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#sb20 – Over 100 SB20s will gather in Torbole, Lake Garda, Italy for the seventh SB20 World Championships, sponsored by the Italian province of Trentino this Saturday (July 4). As well as 11 Irish boats, entries are anticipated from up to 15 nations and the competition is sure to be fierce, with up to 14 races scheduled between July 4-10. In Torbole for the pre worlds event were Kinsale's Ronan Downing, Cobh's Kieran Dorgan and Dun Laoghaire's Jerry Dowling and Justin Burke from the Royal Irish and National Yacht Club's respectively. Results from the pre–worlds are HERE

Another seven Irish boats are joining for the world championships: Sin Bin Michael O Connor RstGYC;  Lia Dave Barry RCYC; Ger Dempsey RIYC; Mephisto Colin Galavan RIYC; Davy Taylor, Seriously Bonkers; Peter Lee, RstGYC and Dinghy Supplies Shane Murphy, Howth YC.

The one-design keelboat class recently enjoyed a highly competitive pre-Worlds event, the Italian National Championships (June 19-21), at the same venue of Circolo Vela Torbole on Lake Garda. Lake Garda is renowned for reliable breezes which, combined with stunning Italian sunshine and a spectacular mountain backdrop, make it a favourite destination among racing sailors.

Runners and riders

The 2015 World Championships has attracted a highly competitive fleet from around the world. The UK dominated the early years of the SB20 class (the first five world championships had UK winners) but it would be something of a surprise if the 2015 champions were on a British boat. John Pollard and Joe Llewellyn have strong credentials, Rob Gullan has shown flashes of brilliant form, and Sportsboat World's own Jerry Hill, who was the 2010 World Champion at Torbole, was also top Brit at last weekend's Italian Nationals. It will be interesting to see if any of the current top British teams have the necessary consistency to win this time around.

The big growth region over the last three years has been Russia. Russia is fielding three strong teams, including Vadim Pushev, RC44 owner Vladimir Proshikin and Italian Nationals runners-up Alexey Murashkin – all have shown strong form and could mount a serious challenge.

From France, SB20 World Council Class President Ed Russo is consistent, and was right in the hunt to win the last Worlds in St Petersburg. The young team skippered by Robin Follin has also been making fast improvements and could well be in the mix. There are also European entries from Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Olympian Ian Ainslie leads an Italian/South African/Australian team – he was second at the 2010 Worlds and has been looking strong at times this year, while his compatriot Roger Hudson is back with his 'Race Ahead' team. The Race Ahead team have plenty of World Championship podium positions to their names over the years and, while they have been concentrating on the 470 recently, will certainly not have forgotten how to put their SB20 in the right place.

There is a strong contingent coming from Australia. Multiple Laser World Champion and long-term SB20 sailor Glenn Bourke has a new boat, and has been practising at Torbole. Meanwhile Michael Cooper's team from the very strong Tasmanian fleet are recent additions to the class, but there is a lot of experience and talent in their boat, and they finished a strong fifth at the recent Italian nationals.

Probably the favourite, however, is Rodion Luka from Ukraine. Rodion is a 49er Olympic silver medallist, and his crew includes former 470 world champion Igor Matviyenko. Rodion has been in the SB20 class for five years and has won virtually everything on offer, apart from the world championships. He struggled at points during the recent Italian Nationals, but may well be the boat to beat.

Category prizes

With 14 races and two discards consistency will be the key, and the ability to convert an indifferent start or poor first beat into a decent result may make all the difference to which team's name goes on the spectacular glass trophy.

With over 100 boats taking part, the entries will be divided into Gold and Silver fleets, with the Silver fleet sponsored by SB20 builder and distributor Sportsboat World. The event will also see the winners of several categories awarded prizes from sponsors including Hyde Sails, who will be giving a prize for the best Masters team, and the Clarins award for the top Ladies' boat.


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#sb20 – The SB20 fleet were treated to conditions more befitting the Mediterranean on Sunday afternoon as they battled it out on Dublin Bay in 10-15knts of breeze and blistering sunshine. Although some of the fleet regulars were

absent due to the fact that they have already departed for the Italian Nationals on Lake Garda in preparation for the upcoming World Championships, the fleet were delighted to see the welcome return of "Lupi d'Irlanda" (Marco Sorgassi et al) helmed on the day by veteran SB'er Tim Burke and "Mephisto" (John Lyons et al) helmed on the day by team racing legend Sam Hunt. In fact, there were three guest helmsmen in the fleet with regular SB crew Gavin Murphy ably getting to grips with the tiller once more on Seriously Bonkers (Peter Lee et al) as Peter familiarises himself with the role of "middle man" in preparation for the Worlds.

OOD Barry O'Neill and his team set up the windward/leeward course in the vicinity of Merrion mark between the west pier and Dublin Port, the area used to such good effect in the recent Leinster Championships.

With a strong ebbing tide favouring the left hand side of the course and a wind forecast to clock around to the right all day long, this was going to pose a tricky test for the competitors.

After a brief postponement to gather the fleet, Race 1 got off at the first time of asking. By the weather mark , it was clear that the left hand side of the course had paid as the expected right hand shift had yet to materialise. First around the mark was the SB prodigal son Tim Burke and team in Lupi d'Irlanda followed closely by Sam Hunt and team on Mephisto. Clearly nobody had told the newbies that it was just plain rude to give the regulars a spanking in their first race back! The two leaders were hotly pursued by Sin Bin (Michael O'Connor, Owen Laverty and Kevin Johnson) with a small gap to a bunch consisting of (Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan and Rory Groves), Rubadubdub (Nick Doherty, Conor and Rob) and Bango (James Gorman, Ted Laverty and Keith Staunton).

Lupi were the first to gybe off approximately one third of the way down the first run with the remainder of the fleet holding on longer on starboard gybe. At the leeward mark, Lupi's decision to gybe off early was vindicated as they led Mephisto around the leeward mark by a length with Sin Bin rounding on Mephisto's transom. The wind started to oscillate as the boats progressed up the second beat and it was Mephisto that picked out the best path to the weather mark, overtaking Lupi and leading the
fleet at the second weather mark, a lead they were to hold onto to the finish. Bango also made good gains on the second upwind leg picking their way through the fleet and improving up to fourth place. Misfortune struck
Lupi while hoisting their kite at the second weather mark as they tore a sizeable gash in their spinnaker but commendably, they held on to second place to the finish despite the best efforts of Sin Bin and Bango chasing
hard. At the end it was Mephisto followed by Lupi, Sin Bin, Bango, Rubadubdub and

Race 2 saw a return to form of the "regulars" (phew!). Once again, the left hand side of the first beat paid handsomely with Sin Bin and Lupi coming in from the left hand corner while the remainder of the fleet seemed to play the percentages and the shifts closer to the middle of the course. At the weather mark, Sin Bin led by a few lengths from Mephisto, again putting in a solid showing, with a few boatlengths further back in third. Unfortunately for Lupi, they had marginally overstood the weather mark and lost ground ducking boats and trying to find a gap to tack onto the starboard layline and get around the mark.

After a lot of shouting, Lupi rounded in fourth overlapped with Rubadubdub in fifth and Seriously Bonkers also overlapped in a very close sixth.

Down the first run, Venuesworld spotted a new line of breeze coming down the left hand side and were first to gybe off, followed by Sin Bin some moments later. The remainder of the fleet continued on starboard towards
the right hand side of the run. The new breeze also came with a significant right hand shift favouring Venuesworld and Sin Bin, allowing these two boats pull out a lead on the chasing pack who by now were struggling to get up to the leeward gate. The significant right hander meant that passing the leaders was going to be difficult for the chasing pack so at the finish it was Sin Bin in first followed by in second. Lupi followed them over in a creditable third place and Bango managed to get the upper hand on Mephisto after the pair had rounded the
leeward mark with Mephisto overlapped to weather. In sixth was Probably (Ian Simmington, Billy Riordan and Mark Nolan) after a "Lazarus-style" comeback to get back into the fray.

After a brief delay to allow the Race Officer and his team of rescue crew reset the course, Race 3 also got off at the first time of asking. This time, it was clear that the tide was going to be less of a factor and playing the shifting breeze and finding more pressure was where the
largest gains lay. It seemed that the pressure was better on the right hand side of the course and shortly after the start, Seriously Bonkers and Mephisto were the quickest to peel off onto port tack, ducking transoms in
search of the fresher breeze and expected shift. The move paid off handsomely as by the time the remainder of the fleet had peeled off onto port (only a minute or two later), the pair of early tackers were already in a new breeze and were able to cross the fleet as they came back towards the fleet on starboard.

However, the fleet did manage to reel in the early leaders and by the weather mark, Mephisto lead by the narrowest of margins from Sin Bin with Seriously Bonkers and the chasing pack near astern. A savage hoist by
Kevin and Owen on Sin Bin allowed them to roll over Mephisto at the spreader mark, forcing Mephisto to gybe onto port immediately.

Sin Bin followed suit a few boatlengths later heading off towards the left hand side of the run with Mephisto. The remainder of the fleet spread out evenly down the run. As the fleet converged in the middle of the run, it was clear that those boats that kept on longer on starboard gybe had fared better and gained ground with both Lupi and Bango coming into contention half way down the run. By now, the wind was quite light and the boats were in low mode, soaking down to the leeward marks at only 5 knots.

By the first leeward, Sin Bin had managed to hold on and led around the mark by five boatlengths from Mephisto and Lupi in a battle for second. Up the second beat, the wind was oscillating by up to 20 degrees so large gains and losses were still to be made and positions changed regularly. By the second weather mark, the wind was in a left hand phase making starboard the favoured gybe initially down the final run of the day. Those
boats that gybed off at the second weather mark were punished severely as the boats that held on made significant gains. At the finish, it was Sin Bin in first followed by Lupi in second with Bango charging through the fleet on the second run into third place. came home in fourth followed by Mephisto in fifth and Rubadubdub in sixth.

Congratulations to Barry O'Neill and his team on the committee vessel managing to get off three great races in a tricky shifting breeze.

In other news, the next Sunday races (for those not lucky enough to be in Lake Garda already!) are next Sunday, 21st June followed by the final three races of series two on Sunday 28th June. Mid-July and early August
will see the SB20 class joining the Dragon fleet for some Saturday racing - something to look forward to. Finally, best of luck to the nine-strong Irish contingent preparing to compete in the World Championships in
Torbole, Lake Garda from 4th - 10th July. The Irish sailors will be joined by, amongst others, former Olympians Glenn Bourke and (silver medallist) Rodion Luka. At the time of going to print, there were 86 registered entrants so exciting and tight racing is assured.

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#sb20 – After an exhilarating day of SB20 sportsboat racing sailed on Cork harbour's Eastern Bank at Royal Cork Yacht Club, only one point separated Darren Martin's Sharkbait and Aidan O'Connell's Ruby Blue going into today's final rounds writes Claire Bateman. Yesterday had seen some scary episodes including Justin Burke's deck lifting from the hull of his boat 'Alert Packaging'.


A relaxed Sharbait crew returning to shore without having had to sail the final race. Photo: Bob Bateman

Todays forecast was for very light wind and this indeed turned out to be the case. However, the 11-boat fleet headed outside the harbour to try to get the best of any wind going and indeed the first race of the day was started but abandoned just before the weather mark as the wind had died completely. However, a new breeze of some 8 to 10 knots arrived to save the day and resulted in a win for Sharkbait and thus negated the need for them to sail the final race.

Results downloadable below.

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#sb20 – Strong and gusty north westerlies on Dublin Bay have led to the cancellation of the SB20 DBSC racing today. The Dublin Bay buoy located next to the SB20 race track showed an average wind speed of 
23–kts and gusts of 30kts from 311 °(NW) leading race officer Barry O'Neill to cancel this afternoon's racing. SB20 Class captain James Gorman plans to reschedule the planned three races for later in the season.

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The DBSC SB20 fleet had champagne sailing conditions on Dublin bay last Sunday. 8 boats lined up for 3 fantastic windward leeward courses set by Con Murphy of the National Yacht Club. Davy Taylor onboard with a 2nd, 1st, 2nd had the best results of the day. Davy below describes the 3 races.

Race 1 saw most of the fleet starting at the committee boat end of the line in search for pressure on the right hand side of the course. Probably (Mark Nolan, Ian Simington & Gavan Murphy), positioned in the middle of the line were the quickest to make gains following the gun. After dealing with shifty conditions on the first beat, (Davy Taylor, Marty O'Leary, Lisa Neary & Rachel Williamson) lead the fleet into the windward mark followed by Bad-Kilcullen (Stefan Hyde, Jerry Dowling & Jimmy Dowling) and (Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan & Rory Groves). For the first downwind leg, the fleet returned to the right side of the course for more breeze. The fleet split at the leeward gate and boats who favoured the port mark gained an advantage on the rest. Bad-Kilcullen made their second windward mark rounding in first place followed by and Sin Bin (Michael O'Connor, Owen Laverty & Kevin Johnson). The final downwind saw a final attempt from the fleet to take the lead position from Bad-Kilcullen without success. Crossing the finish line in first was Bad-Kilcullen, 2nd and 3rd Sin Bin.

In race 2 the breeze shifted slightly right and all boats hovered around the starboard end of the line. An overly eager fleet led to a general recall (hats off to James Gorman on Bango for being the only boat not over the line). A quick pin reset and the boats were off again. A square line allowed for a good start apart from Sin Bin getting dizzy for fouling and both boats giving the fleet a head start. For the first beat, the fleet went left and went right, benefitting from a wind shift which saw the fleet under's boom at the top of the course. slipped into a very close first at the windward mark followed by and Bango (James Gorman, Ted Laverty & Henrik Olerud). Bango gained from an early set over rounding the spreader mark. The fleet headed right with gybing off for pressure. All of the fleet lined up for the leeward mark on port apart from who came in on starboard getting around the port mark in front of the pack. For the next windward leg, the fleet played the unrelenting shifts and on the second downwind leg repeated the gybe set routine in search of more pressure on the right hand side of the course. This didn't pay however, and Sin Bin and Bad-Kilcullen caught up at the finish with winning by seconds over Sin Bin in 2nd and Bad-Kilcullen just pipping Bango on the finish line for 3rd.

The start line for Race 3 had a slight port bias but most boats chose the committee boat to begin. Sin Bin won the first windward leg profiting from stronger pressure on the port side of the course. They had a good lead over in second and in third. Most of the fleet gybed early for pressure on the first downwind leg chasing Sin Bin. The fleet then split at the leeward gate and in challenging shifty conditions, the lead changed hands between the top 4 boats with Sin Bin eventually slipping back into first. There was a decrease in wind for the final downwind leg and an early gybe for pressure by and allowed the two boats jump into 1st and 2nd as they reached the leeward gate. Crossing the finish line was 1st, 2nd and Sin Bin 3rd.

Great to see Bob Hobby and his crew on Smoke on the Water back in action for their first sail of the season and Michael Galvin who normally does front on Seriously Bonkers helming. It was also great to see Ted Laverty back on the water for the first time since the birth of his first child.

This Sunday sees the final 3 races of series one taking place. Bad-Kilcullen hold just a one point lead over Sin Bin with Bango back in third & in fourth.

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#sb20 – Jerry Dowling's Bad Kilcullen from the Royal Irish Yacht Club emerged the winner of a breezy 17–boat Leinster Championships off Dun Laoghaire at the weekend by a two point margin. Second was Cork based Corona Extra with Howth's Dinghy Supplies third. Full results for the Royal St. George Yacht Club hosted event are downloadable below. The event was sponsored by O'Connor Intellectual Property.

The fleet were delighted to welcome back SB20 stalwarts Peter Kennedy, Dave Cheyne and Stephen Kane on Ridgefence, Colin Galavan helming Bad Kilcullen (on Saturday), Rick Morris crewing on Ruby Blue and Marco Sorgassi and his new crew on Lupi d'Irlanda. The fleet were also delighted to welcome new young guns Tim O'Laoire, George Kenefic, Rob Bearla and Aoife English on SacreBleu. After some years of steady numbers, the fleet is once again showing promising signs of growth with several boats changing hands in the last few months and it was encouraging to see the returning stalwarts and new converts competing at the sharp end of the fleet.

17 boats took to the start line on Saturday in a fresh to strong westerly wind. With the gusts topping off at 28knts in a short chop, conditions were perfect to showcase SB20 racing at its very best and the fleet certainly didn't disappoint. OOD Barry O'Neill and his team had their work cut out for them with the westerly breeze shifting through 50 degrees throughout the course of the day but they did an exceptional job providing three excellent races on Saturday in such testing conditions.


Race 1 saw Davy Taylor, Marty O'Leary and Rachel Willamson on take an early jump on the fleet closely pursued by Dinghy Supplies (Daragh Sheridan, Shane Murphy and John Phelan), Ruby Blue (Aidan O'Connell, Rick Morris and Johnny Horgan) and Sin Bin (Michael O'Connor, Owen Laverty and Kevin Johnson). With the wind shifting about and gusting so frequently, there were plenty of passing opportunities and in the end Sin Bin snuck into the lead to finish ahead of Dinghy Supplies with Ruby Blue in third and Corona Extra (Graeme Grant, Ronan Downing and Breffni Jones) recovering well to finish in fourth. Race 2 again saw the fleet tussling for position but by the second weather mark Ruby Blue had built up a commanding lead over the chasing pack of Sin Bin, Ridgefence, and Bad Kilcullen (Colin Galanvan, Gerry Dowling and Jimmy Dowling). Tragedy struck Ruby Blue as they snagged the weather mark anchor line on their way to what surely would have been an unassailable lead down the final run. Second around Sin Bin were unable to take full advantage as they broached three quarters way down the run putting an end to their hopes of race victory. The crew of showed sublime boat handling skills to keep the boat under the rig and took a well deserved victory from Dinghy Supplies in second, Corona Extra in third followed by Bad Kilcullen in fourth. Ridgefence were getting into the swing of things with a creditable fifth. In Race 3, Ruby Blue again got off to a flyer but this time there was to be no repeat of their error in Race 2 and they won convincingly from a chasing pack of Bad in second, Corona Extra in third, Dinghy Supplies in fourth and Ridgefence once more in fifth.

At the end of day one, Dinghy Supplies were leading on 8 points (2,2,4) from Corona Extra (4,3,3) and (6, 1, 7) in third however a protest between Corona Extra and saw Yachtsman disqualified from race 1 and relegated down the leaderboard. Venuesworld (Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan and Rory Groves) were promoted to fifth in race 1. The exhausted but very happy crews convened to the bar of the Royal St. George for some well-earned apres sail pints followed by a magnificent meal in the club room of the George. There were plenty of tales of high speed escapades with many recording speeds in the high teens on the downwind sleigh-rides. SacreBleu reported a speed of 22.6 knts which was put down by everyone else to a malfunctioning speedo until we saw the photographic evidence and eye-witness reports from the committee boat of a blue blur passing them by very, very quickly!

Sunday dawned with a slightly, although not significantly, lighter breeze (F4 gusting F6 at times) and the competitors ventured out onto Dublin Bay once more in the expectation of more thrills and spills. Race 4 saw new boat to the fleet Bango (James Gorman, Philip Lawton and Keith Staunton) showing some impressive upwind speed to lead at mark one but they were unlucky to be swallowed up by the chasing pack who caught the gusts fractionally earlier on the downwind leg. By the end of race 4, Ruby Blue was back to the fore showing impressive speed and tactics to take their second race win of the series, giving them a (3,1,1) to count with the discard coming in. They were followed by Bad Kilcullen in second (now with regular helm Stefan Hyde in place of super sub Colin Galavan), Corona Extra in third continuing to put in a very consistent series, new boys (and girl) SacreBleu in fourth and Lia (Dave Barry, John Malone and Ger Bythell) in fifth. In Race 5, Ridgefence were fully into the swing of things and won from SacreBleu in a commendable second place followed by Corona Extra in their now customery third place, Bad Kilcullen in fourth and Yachtsman in fifth.


After five races, things were very close at the top with Bad and Corona Extra tied on 12 points followed by Ruby Blue on 14 points, Dinghy Supplies a further two points back on 16 points and Ridgefence on 17 points not entirely out of the reckoning. In Race 6, Sin Bin led at mark 1 and were being followed closely by Dinghy Supplies, Bad Kilcullen and Corona Extra. These boats tussled it out over the following legs with the three lead boats overlapped going into the final gate! In the end, Sin Bin took the race win, their second of the championship, from Bad in second and Dinghy Supplies in third. Corona Extra took fourth and showed a return to form with a fifth in the final race of the day. At the end of the series, Bad Kilcullen were worthy winners of the 2015 SB20 Leinster Championship with Corona Extra in second, Dinghy Supplies in third, Ruby Blue in fourth and Ridgefence in fifth. The silver fleet was won by SacreBleu who came in eighth overall. Interestingly, none of the top three boats managed a race win showing that in this fleet, mistakes are severly punished and there is a high standard throughout with anyone capable of winning a race. Prizes were awarded to the competitors by new RStGYC commodore Justin McKenna and the Royal St. George Yacht Club and race committee were highly praised by the competitors at the prizegiving for a thoroughly enjoyable event. Next up is the Southern Championships in RCYC in early June where another good turnout is expected.

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#sb20 – The first SB20 Grand Slam of the 2015 season welcomed an international fleet to Hyères, in the South of France, for a fantastically close regatta with some spectacular sailing conditions from May 1-3, 2015

As Afloat previously reported, the international entry featured 25 boats from eight different nations, and included new teams from Switzerland, Italy, Portugal and Russia. There were also two boats from Singapore – both a men's and ladies' crew – who were using the event as a warm-up regatta session before the Southeast Asian Games, which is being held in SB20s in Singapore in June.

The event got underway with three races on Friday, May 1 in light conditions. Winning honours were shared by the French youth entry 'Give Me 5 By FFV France Jeune', who took the first winner's gun, British entrant 'Xcellent' skippered by John Pollard, and the Russian 'BCG Sailing Team' of Vadim Pushev.

The second day of racing saw winds build to a strong Mistral of over 30 knots. Two exhilarating races were completed before race organisers from the COYCH sent the fleet back ashore as wind speeds increased. Class secretary Ed Russo on 'Black Magic' and 'Xcellent' each took a first place in the day's high-speed competition.

The final Sunday brought more moderate 12-15 knot winds, and three races were completed. 'Xcellent', 'BCG Sailing Team' and 'Give Me 5' each took a win, bringing the event to a super-close finish with the final placings decided on countback as John Pollard's team just edged overall victory from the Russian 'BCG' entry.

Third overall was the 'Give Me 5 by FFV' crew of Robin Follin, Emeric Michel, Gauthier Germain and Marine Boudot, who were also the top Youth team. Third and fourth places were also separated on countback. Overall winners John Pollard, Rob Smitt and Mike Schwarz were also awarded the Masters prize, sponsored by Hyde Sails, while the top Ladies' award went to '5G Racing' from Singapore, with Jovina Choo, Daniela Ng, Dawn Liu and Terena Lam receiving prizes from luxury skincare brand Clarins.

John Pollard, skipper of the winning team 'Xcellent', commented: "It was definitely glorious sailing weather, and it's the fastest I've been in an SB20 – we hit 19 knots downwind! Hyères is always a great place to sail, and a good fun regatta with so many international teams from Russia, Singapore, Belgium, France, Holland and England all making it a fantastic Hyères. It was a really quality fleet."

The Hyères event is the first Grand Slam of the SB20 season, before the fleet moves onto Torbole in Italy for three events – the second Grand Slam of the season from May 22-24, the Italian Nationals and then the 2015 SB20 World Championships from July 4-10. The class will also compete at Grand Slam events in Cowes, during Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week in early August, and Cascais in Portugal in September.

The SB20 is one of the world's most successful one-design keelboats, with over 700 boats currently sailed in 22 countries. It is distributed worldwide by Sportsboat World in Netley Abbey and was originally designed by Tony Castro of Hamble, Hampshire. The 2015 World Championships will be held in Torbole, on Lake Garda in Italy from July 4-10, and the UK National Championships from September 5-8 at the Royal Southern YC in Hamble.

Overall Results:
1st GBR 3724 Xcellent John Pollard, Rob Smitt & Mike Schwarz 24pts
2nd RUS 37007 BCG Sailing Team Vadim Pushev, Aleksandr MIkhailov & Timur Sabirzianov 24 pts
3rd FRA 3653 Give Me 5 by FFV Robin Follin, Emeric Michel, Gauthier Germain & Marine Boudot 29pts
4th FRA 3706 Black Magic Edward Russo, Cedric Chateau & Giles Favennec 29pts
5th ITA 3637 Diva XS Ferdinando Battistella, Andrea Casale & Andrea Battistella

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#sb20grandslam – The SB20 class is looking forward to its first Grand Slam event of the 2015 season at the stunning venue of Hyères in the South of France, this morning.

This is the first of four Grand Slam events for 2015, with Grand Slam regattas also scheduled at Torbole in Italy, Cowes on the Isle of Wight, and Cascais in Portugal for the one-design 20-foot keelboat class.

New for 2015, the first Masters team will be awarded prizes from sailmakers Hyde while the top Women's team will win luxury products from skincare company Clarins.

Hyères, on the Cote d'Azur, is famed as a superb sailing venue – just last week it hosted some of the world's best sailors at the ISAF World Cup event, welcoming top Olympic and Paralympic class competitors to the glamorous South of France. The SB20 class is returning to the venue for their third Hyères Grand Slam, and can look forward to three days of racing with up to 12 races scheduled by organisers COCYH, and spectacular sailing conditions forecast of strong breezes with plenty of sunshine.

The fleet has attracted 25 entries from eight countries, including France, Portugal, Russia, Germany, Britain, Monaco, Switzerland, and as far afield as Singapore but unfortunately none from the Irish fleet. Competitors include Alexey Muraskhkin, who won last year's Torbole Grand Slam event, and Class President Edward Russo.

"This is an exceptional location and we're expecting some exciting, high-octane racing over the next few days," commented Ed Russo, SB20 World Council President. "We are particularly pleased to welcome Hydes and Clarins onboard as category sponsors for this year's Grand Slam series, and are sure that the Masters and Women's teams will enjoy some superb competition in this international fleet."

The SB20 is one of the world's most successful one-design keelboats, with over 700 boats currently sailed in 22 countries. It is distributed worldwide by Sportsboat World in Netley Abbey and was originally designed by Tony Castro of Hamble, Hampshire. The 2015 World Championships will be held in Torbole, on Lake Garda in Italy from July 4-10, and the UK National Championships from September 5-8 at the Royal Southern YC in Hamble.

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#sb20 – There was not much enthusiasm on the SB20 dock Saturday morning due to the wet and dreary climate. The breeze of 20 to 25 knots in the first race soon brightened up everybody's mood once the kites went up. Sin Bin (Michael O Connor, Owen Laverty, Kevin Johnson) dominated the first race winning the slightly biased pin off the start line. Sin Bin showed great boat speed to comfortably lead all of the way to the finish. Sin Bin looked to be back on form following their Spring Warmer win. After the first downwind leg Rugby Blue (Aidan O'Connell, Killian Collins, Ben O' Donohoe) and Corona Extra (Graeme Grant, Ronan Downing, Breffni Jones) pulled away from the rest of the fleet and engaged in a duel up the next beat with Corona Extra climbing to second by the next weather mark. This is where the top 3 finished with (Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan, Rory Groves) winning the battle of the pack to take 4th. Overall results downloadable below as a jpeg file.

The breeze moderated for the second race with the tide becoming more of a prominent force to the east, carrying the boats north to the weather mark. Corona Extra pulled out a sizeable lead on the first downwind leg only to see the lion's share of it disappear on the second beat when a 30 degree shift to the east pulled everybody on the right side of the course up to their transom. Corona Extra just held off The Bear (Kieran Dorgan, Jason Losty, Ewan O' Keffe) at the second leeward gate to lead them to the finish. Sharkbait (Darren Martin, Simon Murray, Andrew Killops) held off Venueworld and the rest of the pack for third.

The third race of the day saw the breeze drop to approx. 10/ 12 knots negating any chance of planning downwind. Thankfully the rain eased off as the breeze calmed down. Corona Extra got off the middle of the line fast and caught the first shift to jump into the lead. The downwind legs where considerably more trying with narrow lines of breeze streaking down the course. Corona Extra lead to the finish with building on their consistency with a comfortable second followed by Dinghy Supplies grabing a decent result of third to help ease the pain of the previous 2 sevenths.
The crews hit the bar early to try and warm up after the wet days sailing. With the prawn festivel on in Howth that weekend, the club surpassed itself with a fantastic meal that evening. The first days sailing left Corona Extra out in front on 4 points followed by on 10 points and Sin Bin on 17 points with effectively the rest of the fleet just behind them, all looking to discard a race from their first days sailing to get back in the hunt. The Sunday was a much sunnier affair with enough of a light breeze for the day, varying between 5 to 10 knots.
Race 4 saw Corona Extra get buried off the line and sucked to the back of the fleet rounding the weather mark in fourteenth. The race was won by Dinghy Supplies building on their third in race 3 followed by Seriously Bonkers (Stephen Lee, Peter Lee, Michael Galvin) in second and maintaining their consistency with a third.
Race 5 was won by Sharkbait with Bad Kilcullen (Stefan Hyde, Enda O'Coineen, Jimmy Dowling) taking second and Dinghy Supplies taking third. The race was dominated by 2 persistent shifts to the east which accounted for a lot of snakes and ladders with the fleet. After allowing for a discard, this left Corona Extra with a much narrower overall lead of 3 points on 10 points overall after scoring 2 sixths in races 4 & 5. The very consistent held second place on 13 points with Dinghy Supplies now after charging up to third on 14 points.
Race 6 featured a wobbly and puffy light breeze which contributed to lead changes at every mark between Seriously Bonkers, Dinghy Supplies and Bad Kilcullen. Corona Extra was reeling in the lead pack at the first leeward mark but only managed 4th by the second windward. Seriously Bonkers hit the weather mark handing the lead to Dinghy Supplies with Bad Kilcullen and Corona Extra hot on their heels and a good jump ahead of the remaining fleet. This lead to a double cover gybe from Corona Extra when Bad Kilcullen gybed on top of Dinghy Supplies. This manoeuvre switched the positions around with Dinghies and Bad getting their air blanketed by Corona Extra. Corona Extra lead to the finish with Bad Kilcullen taking second and Dinghy Supplies taking third. came sixth in the last race which moved Dinghy Supplies up to second overall ahead of Corona Extra won the regatta by a six point margin on 11 points overall.

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#sb20 – Stephen Lee (SB20 - 3484) went overboard at the SB20 sportsboat Eastern championships in Howth at the weekend. Here he describes the lessons learnt from his early season 'salt water bath' on Saturday.

Firstly, let me make it absolutely clear, I don't think anyone did anything wrong, there are no ill feelings toward anyone involved and the only purpose of this is to learn from the incident and hopefully do things better in the future. I love our sport and I don't want to wrap it up in cotton wool or discourage clubs from hosting events due to some perceived safety risks at the end of the day it is always the sailors decision to take to the water.

What happened...

On the first downwind leg of Race 1 on Saturday (decent waves and strong wind), heading down on Starboard gybe and approaching the gybe line, we were surfing pretty fast down the backs of the waves. We setup for the gybe and I steer into it (still at full speed on the back of a nice wave), three quarters of the way through the gybe, I've gybed the main and I'm sitting on the new side. When I start to straighten up we get hit by a smaller wave and it throws me off-balance and I go over the side. I managed to grab the end of the granny rail as I go over but have to let go after a few seconds because I'm now being dragged alongside underwater. At that point I'm now floating in the water, free of the boat and watching it sail away. I did try to swim towards the boat for a little while but it was moving far too quickly. My next concern was to make sure any other boats coming downwind could see me and avoid sailing over me. Thankfully there was only one boat coming down my line and I manage to get their attention and they keep well clear and avoid me. After their gybe they call back to me if I'm ok, to which I reply that I'm fine (more on this later) and continue on their run. Meanwhile Dad and Michael are recovering a trawled spinnaker and making their way back up wind to me. At this stage I've been in the water for 6-8 minutes and the rest of the fleet have disappeared off to the leeward gate. Dad and Michael very successfully get back to me and help me back onboard and we head for shore.

The lessons...

1) As soon as you know that you have a man overboard situation, get on the radio and alert the race committee.

- In our situation we didn't do this and the first thing the race committee knew of the situation was when we radioed our retirement. They can't do anything if they don't know about it!

2) Any other boats that see what's happened should get on the radio and alert the race committee. What if the radio goes overboard with the crew member....

3) Any boats that see crew in the water should abandon their race to recover the person in the water. Remember, you will get the position back by redress.

- In this situation Dad and Michael were well capable of coming back to get me, but it may not be the case with if the spinnaker had wrapped around the keel or there had been two less experienced crew aboard.

Having been on the wet side of this I will definitely be practicing all of the above in all of my future sailing.

Thanks to everyone involved for a great Easterns and I look forward to see you all in a few weeks at the Royal St George.


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Page 13 of 23

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.


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

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