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Royal St. George Yacht Club's Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and Ed Cook are looking for a podium finish at the SB20 World Championships in Cowes today.

The Dun Laoghaire trio are fourth overall and ten points off the lead and four points off the podium after a stunning penultimate day of racing.

O'Connor is in first position for the Corinthian Trophy and beating many of the professional sailors to boot! 

The forecast is for light winds again today but who knows what the wind gods will throw at the fleet today.

After four days of racing a new world champion will be crowned this evening at the Royal Yacht Squadron and Ireland is in with a shout.

Competitors got four races yesterday in what turned out to be a windier day than predicted. It was pretty shifty with the breeze varying between 6-25 knots in conjunction with strong tides, making this yet another tricky day of sailing.

With conditions making it hard to be consistent, O'Connor's Dublin Bay–based Sin Bin scored a 2, 3, 6 and 17 to move up from seventh to fourth overall. 

it was a tough day for tacticians with no rest from the changeable weather. With a full day of racing now behind us a lot of the top teams are carrying big scores ahead of the final day tomorrow.Now we’ve got one more day to go tomorrow with the potential for an additional three races.

A lot of boats will hope they used their discard up today as there is only one in this final series.

Competitors will compete in the final few races before the new World Champion is crowned tonight.

The results currently stand as follows:
1. Export Roo – Australia
2. Give Me Five! – France
3. Xcellent – Great Britain
4. Sin Bin – Ireland
5. – Great Britain
6. Marvel – Great Britain

For a full list of results click here

Team Ireland are making a great showing as follows:

4th SINBIN Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor, Ed Cook
22nd Bad/Kilcullen Stefan Hyde, Jerry Dowling, James Dowling
27th Lia Dave Barry, Cillian Dickson, Gareth Nolan
31st Venuesworld Ger Dempsey, Graeme Grant, Chris Nolan, Diane Kissane
36th Two Men and their Monkey Daragh Sherridan, Shane Murphy, John Phelan
61st Sea Biscuit Marty Cuppage, Niall O'Riordan, Barry Galvin

Published in SB20

After five races sailed at the SB20 World Championships in Cowes, Royal St. George's Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and Ed Cook is up to seventh overall – just 14 points off the leader – in the highly competitive 79–boat fleet.

Wind finally arrived for two races on the Solent yesterday with Dun Laoghaire's O'Connor as high as fourth overall after race four. 

Australian Expert Roo notched up another win in race five of the championships and takes a five-point lead into the final series.

Six Irish crews are competing in Cowes ahead of the SB20 Euros to be held at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire in August 2018.

Overall positions for team Ireland are as follows: 7th Sinbin Michael O'Connor, Davey Taylor, Edward Cook; 20th Bad/Kilcullen - Stefan Hyde, Gerry Dowling, James Dowling; 27th Lia; 30th Venuesworld; 38th Two Men & Their Monkey and 62nd Seabiscuit. Overall results are here

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Michael O'Connor's Sinbin of the Royal St. George Yacht Club scored a third in race two to rise up the leader board of the SB20 World Championships at Cowes, Isle of Wight yesterday. O'Connor, as the top Irish entry, now lies in ninth position overall after another day of light winds saw only one race completed.

Overall positions for team Ireland are as follows: 9th Sinbin Michael O'Connor, Davey Taylor, Edward Cook; 19th Bad/Kilcullen - Stefan Hyde, Gerry Dowling, James Dowling; 31st Venuesworld; 38th Lia; 49th Seabiscuit and 51st Two Men & Their Monkey. Overall results are here

Clearly, the challenging conditions were a stern test for the crews who returned to shore looking closely at the forecast. 

A good breeze is forecast for today but the light condition are expected to return towards the end of the week.

Meanwhile, Team Ireland has made a presentation in Cowes about its staging of the Royal Irish Yacht Club hosted SB20 European Championships that will be sailed in Dun Laoghaire in August 2018.

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The SB20 UK Nationals were hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble-le-Rice from 21st – 23rd July. The racecourse in the Solent used for the event is the same racecourse expected to be used for the upcoming SB20 World Championships to be sailed out of the Royal Yacht Squadron from 28th August to 1st September 2017, so plenty of teams were there to get a preview of the venue prior to the Worlds. There were visiting boats from across the UK and further afield including Australia, Belgium, Oman, Russia and Ireland. The sole Irish entry was Royal St George Yacht Club’s Sin Bin sailed by Michael O’Connor, Owen Laverty and Ed Cook. 

Throughout the weekend, conditions were quite “lively”, with winds often above 20 knots and sometimes gusting closer to the 30 knot mark. Race one on Friday was raced in perhaps some of the windiest conditions of the weekend, with the south easterly wind close to the UK class 25 knot cut-off limit for starting a race. The fleet did manage to get away after one general recall (which was to be a feature of the weekend) with former national champions Forelle Estates (Joe Lleywellyn, Nigel Wakefield and Jeremy Vigus) getting a jump on the fleet up the first beat. After a relatively poor start and a position in the early twenties, Sin Bin’s tactician Owen Laverty noticed that the fleet were overstanding in the tide on the starboard layline into the weather mark and a great call by Owen to tack below the layline resulted in a substantial gain for Sin Bin, getting them around the mark in the low teens and still in with a shout. The wind started to howl so once around the weather mark, the teams hoisted their kites, locked themselves in, said a little prayer and hurtled at speed down the run at 15+ knots, dodging broaching competitors and weaving in and around boats that had fallen off the plane.

There were big gains to be made by the boats that could keep the speed up and the boats under the mast through the gybes and at the first leeward mark, after a herculean effort by Ed Cook to expertly drop the kite in an unreasonably short space of time, Sin Bin had picked up several more places and rounded in seventh place, just behind the Russian team of Kirill Frolov. This Russian team finished fifth in the 2015 World Championships in Lake Garda so further advancement was likely to be challenging! A left handed shift and more favourable tide meant that the second beat was a drag race out to the right side of the course and thanks in no small part to Edwin Brennan’s expert boat preparation in the lead up to the event, Sin Bin were able to find another gear and sailed through the Russian team and another competitor to round the weather mark in fifth. The wind was still up and as an indicator of how “lively” it was getting, race leader Joe Lleywellyn broached out at the spreader mark allowing the Australian team of Porco Rosso (Elliot Noye et al) overtake them on the drag race to the finish. Scott Graham and the team on Chill Pill+ took third place. For their part, Sin Bin managed to overtake the fourth place boat in the final downwind leg into the finish snatching fourth place and a “counter” ahead of the Russian MST team of Vasily Grigoriev. The OOD decided to call an early halt to proceedings and the battered fleet returned to shore to fight another day.
Day two was less windy with a south-westerly breeze of 14-20 knots blowing down the Solent still making for some very exciting close finishes. Joe Lleywellyn kept his form from day one and scored a 3,1,2,2 scoreline that put him on 10 points for the event with a day to go. Former World champion Jerry Hill, from the host club Royal Southern YC started his march up the leader board and scored two firsts on day two, bringing him up to second overall on 19 points. Sin Bin had another decent day and scored an 11, 3, 5, 11 to lie in fourth place overall after day two, tied on 34 points with third placed Sweaty Betty. However, the discard only kicked in after six races so a number of competitors including the Australian team of Porco Rosso (counting a 39 point DNF) and former national champions Xcellent (John Pollard et al) (counting a 20 point ZFP) were likely to come straight back into the reckoning once the discard had been applied.

Day three started in a light westerly breeze that was due to build throughout the morning. A number of competitors were caught out getting out to the start line in the strong tides. Several boats including the event leader Forelle Estates, third placed Sweaty Betty and fourth placed Sin Bin were several minutes late for the start of the first race, despite having left the dock over an hour before the scheduled start time. Unfortunately for them, this race was the only race all weekend in memory not to have a recall! This threw the score board somewhat into disarray and the top ten boats were closely bunched with two races to sail. After counting a 10th in race 6 (the first race of the day), Joe Lleywellyn showed his class and bounced back with a second in race 7 in a freshening breeze to effectively snatch the title with a race to spare. Jerry Hill scored a 3,8,4 on the last day to keep hold of second place. The Australian team led by Elliot Noye scored a consistent 6,5,7 to climb back up the leader board and take third place on 33 points. John Pollard had a storming final day, scoring a 1,1,2 to climb up to fourth place overall on 37 points. Sin Bin bounced back after their late start and 21st in the first race of the day with two third places in the last two races to claim a 21,3,3 scoreline on the final day that would position them in fifth place overall on 40 points.

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A fleet of nine SB20s enjoyed the challenging conditions on Dublin bay on bank holiday Saturday. A typically shifty and unsettled westerly breeze confounded and frustrated many of the competitors but in the end it was Alert Packaging, sailed by Justin Burke along with guest Ruffian supremos Alan Claffey and Chris Helme that showed the rest of the fleet how to master the conditions and get the job done.

Race 1 started in 8-10knts of breeze with most of the fleet heading left up the first beat. A few boats peeled off right including Smoke on the Water (Bob, Paddy and Eugene), Sin Bin (Michael, Owen and Ed) and Sea Biscuit (Sam, Niall and Barry). As the boats progressed up the beat, the wind started to shift dramatically towards the left by 40 degrees, putting those boats out left closest to shore up the first beat comfortably in the lead. Around the top mark, Alert Packaging led from SBodkins (Rob et al) with SacreBleu (Colin, Chris et al) and Bango (James, Peter et al) in close pursuit. The large shift had turned the run quite one sided with opportunities to pass limited for the chasing pack. Around the leeward mark, the leaders continued out left once more as the new breeze began to build to 20 knots, hitting the leaders towards the top mark, allowing them a fast planing reach back down to the gate and the finish line. At the finish it was Alert Packaging by some margin over SBodkins with SacreBleu in third and Bango in fourth. Sea Biscuit managed to recover somewhat to sneak into fifth place.

The wind abated during the break and the fleet headed off from the start line of race 2 in about 10 knots of breeze. Again, most of the fleet drag raced out left with Alert Packaging showing great pace to lead around the first weather mark closely followed by Bango, SBodkins, Sin Bin and SacreBleu. With the breeze softer, boats were picking their way through the shifts downwind, covering and attempting to avoid being covered. At the leeward gate, Alert Packaging held on to their lead but there were place changes behind with Sin Bin sneaking into second just ahead of Bango and SBodkins. were also making a charge up the fleet after uncharacteristically finding themselves further down the fleet. Up the second beat, the leaders again headed out left in the expectation of the left hand shift going into shore. Boats behind took short hikes onto port tack before returning to clear their air but even this was sufficient to allow the leaders extend their lead significantly once the left hand shift arrived. At the second top mark, Alert Packaging had a ten boat length lead over Bango, who had skilfully snuck ahead of Sin Bin by a couple of boat lengths in the approach to the second weather mark. Sbodikins, Venuesworld and SacreBleu were hanging on in there, keeping touch with the leaders.

At the weather mark, the OOD signalled a shortened course to finish at the end of that lap so down the final run, the three lead boats enjoyed a gybing duel, trying to pick up the smallest of shifts and eek out an advantage over their nearest competitors. Cool heads on Alert Packaging allowed them to take a well-deserved race win by three boat lengths over Sin Bin, who had managed to overtake Bango by a boatlength. Fourth went to SBodikins with in fifth and SacreBleu in sixth.

After 6 races, Venuesworld and Bango are tied for the lead on 14 points and hold a four point lead over Alert Packaging in third on 18 points. Series 1 will conclude with the final two races next Saturday before the fleet heads off to Mayo for their westerns.

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The SB20 fleet had a nail-biter on Dublin Bay last night as seven boats battled each other and, more importantly, the weather gods. No fewer than four boats held, and then lost, the lead during the race.

After a general recall, the fleet got away at the second time of asking and beat their way up towards harbour mark in a 10-13 knot shifty westerly breeze (is there any other kind in Dublin Bay?). First around the mark were Sin Bin (Michael, Owen and Nevan) followed closely by Sacrebleu (Richard, Colin and Chris), Alert Packaging (Justin, Henrik and Gareth), (Ger, Rory and Chris), Defiant (Gerry et al), Sea Biscuit (Marty and Niall sailing two up) and Smoke on the Water (Bob et al). The kites were popped and the fleet raced on a tight starboard reach down to Omega before freeing off around Omega and gybing for Poldy. took an early gybe which paid massively, allowing them to overtake Sacrebleu and getting water on Sin Bin at Poldy mark.

Once around Poldy, the boats rounded up onto a beat and made their way back up to Omega mark. Venuesworld held onto their lead, extending slightly but the fleet weren’t giving up and were keeping in touch with the leaders. After rounding Omega for the second time, the course called for another run down to Poldy mark. Another early gybe paid dividends for Venuesworld and they extended on the fleet down the second run.

After Poldy, the fleet had a long beat into Bay mark where they got some great close up views of the visiting tall ships. By now though, the wind was beginning to slacken as per the forecast and the question was whether to go right out to sea and wait for the expected veer as per the forecast or to go left towards shore and get in out of the tide in the dying breeze. Venuesworld chose the wind while Sacrebleu, Sin Bin and Alert Packaging opted for the tide. The wind gradually died throughout the bay and what little was left generally hugged the shore, allowing Sacrebleu and Sin Bin to overtake Venuesworld by Bay mark and Alert Packaging to close within a few boat lengths of Venuesworld. Around the mark, Sacrebleu led by 10 boat lengths from Sin Bin who had a similar cushion over Venuesworld in third with Alert Packaging another few boat lengths behind in fourth.

The Race Committee stationed themselves at East mark intending to shorten the course at East mark so for all intents and purposes, it looked like a soldiers race to finish from here in the reach across the bay from Bay mark to East mark. That would have been way too easy... a calm patch off the end of the pier grabbed onto Sacrebleu and wouldn’t let go, allowing Sin Bin on a higher heading take the lead. However, they too soon slowed and Venuesworld and Alert Packaging taking an even higher line overtook both Sacrebleu and Sin Bin. The wind was down to the faintest of zephyrs with crews dropping jibs trying to get their gennakers to fill.

As the boats approached the finish, Sin Bin and Sacrebleu dropped their kites and the wind started to veer dramatically towards the northwest, then north, then north east, before finally settling in the east (in their part of the bay anyway!). However, they were being pushed down tide of the committee vessel and were doing everything in their power to keep the boats going. At the same time, a couple of hundred meters away, Venuesworld and Alert Packaging were approaching the finish line from up tide in a northerly wind. As the two pairs of lead boats converged, the Easterly took hold long enough for Sin Bin to cross Venuesworld with Alert Packaging tacking off before being crossed... as the lead boats approached the finish line, the wind swung around to the north once more enabling Alert Packaging to tack for the line and take the gun to a very popular and well-deserved win.

Sin Bin limped over in second quite some time later. Storming through the fleet was Sea Biscuit and the two lads kept her motoring in the really light stuff to take a creditable third place. Venuesworld and Sacrebleu crept slowly towards the line and in the end, Venuesworld stole fourth by a nose. The other competitors perhaps had more sense and retired up the last leg, ensuring that they got a tow home in the process.

After four races, the first discard has kicked in and Alert Packaging and Sin Bin are tied for first place on 5 points with a slender one point lead overall from Venuesworld in third. Sacrebleu is by no means out of the series on 11 points in fourth place.

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The DBSC SB20 fleet were treated to tropical conditions last night on Dublin Bay with blazing sunshine and a warm breeze greeting the competitors.

OOD Jack Roy and his team had their work cut out for them as the wind was shifting dramatically from a southerly / south-easterly direction. Ever the perfectionist, this necessitated a repositioning of the committee boat closer inshore a few minutes prior to the SB20 warning signal to give the fleet a good first beat. The additional effort was warmly praised by the fleet.

A committee boat biased line was set in Scotsman’s Bay with a beat up to Bullock mark the first challenge. The flooding tide was roaring in Scotsman’s Bay with many of the fleet being caught line shy. Sin Bin (Michael, Owen and Ed) and (Ger, Rory and Chris) were closest to the committee boat with Sacrebleu (Richard, Colin and Dave) and Defiant (Gerry et al) just being squeezed out and having to hang back and wait their turn at the committee boat. As the boats made their way up the beat, several, including Alert Packaging (Justin et al) and Sacrebleu, tacked inshore for clear air and in expectation of less tide in Scotsman’s Bay. Sin Bin and on the other hand continued on starboard into the freshening breeze offshore. Half way up the beat, it was tough to call which route was paying as those boats inshore appeared to be lifted but in less pressure relative the boats further offshore. Then, everything went haywire...

The wind started to shift through 30 degrees with every gust of wind (in a Force 4!). It was remarked by several competitors that it was not dissimilar to conditions on Lake Garda where the direction of the shifts are accompanied by a noticeable change in temperature. It was possible to determine in advance whether or not the gust was going to be a header or a lift by the sudden change in temperature. As the temperature rose before the gust hit, the wind would shift right and as the temperature dropped before the gust hit, the wind would shift left.

These shifty conditions favoured the two boats that had continued out left as they had more wiggle room to play the shifts up the latter half of the beat and at Bullock mark, Sin Bin led by 8 boat-lengths from who in turn had a similar lead over Alert Packaging in third. The boats set their spinnakers on a tight starboard reach across to Poldy mark. As the boats closed in on the mark, they all had to drop their kites as they were battling against the tide and the wind shifting forward leaving the boats on a fetch. As soon as they got around Poldy mark, the kites were popped once more and the fleet reached down to Pier mark. Towards the end of this leg, Venuesworld pounced and overtook Sin Bin. Venuesworld sailed a little higher down the reach to Pier mark and towards the end of the leg, a gust hit that allowed Venuesworld to get up and planing. The plane and a beautiful mark rounding turned a 10 boat-length deficit into a five boat-length lead in the space of a couple of hundred meters!

The boats rounded Pier mark and headed upwind once more on a beat back against the tide towards Island mark. The wind was still shifting wildly and Sin Bin picked their way through the shifts on the first half of the beat reeling in Venuesworld. They managed to overtake Venuesworld half way up the beat and approximately 200 metres from the mark, they led Venuesworld by 10 boat-lengths. Lesser mortals would have been disheartened by being overtaken but the crew of Venuesworld are made of tougher stuff and they managed to get some leverage on Sin Bin before one final massive left shift brought them back into the lead and they rounded the mark approximately 10 boat-lengths ahead of Sin Bin. There were also plenty of place changes throughout the fleet on the beat with Sacrebleu charging up the fleet into third place. Smoke on the Water (Bob et al) also got themselves in the mix and narrowly failed to catch Alert Packaging.

A further tight reach to East followed by a gybe and a reach to Pier followed... Sin Bin managed to close to within 2 boat-lengths of the leaders but the Committee Boat signalled a shortened course at Pier mark and Venuesworld calmly held their nerve and took the gun. Sacrebleu followed home in third from Alert Packaging in fourth.

After three races, Alert Packaging holds a slender one point lead overall from Venuesworld and Sin Bin in joint second with Sacrebleu three points further back, so all to play for still.

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Marine clothing brand Henri Lloyd has announced its support of this year’s SB20 World Championships, being hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes this August.

The partnership will see competitors benefiting from an exclusive Henri Lloyd Privilege Club that will be available to all competing members. The organising team behind the World Championships will also benefit from the partnership through the provision of the latest in Henri Lloyd technical apparel.

As the official Technical Clothing Partner, Henri Lloyd will provide the opportunity for competing crews to purchase exclusive SB20 World Championship branded apparel at the Henri Lloyd store in Cowes over the course of the event.

“We are thrilled to be supporting such an exciting fleet of race boats and look forward to watching some close and exciting racing.” Paul Strzelecki - Henri Lloyd Chairman.

This annual event will see up to 100 boats from over 15 nations descend on the stunning venue of Cowes for this highly competitive event.

“We are delighted to welcome Henri Lloyd as the official Technical Clothing Partner for the SB20 World Championships this year. As one of the pinnacle events in the SB20 calendar, we thank Henri Lloyd for their generous support of the Class” Joe Llewellyn, Chairman of the Organising Committee.

The SB20 World Championships will offer the Class five days of intensive racing with two to three races per day, providing an action packed week of competitive racing, prize giving will wrap up the weeks events with a party on Friday 1st September.

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After a fortnight of frustrating cancellations and false starts to the season, eight SB20s made it onto the start line for the first Saturday races of the 2017 DBSC SB20 sailing programme. The forecast was for a freshening southerly breeze gusting up to 25 knots by late afternoon – ideal SB20 planing conditions.

For race 1, the OOD called for two laps of the windward/leeward course and set up a boat end biased line. Sin Bin (Michael, Dave and Ed) and Sacre Bleu (Colin, Colin and Dave) started closest to the boat with Alert Packaging (Justin, Henrik and Eoin) slightly further down the line starting at speed and in a good lane. Several boats including Bad (Jerry, Jimmy et al) and Defiant (Gerry, Michael et al) peeled off onto port tack shortly after the start in search of clear air and better breeze. The fleet raced off towards the first mark battling against the chop in a very confused sea state. As the fleet progressed up the beat, the wind abated, became shifty and patchy in parts, leading to plenty of tacks and several close crosses as the boats tried to find the shortest route to the weather mark. At the weather mark it was Sin Bin from Alert Packaging with Bango (James, Peter et al) and (Ger, Rory and Diana) charging hard and closing the gap on the leaders ahead. Once around the weather mark, the kites were popped and the boats sped downwind towards the leeward gate, most favouring the right hand side of the run and a “one gybe and in” strategy.

By the second weather mark, Bango and Venuesworld had managed to overtake Alert Packaging to get into second and third respectively. The wind was gusting and shifting about quite a bit down the run with big gains to be made for those able to take advantage. Sacre Bleu broke from the fleet and went left down the second run, making large gains on the fleet. At the end of the run, the boats passed through the leeward gate before the short run to the finish. Sin Bin had held onto their lead and took the gun. Venuesworld showed great pace down the second run to overtake Bango and take second place by a couple of lengths. Alert Packaging’s misery was not over yet and an unfortunate wrap in their kite on the final gybe into the leeward gate allowed a charging Sacre Bleu to plane in underneath them and nick fourth place at the death. Alert Packaging crossed in fifth.

After a short break for the other fleets on the green course to finish, the OOD reset the line for race 2, this time opting for a pin-end bias and three rounds of the windward leeward course. Noting that the rest of the fleet were a little line shy when lining up for the start, Bango had a magnificent start and port tacked the fleet from the pin end. Most boats peeled off right shortly after the start with one or two staying on starboard moving into fresher breeze on the left hand side of the course. The left paid handsomely and at the weather mark, it was Sin Bin leading from Bango in second with Venuesworld, Sacre Bleu and Alert Packaging close astern.

By now, the breeze had freshened considerably and the fleet were hurtling downwind at speeds of up to 15 knots. After three rounds, Sin Bin had extended their lead to take the gun. Bango was again being pursued hard by Venuesworld for second place and coming in to the last gate, there was a nail biting finish as Bango had under-laid the starboard layline to the leeward gate and was soaking deep against the tide with a collapsed kite. Venuesworld, also on starboard, was marginally hotter and faster with a sometimes-filling kite. As Bango got to the leeward gate mark, Venuesworld were on their transom and looking likely to overtake. As Bango squeezed past the gate mark, they were able to head up 20 degrees, their kite popped and they took off once more crossing the finish line shortly thereafter in a well-deserved second place, a boatlenth ahead of Venuesworld in third. Sacre Bleu took their second fourth place of the day and Alert Packaging took their second fifth place of the day.

A notable mention goes out to DBSC fleet newbies SBodikins (Rob Cahill sailing with his two sons), coming in a close and very credible sixth place in race 2. Rob is returning the SB20 fleet in advance of the 2018 SB20 Europeans (to be held in Dun Laoghaire) after a few years of the boat being in storage. No doubt the Cahill family will be a force to be reckoned with over the coming season as they get back into SB20 mode.

Published in SB20
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In comparison to the prospect of an evening of office-based toil, a fresh north easterly breeze with lots of sunshine and a decent swell for SB20 based surfing had the makings of a far more enjoyable latter portion of a Thursday writes Dave Sweeney. That said, there was some niggling doubt in this author’s mind as to whether racing was going to go ahead, as the Dublin bay buoy had been posting gusts the other side of mid 20’s pretty much all day. After checking ahead with the skipper who was already down by the waterside, all looked good and the usual scramble to get out of town and down to the pontoon by 6PM was on.
We launched the good ship and made our way out into the bay where the NE breeze had whipped up a fairly lumpy sea state and the OOD had set course D2 which was duly noted (for the time being). There were two other vessels in the SB20 fleet this evening, Alert Packaging and Defiant and the small but competitive fleet were bunched at the committee boat end as the gun went with Alert just nudging ahead and forcing to tack off her lee bow shortly after the start and split off to the right.

This initial split proved favourable to and as the tide inshore was slightly less foul, and resulted in a narrow lead as the boats converged half way up the first beat with this lead maintained around the first windward, closely followed by Alert and Defiant. Kites went up and off we tore down the bay, spray flying everywhere – the breeze was somewhat slacker as we approached the next mark compressing the fleet somewhat.

There was some place changing on the second upwind leg with Defiant and venuesworld hooking into a right-hand shift which swapped 2nd and 3rd place and this order was maintained as we slogged to windward in the heavy air and lumpy sea, and after some slogging we rounded East, undertook a short two sail jaunt to Molly and popped the kites again headed back towards the shore. This time the wind had picked up a bit more again and the speedo on venuesworld topped out down a wave at 18 knots, great craic altogether.

The rear quarter of an SB20 screaming across the bay in these conditions proved to be a less than optimal place with which to dwell on the finer points of navigation and the intrepid crew of venuesworld chose to aim the bows at Battery instead of Bay (as per the course card, which actually blew away in a subsequent attempt to check it), only coming to the realisation of our error as we were on our side after broaching near the (wrong) mark while attempting to drop the kite. Defiant and Alert Packaging had chosen to follow Venuesworld and by the time all was under control in the leading boat, the chasing pair were also bearing down fast towards the wrong mark.

With the kite dropped and feeling somewhat humbled, the crew of Venuesworld made our way to and rounded the correct leeward mark with the chasing pair also enduring a period of head scratching until the error was realised and the whole fleet corrected their course and continued on with the finishing order being in the lead followed by & Defiant

With the wind whistling in the shrouds on the pontoon and an even lumpier sea state setting in as the tide was turning, the après sail pints were tasting good.

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Page 8 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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