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#sb20 – The Irish SB20 class has announced its 2015 programme that includes an expanded Dublin Bay racing programme with a 'user friendly' combination of ten Sunday races and four Saturday races all over preferred windward–leeward courses on the capital's waters.

Dun Laoghaire will host one SB20 regional event hosted by the Royal St George YC. The SB20 Nationals will sail from the nearby Royal Irish YC.

Download the full SB20 Irish fixtures programme for 2015 below.

Topping this off is the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire race week which means a whole summer's racing without ever leaving Dun Laoghaire.

National Yacht Club sailor James Gorman is the new Dun Laoghaire class captain who has overseen the new programme.

Howth YC is hosting the popular Spring Warmer sails and class president Justin Burke says this season starter 'dovetails nicely into the SB20 Easterns the following week'.

Royal Cork YC will host the SB20 Southerns and this will be the final warm up before the SB20 Worlds in Lake Garda where a large fleet is expected.

A new venue for the SB20 class will be in Northern Ireland at Whiterock on Strangford Lough Yacht Club in September.

The final event of 2015 will again be on the midland lakes in October.

Published in SB20

#sb20 – The SB20 keelboat class will hold its 2017 World Championships at the prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. 

It's somewhat disappointing news for Irish sportsboat sailing following a competitive tender process from five international sailing clubs including three Irish ones from Cork, Galway and Ulster.

The SB20 World Council voted for the RYS to host the championships. Event dates will be confirmed early in 2015.

As previously reported last August, Irish SB20 Class President Justin Burke had been urging Irish clubs to get behind the sportsboat bid and bring the Championships here for a second time.

Ireland previously hosted the inaugural worlds – when the class was known as the SB3 – in 2009 at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire attracting a massive fleet of 163 boats divided into two flights.

Ed Russo, President of the SB20 World Council, commented: "We are excited about the opportunity of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes hosting the 2017 SB20 Worlds. The Solent is where the first SB20 fleet began and we expect a significant number of participants from the 13 fleets around the world to return to the founding waters for this event."

The Royal Yacht Squadron is one of the most prestigious yacht clubs in the world, the host club of the very first America's Cup race (held around the Isle of Wight in 1851), and founder of the famous Cowes Week regatta. With its spectacular canon start-line at Cowes Castle, the Squadron hosts top level racing events on the Solent waters each year.

Rear Commodore (Yachting) Jonathan Perry commented: "The Royal Yacht Squadron is delighted to have been selected to host the SB20 World Championships in 2017. The Solent provides challenging sailing conditions for this truly international class, which we look forward to welcoming to Cowes."

The SB20 class is an international one-design keelboat sailed by three or four people which offers incredibly close 'level' racing, attracting both amateur and professional sailors of all ages. It is a familiar sight on the Solent, and provides superb value for money with class starts and one-design fleets at major regattas such as Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, as well as its own class championships and Grand Slam circuit.

The SB20 class has over 750 boats sailing worldwide with established fleets in the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Dubai, Singapore and Australia, and regularly attracts fleets of over 100 boats for international events. A global fleet is expected for the 2017 World Championships as well as a strong UK entry.

The SB20 will hold its 2015 World Championships at Torbole, on Lake Garda, Italy and in 2016 in Cascais, Portugal, giving the fleet three superb venues for the next three overall World Championship contests, which also include Youth, Masters and Ladies titles.

Published in SB20

#sb20 – The Irish SB20 fleet has voted to remove the obligation to carry an outboard engine and fuel on the six–metre sportsboat class during racing. The class has also ditched the crew weight limit.

According to class president Justin Burke, the removal of the engine rule (rule C.5.1(6)) in favour of a new rule to carry two paddles instead has been a debatable point among class members. 'Some see an engine as a fall back safety option and others see it as a danger' he told

The rule will save weight of up to 21 kg and its abolition follows a similar path taken by the intenational class where the 'outboard engine rule' was amended four years ago at the SB20 Worlds Championships.

In other changes, there will be no restriction on crew weight, there will be no weigh in and no requirement to be 270kg or less to race except for the SB20 national championship.

A 2015 calendar will issue shortly.

Published in SB20

#loughderg – Lough Derg's annual Keelboat Freshwater Regatta in October is meant to round out the season with some gentle lake sailing for salty folk in big boats. But 2014's event last weekend was just too near a ferociously active bad weather system which had lows sometimes down to the 950s spinning around each other out in the Atlantic close to Ireland's West Coast. Thus although it was possible to get in the racing in the CH Marine Autumn Series down at Crosshaven, while the MSL Park Motors Autumn League at Howth concluded in balmy if breezy conditions across on the east coast, over to the west on Lough Derg they were lashed by the tails of two storms, and two classes failed to get any racing at all. But if you happened to be with the stately Dragons or the perky Squibs, then there was some great sport which has W M Nixon reflecting on the way our keelboat classes are developing.

Of all Ireland's lakes, it is Lough Derg which most truly merits the description of "Inland Sea'. Lough Neagh may have greater area, but in the final analysis it's only an oddly characterless shallow basin which happens to be filled with water. Lough Erne is marvellous, but too convoluted. Lough Ree has the area and the intricate coastline, but lacks the scenery. And while Lough Corrib is right up there in the beauty stakes, it's isolated from the rest of the world.

But Lough Derg – now there really is a proper inland sea. It has splendid scenery, and historic little ports with ancient quaysides all round its complex coastline, while beside them you'll find modern marinas which host an astonishing variety and number of boats, including some quite substantial sailing cruisers.

Not only is it a splendid place unto itself, but Lough Derg is part of the greater world. From it, you can undertake inland voyages to every part of Ireland, yet it takes only a day to access the sea and the oceans beyond. It's the sort of place where boating and sailing ambitions can seem endless, so it's not surprising that in recent years the Autumn keelboat regatta has become a trendy annual fixture.

Last weekend, sixty boats from four classes headed Dromineer way, to a hospitable bay and village where Lough Derg YC has been established since 1835. Keelboat racing is nothing new on Lough Derg, but boat numbers at this level is something new, and the logistics of getting the visitors launched, and organising racing on two courses when the weather was being massively unco-operative, caused something of an overload on the club system.

As well, being slightly later in October than is usual, some key members of LDYC's small core of voluntary workers afloat and ashore were already out of the country on their usual mid-Autumn breaks. So although it would have been manageable if the weather had been clement, with the main part of the racing planned for mid-lake there simply weren't the service boats and personnel available to make a sudden shift of some of the racing to a second inshore course in Dromineer Bay.

Lough Derg isn't just a lake – it's a proper inland sea with connections to the wide world.

There's nothing new about keelboats on Lough Derg. This is the 7-ton cutter Tessa (Trahern Holmes, LDYC) on the lake in 1884......

....and this is the keelboat class at Dromineer in the late 1920s. The Bermuda rigged sail number L11 is a former Olympic 6 Metre from Finland

Happily for the Dragons racing in their well-established challenge for the Jack Craig Cup, the trophy which started the whole Dromineer Autumn Keelboat event, their racing was planned for three days. In the end, they only managed the required mid-lake racing on the Friday, but it gave great sport.

derg5.jpgThe Dragons start on the Friday. It was the introduction of the Jack Craig Cup for the International Dragons which inaugurated the Lough Derg Keelboat Regatta. The overall winner was to be Phantom (Neil Hegarty, RStGYC, no 176) Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

Diva (Richard Goodbody) holds the lead downwind from Dublin Bay (Gary Treacy), Little Fella (Cameron Good) and Mar J (Adrian Bendon) Photo Gareth Craig/fotosail

derg6a.jpgWhen the going was good for the Dragons at Dromineer, it was very good. Gary Treacy's Dublin Bay from Dun Laoghaire and Adrian Bendon's Mar J from Kinsale neck and neck on the run, with Lough Derg YC's clubhouse and harbour on the shoreline beyond. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

Gary Treacy's Dublin Bay settles into the groove upwind. Photo: Gareth Craig /fotosail

Richard Goodbody's Diva showing the form which won second overall. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

Martin Byrne's Jaguar at the finish on starboard. A former Edinburgh Cup winner, Jaguar placed third on Lough Derg. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

The Lough Derg 2014 Dragon Champions – Neil Hegarty's Phantom (right) won from Richard Goodbody's Diva (left). Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

derg11.jpgAutumn sailing at its best – Adrian Bendon's Mar J from Kinsale closes in on the finish and tenth place overall at Dromineer. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

However, for the SB20s and the Flying Fifteens, trying to race the same waters on Saturday proved a non-event, and again on Sunday too. All of which made it even more galling that the Squibs, the biggest fleet of all, had requested their own simple windward-leeward course set further into Dromineer Bay on the Saturday. As long as the wind stayed in the south, the Squibs were able to race on into Saturday afternoon until, with a slight veering and further freshening of the already strong wind, all options were off.

Then on the Sunday with the wind firmly in the southwest and strong, only the Squibs had racing with one contest out on the lake, and another – with very short legs – in the inner bay. With hindsight, it seems reasonable to think that room might have been found in the bay for the two other classes of smaller boats, though admittedly the SB20s at full cry do need quite a bit of space. But that would have needed some very slick manoeuvres by more supporting RIBs, committee boats and personnel than were available.

Revelling in it. Veteran skipper Vincent Delany (who also races Water Wags and Shannon ODs) puts his vintage Squib Femme Fatale (no 24) through her paces on Lough Derg. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

Come to think of it, the Dragons might also have been given racing on Saturday morning if they'd been prepared to set out early and get over to the shelter of the Garrykennedy shore. But in truth, after their super sailing during Friday, the night had passed in turbo-powered conviviality, and as the Dragon crews came very slowly to life on Saturday morning on various motor-cruisers and in other accommodation, they reckoned to let the approaching storm have its way, and made arrangements to watch the rugby in the Whiskey Still in Dromineer, while other more intrepid Dragoneers battled across the lake in their vast hired Shannon motor-cruiser for a slight change of scene to watch the match in Larkin's of Garrykennedy.

But meanwhile the little Squibs were having themselves a fine old time. It was of extra interest in Dromineer, as that great stalwart of Shannon sailing Reggie Goodbody, supported by David Meredith and others, has been quietly beavering away during the past couple of years to get the Squibs going as a local class at Lough Derg Yacht Club.

As of Thursday of this week, they'd got numbers up to nine boats with others interested, which is good going from a standing start late in the summer of 2012. And though they knew that Squibs from the more experienced classes from all round Ireland would be giving them a hard time on the water, they were there ready and willing to welcome them as they drove into Dromineer on the Friday night last weekend, with twenty visiting Squibs being rigged and launched in one-and-a-half hours.

The Lough Derg people are keen to keep their new class in manageable parameters, so they've set a purchase price limit of €4,500 on people buying Squibs new to the area, which still allows for shrewd purchases in sailing centres in Great Britain, where at this time of the year it's a happy hunting ground for Squib seekers.

The breeze is building. One of the newest Squibs racing was Tonia McAllister's Pintail from the National YC, which finished 7th. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

derg14.jpgStorm? What storm? Despite dire weather predictions, at first on the Saturday morning the Squibs had perfect sailing conditions. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

derg15.jpgSailing as it should be. In foreground is Rupert Bowen's Sidewinder (138, RStGYC) and beyond is clubmate Gerry O'Connor's Buzzlite (125). Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

The attraction of the Squib for Dromineer is that it is so easily managed and maintained, a real bonus for people who may find they no longer have the energy and enthusiasm to maintain and tune a Shannon One Design, let alone the athletic ability to race one flat out. As I well recall from my own happy year of owning a Squib, they really are proper little sit-in keelboats despite being only 19ft LOA, and with our family including three small boys, a Squib proved ideal for mini-cruises along the Fingal coast and out to the islands of Ireland's Eye and Lambay, while the rapid development of the class at Howth meant we were getting good racing by the early summer of 1979.

One of the attractions of the Squib is that though she is only 19ft long, there's a proper sit-in cockpit. These are some very junior Nixons sailing on the family Squib Huppatee while returning to Howth from Ireland's Eye (hence the dinghy towing astern) in 1979. The only drawback of the Squib was she had only one tiller, so not all could steer, thus the most junior crewmember needed special consolation from his Mum.

These days the Squibs in Howth are in something of a fallow period, as many of the people who would have raced the boat in times past have moved on and up to the Puppeteer 22 which, with its little cabin and easily handled fractional rig, ticks very many boxes. However, the British & Irish Squib Championship 2015 is scheduled for Howth next June 26th- July 3rd, so doubtless that will lead to a local revival, though whether the magic number of a hundred boat racing in the same championship at the Howth venue in 1996 will be reached again is a moot point.

Off Dromineer, there's starting to be a real bite to the breeze as Pintail chases Femme Fatale (right) and Lola..........Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

....while keeping an eye on Sidewinder off the starboard quarter. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

But you never know. New boats are being built, so the class's enduring attraction is still proven, and certainly the way they got themselves back into some very confined berths at Dromineer on Saturday afternoon as further racing was being blown out was testament to their quality design and very positive handling qualities. Admittedly they may seem almost too smoothly-handling for sailing's thrill seekers, but growing classes in Dun Laoghaire and Kinsale, and the continuing health of the Squib fleets in Northern Ireland, means that the new Squib fleet at Lough Derg need never feel lonely.

That said, because the Squib has a countrywide spread, trying to keep it first and foremost a local class - as they hope to do at Dromineer - is quite a challenge. Many inshore keelboat classes today find they are becoming event boats, with crew concentrating on big happenings to which they travel perhaps every other weekend, or every three weeks or so, and they simply don't bother trying to keep up the twice-weekly commitment of club racing.

Experiment under way. Jill Fleming of Dun Laoghaire was testing a new variant on Squib sails, but although her rig looked very potent, she was back in 8th place overall with seven suits of standard tan sails ahead of her. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

Certainly that's often the case with the Dragons, but then the Dragon class in Ireland offers its members a very attractive package of events all round the country at the most pleasant and glamorous sailing centres. Thus Dragon racing today in Ireland is a high-powered and potentially very expensive way of sailing, and just about as far removed as possible from Reggie Goodbody's ambitions for inexpensive Squibs at Dromineer.

He hopes to see the them develop as a good-value local class which will bring life back to Lough Derg Yacht Club during the more everyday times, when there isn't a championship going on, or it isn't the annual Lough Derg Week in August. This isn't at all the style of the Dragons' jet-setters – they're big-event performers.

Cool sailing. One of the reasons the Squib appeals to former Shannon One Design sailors in Dromineer is that even on a busy run, you can still be relaxed and comfortable (very comfortable for the helmsman), whereas a SOD would be providing a hairy ride. Photo: Gareth Craig/fotosail

So it was fascinating to see the two very different classes sharing the lake and harbour space at Dromineer, though it was clear that if you wished to take the cheque book sailing route, the Squibs offer that as well, so Reggie and his team will have to keep the expenditure lid very firmly clamped in place.

The racing results well reflected the nationwide appeal of this event, for though the Dragons may seem to have emerged with a Dun Laoghaire dominance, winner Neil Hegarty of Royal St George YC originally hailed from Cork, and Cameron Good of Kinsale was consistent with a 6th and 3rd to take fourth behind two Dublin Bay boats.

In the Squibs, James Matthews and Rob Jacob of Kinsale racing the vintage Mucky Duck were notably consistent with a final scoreline of two firsts, a second and a third, but almost equally good were Gordon Paterson and Ross Nolan of Royal North of Ireland YC with two firsts, a second and a fifth. Another RNIYC boat from Cultra, Des and Chris Clayton's Inismara, got into the frame with the win in the final race, and the complete Squib scoreline shows the longterm health of the class, as the top six boats range in sail numbers from 24 to 820.

The Squibs might have been invented with Lough Derg YC's facilities in mind, as they are easy to berth on the outer harbour....Photo: W M Nixon

derg22.jpg...yet even in an awkward breeze, they can head confidently for the narrow little East Dock.......Photo: W M Nixon


....and stay nicely under control while assessing the situation. This is Peter Kennedy's Whipper Snapper, which was top of the local boats at 11th overall in the Dromineer regatta. Photo: W M Nixon

The Squib is so well mannered she'll wriggle up the most unlikely channel whatever the wind.........Photo: W M Nixon

....and so Whipper Snapper reaches her berth right at the top of the dock with no bother at all. Photo: W M Nixon

As to the longterm health of the event, despite this year's problems for which we have to make some allowance for the extreme weather, there's no doubt everyone very much wants Dromineer to succeed as the venue for what has the potential to be a major and rather special keelboat regatta.

But as an outside observer who has been notably unsuccessful in running races himself, it seemed to me that when number start pushing towards the sixty mark and four classes are involved, then the visiting classes will have to expect to be bringing back-up support boats and some race officials with them. And that in turn will require a certain amount of diplomacy between the visitors and the established race administration at the hosting club. Yet that would be well worth the effort. For when the going was good at Dromineer, it was very good indeed.


International Dragon Class: 1st Phantom (Neil Hegarty, RStGYC) 3pts; 2nd Diva (Richard Goodbody, RIYC) 4pt; 3rd Jaguar (Martin Byrne, RStGYC) 7 pts; 4th Little Fella (Cameron Good, KYC) 9 pts; 5th Sir Ossis (Denis Bergin, RIYC) 13pts; 6th Cloud (Claire Hogan, RStGYC) 14pts. (15 raced).

National Squib Class: 1st Mucky Duck (James Matthews, KYC) 7pts; 2nd Quickstep (Gordon Paterson, RNIYC) 9pts; 3rd Inismara (Des Clayton, RNIYC) 15pts; 4th Fagan (Cian O'Regan, KYC) 15pts; 5th Femme Fatale (Vincent Delany, RStGYC) 15 pts; 6th Perfection (Jill Fleming, RStGYC) 17pts; 7th Pintail (Tonia McAllister, NYC) 37pts; 8th Sidewinder (Rupert Bowen, RStGYC) 40 pts (23 raced).

When the going gets too rough on Lough Derg, the prudent Dromineer mariner will seek a secure berth in the Whiskey Still to watch the rugby. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in W M Nixon

#sb20 – After the SB20 Midlands event in Lough Derg that was unfortunately blown out last weekend, the discard was applied to the 2014 results to decide overall rankings writes class president Justin Burke. Three points separated the top three teams after a season that saw four different regional event winners.

Being the only team to win two regionals, Dinghy Supplies (Daragh Sheridan, Shane Murphy & John Phelan) are sure to feel hard done by in missing out on the overall ranking by .67 of a point.

Corona Extra's (Graeme Grant, Ronan Downing, Tara Flood/ Breffni Jones) consistency pulled them through to take the title counting a 1st, 5th, 2nd and a (Davy Taylor, Marty O'Leary, Lisa Neary & Rachel Williamson) edged third away from Shark Bait (Darren Martin,Roger Pannell & Simon Murray) by a single point.

Other than some frost-bite sailing out of the National Yacht Club (NYC) in November most SB's have been packed up for the winter.

The first Regional event planned for 2015 is the Easterns in Howth Yacht Club which will be preceded by the spring warmer out of the same club. This is sure to provide the fleet with some breezy conditions in preparation for the 2015 worlds which are being held on Lake Garda in early July. The fleet will be arranging a training event for any and all boats prior to the worlds in order to maximise the best results for the Irish competitors.

Over 10 Irish boats are currently planning on attending the worlds at one of Europe's premiers sailing venues. With the 2016 worlds already confirmed for Cascais, Ireland are lodging a strong bid and are hopeful in securing the 2017 worlds.

The remaining dates and locations for the 2015 Irish circuit will be published once they have been confirmed with the respective clubs.

Published in SB20

#sb20 – On a weekend of glorious late September weather a competitive fleet of 10 SB20's made the journey midland for the championships in the always welcoming environment of Lough Ree Yacht Club.
With the forecast pointing towards no wind on the Sunday race officer Geoff O' Donoghue made the decision to hold 4 races on the Saturday to ensure a full series would be raced.

Race 1 was started in unseasonally warm weather with winds of 10-15 knots. Dinghy Supplies helmed by Darragh Sheridan won the race with Alert Packaging helmed by Justin Burke second and Should Be... helmed by Michael O' Connor third. Race 2 was again won by Dinghy Supplies with helmed by David Taylor second and Should Be... third. The third race completed a hat-trick of wins for Dinghy Supplies with Corona Extra helmed by Graeme Grant second and third. The fourth race became a bit shiftier with places changing regularly sailed well to come through to win with Alert Packaging second and Dinghy Supplies third.

At the end of the first days racing Dinghy Supplies were leading by 3 points from second and Alert Packaging third. The class were treated to the hospitality of Lough Ree Yacht Club on the Saturday Night with a very enjoyable meal and some late night socilaising.

Sunday saw more wind than expected and race officer Geoff O, Donaghue took the fleet out for 2 races in lighter winds. It was going to turn out to be a day that demonstrated that no overall lead is safe within this fleet. Both Dinghy Supplies and were seen as the strong front runners and both contrived to make it all go to the wire. Race 5 saw The Bear helmed by Kieran Dorgan win with Monkey helmed by Keith Cassidy second and Should Be.. third. With both sixth and Dinghy Supplies eight the regatta was open to the last race. Race six saw 2 boats over at the start with going straight back and Dinghy Supplies having to hoist gennaker to go back when their number was called a minute into the race. This led to a tense race in shifty conditions for the overall pace setters. Corona Extra sailed clever and won the race with Monkey capping off a well sailed day in tricky conditions with another second and Should Be.. capping off a consistent series with another third. Dinghy Supplies moved from dead last around the first mark to finish seventh and with finishing sixth this meant it was enough for Dinghy Supplies to clinch the title by a point.

Overall it finished Dinghy Supplies first, second and Should Be.. third. With The Bear winning the silver fleet.

Published in SB20

#sb20 – 11 SB20s battled it out for honours in the final Sunday Series on Dublin Bay in a shifty force 3 easterly breeze yesterday.

After 4 races in series 3, Manamana (Graham, Ronan and Katie) were tied with Should Be... (Michael, Dave and Kieran) on four points after both boats carded 1,1,2,2 score lines last weekend. However, with four more races scheduled and a second discard due to kick in, there was plenty of opportunity for the chasing pack to make up lost ground. In true SB class style, this series was going to go down to the wire...

Race 1 got off to a clean start from a pin end biased line. Odin (James, Ted and Keith) bravely tried to port tack the fleet but Rubadubdub (Nick, Conor and Rob) were bossing the pin and forced them to tack over onto starboard. Odin managed to squeeze them off and led half the fleet, including Should Be... out to the left while the other half of the fleet, including Manamana, headed out to the right. As the boats progressed up the beat, the wind started shifting to the left and the boats on the left side of the course led into the weather mark. Should Be... led around followed a few boatlengths behind by a closely knit bunch including Odin, Alert Packaging (Justin, Bob and Anonymous) and Rubadubdub. Series joint leader Manamana were unlucky in that they were caught on the wrong side of the shift up the beat and rounded deep in the pack with plenty of work to do.

The boats soaked down the run and at the leeward gate both Should Be... and Alert Packaging opted for the right hand gate. Odin broke off from the leaders and headed out to the right hand side of the course but was quickly followed by both Should Be... and Alert Packaging. Also in close pursuit was (Ger, Chris and Rory) and Manamana who had made a great recovery and were charging up the fleet. With the wind shifting around through 20 degrees, the boats gained and lost on each other as they battled up the second beat and at the weather mark it was Should Be... by the narrowest of margins from Alert Packaging. After an incident at the wing mark, Alert Packaging had to do a 360 degree penalty turn which allowed Odin to get back into second place and they would hold that position to the finish. At the finish it was Should Be... in first followed by Odin in second, Alert Packaging in third, Venuesworld in fourth and Manamana in fifth.

Race 2 saw a reversal of fortunes for the early series leaders when Manamana got off to a great start and led the fleet to the first weather mark while Should Be... found themselves buried behind a wall of sails with a lot of work to do to catch up. Again, the left side of the beat seemed to pay and at the weather mark, Venuesworld held a narrow lead over Bad (Jerry, Jimmy et al), Manamana, Alert Packaging, Odin and Rubadubdub ahead of Should Be... in seventh.

As the boats made their way around the course, Manamana skilfully held on to their lead but there were plenty of place changes behind them with Should Be... sneaking up to second by the leeward mark. At the next weather mark, Manamana bravely gybed off shortly after rounding the weather mark leaving Alert Packaging and Should Be... a few boatlengths behind to continue on to the right down the run. The move paid off handsomely with Manamana pulling out a sizeable lead over their nearest challengers. In the end it was Manamana by a comfortable margin from Alert Packaging in second, Should Be... in third, Venuesworld in fourth, Odin in fifth and Rubadubdub in sixth. At this stage, it was all tied at the top for the series lead with Manamana and Should Be... each counting seven points with Should Be with a marginally better discard.

Race 3 saw an individual recall at the start with Probably (Ian, Mark and Billy) recalled while the rest of the fleet made their way towards the weather mark in a wind that was gradually beginning to die. Venuesworld once again showed the fleet a clean pair of heels and led at the weather mark from Alert Packaging with Bad in third followed closely by Should Be..., and Odin. Down the run, Venuesworld extended their lead to a clear margin but Alert Packaging were chasing hard, shadowing their every move. There were plenty of place changes up the next beat as the competitors struggled with the oscillating breeze.

By the top of the second beat, Should Be... had snuck into second place behind Venuesworld with Odin in third, Alert Packaging in fourth and Manamana making another storming charge up into fifth place and chasing hard. Despite some very close quarters manoeuvres and near misses, the places remained that way until the finish with Venuesworld in first, Should Be... in second, Alert Packaging in third and Odin in fourth a single second ahead of Manamana!

So, with one race to go in series 3, Manamana needed to win the race in order to win the series. Nothing else would do but a win would guarantee them the series. For their part, Should Be... just needed to make sure Manamana didn't win, relying on their slightly better discard to get them over the line.

Race 4 saw another hotly contested start and first away was Venuesworld with Alert Packaging once again in hot pursuit. Manamana experienced some traffic at the start and quickly tacked off to the right side of the course joining Odin out right. Should Be... we're anxious to get over and cover Manamana but were blocked from tacking by Probably on their weather hip and near astern. After a number of boatlengths, Should Be... managed to tack over to cover but Manamana now had some decent separation out on the right hand side of the course. It would now all depend on the wind shifts for these two boats while around them the rest of the fleet were getting on with trying to win the race. As the boats approached the starboard lay line, Manamana, to leeward of Should Be... tacked onto starboard first. This time, the wind gods smiled on Should Be... and a left hand shift meant that they were able to cross 3-4 boatlengths ahead of Manamana and tack ahead and to weather doing maximum damage with their wind shadow.

Up ahead, Alert Packaging rounded the weather mark in first followed closely by Venuesworld in second, Probably in third, Odin in fourth and Rubadubdub in fifth. Should Be rounded in sixth just ahead of Seriously Bonkers (Peter, Michael et al) with Manamana further back still. The wind was gradually dying further and the boats struggled down the run. At the leeward mark, Alert Packaging still held the lead from Venuesworld with Odin in third place ahead of Rubadubdub in fourth. Despite their best intentions to keep Manamana at the back of the fleet, both Should Be... and Manamana made gains down the run and Should Be... rounded in fifth inside Manamana at the leeward mark.

The race leaders chose the right side of the final beat while astern the series leaders had a tacking duel with Should Be... frantically trying to keep ahead of Manamana. Their tacking duel inadvertently took these two boats out to the left side of the course to the port tack lay line. Up ahead, the wind died further out on the right side of the course and Manamana and Should Be... came storming in from the left giving the leaders a fright. Venuesworld and Should Be... managed to sneak ahead of early pace setter Alert Packaging at the end of the beat. At the finish it was Venuesworld in first just ahead of Should Be... in second, Alert Packaging in third, Manamana in fourth and Odin in fifth. Overall, Should Be... pipped Manamana for the series by two points.

Finally, as we have reached the end of the DBSC season, it is important to express our deep gratitude to all the volunteers that have helped to make the season such a successful one. In particular, Barry O'Neill has been our (almost) ever-present OOD and his organisation, professionalism and commitment have been the cornerstone to the great racing that we have enjoyed all season long. Con Murphy kindly took over the reigns in Barry's rare absence and did a superb job in very difficult conditions earlier in the season. Barry has been ably assisted on Sundays by an equally committed and great team on the committee boat including Fionnuala Loughrey, Cathy Booth, Barbara Conway, Michael Keogh, Ger Bythell, Dave Barry, Bob Allen, Jim C, Owen Laverty, Owen McNally, Steve Beresford, Jerry Dowling and other guests that have made the racing possible and so enjoyable. Many thanks to you all for your very valued contribution. Last, but by no means least, an honourable mention must go to Joanne Sheehan from DBSC and her excellent team of James Tate, Herbie Fowler, Ciaran Nolan, Conor Lynch, Maurice Johnson, James Traynor. They never let us down and were most obliging and helpful throughout the entire season. We are most grateful to them for their help this year and sincerely appreciate their efforts on our behalf.

Look forward to seeing you all in Lough Ree at the end of this month (27/28 September) for the midlands – Michael O'Connor

Published in SB20
Tagged under

Eight SB20s were treated to glorious sunshine and great racing on Dublin Bay yesterday in a shifty force 2-3 north-easterly.

In a departure from the regular format of three WL races per day, the organisers had decided to run four races for the last two Sundays of series three. By doing so, the fleet would hopefully be able to make up two of the three races lost due to a cancellation earlier in the season and have an eight race, two discard series to finish off the season.

Race 1 saw an individual recall with Venuesworld (Ger, Chris and Rory et al) and Should Be... (Michael, Dave and Gavan) over the line early and having to go back and restart. Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet raced up the first beat with Manamana (Graham, Ronan et al) and Alert Packaging (Justin, Bob et al) leading the charge out to the left side of the course while Seriously Bonkers (Peter, Michael et al) and Smoke on the Water (Bob et al) led the charge out to the right side of the course. As the boats converged at the weather mark, Alert Packaging and Manamana had managed to eke out a small lead and they were followed closely by Should Be..., Venuesworld and Smoke on the Water.

In the light breeze, the boats were in soak mode which meant greater opportunity to cause havoc with your wind shadow on the boats ahead and the fleet stayed closely bunched together down the run with several place changes occurring. At the leeward gate, the fleet favoured the port hand leeward mark and Manamana rounded first followed by Should Be... and Venuesworld. The fleet played the shifts up the second beat and down the second run and Should Be... managed to close the gap on leaders Manamana to just a couple of boatlengths at the second leeward mark. With only a short beat to go to the finish, Should Be... attempted to engage Manamana in a tacking duel up the last beat. Should Be... tacked onto starboard a couple of boatlengths after rounding the leeward gate and they were quickly covered by Manamana, only for Should Be... to tack back onto port a few boatlengths later. Manamana crossed and tacked back onto port in a very close cover however Should Be... flicked back onto starboard immediately as Manamana were completing their tack. Cleverly refusing to be drawn in, Manamana continued on port and picked up speed before tacking back onto starboard into a loose cover on Should Be... the boats were now both on starboard tack in a sprint to the finish with Should Be... to leeward but closer to the favoured pin end. At the finish, Manamana held on to win by 1/2 boatlength and both crews collapsed into their boats in an emotional heap! Venuesworld finished in third ahead of Smoke on the Water who had a storming race to finish in 4th ahead of Seriously Bonkers in a very creditable 5th place.

Race 2 also saw an individual recall with Rubadubdub (Nick, Caroline et al) the unlucky culprit this time. Unfortunately for them, they were stuck in the middle of a fleet charging to windward with no way to get back quickly other than to let their sails flap and let the fleet sail by around them before making their way back to restart. Odin (James, Ted et al) made a great start at the committee boat while the rest of the fleet were spread out down along a relatively square line. The majority of the fleet drag raced out to the left side of the course with Venuesworld, Manamana and Should Be... leading the charge out left. Venuesworld were the first to tack back towards the right followed shortly afterwards by Manamana and Should Be... A left hand shift coming up towards the weather mark gave Should Be... a lead over Manamana and Venuesworld. Again, the fleet stayed tightly bunched down the run and up the following beat but there were less place changes amongst the leaders this time around and it finished Should Be... in first followed by Manamana in second, Venuesworld in third, Alert Packaging in fourth and Odin in fifth.

Race 3 saw the (whole!) fleet get away at the first time of asking in a lighter breeze. This time, many of the boats attempted to play the shifts up the beat as the wind was shifting regularly through 20 degrees. Alert Packaging, Manamana and Venuesworld had favoured the left side of the course while others including Should Be... went up the middle-right side of the course. When the boats converged at the top of the beat, it was very even and Alert Packaging crossed the fleet on port tack including Should Be... by no more than 12 inches! At the weather mark, Alert Packaging rounded in first followed close behind by Odin, Should Be..., Manamana and then Venuesworld. Alert Packaging gybed off early into a rich vein of pressure and held their lead down the run followed closely out left by Odin and Manamana while Venuesworld and Should Be... continued out right down the run.

As the boats came towards the leeward gate, the wind shifted towards the right, favouring Venuesworld and Should Be... who were coming in hotter than the boats that had gone left down the run. Venuesworld was the biggest mover and had made great gains down the run, getting up from fifth at the weather mark into a very close second a couple of feet behind Alert Packaging as the boats approached the leeward gate. There was plenty of action at the leeward gate as Venuesworld attempted to get a late overlap inside Alert Packaging but Justin Burke on Alert Packaging has been around too long to let that happen and expertly shut the door on Venuesworld. Venuesworld, having taken evasive manoeuvres to avoid Alert Packaging, rounded inside but slower than Should Be... who was able to sail around the outside of Venuesworld and up into second place. Up the second beat, Venuesworld, Should Be... and Alert Packaging all tacked off onto the lifted starboard tack. When the expected header came, Should Be... were a little further left than their closest competitors and they were able to tack and cross Alert Packaging to take the lead. Should Be... held onto that lead all the way to the finish. Behind them, Manamana recovered after the run to round the second weather mark in third place, sandwiched between Odin and Alert Packaging. Manamana managed to squeeze their way ahead of Odin down the run picking a very nice line to gybe in to the leeward mark and finished second while Alert Packaging also managed to get by Odin to finish third, one ahead of Odin in fourth with Venuesworld rounding off the top five, having surrendered their previous gains.

Race 4 started with another clear start with the fleet spread out along the line. The majority of the fleet once again favoured the left hand side of the course up the beat with Venuesworld, Manamana and Should Be... leading the fleet out to the left side of the course. Venuesworld was the first of that bunch to head back towards the middle with Manamana and Should Be... continuing on to close to the port tack layline. Alert Packaging, having been forced to tack onto port shortly after the start, made a great recovery up the first beat and came right back into the thick of things as the boat approached the weather mark. Alert Packaging crossed Manamana and tacked to weather of Manamana just before Should Be... could duck them. However a slow tack on Alert Packaging allowed both Should Be... and Manamana to get bow out and squeeze Alert Packaging out before the mark. Manamana expertly went into point mode and squeezed Should Be... out before the windward mark. Rounding in first was Manamana, followed by Should Be... in second, Alert Packaging in third, Venuesworld in fourth and Odin in fifth at a very tightly bunched fleet at the weather mark (see photo attached). Down the run, Venuesworld were the first to gybe onto port followed by Manamana and Alert Packaging. Should Be... stayed on a bit longer and gybed outside and to the right of the other boats on the way down the run.

At the leeward gate, Should Be... had snuck into the lead from Manamana and rounded the right hand gate as Manamana took the left gate a couple of boathlengths later. Alert Packaging and Venuesworld followed Should Be... around the right hand gate with others including Seriously Bonkers and Rubadubdub choosing the left hand gate. Shortly after rounding the leeward gate, the wind gradually began to veer from the previous high heading on starboard tack of 20 degrees up to 50 degrees, leaving those boats that had rounded the right hand gate in a spot of (ahem) trouble. Manamana regained the lead and extended on the fleet while the rest of the boats were embroiled in a dog fight behind. The boats that had taken the left hand gate made large gains while the boats that had chosen the right hand gate continued on and prayed for a left shift. The left shift (taking the wind back to a heading of 30 degrees - still a big 10 degree lift relative the days previously high heading) arrived just in time close to the end of the beat allowing those boats out left to stay in the running. At the weather mark, Manamana led by 8 boatlengths from Rubadubdub in second overlapped to weather by Should Be... in third. A kite snag on Rubadubdub at the weather mark allowed Should Be... and Seriously Bonkers to sneak past them down the run and it finished Manamana in first, Should Be... in second, Seriously Bonkers in third, Rubadubdub in fourth and Alert Packaging in fifth.

Class Notices:

Next weekend (14th September 2014) sees the final SB Sunday of the season with four more races to look forward to. I would strongly encourage you all to get out there and make it a send off to remember.

We are short one pair of hands for the committee boat next Sunday and would be grateful for a volunteer. If anyone needs any encouragement all I will say is that this weekends team are all in work this morning sporting a healthy tanned glow after the sunshine yesterday and the initial forecast is for more of the same next weekend. If you are able to help out, please get in contact with me directly.

I look forward to seeing you all next weekend for SB Sunday No. 10 and four more great races – Michael O'Connor

Published in SB20

#sb20 – The Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) series two for the SB20s came to a nail-biting conclusion last Thursday on Dublin Bay.

With a force 5-6 southerly gusting force 8-9 forecast, the assumption by many was that there would be no racing. However, DBSC are made of stronger stuff than that and the fleets went out to race in some of the most exhilarating conditions experienced all season. With only the final race to sail, Should Be... (Michael, Ted and Gavan) led (Ger, Chris, Rory et al) by two points. With Should Be... discarding a third place, only a first place and daylight between the boats would do it for For their part, Should Be... knew that a cancellation or a second place or better would seal the second series for them.

On the day, only five boats braved the conditions, including Alert Packaging (Justin, Dave and Darren), Bad (Enda, Jerry and Jimmy), Lupi d'Irlanda (Marco et al), Should Be... and Venuesworld. The OOD set a course with a good first beat from the start in the middle of the course up to Bay mark inshore beside the old Dun Laoghaire baths. Alert Packaging got off to a screamer, starting on port at the pin and port tacking the fleet on their way up the first beat. Venuesworld and Bad followed close on their heels trying to keep flat in the now strong breeze. Should Be... and Lupi d'Irlanda had stayed ashore too long in the expectation of a cancellation and were late starting, with Should Be... approximately 2 minutes late for the start and Lupi another few minutes further back. Should Be... were therefore reliant on Alert Packaging or Bad to do them a favour and finish ahead of Venuesworld as it was unlikely that they would catch up to second place if Venuesworld were to get the bullet...

Alert Packaging rounded first approximately 6-8 boatlengths ahead of Venuesworld with Bad another few boatlengths back. The first two reaches were quite tight and the boats two sail reached it to Poldy followed by another two sail reach to Zebra. Although the boats were only two sail reaching, some of the fastest speeds of the season were reached as the boats were still planing down the waves in the gusty conditions. As the lead boats went back on a beat up towards Battery mark by Sandycove harbour, Alert Packaging still held onto their lead from Venuesworld and Bad. As the boats headed towards Battery mark, Alert Packaging and Venuesworld headed towards shore in search of less tide while Bad tacked out left for more favourable breeze or a left hander shift to bring them back into it. Alert Packaging (cheered on by Should Be...) seemed to sail the leg to perfection and managed to get around Battery Mark with a comfortable 15 boatlength lead over Venuesworld. All that was required was a clean hoist and a comfortable pair of gennaker reaches and the series would belong to Should Be...

As Alert Packaging hoisted their kite, they managed to get the mother and father of all wraps in it that just wouldn't seem to come out. Venuesworld rounded behind but had a clean hoist and thundered down on Alert Packaging under full sail (by now, Should Be... were swearing Alert Packaging on!). In a desperate attempt to get their kite free, Alert Packaging skillfully threw in a pair of quick gybes, freeing their kite in the process. With Venuesworld now approximately 6 boatlengths behind and approaching fast, Alert Packaging suddenly caught a gust and they were off again, just in the nick of time. After rounding Omega and then Molly, Alert Packaging still held a slender lead from Venuesworld. Venuesworld refused to give up on the first place and the series and chased Alert Packaging all the way up the final beat to the finish but in the end, the boys on Alert Packaging managed to shade it from them, handing the second series to a very relieved Should Be... Bad came third and Should Be... followed them over the line in fourth. In celebration of their victory on the night, Alert Packaging hoisted their kite and went on a c. 20knts speed junkie burn across the bay.

After racing, 30 SB20 sailors and friends sat down to a very enjoyable sailing supper in the George. It was great to see Barry O'Neill, our resident OOD at the function along with so many other SBers, new and old. Attached are some photos of the evening enjoyed by all. The merriment went on until the small hours...

SB20 Class Notice:

The final two SB Sundays are this coming Sunday, 7th September and the following Sunday, 14th September. These are Sundays 2 and 3 of series three. Unfortunately, we lost Sunday 1 of series three due to inclement weather and it is not possible to re-sail that Sunday. In an attempt to make up the lost races and provide a better series, we will be running four slightly shorter races on the final two Sundays if the conditions allow. In other words, we will attempt to have four races on Sunday 7th September and four races on Sunday 14th September. Therefore, we will now (hopefully) have 8 races with two discards rather than 6 races and one discard in series three. Looking forward to seeing you all out on the water on the 7th.

Published in DBSC

#sb20 – Northern Ireland's Darren Martin, Roger Pannel and Simon Murray were popular winners of the SB20 Western Championships in Galway at the weekend.  Results available to download below.

The 'Wild West' obliged with most races in more than 14 knots–18 knots on Galway Bay. Although number were down (13 boats) due to sailors of the SB20 class competing elsewhere at the weekend there was still plenty of post race festivities at McSwiggins Yacht Club on Galway docks. Of the four SB20 regattas so far this year, it is the first time teams that have been on the podium twice, an indication of a good spread of winners over the season's events.

Martin's Strangford Lough crew won on count back from Graeme Grant, Ronan Downing and Breffini. Third was Dave Taylor with Marty O'Leary, Lisa Neary and Rachael Mc Williams. Dave Barry won the silver fleet and took a few notable gold fleet scalps in the process.

SB20 president Justin Burke concluded that 'Galway Bay was a fantastic place to race with Galway Bay Sailing Club offering superb organisation'. Burke maintains more classes should consider Galway with the 'wind and waves and McSwiggins YC supporting the social side!'

Published in SB20
Page 15 of 24

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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