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An exciting 2017 Championship schedule includes old favourites Howth YC and Royal Ulster YC as well as a return trip to Mayo YC.

This year's World Championships will be held in Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes making it highly accessible from Ireland.

21st – 22nd April Eastern Championships Howth Yacht Club, Dublin
26th – 27th May Northern Championship Royal Ulster Yacht Club, Bangor
16th – 17th June Western Championship Mayo Yacht Club, Mayo
06th – 09th July Southern Championship Royal St. George Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire (as part of Volvo DL Regatta)
26th – 1st Aug World Championships Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, UK
15th – 17th Sept National Championships Howth Yacht Club, Dublin
21st – 22nd Oct Midland Championships Lough Derg Yacht Club, Tipperary

Published in SB20

Following its lively Southern championships at the weekend, the SB20 Ireland AGM takes this Friday October 7th 2016 at the Royal Irish Yacht Club. The meeting will be boosted by an influx of new blood into the class as it plots the 2017 season including highlights; Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in Dublin Bay next July and the SB20 Worlds on the doorstep in Cowes.

Both class president, Peter Lee and DBSC Class Captain James Gorman are stepping down after completing their respective terms. 

Ger Dempsey will take over from Gorman as SB20 Dun Laoghaire Class Captain. His first job will be to muster the 15–boat Dublin fleet for the season's last hurrah at the SB20 midland championships taking place on Saturday & Sunday 22nd & 23rd October at Lough Derg YC

Published in SB20
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Dave Barry, Dan O'Connell and Jimmy Dowling sailing Lia are the SB20 2016 Southern Champions following four wins from six races at the National Yacht Club at the weekend.

Second in the 14–entry event was Howth Yacht Club's Two Men and Their Monkey sailed by Darragh Sheridan, Shane Murphy and John Phelan.

Third was Justin Burke's Alert Packaging entry with crew Gareth Nolan and Henrik Olerud. Full results are downloadable below.

SB20 sportboat National Yacht ClubA start at the 14–boat SB20 Southern Championships at the National Yacht Club. Photo:

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The Flying Fifteen East Coast Championships, the Irish Fireball Leinster Championships and the SB20 Southern Championships will all be raced under the burgeee of the National Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire, Dublin in a fortnight on the 1st and 2nd October 2016. 

This is a change of plan for the SB20 class who have moved both the date and club for their Southern Championshipd fixture. The event was originally scheduled for the 24th & 25th September at Cobh SC in Cork Harbour.

It's not the last event of the 2016 calendar for the SB20s or Flying Fifteens either, both fleets are slated for a Midland Championship at Lough Derg YC on 22nd & 23rd October. 

Download the notice of race below. 

Published in National YC

The last day of the Cascais SB20 World Championships 2016 on Saturday, September 3 saw Hugo Rocha with his New Territories team crowned World Champions, defeating a 76-boat fleet with entries from 13 countries.

Despite some fine individual performances, the four boat Irish team struggled overall in the big fleet. Former class president Justin Burke says that 'to break through this fleet, we'll need to train as a group with a coach as the leader of the team, and start 12 months before the event. The Irish sailed very well in spots but the complete package is needed to break through'.

Three Irish boats finished together in 40, 41 and 42. Full results are here.

After a demanding 12–race series during which the renowned high winds venue of Cascais, Portugal delivered storming 20-knot runs, shifty beats, mirror calm mornings, and everything in between, conditions for the final day single race proved challenging once again.

With winds again very light early in the morning, it initially looked doubtful as to whether any racing would take place and the fleet was towed to the course area. However, the breeze gradually filled in, and after two General Recalls and a postponement the wind eventually settled enough for the race team to get start away just one minute before the cut-off time. A couple of boats fell victim to the Black Flag as racing began in a light 6-8 knots, which quickly ramped up to 15 knots.

The fleet was evenly split across the racecourse and arrived compacted at the windward mark, which saw many boats forced to duck out and circle around – unusually, those boats that gybe-set towards the left-hand side shot up through the fleet as the right side suffered, with some of the leaders seeing heavy losses of distance. The race committee reset the top mark, but as the boats rounded the windward mark for the second time Cascais had one final trick up its sleeve and the fog rolled in – visibility reducing dramatically as the boats worked towards the finish. The sunshine reappeared for a final flourish in 8-12 knots of wind, before fading completely and requiring a final tow home for the fleet.

The race win went to Rodion Luka on TREM Engineering (UKR3042), giving the Ukranian Olympic silver medalist another podium finish at an SB20 World Championships in third overall. Second went to Vladim Pushev’s Vis Sailing Team (RUS3707), their best result of the series by a considerable way, while third went to Volvo Ocean Race skipper Charles Caudrelier and his DongFeng Racing Team1.

However, Rocha’s team on New Territories (RUS3711) finished 10th, enough to secure the 2016 World Championship title with a healthy 17-point margin. Rocha, together with Alex Semenov, Fran Palacios and Goncaki Barreto, scored two race wins, but significantly counted all top 10 placings in a high scoring series which saw many competitive teams hampered by mid-fleet finishes or disqualifications. Rocha is an Olympic medalist who scored bronze for Portugal in the 470 at the Savannah Games, while the New Territories team were second at the 2014 World Championships in St Petersburg.

Second went to Gabriel Skoczek, Michel Emeric, Lucas Chatonnier and Marine Boudot with France Jeune SB20 (FRA653), who were also top Youth team, four points ahead of Luka’s TREM Engineering. The France Jeune team commented after racing: “We had a real battle and that battle was fierce. But Hugo Rocha was too strong. We’re happy to get on the second step of the podium all the same.”

Just outside the podium there was a monumental duel for fourth between two Australian visiting teams, Chris Dare’s Flirtatious (AUS3735) and Michael Cooper’s Export Roo (AUS 3731), with the Flirtatious coming out on top by three points.

The hotly contested Nations Cup was awarded to France, from Russia, with Portugal just pipping Britain for third on tie-break. Meanwhile the French crew of Mathilde Geron, Sophie de Turckheim, Julie Bossard and Alice Ponsar on Team Xavier Bourhis Generali were the first ladies’ crew in 12th place. The top Master’s prize went to the team of Jerry Hill, Alan Hill and Craig Watson who finished 13th, with prizes awarded by Clarins and Hyde Sails as well as event sponsors Vista Alegre, Sagres, Simoes and Gaspar, and LG. The event was hosted by Clube Naval de Cascais, and backed by the Portuguese city.

The 2017 SB20 World Championships will be hosted by the prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, UK. Racing will take place on the Solent from August 28-September 1, 2017, following a full schedule of racing for both local and visiting teams, including a Grand Slam event at the world famous Cowes Week regatta. The following year, the 2018 World Championships will head to the stunning venue of Tasmania, Australia.

Published in SB20
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As expected, it's been a breezy week at the SB20 World Championships in Cascais, Portugal leading to many running repairs on the race track. A French entry, Black Magic, skippered by Edward Russo, was one such example when the outer core of Black Magic's main halyard separated preventing the mainsail from being fully hoisted. Sending a man aloft to free it was the preferred solution but keeping him up there in the rolling Atlantic did not prove easy. It is not clear if the problem was resolved before the inevitable happened...

sb20 man mast

Published in SB20
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There were some great results from the four boat Irish SB20 team in Cascais, Portugal yesterday and another good day in prospect today could see an Irish team finish in the top third of the SB20 World Championships.

Royal Cork Yacht Club entry, The Bear (skippered by Stefan Hyde with Graeme Grant Tara Flood, Clara Hynes) took a ninth in race two (race eight of the series).

The National Yacht Club's Bango (James Gorman, Rory Fitzpatrick, Neil O'Toole and Laura Jackson) climbed six places up to 35th. Royal Irish Yacht Venuesworld (Ger Dempsey, Chris, Blair Stanaway and Maeve Judge) had a great first race yesterday (16th) but dropped back a few places to 40th, one ahead of The Bear in 41st. The masters team on Wahoo climbed up to 46th (Colin Galavan, Chris Arrowsmith and David).

Again, as the results today showed, there is plenty of scope for movement up the leaderboard and a really good day today could propel any of the teams up into the top 25/30. Full results here

Yesterday was a day of changes, which saw three more challenging races completed. First, the weather proved just how quickly conditions can vary at this Atlantic venue. There was sun but very little breeze as the 75-boat international fleet left the dock, which saw the competitors being towed to the race course by various RIBs, Jury and coach boats – no small undertaking with an entry of this size.

But by the time an outer course was set the breeze had filled in to 15 knots, which built to 20 over the course of Race 1. There were three general recalls before the first start of the day, and seventh of the series, could get underway, with at least 12 boats falling foul of the Black Flag and called OCS, which kept the Jury busy late into the evening.

Race 2 began in similar breeze, but the right-hand side paid handsomely. The challenge with such a busy startline was to get away cleanly and make ground to the right - Simon Hume on Skewered (GBR3716), whose previous results had all been in the second half of the fleet, impressed as they absolutely nailed the start, tacked right and stayed on the right side of the fleet all race to secure a top 10 finish.

By 1715 the breeze was dying off, leaving a patchy and difficult racecourse for Race 3. The race was shortened at the end of the second beat as the breeze was fading away. It then faded completely on the sail in, requiring the RIBs to be called into action once again to tow the fleet back in. It was a very tired fleet that hit the dock at gone 1900hrs, and the welcome courtesy beers and food laid on at the Clube Naval de Cascais were very appreciated.

The boat of the day was unquestionably Massimo Fullone’s Mercy Bocu (ITA3637), who took a win, an 11th, and another win on a particularly tough day for consistency. The second race was won by Rodion Luka on TREM Engineering (UKR3042).

Many competitive teams today scored one strong result – and one 77-point penalty, including José Paulo Ramada on Dom Pedro Hotels/Generali (POR3105), who took a second before being Black Flagged in the last, and the experienced Nika crew (RUS3709), who picked up both a 3rd and 77-pointer today.

Significantly, Hugo Rocha’s New Territories team also carries a DNC after not racing the final race of the day due to gear failure. This has seen a change at the top of the scoreboard, with Gabriel Skoczek’s France Jeune SB20 (FRA3653) now the overall leader on 39 points, just one point ahead of New Territories. Rodion Luka is third overall, with 49 points.

The 2016 World Championships are proving to be a very tough competition with a great many good boats and a very demanding racecourse – this title fight looks set to go to the wire. The Nations Cup battle between France, Portugal and Russia is equally intriguing, and six nations are represented in the top 10.

For those looking further ahead, the Royal Yacht Squadron from Cowes, UK, made a presentation tonight about the 2017 World Championships, which was very well received.

Three more races are planned for tomorrow, before competition concludes on Saturday, September 3.

Published in SB20
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Day two of the Cascais SB20 World Championships 2016 yesterday, Wednesday 31 August, brought three more testing races for the 75-boat fleet – or, according to some crews, two testing races and one giant crazy game of Risk. It was a tough day for the four Irish boats too: Bango (James Gorman, Rory Fitzpatrick, Neil O'Toole & Laura Jackson) dropped to 41st overall. The lead Irish boat is now Venuesworld (Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan, Maeve Judge and Blair Stanaway) who remain bang in the middle of the fleet in 38th, Wahoo drops to 48th (Colin Galavan, Chris Arrowsmith & David Cahill), leapfrogged by The Bear (Stefan Hyde, Graeme Grant, Tara Flood, Clara Hynes) in 43rd. The Bear had the best day of the Irish contingent with a 23, 38, 30 scoreline on the shifty inner course.

The championships are sponsored by the Portuguese city of Cascais, and were officially opened by Mayor Carlos Carreiras in the presence of the President and Vice President of the Municipality of Cascais.

Things had looked ominous after Day 1, with winds overnight blowing around 50 knots, but as crews left the dock for the second day of racing the breeze died completely, before shifting to the north. By the time the 75 SB20s had headed out to the racecourse, it had filled in to a fickle northerly wind of between 14-18 knots.

Rodio Luka on Trem Engineering (UKR3042) took the opening win, which he followed up with a 5th. But a 19th place in a highly unpredictable third race leaves the Ukranian Olympic medalist with two high scores and in fifth overall.

Luka commented after racing: “We had two good races the last race was.... Well, let’s just say really hard. Racing in the inside course is really random in these conditions.”

The third race turned into a game of a dice, with the wind bouncing off the shore and surrounding mountains onto the course at all angles and velocities. “We had 5-15 knots of windspeed, huge holes and massive shifts… not a race for the faint hearted!” reports Alan Hillman of SportsboatWorld (GBR 3750), adding: “I shall not be going to the casino this evening!”

Portuguese skipper José Caldeira with Uon (POR3620) won the second, and like Luka also scored a 5th today, plus a 15th, to climb up the rankings to 7th. Just behind him going into Day 3 is the top British crew, John Pollard’s Xcellent (GBR3724), who scored a 6, 20, 3.

Pollard said: “We were just really consistent all day… we managed to really read the last race and hang in at the times where it was looking bad at times, Smithy (our middle man) called it perfectly and we hung on to a third.”

The third race win went to Kevin Peponnet with Team SMC/France Jeune (FRA3580). The wind then increased to over 30 knots as the boats approached the marina, making for an entertaining end to a highly challenging day.

The overall leaders, and the only boat to have clung on to all top-10 finishes in the six races held so far, is Hugo Rocha with New Territories (RUS3711), crewed by Goncalo Barreto, Alex Semenov and Fran Palacios. They currently lead by 5 points to France Jeune (FRA3653), skippered by Gabriel Skoczek, also top Youth team.

France Jeune crew Emeric Michel said: "We had a better day on the water – it is not possible to sail perfectly because it is so shifty and hard to read, but we sailed better and have moved up to second. The team that wins this regatta will be the team that manages to minimize their mistakes."

Third is the Australian boat Export Roo with Michael Cooper. There is a big focus at this event on the Nations Cup, which will be awarded to the country with the 3 best results. Portugal currently occupies first place, from France, followed by Britain.


Published in SB20
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The Cascais SB20 World Championships got off to a strong start yesterday with three races held in testing but hugely enjoyable conditions with Portuguese sun and strong breezes. Ireland has four entries in the 76–boat event.

Bango (James Gorman, Rory Fitzpatrick, Neil O'Toole & Laura Jackson) from the National Yacht Club are top Irish in 18th place with Ger Dempsey steering Royal Irish YC entry Venuesworld with Chris Nolan, Maeve Judge and Blair Stanaway 38th next. Wahoo (Colin Galavan, Chris Arrowsmith & David Cahill) is 40th with Royal Cork's, new Irish SB20 national champion, Stefan Hyde with Graeme Grant and 420 duo Douglas Elmes and Colin O Sullivan from Howth Yacht Club in 62nd after counting a Did Not Compete in the opening race. Full results are here.

The first two races of the day were held offshore on an Atlantic course, in 15–25 knot north-westerly breezes with gusts in the high 20s, creating magnificent downwind conditions for the asymmetric sportsboat fleet. Competitors enjoyed a sleigh ride on the Atlantic rollers on the offwind legs, reaching speeds of up to 18 knots.

For the third race organisers from the host Clube Naval de Cascais moved the racing closer inshore, which added a tactical element to the day with reading the shifts proving key.

In a day that tested both boat handling, crew work, stamina and wind strategy, few teams managed to avoid a mid-fleet, high scoring finish. By far the boat of the day was Hugo Rocha, sailing New Territories (RUS 3711), who scored 2, 3, 1 over the days’ three races to clearly lead overnight. Rocha is a Portuguese Olympic medalist who was runner-up at the 2014 SB20 World Championships and is looking to go one better this time.

Vasco Serpa and team on Animal/Clever Mobility (POR 3114) had a strong start to their regatta with a 1-2 finish, coming back from their first result of an 11th. Chris Dare’s Australian team on Flirtatious also picked up two podium finishes and a 14th to finish third at the end of the day. The first race win went to Ukranian Olympian Rodion Luka (Luka, UKR2042), but a 25th in the third race could prove a problem with just one discard over the series.

Gabriel Skoczek and France Jeune SB20 (FRA3653) and his Youth team are currently in 4th place, while first Master helm is Jerry Hill in 14th on (GBR3750). Top lady helm is Mathilde Geron with Team Xavier Bourhis Generali (FRA3423) in 19th place.

With six different nations represented in the top 10 competition looks set to be fierce for the Nations Cup, the trophy that will be awarded to the country with the three best results. Currently Russia is in the lead, followed by Portugal with 92 points and then France with 134 points.

The Cascais SB20 World Championships feature live tracking, allowing spectators to watch the action online here

Racing continues until Saturday, 3rd September, with 14 races scheduled in total for the 75 competing teams. The 2016 World Championships are hosted by the Clube Naval de Cascais, and sponsored by the city of Cascais, together with supporting sponsors including porcelain makers Vista Alegre and sailmakers Hydes

Published in SB20
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Ireland has four entries in the Cascais 2016 SB20 World Championships that start next week, from Tuesday 30 August, at the renowned venue of Cascais in Portugal. The Atlantic city of Cascais is synonymous with strong winds, large rolling waves, sunshine and great hospitality, making it an ideal venue for the one-design sportsboat world championship. Ger Dempsey will steer Royal Irish YC entry Venuesworld with Chris Nolan, Maeve Judge and Blair Stanaway on board. From Royal Cork, new Irish SB20 national champion Stefan Hyde will be sailing with Graeme Grant and 420 duo Douglas Elmes and Colin O Sullivan from Howth Yacht Club. Bango (James Gorman, Rory Fitzpatrick, Neil O'Toole & Laura Jackson) and Wahoo (Colin Galavan, Chris Arrowsmith & David Cahill) complete the line–up.

The entry list is packed with round the world sailors, Olympic medalists, and top keelboat sailors, who will be contesting this hard-fought championship from Tuesday, 30 August to Saturday, 3 September, with 14 races scheduled.

A superb fleet of 75 teams have entered from 13 nations, including the reigning champion crew from France who are back with new helmsman, young French 49er helm Gabriel Skoczek. The new team showed form by winning the Portuguese Nationals in June against many of the top contenders.

Rodion Luka from Ukraine, an Olympic Silver medalist in the 49er in 2004, has competed in the last six SB20 World Championships, finishing on the podium three times, but is yet to win the title. He’ll be sure to be going all-out to take victory this time around.

Hugo Rocha is another Olympic medalist, having scored bronze for Portugal in the 470. He leads the Russian New Territories team who came second at the 2014 World Championships in St Petersburg. This combination are not regulars in the fleet, but with their mix of experience and local knowledge could make for a very strong team.

Another Russian entry of note is Vladimir Proshikin’s Team Nika, a well-known name in many keelboat classes including the RC44, Melges 20 and of course SB20. Meanwhile there will also be strong Portuguese competition from another Olympian, Laser sailor Vasco Serpa, and the reigning 420 World Champions, brothers Diogo and Pedro Costa.

Winning the furthest travelled title, Michael Cooper leads a team from Tasmania in Australia, representing the fastest growing international fleet in the SB20 class. Tasmania now has a local fleet of over 50 boats, including 10 new this year, ahead of their own World Championships in January 2018.

Other impressive entries includes Team Dong Feng, the Chinese-French Volvo Ocean Race team, who have entered two boats, one led by Volvo skipper Charles Caudrelier with Thomas Rouxel, who is a familiar face on the SB20 circuit. There are also two teams from the well-known Oman Sail squad, which will feature some of the emerging Omani talent.

As the class becomes more international, the founding British teams no longer have this event all their own way, and while the crews of John Pollard, Ben Vines, and 2010 World Champions Jerry Hill and Joe Llewellyn may well feature at times, we can expect this to be a very tough event to win.

There will be additional competition for the Nations Cup. Last year the Russians won a very closely fought inaugural contest for the trophy, which they claimed by just a point from the Australian and British teams, and will be looking to retain the title. Class manufacturer Sportsboatworld has supplied a new trophy for the 2016 Nations Cup, which will be keenly contested by last year’s protagonists, as well as strong French and Portuguese teams. Other nations represented include Switzerland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Representatives from the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, who are hosting the 2017 World Championships, will also be attending the Portuguese Worlds to meet officials and swap notes to fine tune next year’s event in the UK.

The 2016 World Championships are hosted by the Clube Naval de Cascais, and sponsored by the city of Cascais, together with supporting sponsors including porcelain makers Vista Alegre and sailmakers Hydes, who will be contributing to the coveted prizes. A spectacular glass trophy will be awarded to the 2016 World Champions.

Full information, including daily results, will be available here

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Page 10 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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