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With November just ended, today’s assessment at the beginning of December for the latest “Sailors of the Month” listings would normally include at least one of our young sailors who starred to such good effect in the European Sailing Championship in the south of France from 14th to 20th November, most notably Rocco Wright (16) of Howth who scored Gold – and with it the top U21 – in the ILCA6 Class.

But as it is, Rocco has already been up in lights with his Gold in the Youth Worlds in The Netherlands in July, scored in an extraordinary demonstration of improving performance with a cool mindset overcoming of any end-of-series nerves. Thus this further Gold - quarried from a demanding series on a Cote d’Azur which at times wasn’t at all Riviera-like – has only added to the lustre of his already-registered achievement.

Rocco Wright – November saw him adding extra lustre to his Gold of JulyRocco Wright – November saw him adding extra lustre to his Gold of July

This may sound frustrating for the adjudicators, as sailing achievements in November can be rare enough. But in fact, the assessment team are delighted, as it leaves them with a clean slate to honour some specialist sailing people whose recognition might normally be crammed into late December’s final roundup.

CROWDED POST-PANDEMIC PROGRAMME

For in the very crowded catch-up post-pandemic season which was crammed almost entirely into June, July, August, and early September, somehow our race-administering brotherhood and sisterhood found enough volunteers from among their ranks to stage no less than four World Championships: the GP 14s at Skerries, the 505s with the Royal Cork YC at Crosshaven, the Fireballs on Lough Derg, and the SB20s at the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire.

LOSS OF JACK ROY

The demand which such high-profile “in the searchlight” events place on the relatively small group of appropriately-qualified individuals drawn from the within the Irish sailing community’s many volunteers for duty afloat and ashore was exacerbated by the untimely death of one of their key top-level race officers, Jack Roy of Dun Laoghaire, in December 2021.

With his supportive wife Rosemary, Jack provided the very experienced and competent core for race management teams to the highest event levels. His sad demise was not only a real loss in that he was a much-loved truly life-enhancing individual, but it was also a blow to the established Irish ability to comfortably cater for world class events. And it was also felt at every level of our sport, for Jack and Rosemary were the vey embodiment of the spirit of sailing in Ireland. 

 Much missed. The late Jack Roy with his wife Rosemary in their Hallberg Rassy 48 Tangaroa at the Fastnet Rock. Rosemary has since taken on the voluntary task of Honorary Secretary to Dublin Bay Sailing Club. Much missed. The late Jack Roy with his wife Rosemary in their Hallberg Rassy 48 Tangaroa at the Fastnet Rock. Rosemary has since taken on the voluntary task of Honorary Secretary to Dublin Bay Sailing Club

They had been anticipating gradual retirement from some of their multiple commitments in sailing in the near future, yet in the extra pressures of 2022, their reassuring background presences would have been a comfort for harassed Event Committee Chairmen. But in any case we can’t help but wonder just how smoothly their planned extraction from the top level of racing administration would really have been. For in July 2022. Rosemary took on the role of Honorary Secretary of Dublin Bay Sailing Club, one of the most demanding positions in our sport.

RISING LEVELS OF EXPECTATION

These days even the most modest club event needs its race teams, and the personnel and expertise demands rise as we move up the scale through regional, national and international championships. But then we move into an entirely different state of affairs when we take on the rarefied conditions which prevail in a recognised World Championship for a global-status class.

 Howth Yacht Club’s senior Committee Boat Star Point is both a race organisation platform and a full backroom support office. Photo: Annraoi Blaney Howth Yacht Club’s senior Committee Boat Star Point is both a race organisation platform and a full backroom support office. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Thus while we really would like to make “Sailors of the Month” our of every Race Officer who made major championships possible in 2022, we have to acknowledge that they’ll have been doing it among their own folk who may well be prepared to make allowances for the occasional error.

But with a Worlds, local friendships are irrelevant. An International Jury which occasionally will feel that it has to justify its existence with some conspicuously severe judgment on race management has to be taken into account. Increasingly, too, Race Umpires are making an input. And it’s all under a level of widespread yet intensely focused international media attention which you don’t get – however big the numbers taking part might be - with events which are further down the feeding chain.

RACE OFFICER TEAMS

In such exposed circumstances, the senior Race Officers need to be a bit like the owner-skippers of a substantial cruiser-racer, who will know that they have to build up a reliable and accessible crew panel which is roughly twice the number of people actually needed to race the boat on the day. And within that “crew panel”, he or she has to have a core of experts – an inner cabinet, if you like – of specialists who can be totally relied on to maintain and operate the necessary data and key support services.

A classic case in point is Peter Crowley of Cork, whose services to sailing over many years have included being President of the Irish Sailing Association and Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, in addition to being a stalwart of the National 18 Class and the cruiser-racer scene.

Peter Crowley’s Beneteau Trawler Yacht Sparetime has served as Committee Boat at countless sailing events at all levels from club racing to World Championships. Photo: Robert Bateman Peter Crowley’s Beneteau Trawler Yacht Sparetime has served as Committee Boat at countless sailing events at all levels from club racing to World Championships. Photo: Robert Bateman 

For many years now his personal flagship has been the versatile Beneteau Trawler Yacht Sparetime, and in providing the full services for Race Management to World Level, such as August’s particularly demanding 505 Worlds off Cork Harbour from 3rd to 13th of August, he was able to draw on the support of his key team members like Siobhain Keane-Hopcraft, John Stallard and Joanne O’Brien in order to provide a sound foundation for the larger group – including those in support RIBS – which is necessary to create a fully-furnished worlds.

Sparetime in use as the Committee Boat at the 2022 505 Worlds – keep the message simple, keep it clear. Photo: Christophe FavreauSparetime in use as the Committee Boat at the 2022 505 Worlds – keep the message simple, keep it clear. Photo: Christophe Favreau

 Royal Cork YC Admiral Kieran O’Connell with Jennifer Barry and Peter Crowley when the latter received a memento for his services as Race Officer at the 505 Worlds 2022 at Royal Cork YC. Royal Cork YC Admiral Kieran O’Connell with Jennifer Barry and Peter Crowley when the latter received a memento for his services as Race Officer at the 505 Worlds 2022 at Royal Cork YC

TWO SAILING MAJORS BACK-TO-BACK

The particular demands of the pressure-cooker 2022 season were also felt on the East Coast, where qualified personnel availability restrictions were such that Race Management veteran David Lovegrove of Howth found himself heading the race organisation for the very international J/24 Europeans at Howth from 30th August to 3rd September, and then doing the same for the SB20 Worlds at the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire from 4th to 9th September – in other words, two especially-demanding majors back-to-back.

Giving her the welly…..SB20 Worlds 2022 in Dublin Bay in September. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyGiving her the welly…..SB20 Worlds 2022 in Dublin Bay in September. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

While the SB20 Worlds found itself experiencing the first hints of strong Autumnal winds, the J/24 Europeans had a last blast of sunny onshore summer breezes from the northeast. But earlier in August at Skerries for the GP14 Worlds from the 14th to the 19th, Race Officer Bill O’Hara of Ballyholme found himself handling the needs of an international 104-strong fleet – the biggest turnout of any of Ireland’s 2022 Worlds – for Skerries Sailing Club.

RUGGED ONSHORE WINDS

Sailing in North Fingal may be expanding by leaps and bounds these days, but the 1934-established Skerries SC sometimes finds itself at the pin of its collar in catering for extra-large fleets in the inevitably-restricted spaces available within the confines of the Red Island Peninsula.

 Spinnaker work with an onshore breeze in the GP14 Worlds 2022 at Skerries. Photo: GP14 Worlds Spinnaker work with an onshore breeze in the GP14 Worlds 2022 at Skerries. Photo: GP14 Worlds

Yet despite a series of sometimes rugged onshore nor’easters making conditions almost coastal oceanic in the race area, particularly in wind-over-tide situations, the determination of the Organising Committee led by Colman Grimes and the huge experience and good humour of Bill O’Hara, saw this mega-event through to a successful conclusion.

MYSTERIOUS MAGIC OF LOUGH DERG

In looking back at the four Worlds staged in 2022, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the Fireball Worlds at Lough Derg from 21st to 26th August best expressed the spirit of sailing as it is experienced in our island nation. Admittedly a certain level of secrecy seems to come over events which are staged on our somehow well-hidden great lakes, but it is a fact that once people have started taking part in even a major sailing event on Lough Derg or Lough Ree, they seem to have entered a completely self-contained environment which feels no need to communicate with the outside world.

Away from it all yet right on the pace – Fireball Worlds 2022 on Lough Derg. Photo:LDYCAway from it all yet right on the pace – Fireball Worlds 2022 on Lough Derg. Photo:LDYC

Thus when we talk of sailing as an ideal activity “to get away from it all”, we find this best-expressed among those who have disappeared off to sail on on the Shannon’s many waters. In due course we did get official information about what was clearly a hugely enjoyable and superbly scenic event for the fleet of 79 boats, but at first it was thanks to Race Officer Con Murphy being a dab hand in getting evocative photos - while at the same time running a great event – that we became aware there was some magic sailing going on at a deservedly popular Irish venue.

So when it comes down to it, our four Sailor of the Month for November are all retrospective awards for Services to Sailing, and as every one of them made a huge contribution, we simply list them in the chronological order of the events they organised.

PETER CROWLEY OF ROYAL CORK IS NOVEMBER “SAILOR OF THE MONTH (SERVICES TO SAILING)

 The affable Peter Crowley brings comprehensive experience of participation and organisation to any major championship with which he becomes involved The affable Peter Crowley brings comprehensive experience of participation and organisation to any major championship with which he becomes involved

The 505 Worlds 2022 from 3rd to 13th August at the Royal Cork YC came laden with historic associations. For though this attractive class may still look as modern as tomorrow, it goes way back, and around 70 years ago Cork Harbour was the hotbed of a busy fleet which was part of a worldwide movement. But now – like former Olympic classes such as the Finn, the Star and the Dragon – the 505 class is an elite international travelling circus, making the highest demands on any venue that it selects for its words.

Unfortunately for Cork in the first part of the 2022 Worlds, the event was frustrated by calms. But even here, the fact of having Peter Crowley as Race Officer was all to the good, for on the Lay Day he gave everyone a convivial harbour tour on his Beneteau Trawler Yacht Spare Times which much improved the mood, and then when the breezes came good towards the end of the week, he clicked through enough races in champagne sailing to get a real result, with the USA’s Stuart McNay & Caleb Paine winning from GBR’s Nathan Batchelor & Seam Pascoe, while best of the Irish in a 78-strong and totally international fleet were Ewan Barry & Charles Dwyer at 12th.

BILL O’HARA OF BALLYHOLME IS NOVEMBER “SAILOR OF THE MONTH (SERVICES TO SAILING)

Bill O’Hara when he was Race Officer for the Ocean RaceBill O’Hara when he was Race Officer for the Ocean Race

Bill O’Hara first leapt to national fame when he skippered the Bangor Grammar School team to overall victory in the annual Britain & Ireland Schools Championship in Scotland in the days when it was an event of prime importance, which is now a very long time ago. Since then, he has starred in Olympic Finns and Lasers to the highest international levels, while his unrivalled race management expertise been enacted with many high-profile events, including the multi-stage round-the-world Ocean Race.

This in getting him to oversee their 2022 Worlds from 14th to 19th August at Skerries with a fleet of 104 boats, the GP 14 Asociation and Skerries SC really were getting one of the Main Men to see them through a challenging week, from which Ian Dobson & Andy Tunnicliff (GBR) emerged as the Champoons, while the top Irish were the host club’s Colman Grimes crewed by Rob Gingles at fifth, and the top female helm was Jane Kearney of Royal North of Ireland YC in 14th, crewed by Oliver Goodhead.

CON MURPHY OF DUN LAOGHAIRE IS NOVEMBER “SAILOR OF THE MONTH (SERVICES TO SAILING)

A round Ireland sailing record holder for 19 continuous years, Con Murphy is noted for many other sailing achievements A round Ireland sailing record holder for 19 continuous years, Con Murphy is noted for many other sailing achievements 

There are few sailors in Ireland with more eclectic interests afloat than Con Murphy, as he is the husband and father of Olympic sailors, his wife Cathy having raced the 470 in the 1988 Olympics, while his daughter Annalise won the Silver Medal in the Lasers in 2016 in Rio.

But with interests extending in many directions, he has long been a multi-hull enthusiast, and in September 1993 he persuaded the late Steve Fossett to bring his superb 60ft trimaran Lakota to Ireland for a joint tilt at the Round Ireland Record, which had stood since November 1986. They did it with such style that their new time stood until June 2016, when the three larger MOD 70 trimarans finally sliced a little more off it during that year’s multiple record-breaking Round Ireland race from Wicklow.

An eye for the beauty of sail – one of Con Murphy’s “snatched” images while organising the Fireballs on Lough Derg. Photo: Con MurphyAn eye for the beauty of sail – one of Con Murphy’s “snatched” images while organising the Fireballs on Lough Derg. Photo: Con Murphy

Such breadth of experience brings its own deep sense of reassuring calm at challenging moments during World Championships, and on Lough Derg in late August Con Murphy oversaw an enjoyment-plus Fireball Worlds which saw Tom Gillard (GBR) and Andy Thompson (East Antrim Boat Club) take the title, while the best all-Irish team of Barry McCartin & Conor Kinsaella (Royal St George YC) just missed the podium with a very commendable fourth overall in a notably strong fleet.

DAVID LOVEGROVE OF HOWTH IS NOVEMBER “SAILOR OF THE MONTH (SERVICES TO SAILING)

In his element – David Lovegrove assessing the readings while setting a course. Photo: Judith MalcolmIn his element – David Lovegrove assessing the readings while setting a course. Photo: Judith Malcolm

September is always a bit of a gamble as the time for staging a major sailing championship, for although the sea temperature may be at its warmest, the closing in of the evenings and a sometimes unexpected nip in the air can combine with big winds – usually from the west – to tell us that our predecessors in sailing may have been wise in drawing most sport afloat towards a close by the end of August.

Yet, with modern boats and the growing precision of weather forecast, early September can be a real Godsend in completing the season’s main national and international events. But when David Lovegrove arrived at the beginning of September to oversee the Royal Irish YC’ staging of the SB20 Worlds 2022, he may have seen it as just another day’s voluntary work at the top level of the sport, as he had already master-minded the Wave Regatta at Howth in early June, and he’d overseen a host of other lesser events throughout the summer before taking on the J/24 Euros at his home port in the week before the SB20 Worlds began across the bay.

It was a tough one. If September was coming in as a month of gentle mists and mellow fruitfulness, it was doing so somewhere other than Dublin Bay. This was the Big Boys’ Game, and no mistake. But they battered their way through, and by the end Jose Paulo Ramada of Portugal was the winner out of a 56-strong fleet, while best of the Irish were Royal St George’s Michael O’Connor, Davy Taylor and Edward Cook in fourth.

Afterwards, David Lovegrove supposedly retired home to rest for a while at his house on the Hill of Howth. But rumours abound about him being spotted in the main role aboard the Committee Boat at various events since the SB 20s were blasting so spectacularly around Dublin Bay. Either way, he certainly deserves praise for his extensive work on behalf of sailing.

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At the recently concluded SB20 World Championships on Dublin Bay, it was announced that the current Class President, Irish sailor Jerry Dowling, was stepping down after three years in the role, handing over to the class's first Southern Hemisphere appointment,
the current Australian Association chairman - Scott Glanville.

As regular Afloat readers know, Dowling finished in the top ten at the Dun Laoghaire championships, sailing with Stefan Hyde and his brother Jimmy Dowling.

Busy Dowling is also the Commodore of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, which successfully hosted the 58-boat championships.

“It’s been a pleasure to serve the Tony Castro-designed SB20 Class over the last three tumultuous years. The Class has proved to be resilient, to say the least. We’ve grown in Australia, Singapore and the UAE, as well as in Malta and Finland. I am very proud that my club, RIYC, is hosting this year’s World Championships with an entry of 58 boats from 12 nations,” Dowling said on the announcement.

He added: “This is an incredible number considering what has happened over the last years, and is a testament to the strength of Class. In my tenure as president, I have secured the hosting of the world championships for the next three years. The class is in a very good place despite the challenges ahead. May I wish Scott the very best during his reign as class president.”

After the next year’s World Championship in the Netherlands (17th-23rd June 2023), the fleet will travel south, to Dubai, in February 2024. Later that year, in late September/early October, the Maltese SB20 Association will host the European Championship together with the Royal Malta Yacht Club.

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Portugal's Team AP Hotels & Resorts of José Paulo Ramada, Artem Basalkin, Carlota Gala and Gonçalo Vieira Lopes are the new Provident CRM SB20 World Champions after a thrilling 12-race series concluded on Dublin Bay. 

Team Xcellent of John Pollard, Jack Wetherell and Henry Wetherell were the silver medal winners at the Royal Irish Yacht Club hosted event and Glasgow Kiss of Nils Razmilovic, Nik Burfoot and David Salembier took bronze.

A consistent performance from the local Royal St. George's Ted team - and a win in the last race - put Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and Ed Cook in fourth place overall in the 56-boat fleet. 

A second Irish boat made the top ten overall, with Stefan Hyde, Jerry and Jimmy Dowling sailing Bád/Kilucullen in eighth.

Royal St. George's Ted team scored a win in the last race to put Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and Ed Cook into. fourth overallRoyal St. George's Ted team scored a win in the last race to put Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and Ed Cook (below) into fourth overall Photos: Annraoi Blany and Anna Zyk

 Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and Ed Cook (below) into fourth overall

Day 5 report and overall

What a week it has been at the Provident CRM SB20 World Championship! The participants have experienced all types of Irish weather from rainy squalls to blasting sunshine. If the wind worked more on a decline from howling 30 knots on Monday to a light and shifty breeze on the last day, the emotions, on the contrary, kept heating up.

Day 4 finished with John Pollard’s team Xcellent at the top of the leaderboard with a four-point advantage. Day 5 was decisive, because after the top two teams, the 3rd place could be taken by at least three teams. With three races on Day 5 the participants gained another discard and that’s when their top results earlier this week became crucial.

On Day 5 the Race Committee was determined to run thee races to complete the planned 12 races scheduled for this Championship. The first warning signal time was moved earlier to 11h00, and there was fear of the breeze dropping, making the last day very stressful for some of the teams even before it started.

The game was on with the gun for Race 10 firing on time. The breeze was more from the West and shifting constantly. A 4m tide still coming in at the time of Race 10 probably helped to avoid general recall. All races were started on the Uniform flag, and you could hear PRO David Lovegrove asking the fleet on the radio to cooperate and try to not go over the line delaying the start.

Racing on Day 5 looked more like a chess game with positions changing all the time. First race of the day was won by French Youth team of Ian Garreta from Antibes, their only bullet this week. They sailed well on the first racing day of the championship and made it to top 3 that day. Nils Razmilovic in 2nd after a nice recovery from 7th place on the first rounding. Locals Leviathan took their third podium finish closing top 3 in Race 10.

Race 11 was a bit of a pain. It started with a general recall after the RC recorded a 30-degree shift. prior to the start The skies turned dark and a big cloud appeared over the left-hand-side of the racecourse. French team of Corentin Goulon arrived first at the upwind mark and continued with a good speed. TED were behind them. Unable to overtake the lighter in weight French youth team they finished second, team AP Hotels & Resorts in third.

By 14H15, it was starting to get close to the time limit, while the wind was playing tricks with the Race Committee. Orange flag, black flag and we’re into racing with a clear start! This was Vasco Serpa’s race after the start. He rounded first ahead of TED, followed by Glasgow Kiss and AP Hotels. On the downwind in Race 12 Vasco, TED and Nils all favoured the right-hand-side. It was only AP Hotels in the top of the fleet who went to the left. It paid both times. After their first rounding in 7th or so the come back was phenomenal. Top sailing skills in action and a pleasure to watch! They climbed 4 places and took 3rd overall on a photo-finish with Glasgow Kiss. TED and Vasco Serpa scoring 1 and 2nd accordingly, having battled with each other several times.

A week before the event some of the Class members shared their thoughts on who can win this Championship. They wanted to see Nils Razmilovic improve his last year’s result and not only his team Glasgow Kiss won the bronze, but also topped the Corinthian fleet. The guessing of John Pollard with Jack and Henry Wetherell taking a top spot resulted in Xcellent’s silver. Back then team AP Hotels & Resorts in its winning setup of one of the best Portuguese helmsman and the best tactician in the fleet didn’t even exist. Congratulations, Jose Paulo, Artem Basalkin, Gonçalo Lopes and Carlota Gala!

And here we are a week later with an amazing fleet of sailors of all ages and genders. Three young local sailors joined our international teams this week stepping in for last minute drop outs. The female part of the fleet is growing and we are happy to congratulate Julia Freespirit from Ukraine, who despite all obstacles found a crew and joined the event almost last minute. #GameChanger was the winner in the Female category out of 5 other teams: KIDZINK with Libby Greenhalgh helming and YALLA SHAMAL! of Rachel Blackburn both from the UAE, Lupi d’Irlanda of Emma Crane and Sneaky B of Charlotte O’Kelly both from Ireland.

With the SB20 Worlds 2024 coming in Dubai it was great to have all the UAE teams and welcome them to the international level of SB20 racing. “See you in Dubai 2024” spinnakers over the racecourse showing a good level of competitive sailing. We hope to see them at other international events until February 2024.

We had 7 fantastic youth teams that came from four countries. The best youth team title went to Ares from Tasmania, who finished 7th overall. Congratulations, Will, Eddie, Ed and Eirni, you’ve shown us some great sailing, having scored two bullets in this competitive international fleet!

Vasco Serpa didn’t win this time, but he was super close and he definitely won the Appreciation Award from the fleet! Not only a great competition on the water, when he’s not sailing and your sails are stuck or lost on the way, your boat is missing for whatever reason or there is another almost impossible task to sort out, Vasco will be your man! At least three boats travelled to Dun Laoghaire so that the Australian and Singapore teams could join us. The Class is very lucky to have SailCascais onboard!

Hein Ryuten, who didn’t compete himself this time, our Dutch SB20 boat charterer, also helped in delivering boats from the Netherlands and for next year he will be the one to talk to as well. We are grateful to the Royal Irish Yacht Club for great hospitality and all the technical support that has been as brilliant as ever.

Best three Day leaders were recognised and received their framed photos, they were team Xcellent, Glasgow Kiss and AP Hotels & Resorts. The Nation’s Cup will be travelling to the UK this year, first time in five years of World Championships.

In the Masters category, team 3J’s form the Netherlands of Jeroen van der Velden were best and finished the Championship in the 12th position. Good testing for the Dutch teams on Dublin Bay, it was great to have such a strong presence, and we are proud that Youth sailing is supported on serious level in the Netherlands.

Awesome stories from the Singapore gang, who first saw a seal out of a zoo here in Dublin bay and how they surprised the locals by putting on sunscreen. At the next SB20 event, if you meet a guy called Storm (Storm van Leeuwen - which means “from Lions”), remember this name. Apparently, he can splice your Dyneema in minutes! P. S. Don’t forget to buy him a beer.

Friends have been made and, again, SB20 World Championship brought together an amazing mix of people from all over the world. Plans have been settled and next, we are going to the Netherlands to experience the North Sea in Scheveningen. Start learning how to pronounce that!

The 2023 World Championship is less than a year away, which means that the rollercoaster of emotions, catching up with friends and making new ones, picking up crew (and maybe winning the Championship) will be again on the table.

Report from the class association

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Consistent sailing from Royal St. George local trio of Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and Edward Cook sailing 'Ted' keeps the trio sixth overall and the top Irish boat going into the final day of the Provident CRM SB20 World Championships on Dublin Bay. 

A second Irish boat is now in the top ten with three top ten results on Thursday scored by Royal Irish Yacht Club's Bad/Kilcullen sailed by Stefan Hyde Jerry Dowling Jimmy Dowling. The Dun Laoghaire crew leapfrog ten places from 17th after scores of 6,5,6. 

Strong winds and big seas that have been the feature of the event moderated for the penultimate day but still put boat handling as a premium.

Royal Torbay entry John Pollard, Jack Wetherell and Henry Wetherell have regained the lead and now top the 56-boat fleet by four points from Portugal's Jose Paulo Ramada, Artem Basalkin, Goncalo Lopes and Carlota Gala.

Top Dun Laoghaire youth skiff sailor Nathan Van Steenberge, who is sailing with Portugal's Solyd Sailing Team/ SailCascais is lying third overall. 

Royal St. George local trio of Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and Edward Cook are lying in sixth placeRoyal St. George local trio of Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and Edward Cook are lying in sixth place

From the Irish fleet, Leviathan from the National Yacht Club sailed by Tadgh Donnelly, Andrew Conan, Rian Geraghty- McDonnell and Peter Carville, who counts a race win and a second place on their scoresheet, are 17th.

In 18th is Royal Cork's GoldDigger sailed by Mel Collins, Aidan Mac Sweeny and Ian Heffernan.

Three races on Friday will conclude the championships. 

See other Irish results below

Day 4 of the Provident CRM SB20 World Championship

The fourth day of the Provident CRM SB20 World Championships was expected to be tricky. There was a lighter breeze on the forecast and the fleet was getting a bit exhausted by two days of heavy winds. Day 4 was very different from the first two days of racing with the Easterly breeze constantly shifting. And with the full moon approaching the big tide was against the wind, which made it a bit difficult to run all the starts clearly. The Race Committee and the fleet seemed to work together on the mission to run 4 races on this day.

For those at the top of the fleet the task was to stay out of trouble, get round the course clean and fast, which for most of them has worked out quite well. Race 6 opened the day with a general recall, when too many boats jumped over the line. The second attempt on Black flag “only just” made it to be a clear start. The fleet went to the left for better wind, but some boats chose to go to the right side.

The tide started turning by then and many boats from the right hand-side made it to the windward mark first. The first on the rounding was Team Caledonia of Tugdual Piriou sailing with Theo Bore, Emmanuelle Tora and Laure Galley (Mini 6,50 sailor from La Rochelle). Following them – local team Leviathan of Tadgh Donnelly, who also sailed well in Race 1 with a finish in 6th. They missed yesterday due to damage on the boat, otherwise, we would probably see them higher on the leaderboard today. They managed to get the lead on the downwind on the right hand-side and arrived at the gate first.

The wind dropped to 11 knots, and the course was shortened. All the “usual suspects” (previous days’ leaders) were rounding mid-fleet with slightly sour faces. It was good to see Provident CRM’s boat back in action with their bright new orange spinnaker – it looked beautiful! On the second upwind, many boats favoured the right-hand-side, but it was too late to catch Leviathan. On the second downwind, they have gained a huge advantage, thus securing a comfortable win. At the finish line, they were followed by Carnage of Robin Kirby from Warsash Sailing Club. New Caledonia finished in third place. RIYC Commodore Jerry Dowling and his team Bad/Kilcullen finished 4th – their best results so far. In 5th place, we saw team SportsBoat World Racing helmed by Oliver Love sailing with Liam Pardy who all looked very happy on the finish line.

Sixth placed boat in Race 6 was Great White Lies of Sarah and Bruce Kemp. It is another example of almost spontaneous arrangement. Local dinghy sailors, they showed up at the Club earlier this year looking at event calendar for the one to join. And the SB20 World Championship looked good enough to them! They bought an SB20 and now enjoy the fun of sailing against top talent having sailed not a bad race as well. Truly, SB20 Class is for everyone!

It was late lunchtime when the fleet had already finished a race and was getting ready for Race 7 under Uniform flag. To everyone’s relief it was “clear start” from first attempt. The boat again favoured the left side catching the wind shift. Those who arrived to the top mark first, like Solyd Sailing Team/ SailCascais avoided the “organised mess” that a rounding of 50 boats is. Shouting and penalty whistles were heard for the duration of the process.

On the second downwind most of the fleet went left, but Vasco Serpa stayed on the right and was leading until Youth team Ares overtook them flying over the racecourse. After that it was easy for the Aussies to finish the flight to the gate and score a bullet. Two Portuguese teams Solyd Sailing Team/SailCascais and AP Hotels & Resorts followed in 2nd and 3rd. Nice race for Shoestring Express who were 4th and Bad/Kilcullen in 5th.

Race 8 faced some difficulties with setting the start line, but by 15:02 the fleet was racing again under a black flag. Three boats got UFD for jumping the line too soon. TED started the race with a lead. Australian Youth Ares was around 10-12th place with AP Hotels near them. Brett Cooper overtook on the second downwind and lead the way to the finish line, followed by Leviathan, who sailed another good race scoring their second podium finish (2). TED ended up in third.

The start of the last race for the day was called at 16:25 with plenty of time before the live concert that awaited the participant back at the Club in the evening. Several top teams were favouring the left-hand-side, but Vasco was on the right, stretching it for the layline. TED and Bad/Kilcullen approached the mark together, but a nasty twist on the spinnaker didn’t allow them to hoist it, resulting in losing a couple of places to TED and AP Hotels.

The hopes for a bullet were still high on TED after being overtaken by America’s Cup, and Olympic sailors in Race 8 and the desire to defend the National title was strong. On the second upwind rounding, coming second they faced a port-tacked Breaking Bod taking in front of them, separating them from that 1st result even more. Another effort downwind and they made it in second place after AP Hotels with Vasco Serpa finishing in 3rd.

Here is what Charlie Whelan (skipper Breaking Bod) commented about today’s racing:

“Great variability of wind and waves today, very different to the first two racing days. We had lots of different winners, and lots of youth teams were doing very well. If you look at the first race (Race 6) particularly – if you look at the scorecard, you will see lots of people not being near the front enjoyed the shift off the start, and made it really well. So it was great to see a different podium today. The guys on AP Hotels & Resorts are a class, it will take John Pollard quite a lot of work to beat them.”

So where are we standing for the last day of the Championship? The game is getting hotter and all the top five leaders probably still have a chance for a podium. Glasgow Kiss had a bad day with their best result in 9th place in Race 9. They are tied on points with Youth team Ares who are currently placed in 4th; they have scored two bullets overall. John Pollard was very careful today and avoided mistakes. Having gained 29 points in addition to 10 that he had from the first two days, he continues to lead the Championship. Only four points behind them are AP Hotels & Resorts, who have 3 bullets and 2 podium finishes, which is better than Pollard’s 2,2 & 1. Vasco Serpa with 54 points and looking relaxed as usual, is currently third, but with one day left to compete the third place will be most desired.

For the last racing day the RC has moved the first warning signal to 11 and plans to run three races. With the efficiency and smoothness that PRO David Lovegrove has managed a day of four races, we have a good chance to complete all 12 that had been planned for this Championship. Another discard will also come in handy after today’s tricky racing. We will find out soon!

(Report from the class association)

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Royal St. George local trio of Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and Edward Cook sailing 'Ted' have moved from 11th to sixth overall as the top Irish boat after day three of the SB20 World Championships on Dublin Bay. 

The trio moved up from 11th after day one to be the only Irish from 17 competing in the top after five races sailed. 

The Ted crew, who revealed their speed in a pre-worlds joust just a week ago, scored an important third in a breezy race, four to be on 25 points, and one point off fifth overall as the competition enters its penultimate day.

Strong winds and big seas continue to put boat handling at a premium at the Royal Irish Yacht Club-hosted event.

Top Dun Laoghaire youth skiff sailor Nathan Van Steenberge, who is sailing with Portugal's Solyd Sailing Team/ SailCascais is lying fourth overall. 

The next best of the Irish team in the 56-boat fleet is the Royal Irish's Bad/Kilcullen sailed by Stefan Hyde Jerry Dowling Jimmy Dowling in 17th. 

In 18th is Royal Cork's GoldDigger sailed by Mel Collins, Aidan Mac Sweeny and Ian Heffernan. And in 19th place, new SB20 campaigners Chris and Rob Bateman and Trevor Bolger, sailing Shoestring Express from Monkstown Bay Sailing Club BSC and Royal Cork Yacht Club are As regular Afloat readers will know, this is MBSC's Chris Bateman's third World Championships of the season on Irish waters, having already taken in August's 505 Worlds in Cork Harbour and the Fireball Worlds on Lough Derg.

See other Irish results below

Day 3 of the Provident CRM SB20 World Championship

On the second racing day, third day overall here in Dun Laoghaire the waves were still big and the winds remained in top teens and twenties. After a short wait ashore, the fleet was sent to the water where the start of Race 5 was called already at 13:15.

The SB20 World Championship fleet prepare to leave the Royal Irish dockThe 56-boat SB20 World Championship fleet prepare to leave the Royal Irish dock Photo: Afloat

After two general recalls in about 20 knots of breeze Race 4 was underway. In the first upwind rounding 3J’s team from the Netherlands was leading; unfortunately, they haven’t managed to hoist their spinnaker quickly and the top Irish team TED of Michael O’Connor, overtook them, followed by Glasgow Kiss. On the second downwind, positions changed and having gained on the upwind run AP Hotels & Resorts was already rounding in top three. After that, it was a battle to the finish line between them and Glasgow Kiss, resulting in almost a photo finish of the two, AP Hotels being half a boat length closer to the line. TED finished third after gybing too late. 

So what do we know about team AP Hotels & Resorts? That they come from Portugal, from a picturesque town and a sailing mecca called Cascais. The local Club has been running Cascais Winter Series for almost 10 years now. The events have become so popular that many Class sailors move their boats there for the cold season back at home.

And that’s where they all meet AP Hotels & Resorts skipper Jose Paulo Ramada. Even if he doesn’t start a regatta with a win on the first day, his name will be among the top results by the end of it.

The story here is one of a movie scene: Zé Paulo (as everyone knows him), one of the best in Cascais, is stuck without a boat ahead of the Worlds. One day after a local regatta he is approached by Artem Basalkin (tactician onboard VIS Sailing team – winner of 2018 Europeans here in Dun Laoghaire), who has a boat ready, and within a week before the Worlds, they make up a team. And after two days of racing in the World Championship, they are leading the fleet!

Does this phenomenon of spontaneous arrangement with the perfect “Cascais weather” in Dublin make it a winning combination? Hard to disagree. This is not the only example, because then we have Vasco Serpa, winner of Race 5, who also comes from Cascais. It seemed that these Cascais sailors feel like home in these conditions and just enjoy this “wet and wild ride”.

In Race 5 you would see Vasco Serpa in the 4th place on the rounding, but already on the second downwind, he would catch up and storm off once the kite was up, surfing through the waves. He had a fantastic race today, resulting in 4th place overall. Glasgow Kiss was second in Race 5 and AP Hotels & Resorts third. Tasmanian Youth team Ares of Will Sargent finished behind them in 4th, placing them 5th overall.

“Lovely day of sailing on the water with the breeze on again between 15 and 25 knots sometimes. It was very good fun, especially downwind, we had good wind and we could surf the waves. It was very exciting! I think the guys from Singapore (Glasgow Kiss) sailed best today. The key was to go on left-hand-side on the upwind, giving good lines approaching the mark. For us playing in the middle, we didn’t have a good chance to get through,” – commented Jonathan Lobert, Olympic Bronze medallist, tactician and coach onboard Skin in the Game.

On the water jury - Brian Mathews (left) and SB20 World Championships Jury chief, Cxema PicoOn the water jury - Brian Mathews (left) and SB20 World Championships Jury chief, Cxema Pico Photo: Afloat

Day 3 made it perfect not only on high competition and adrenaline pumping throughout the racecourse. The Race Committee and the Jury team made it smooth and enjoyable even in the situations of general recall and mark rounding incidents. This is where it feels like we are sailing a World Championship and Chief of Jury Cxema Pico reminded the sailors about it before racing. This level is maintained by the work of PRO David Lovegrove and his team. With the always-present pressure of fitting as many races as possible per day there was almost a sigh of relief when RC decided not run the third race today.

And after all the sailing, sometimes accompanied by friendly dolphins and seals in the bay, we get to come back to the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Here not only the hospitality level, but the work of the operations and office team makes it one of the best places to be – on and off the water!

After two days and five races that give one discard the points game kicks in. We witness the top two teams tied on points with the third only 1 point away from them. With lighter winds on the forecast, let’s see how the game unfolds and who gets the gaming right!

Current top 5 leaders:

1. AP Hotels & Resort – Jose Paulo Ramada, Artem Basalkin, Goncalo Lopes, Carlota Gala – Club Naval de Cascais (10 pts)
2. Xcellent – John Pollard, Jack Wetherell, Henry Wetherell – Royal Torbay YC (10 pts)
3. Glasgow Kiss – Nils Razmilovic, David Salembier, Nik Burfoot – RHKYC (11 pts)
4. Solyd Sailing Team/ SailCascais – Vasco Serpa, Diogo Pinto, Nathan Van Steenberge – CNCascais (21 pts)
5. Ares – Will Sargent, Eddie Reid, Ed Broadby, Eirni Marios – Derwent Sailing Squadron (24 pts)

(report by the class association)

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After three blustery races sailed at the Provident CRM SB20 World Championship 2022 at the Royal Irish Yacht Club, Britain's John Pollard, Jack Wetherell and Henry Wetherell lead the 54-boat fleet at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. 

The consistent Torbay crew scored a 2,2, and a race win in the day's final race to lead on five points from the Singaporean Glasgow Kiss crewed by Nils Razmilovic, David Salembier and Nik Burfoot on 13. 

Lying third is the French youth team of Ian Garreta, Calixte Benoit, Vincenc Girodeau and Yona Blacher from Antibes on 21 points.

A race starts on the first day of racing at the SB20 Worlds on Dublin Bay. Overall leaders are Britain's John Pollard, Jack Wetherell and Henry Wetherell, 3814 and bow number 18, (fourth from left) get a good mid-line start. Photo: Annrai BlaneyA race starts on the first day of racing at the SB20 Worlds on Dublin Bay. Overall leaders are Britain's John Pollard, Jack Wetherell and Henry Wetherell, 3814 and bow number 18, (fourth from left) prepare for a mid-line start. Photo: Annrai Blaney

The championships finally got underway on Tuesday having been blown out on Monday.

The top Irish boat of 17 competing, is the Royal St. George local trio of Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and Edward Cook, who opened their world championship account with a 19th. 

Supersonic a Dubai Offshore SC from the UAE and crewed by Justin McCarthy, Michal Pajak, Rosemary Tyrell and Emily Conan  Photo: Annrai Blaney  Supersonic a Dubai Offshore SC from the UAE and crewed by Justin McCarthy, Michal Pajak, Rosemary Tyrell and Emily Conan  Photo: Annrai Blaney  

Without a skippers briefing ashore, the Race Committee headed to the Bay and, after a short AP, invited the fleet to join. Just as boats started to dock out, AP over H was displayed, sending the fleet back to the harbour to “await further instructions”.

The wind was blowing 24 and gusting 28 knots at the time. Some boats stayed out on the water to practice manoeuvres, but confirmed afterwards that “it was rather brutal out there”. The sailors prepared to wait, and after about 2 hours, when the wind dropped to 16-18 knots, they were blessed with the AP flag going down!

Breaking Bod sailed by Charles Whelan, Richard McAdam and Aaron Holman from Bough Beech SC/Royal Southern YC in the UK Photo: Annrai Blaney   Breaking Bod sailed by Charles Whelan, Richard McAdam and Aaron Holman from Bough Beech SC/Royal Southern YC in the UK Photo: Annrai Blaney  

The first warning signal was given at 14:15, with broaches and breakages happening even before the boats crossed the starting line. Clear on the line, 53 boats rushed into the waves in a 20 knots breeze.

SB20 World Championships

Right from the start Glasgow Kiss of Nils Razmilovic, sailing with Laser World Champion Nik Burfoot, took an early lead and rounded the windward mark first. They were closely followed by Xcellent of John Pollard with Australian team Ares of Will Sargent behind them. Breaking Bod of Charlie Whelan and AP Hotels & Resort of Jose Paulo Ramada were in close chase. On the first downwind, Glasgow Kiss went out to the bay aiming to gybe for the layline, but Ares chose a more favourable approach, crushing through the waves and nailing their gybes. It resulted in arriving to the bottom mark first, from where they continued to lead until the finish line with a significant advantage. After another lap Nils Razmilovic only finished in the 4th place, letting Pollard and Whelan sneak in front of him, who finished second and third, respectively. Good race for the Irish team Leviathan, who finished 6th.

Plenty of action on the SB20 World Championships race course when the wind pick upPlenty of action on the SB20 World Championships race course when the wind pick up on Dublin Bay

Race 2 started at around 15:40 after that the wind picked up, causing a bit of havoc on the racecourse. Glasgow Kiss, Xcellent and the French Youth team of Ian Garreta were in the lead, but it was the time for Portuguese AP Hotels & Resort of Jose Paulo Ramada to celebrate the victory. Definitely, the experience of sailing SB20 in ocean conditions with big waves and often strong winds pays off. In this tough race, AP Hotels & Resort left Xcellent and Glasgow Kiss behind leaving them in second and third place accordingly. After two races, John Pollard has already secured the overall lead with 4 points, having finished 2 and 2. French Youth team 1 finished 4th followed by fellow French boat New Caledonia of Tugdual Piriou. Top Irish boat TED of Michael O’Connor finished this heavy race in 6th, their best result of the day.

SB20 World Championships

Race 2 was when the first collisions occurred. One of the UAE boats retired from the race with a dent in the hull on the way to the windward mark. Then, on the first downwind, the boat of the event sponsor Provident CRM of John Malone lost the rig on a strong gust and had to be towed back to the harbour. One more hull was damaged on the downwind rounding and had to be immediately towed back to avoid sinking. The boat was getting a lot of water inside it, and thanks to the smooth operation of the safety team, they were quickly transported to be craned out.

An man overboard is retrieved from the water at the SB20 World Championships Photo: Annraoi BlaneyAn man overboard is retrieved from the water at the SB20 World Championships Photo: Annraoi Blaney

Race 3 started around 17:15 with big waves and for the last race of the day the teams could finally enjoy some sunshine. With a general recall at first, the race continued with a clear start. It was John Pollard who was leading the whole race, rounding all the marks in first and securing the lead. In second – Breaking Bod sailing with British Sailing Team crew Aaron Holman. It was a close finish for the third place, but UK team Twenty of, Mark Gillett and Paul Hine were faster. French boats Skin in the Game of Ed Russo and FFVoile Youth 1 of Ian Garreta had a good race too; they finished 4th and 5th, respectively.

PRO David Lovegrove and his team did a fantastic job on this difficult day resulting in three windy and action-packed races.

Upon return to the Club the boats were greeted by live music, delicious Irish stew and whiskey to make their aprés-sail merrier and to prepare them for a new battle next day! Strong winds prevail on Dublin Bay, and we all hope that racing will start at 12h00 as scheduled on Day 3 of the championship.

Additional reporting from the SB20 class

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Strong winds on Dublin Bay cancelled today's much anticipated first races of the SB20 sportsboat World Championships at the Royal Irish Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin.

Three races were due to be held today, but were cancelled due to the 20-knot southeasterly breezes and big seas.

The Provident CRM-sponsored Championships, which run until Friday, now have a new 12-race schedule, with the next races set for noon on Tuesday. 

The Royal Irish Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire is the venue for the 2022 SB20 World ChampionshipsThe Royal Irish Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire is the venue for the 2022 SB20 World Championships

Revised Schedule of Races

  • Tuesday 6th September 3 Races 1200 hrs
  • Wednesday 7th September 3 Races 1200 hrs
  • Thursday 8th September 3 Races 1200 hrs
  • Friday 9th September 3 races 1200 hrs

The strong winds allowed a UAE team to clock up some top speeds on Dublin Bay on Sunday, as Afloat reports here.

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The 'Kidzink' United Arab Emirates SB20 entry from the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club (DOSC) was making waves on the Dublin Bay race track on Sunday ahead of the first race of the class World Championships at the Royal Irish Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire on Monday.

Kidzink is a new boat and one of three UAE entries in next week's Championship.

Kidzink' United Arab Emirates SB20 entry from the Dubai Offshore Sailing ClubKidzink' a United Arab Emirates SB20 entry from the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club sailing on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat.ie

The boat is sailed by Libby Greenhalgh, Charlotte Borghesi, Leonie Bonaparte and Thomas Cracknell, who certainly know a thing or two about sailing in big winds and waves, as our video below shows.

The other UAE boats are Supersonic sailed by Justin Burke, Michal Pajak, Rosemary Tyrrell, and Emily Conan and Poor Buoy, crewed by husband and wife team Rachel and Jonny Blackburn, along with Bekky Britton.

Kidzink is a new boat and one of two UAE entries in next week's ChampionshipKidzink is a new SB20 and one of two UAE entries in next week's Championship Photo: Afloat

In 20-knot southerly winds and some bright sunshine, the UAE crew were making no secret of the fact that the 2024 SB20 Worlds will be hosted by their club in 2024 by sporting a massive kite with a 'See you in Dubai' message emblazoned across it. 

The DOSC has facilities enjoyed by over 700 members, a marina with 152 berths, a welcoming Clubhouse and a busy social calendar, so things are looking good for the SB20 class.

It wasn't all plain sailing for the UAE visitors, though, as a heavy air gybe posed some problems, but the crew soon recovered and hit top speed again, as the video below shows.

Read Afloat's preview of the SB20 Worlds at Dun Laoghaire here.

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In 2002, the ingenious Laser SB3 was unleashed on an unsuspecting world by Performance Sailcraft as one of several innovative craft that enabled the leading Laser builders to offer loyal Laser sailors – already in their several thousands with the Laser itself becoming an Olympic class in 1996 – the option of a size upgrade without having to leave the familiar comfort of the Laser fold.

Thus (according to some mathematical pedants), as there is no Year Zero in the history of organisations, then this year the SB20, as the boat is now known, is coming of age. But whether the SB20 is accepted as 20 years old in 2022, or 21, is really neither here nor there. What matters is that next week’s Worlds in Dublin Bay at the RIYC will be providing truly global competition for a boat whose concept still seems as modern as tomorrow – she’s “Bad na nOg”, the Boat of the Ever-Young.

The Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire has been hosting events since 1831, and its 1850-built clubhouse is the world’s oldest complete purpose-built yacht club HQ.The Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire has been hosting events since 1831, and its 1850-built clubhouse is the world’s oldest complete purpose-built yacht club HQ. 

DOES THE SB20 HAVE CORK HARBOUR ORIGINS?

Yet although Dublin Bay is no stranger to hosting the worlds, with a major staging in 2008, if you scratch around Cork Harbour you’ll soon find sailors who believe – with a great deal of justification – that the germ of the SB20 was generated in their part of the world.

After all, the creator was Tony Castro, who had started as a yacht designer on the staff of Ron Holland’s office at Crosshaven in the 1970s, and stayed on in the neighbourhood when he branched out on his own. His name came up in lights when he designed the One Tonner Justine IV for Frank Woods of Dun Laoghaire’s National Yacht Club in 1981, the boat duly being guided to the World title at Crosshaven by Harold Cudmore that same year.

So when - around 1990 - some bright sparks in Crosshaven wondered how they might transfer the marvellous spirit of their National 18 class to a larger stage in a developing concept to which cruiser-racer types made an input, the result in 1994 was the 26ft Cork 1720 Sportsboat, designed by Tony Castro.

“The Boat of the Ever-Young” – SB20 romping across a sunlit sea“The Boat of the Ever-Young” – SB20 romping across a sunlit sea

That characterfui class has had its ups and downs since, but there’s no doubting that in 2022 under the thoughtful chairmanship of David Love, the 1720s in Ireland have been experiencing a great year, turning out in such numbers – with many boats beautifully restored – that they were the backbone of this year’s Volvo Cork Week.

Yet there’s no escaping the reality that with their deep fixed bulb keel and that inescapable hull length of 26ft, the 1720 can be quite a beast for regular road-trailing. So around ten years after the boat appeared, the new Millennium found the Performance Sailcraft people and Tony Castro considering a 20ft version with a retractable keel.

THE ENGINEERING CHALLENGE OF A DEEP BALLASTED BULB KEEL

It was quite a challenge, as this was to be a real keel offering very positive stability with a substantial ballast bulb, and not some glorified centreboard. But in the final analysis, the maintenance challenge with boats is that in due course, things that should move easily don’t move at all, and things that definitely shouldn’t move inevitably do so in the fullness of time.

A relatively heavy retractable ballast keel covers these options from both angles, particularly as you’re almost always battling the corrosive effect on moving parts of salt water. Yet the keel conundrum was a challenge to be solved, and once that was done, the Laser SB3 could be offered to the world.

The SB20 profile. Even with a fixed keel, carrying that high-leverage ballast bulb presents a real engineering challenge. But if you plan to make it safely retractable, yet with a minimum of intrusion into the hull, it becomes an MSc effort to get it right.The SB20 profile. Even with a fixed keel, carrying that high-leverage ballast bulb presents a real engineering challenge. But if you plan to make it safely retractable, yet with a minimum of intrusion into the hull, it becomes an MSc effort to get it right.

This frequently-used SB20 photo is popular because it tells us so much about the design. Simplicity seems to be the dominant characteristic, yet it took complex thinking to keep the cockpit clear when the keel is lowered and held immovably in place. And even something as straightforward as an above-boom vang has been incorporated to optimise space. This is Michael O’Connor’s TED of the Royal St George YC, current favourite in the Irish contingent in the up-coming worlds. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’BrienThis frequently-used SB20 photo is popular because it tells us so much about the design. Simplicity seems to be the dominant characteristic, yet it took complex thinking to keep the cockpit clear when the keel is lowered and held immovably in place. And even something as straightforward as an above-boom vang has been incorporated to optimise space. This is Michael O’Connor’s TED of the Royal St George YC, current favourite in the Irish contingent in the up-coming worlds. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’Brien

NATIONAL 18s REMEMBERED

Sage observers around Cork Harbour noted that - at 20ft in hull length - the new boats were only 2ft longer than the National 18s from which, through the 1720s, they could trace their origins. But such intriguing circular connections were soon forgotten under the sheer exuberance of the SB3’s instant popularity. After all, here was a properly-keeled sportsboat that you could keep in the driveway through the week, or in some handy yard, and then at the weekend you could join the trail to some major event where – after a few moments of winding handles and whatnot – your 20ft dinghy was converted into a full-on properly-keeled sportsboat which precluded hiking. And unlike the 1720 which needed a crew of five, the new boat could be raced by three.

It was boom time in the noughties, and people went crazy for the SB3. You could buy them off the shelf, you could even buy them ready-delivered and set to go at a major event. By 2005 they seemed to be all over Cowes Week with 66 entries from far and wide, and by 2006 they’d become the biggest one-design class at Cowes with 102 boats.

 A flotilla of SB20s looking very much at home in Dublin Bay, but it may well be that their ultimate origins are to be found in Cork Harbour. Photo: Annraoi Blaney A flotilla of SB20s looking very much at home in Dublin Bay, but it may well be that their ultimate origins are to be found in Cork Harbour. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

In other words, the SB3 was having a decidedly boisterous adolescence, and as is the case with adolescents, some of the newcomer “sailors” had the attention span of a gnat, and their sporting focus soon turned elsewhere.

But for those who appreciated the SB3’s true quality, maturity was finalised in 2012 when contracts expired, and the Laser SB3 was properly confirmed as the SB20, marketed and distributed by Sportsboat World for dedicated sailors for whom racing came first and regatta festivities were well down the line.

WORLDS PROVIDE OPPORTUNITY FOR MEANINGFUL STOCK-TAKE

Yet so versatile are they in their ease of movement ashore that it’s sometimes difficult to assess their local strength. Thus you might get some Commodore proclaiming how proud they are of their club’s SB20 fleet, yet often there’s no evidence of their existence about the place at all. So when a club has the courage to take on the staging of the Worlds with enthusiasm, it’s fundamental to the class’s wellbeing, for apart from the high-quality sport provided, it allows an opportunity for a meaningful stock-take.

We last had that in Ireland in 2008, when the National YC hosted the Worlds even as the SB3 was beginning the process of transformation into the SB20. Despite the turmoil of such backroom goings-on, they mustered a very international fleet of 143 boats, with the winner being Geoff Carveth, one of the class’s super-stalwart who next won the Worlds in 2011 at Torbay.

However, by 2011 Ireland was into economic recession big time, and fleets were often only shadows of their former selves, but gradually the SB20s came back to life, and for next week’s Worlds – not a challenge to be undertaken lightly – Ireland’s home fleet will be mustering 17 boats – the most numerous national entry - to take on the competition of ten nations in a fleet of 55 boats, including specially welcome participation from Ukraine, and a hot squad from Australia.

COMFORTABLE FIT AT THE ROYAL IRISH YC

 Sealing the deal….Jerry Dowling, Commodore of the Royal Irish YC and President of the SB20 World Council, and John Malone of Provident CRM Sealing the deal….Jerry Dowling, Commodore of the Royal Irish YC and President of the SB20 World Council, and John Malone of Provident CRM

It’s a comfortable fit at the hospitable Royal Irish, which has been hosting events since its formation in 1831. Commodore Jerry Dowling is not only a keen SB20 campaigner, but he’s the President of the SB20 World Council. The Organising Committee is chaired by Joe Conway, who is experienced in several classes, and Principal Race Officer is David Lovegrove, whose widespread experience is rivalled by only a very few.

Because of the pandemic gap, form guides are still a bit rusty even through the 2021 Worlds did manage to get staged in Portugal, albeit at short notice with 66 entries. The winner was Brazil’s Henrique Haddad, but before that there was a three-year gap to 2018 when it was hosted in Tasmania, which really tested the class’s ability to provide charterable boats on site.

 When everything’s balanced, and you have the breeze, the SB20 in Dublin Bay can be cleared for takeoff. When everything’s balanced, and you have the breeze, the SB20 in Dublin Bay can be cleared for takeoff

The winner was France’s Achille Nebout, and before that in 2017 at Cowes, it was Geoff Carveth back on top in the open division while the Corinthian champions were Ireland’s own Mike O’Connor (RStGYC) with his regular TED crew of Davy Taylor and Edward Cook.

2017 now seems long enough ago, and beyond that feels like pre-history - the winner in 2016 at Cascais in Portugal was Russia’s Alex Semenov, though his boat was down as Portuguese, as the helm was local star Hugo Rocha. But if we go further back to 2014, the stage is set in St Petersburg, and the winner was the unmistakably Russian Evgeny Neugodkinov.

Much of the SB20’s attraction is found in the fact that, with her very generous spread of sail, she can give quick sailing in moderate breezes. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’BrienMuch of the SB20’s attraction is found in the fact that, with her very generous spread of sail, she can give quick sailing in moderate breezes. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’Brien

Swinging into 2022, at the moment Ireland’s best hope has to be RStGYC’s Michael O’Connor, as he and his longtime shipmates have already slipped successfully into countdown mode by winning last weekend’s Easterns at the RIYC in a continuation of remarkably consistent performance.

But part of the attraction of any sailing Worlds is that it acts as a magnet for rising global talent, and next week we could well see history in the making as new names shoulder their way to the top row of SB20 stardom.

The entry list is below

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The Royal Irish Yacht Club, in Dun Laoghaire Harbour is welcoming participants from as far as Australia, Singapore, Dubai and especially from Ukraine for what class pundits say may be the most open SB20 World Championship for many teams to claim victory. 

Already, as Afloat reported earlier, last weekend's Irish regional championships that doubled as a Worlds Warm-up with a quality fleet of 30, saw an Irish victory from top Corinthian skipper Michael O'Connor as well as a third place from the host club's Ger Dempsey. 

There will be six new boats delivered for this Provident CRM-sponsored World Championship. One of the newest boats in the fleet #3821 will be raced by Liam Pardy. With all the interest in new boats, the class manufacturer has prepared another two new SB20s that are ready to look for their new owners straight after the event.

Another one of the new boats, from the anniversary edition (#3819), will be delivered for the Ares Team from Tasmania. Will Sargent and his team are the 2020 national champions, having also claimed the Youth title and winning the 2022 Tasmanian trophy back in February this year. Sargent, sailing with Eddie Reid, Ed Broadby and Eirini Marios (same crew as for the Worlds), won nine points clear of Michael Cooper’s Export Roo and 13 points in front of sailing legend Nick Rogers on Karabos.

The Australian fleet is also represented by Brett Cooper, who was 5th at the 2019 SB20 Worlds in Hyères; he will be sailing again with Darren Jones and Sam Tiedemann as crew. We will also greet the 2021 Australian National champion - Tasmanian team Mind Games, skippered by Phil Reid, sailing with Rohan Langford, Andre Declerck and Esther Read.

The largest fleet, is a mixture of old and new faces from the hosting nation with 17 boats.

Racing for the SB20 World Championship 2022 starts on the 5th September and concludes on the 9th.

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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

Featured Sailing School

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Featured Clubs

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Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

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Featured Associations

ICRA
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Featured Events 2022

Featured Marinas

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Featured Chandleries

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Featured Sailmakers

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Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
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