Royal Irish Yacht Club crews are the ones to watch when the SB20 National Championships sets sail on the home waters race track of Dublin Bay at the end of this month.

In a busy period for the National Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire, the 2018 Club of the Year will stage the annual championships on the weekend following its own 160–boat Regatta this Saturday. 

RSt.GYC's Michael O'Connor steering SIn Bin won the most recent SB20 encounter at the Northern Championships on Strangford Lough in May. Before that RIYC's Bad Kilcullen, skippered by Stefan Hyde got the season off to a flying start in April's Greystones inaugural.

The three-man Sportsboat event will be held over three days (29th 30th June & 1st July) on the Bay.

It's the first time in a long the SB20 Irish Championships is being held in the middle of the Summer rather than at a traditional end of season date.

As regular readers will know, the SB20 European Championships are also being held on the Bay this year and will be hosted by the Royal Irish Yacht Club in September.

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The SB20 fleet converged on Strangford Lough Yacht Club last weekend for their second regional event of the year, the Northern Championships. The forecast was for sunshine and 15 to 25 knots of breeze all weekend so plenty of thrills and spills were expected and the venue certainly didn’t disappoint.

Download results below

Race 1 on Saturday saw a general recall at the first time of asking with the fleet a little enthusiastic to get started. The OOD went straight to black flag as promised and immediately put manners on the fleet. A more line-shy bunch started cleanly at the second time of asking. The fleet split evenly right and left up the first beat and by the weather mark Ridgeway (Peter Kennedy, David Cheyne and Stevie Kane), Bad Kilcullen (Stefan Hyde, Jerry Dowling and Jimmy Dowling) and Sin Bin (Michael O’Connor, Davey Taylor and Ed Cook) came out just ahead of the chasing pack. The kites went up and the boats blasted down the run on a white-knuckle ride at speeds of up to 17 knots. At the second weather mark, Sin Bin led from Ridgeway and Bad Kilcullen with the Howth Yacht Club crew of Binn Eadair Racing (Cillian Dickson, Sam O’Byrne, Gordon Stirling and Diana Kissane) chasing hard. Another wild run ensued with Ridgeway and Binn Eadair Racing taking full advantage of a gust down the right side of the run to move up to first and second places respectively. A feature of the racing this year is that it is incredibly close with mere boatlengths separating the finishers in most races. At the finish, it was Ridgeway by half a length from Binn Eadair Racing with Sin Bin a further half boatlength behind in third.

Race 2 again saw Bad Kilcullen, Ridgeway and Sin Bin lead the fleet around the course and in the end Sin Bin took the gun from Bad Kilcullen in second and Ridgeway in third. By Race 3, the bodies were beginning to hurt a bit and fatigue was rapidly setting in – this was turning into a battle of wills as the wind continued to blow hard. Race 3 was won by Sin Bin with Binn Eadair Racing second, the pair separated by no more than a boatlength at the last weather mark and enjoying a rollercoaster ride including a gybing duel down the last run to the finish. Race 3 saw a welcome return to the podium by KnowHowDo (formerly Dinghy Supplies crewed by Daragh Sheridan, Shane Murphy and John Phelan), eeking out a third place to add to their consistent 4, 5 finishes in races 1 and 2. Race 3 also saw a welcome return to form by Outlaw (Gavin Pollard, Trevor Darcy et al) who led around the first weather mark in their first SB20 event in nearly two years, showing the newbies how to do it! By the end of Day 1, Sin Bin (5pts) led from Binn Eadair Racing (11pts) with KnowHowDo (12pts) in third place just ahead of Ridgeway and Bad Kilcullen (13pts). 

The fleet retired to the welcoming surrounds of Strangford Lough Yacht Club where the crews enjoyed some apres sail pints before a wonderful dinner in the club. The SB20 fleet were joined by some local members from other classes who came to see what all the fuss was about. The fun continued long into the night until the sailors eventually went to bed to nurse their weary bodies in anticipation of more wind on Sunday.

Day 2 dawned with a slight easing of the breeze, down to 8 to 12 knots, gusting up to 18 knots at times. The first race of the day saw Binn Eadair Racing take a convincing win from Bad Kilcullen in second and Ridgeway in third. The overnight leaders Sin Bin could only manage a 9th and with the discard kicking in after four races, the leaderboard tightened up with Binn Eadair Racing and Sin Bin now tied for the lead on 5 points each with Ridgeway in third on 7 points with Bad Kilcullen only a further point back on 8 points, so it was all to play for.

In Race 5, Binn Eadair Racing came hot out of the blocks and led the fleet around the first weather mark with Ridgeway, Sin Bin and Bad Kilcullen all outside the top five and with a lot of work to do. By now, the runs were getting a bit patchier and shiftier with boats alternating between planing and soaking modes so there were big gains and losses to be made and opportunities to catch up. By the leeward mark, Binn Eadair had held onto their lead with KnowHowDo in second and Sin Bin creeping up into third place. Up the second beat, a favourable right-hand shift allowed Sin Bin to overtake KnowHowDo and they trailed Binn Eadair Racing by less than 10 boat lengths at the weather mark. After the second placed boat rounded the spreader mark on the last run, the two leaders both quickly gybed onto port and Sin Bin in second were able to take advantage of getting a gust earlier and overtook Binn Eadair down the run to lead into the finish, with Binn Eadair racing second and KnowHowDo third. Bad Kilcullen recovered to finish fifth but this would not allow them to overtake Binn Eadair overall. Ridgeway were for once unable to recover and could only manage a ninth. A notable result in this race was Carpe Diem (Richard Hayes, Colin Galavan and Hazel Rea) who sailed their shiny new tub into a very creditable fourth place finish (to add to consistent 5th, 6th and 7th place finishes in other races).

So with five races down, it was effectively down to Binn Eadair Racing and Sin Bin in a final race shoot off for the title. Both boats started poorly and quickly bailed out right up the first beat. Up ahead, local favourites Sharkbait (Darren Martin, Simon Murray and Roger Pannell) led around the weather mark closely pursued by Bad Kilcullen and Ridgeway. A big left shift up the first beat resulted in the two series leaders being well down the pack in 7th and 8th going around the first weather mark with Sin Bin just ahead of Binn Eadair Racing. Again, the wind became a little patchy down the run with large gains and losses to be made. Venuesworld (Ger Dempsey, Rory Groves and Chris Nolan) manoeuvred their way into first place ahead of Sharkbait and Bad Kilcullen while behind them Sin Bin had pulled up into fifth place with Binn Eadair Racing in sixth. There was a split at the leeward gate between Sin Bin and Binn Eadair with Binn Eadair getting more pressure at the start of the final beat out towards the right-hand side of the course, overtaking Sin Bin in the process. Up the final beat, the boats out left including Venuesworld and Ridgeway suffered in lighter breeze while Sharkbait, Bad Kilcullen, Binn Eadair and Sin Bin out right made solid gains. In the last 50 metres to the weather mark, a slight wind shift allowed Sin Bin to pull just ahead of Binn Eadair Racing once more, a lead which they kept to the end of the race. At the finish, Bad Kilcullen held on to their lead and won with Sin Bin pipping Sharkbait for second place on the finish line. Overall, Sin Bin (8 pts) won from Binn Eadair (11 pts) with Bad Kilcullen (14 pts) completing the podium in third.

A special word of mention must go to the organisers, Roger Pannell, Simon Murray, Darren Martin and Peter Kennedy and the members of Strangford Lough Yacht Club who did a magnificent job organising the event, making it memorable occasion for all the competitors. We are sure that Strangford Lough will be a regular spot on the SB20 calendar in the future! 

Next up for the fleet is the Irish National Championships in the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire from 29th June to 1st July. The national fleet is expected to be bolstered by competitors from the Ukraine, Russia and the UK as preparations for the SB20 European Championships held in the Royal Irish Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire from 28th August to 1st September 2018 hot up.

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The SB20 fleet got the 2018 season off to a flying start with the first regional event of the year hosted by a very hospitable Greystones Sailing Club. The fleet were challenged by a mix of conditions over the two days with winds ranging from 5 to 8 knots on Saturday and 8 to 12 knots on Sunday in a confused sea state. Strong tides of up to three knots made life difficult for PRO Richard Kissane and his team, but they did an admirable job getting all six scheduled races completed over the weekend.

Racing was tight as usual with most boats counting at least one high number after the first three races on Saturday.

Results are downloadable below.

There were three different race winners on Day 1 with Bad Kilcullen (Stefan Hyde, John Malone and Jimmy Dowling) taking the first gun, Sharkbait (Darren Martin, Simon Murray and Roger Pannell) taking the second gun of the day and (Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan and Rory Groves) taking the final gun of the day. At the end of Day 1, Team Ridgeway (Peter Kennedy, Stevie Kane and Hammy Baker) were clear leaders on 7 points after an impressive 3,2,2 scoreline followed by Bad Kilcullen in second on 9 points and Richard IV (Michael O’Connor, Davy Taylor and Ed Cook) in third on 14 points. After racing, the fleet adjourned to the bar for pints and a barbeque in sweltering sunshine on the balcony of Greystones Sailing Club with superb sea views along the coast.

Day 2 dawned with plenty of sunshine once again but the 12-16 knot breeze that was forecast failed to materialise. Bad Kilcullen were fastest out of the blocks taking their second win of the championship in Race 4 but Team Ridgeway and were close behind in second and third places respectively. The discard kicked in after four races and that left Team Ridgeway on 6 points with Bad Kilcullen and on 7 points each in what was now effectively a three horse race. Race 5 saw a new race winner with local boat Broomsticks (Marty O’Leary, Brian Fenlon, Patrick Kirwan and Rachel Williamson) taking the race win in impressive style. They were followed over the line by Bad Kilcullen in second with Team Ridgeway (only!) managing a fourth and Venuesworld in fifth.

"So, on to the last race, Race 6, and all three boats were still in with a shout of victory"

So, on to the last race, Race 6, and all three boats were still in with a shout of victory. There were several permutations and combinations for victory but for, only a race win would do with both Team Ridgeway and Bad Kilcullen failing to score third place or higher. For Bad Kilcullen, a top three finish ahead of Team Ridgeway would seal the win for them irrespective of other results and for Team Ridgeway, a top three place ahead of Bad Kilcullen would do it for them irrespective of other results. 

Peter KennedySecond overall - Stevie Kane, Peter Kennedy and Hammy Baker

Team Ridgeway gambled that Bad Kilcullen were their biggest threat for the championship and shadowed Bad Kilcullen before the start, keeping them above the starboard layline to the committee boat. Bad Kilcullen had a 9th place finish in race three of day 1 compared to Team Ridgeways discard of a 4th place from Race 5 so if Team Ridgeway were able to keep them outside the top four places (and of course if Venuesworld didn’t win the race!), the regatta would be Team Ridgeways. Team Ridgeway started ahead of Bad Kilcullen in the third row off the line at the committee boat and both boats quickly tacked out right towards the favoured right hand side of the course. As the boats approached the starboard layline, Bad Kilcullen to leeward tacked first with Team Ridgeway putting a tight cover in their face. Bad Kilcullen believed that Team Ridgeway tacked in their water and protest flags were waved and there was plenty of shouting in this private duel. At the finish, Broomsticks took their second win but the real drama was unfolding behind them… Bad Kilcullen crossed the line in 7th place behind Team Ridgeway in 5th so it appeared that Team Ridgeway had done enough and that the title was going up North. After a brief discussion on land, it was decided that Team Ridgeway would retire from the race to avoid the inconvenience of a protest hearing. This would raise Bad Kilcullen up to 6th place but still not enough to claim victory. However, unbeknownst to both parties, two boats that had finished ahead of Bad Kilcullen were to receive a U-flag penalty for starting early. This raised Bad Kilcullen up to 4th place and a tie on points with Team Ridgeway. As a result, Bad Kilcullen took the title on countback due to their two race wins and despite the drama, were deserving winners.

Ger DempseyThird – Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan and Rory Grovez

Next up are the Northern Championships in Strangford Lough Yacht Club on 26th and 27th May 2018 where the fleet will continue their preparations towards the Europeans in Dublin Bay later this year.

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In the first Thursday night race of the season in Dublin Bay, the SB20 class, vice captain, Pat O'Brien (& Dave Dwyer & Peter Lee) took the first gun of the season. "The first of many" was the aspiring thought of this crew who have, more than most, 'experience' on their side.

It was a benign start with a gentle breeze that took the fleet around the course set by PRO of Olympic fame, Jack Roy. It will be a challenging season ahead with an explosion of numbers in the SB20 fleet this year. Winning guns will be keenly contested.

There is no doubt, that the SB20 European Championships in Dun Laoghaire in August is a draw for lots of sailors and it has attracted some of the top teams in the country.

The boat appears to tick allot of boxes for many with a crew of only 3 - 4 people required and with a the relatively low capital and running cost when compared with other keel boats. The class continues its Lazarus-like resurgence, especially in Dublin Bay.

The first regional championships is eagerly anticipated this weekend at the new Greystones Sailing Club where there will also be representation from other provinces.

Results are here.

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Page 5 of 24

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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