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#sb20 – A gusty Force 4 westerly tested the SB20 fleet on Dublin Bay yesterday evening for the penultimate Thursday race of the season...

Now that we have arrived at the business end of the season, the three points leaders in Thursdays series two, Alert Packaging (Justin, Jerry and Darren), Venuesworld (Ger, Chris and Rory) and Should Be... (Michael, Eric and Gavan) were out in force despite the prospect of having to pack their boats up by moonlight in advance of their trip to Galway this weekend. With the second discard scheduled to come in on completion of tonight's race, things were tightening up in the points race with only three points separating the top three boats once the second discard was applied.

The boats got away cleanly from the start line with Tiger Lite (Niallo, Ronan et al) and Timber (Marty, Alan et al) opting to tack off shortly after the start and make their way out to the right side of the course on the first beat up to Pier mark. Alert Packaging, Venuesworld and Should Be... continued left towards fresher breeze. At the weather mark, it was clear that those boats that had gone left had fared better and Venuesworld led by four boatlengths from Should Be... With Alert Packaging hot on her heels closely followed by Timber and Tiger Lite.

With the conditions not quite suitable for planing, a soaking run down to Poldy mark ensued and Venuesworld, having bravely gybed out left half way down the run, caught a lovely gust of breeze that brought some separation between them and the rest if the fleet. Venuesworld increased their lead to 15 boatlengths while the boats behind scrapped it out with each other. Next around the mark was Should Be... by three boatlengths from Timber who managed to overtake Alert Packaging down the run and slip ahead of them around the mark.

Unfortunately, a wind shift turned the next leg into a one sided beat in towards Battery mark (near Bullock Harbour) leaving little room for overtaking. However, Alert Packaging somehow managed just that using excellent boat speed (must be Jerry's influence!) to get around Timber in their private game of leapfrog. Shortly after rounding Battery mark though, disaster struck Alert Packaging when their main started coming down the mast. Perhaps an errant shackle or a snapped halyard was to blame however their race was effectively run and they had no option but to limp home from there. A short two sail reach back out to Molly mark followed by a short beat, run, beat combination in the middle of the bay didn't lead to any further place changes and Venuesworld comfortably took the race win followed by Should Be... in second and Timber in third.

With one race left to sail, there are only two points separating Venuesworld and Should Be... meaning that we are set up for another nail-biting finale to an SB20 DBSC series next Thursday.

Class notices: next Thursday is the last Thursday of the season (gulp!). In a now SB tradition, the class will be getting together for the end of season supper (ok, mainly a piss-up, but supper is included!) in the RStGYC. Meeting on the balcony for drinks after sailing followed by sailing supper at c. 9.15. As it is the last thursday of the season, please make an added effort to sail and ensure that we go out with a bang! Even if you are unable to sail that evening, please come along and join in the fun. Bring a friend and we can indoctrinate them into the fold :-) Last year the end of season dinner was, in a word, epic! Places are limited this year as there is a push for other classes to also dine that evening in the club. If you would like to attend, please contact me asap so that I can put your name in the pot and avoid disappointment! Look forward to seeing you all there.

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#sb20 – A perfect force 4 NNW breeze and plenty of close reaching provided challenging conditions for the SB20 fleet this evening on Dublin Bay.

OOD Jack Roy set the line up with a pin end bias and Bad (Enda, Jerry and Jimmy), Should Be... (Michael, Owen and Gavan) and Venuesworld (Ger, Peter and Chris) were all in a dogfight vying for the pin with seconds to go... Bad ran out of race track and had to duck below the pin before the start to avoid being over early while Should Be... took the pin with Venuesworld close on their hip. Alert Packaging (Justin et al) and SacreBleu (Richard, Tom and Matt) started further up the line keeping their noses clean.

With a beat up to Zebra mark, Venuesworld tacked off moments after the start onto port and were followed out right by Alert Packaging while Should Be... and SacreBleu continued left, everyone going in search of better breeze. As the boats converged at the weather mark, Venuesworld on starboard had Should Be... by a whisker but Venuesworld had understood the starboard lay line. Should Be... on port tack, passed behind Venuesworld and tacked onto starboard a couple of boatlengths later on the starboard lay line. Venuesworld in turn tacked onto port but uncharacteristically, they had a slow tack putting them on a collision course with Should Be... on starboard. Venuesworld tacked just below Should Be... in an effort to get around the mark in first. As is now an SB tradition, there was plenty of shouting at the weather mark! Should Be... managed to get over the top of Venuesworld and the boats set their kites for a fast close reach down to Harbour mark.

Down the reach, Should Be... experienced some difficulties with their spinny sheets and Venuesworld skilfully managed to get past them, keep their kite flying and the boat on her feet all the way down the tight reach. Also making big gains down the reach were Bad and Alert Packaging. Alert Packaging kept their powder dry and two-sailed it down the reach whereas Bad and Should Be... in front persevered but struggled with their kites, eventually having to drop them.. At harbour mark, Venuesworld had pulled out a good lead and Bad had managed to just overtake Should Be... with Alert Packaging now a very close fourth. A gybe at harbour mark and another tight reach to Bullock mark ensued and Alert Packaging, short-handed, struggled on the reach while Bad and Should Be... made hay of the fast reaching conditions and tried to cut into Venuesworld's impressive lead. Should Be... managed to sneak past Bad down the reach.

Disaster nearly struck Venuesworld at Bullock mark as they were unable to get their kite fully down until approximately 15 lengths after the mark. Fortunately for them, their lead was so great that when they did manage to get the kite back in check, they still held a commanding lead. A beat to East mark, followed by a reach to Bay mark and another beat to finish followed but the boats in front all shut up shop and quickly fell into covering mode, preventing their nearest challengers from overtaking.

At the finish, it was Venuesworld by a comfortable margin in first from Should Be... With Bad a close third, Alert Packaging in fourth and SacreBleu in fifth. Exhausted, the crews adjourned to the bar for some refreshments!

Class notices:

This Sunday is the rescheduled SB sunday no. 3. Please show your appreciation to all the volunteers (of which there are many!) and get out there and race. If you can't sail your boat or if you need help with crew, we can help find people to sail with/for you. The results of the "when to race" survey will follow under separate cover in due course but suffice to say, unless it is blowing dogs off chains (i.e. 30knts constant) and provided the committee vessel can hold its anchor and the rescue crew are happy to proceed, we will be racing this Sunday. It is, of course, at the absolute discretion and sole responsibility of each boat to decide whether or not they wish to race.

Finally, sadly, the SBs are losing one of our own this month as Matt from SacreBleu is returning to his homeland of Canada. Just as things were looking up in this country and with house prices once again experiencing double digit growth each quarter (hold on, that sounds worryingly familiar...), Matt is outta here! As those of you that have met Matt this year will know, he has been a friendly and positive presence in the George this season and he will be sadly missed. Hopefully Matt, you will be able to make one last hurrah this Sunday and go out with a blast!

See you all on Sunday,

Michael O'Connor

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#sb20 – '' has won the 2014 SB20 Grand Slam at Cowes Week, after a demanding four days and seven races on the Solent.
Two races were held today, on Tuesday August 5, 2014, with a lengthy final course for the 36 competitors in the Grand Slam, which finished with a flourish on the Royal Yacht Squadron line.
Jerry Hill and team on '' took two wins today, completing a final scoreline of five victories, one second and a third. However, they were pushed hard by Rob Gullan on 'F5 Synthesis', and going into the final day of racing there was just one point separating the leaders.
"Today was another long hard day," commented Hill. "When we started the first race, we were only a point ahead of 'F5 Synthesis', so with two races we had plenty on. But they had an OCS and we hadn't used a discard so we were in quite a strong position.
"In the first race we came off the line well but it was pretty shifty, and Rob got the first shift. Then, just I was going to tack underneath him, but I saw [the Maxi yacht] 'Leopard' in the distance in a massive right-hander, so we took Rob's transom with three or four other boats, sailed over to the shift and it came down to us. We hooked into a massive righty and the breeze did go 30 or 40 degrees right, and we were laying the windward mark in pressure. The result of the shift was then that effectively the rest of the race became a reach, so we got into the lead at exactly the right time in that race!"
Nigel Grogan on 'Hyde Sail's overtook 'F5 Synthesis' to finish second, with Gullan in third. Although the '' team had secured overall victory, they stayed out for the final race, enjoying another close contest with Rob Gullan and crew on 'F5 Synthesis'.
"We had a bit of a ding-dong battle with him and a few others, he sailed us back at one point, but it was a long race and we knew there would be opportunities. Sure enough we ground him down and got in the lead towards the end, and made a great layline across the Solent for Gurnard buoy, we nailed that spot on. And were able to put up the pink chute, head for the line, get the canon! It's a nice way to finish and win a Grand Slam.
"It's been a tough competition, but we've sailed well. And it's been great to see the Oman boats, visitors from Holland, Belgium, Germany, a few charter boats. They've all had a great time. This is about as hard as it gets. This is a tough fleet with some good sailors and then when you add in the navigational and tidal and courses... there's a hell of a lot on. I've been doing it for 30 years, and we find it difficult! So it's a big challenge for people just starting out, but they all enjoyed it and this event should go from strength to strength."
'F5 Synthesis' took another second place to finish second overall in the Grand Slam, with 'Chill Pill' taking third in the last race of the series and 'Sponge Bob' claiming third overall.
The Grand Slam concluded with a prizegiving at the UKSA, with the top three teams taking home a brand new pair of boots courtesy of Dubarry. Rob Gullan, helm of 'F5 Synthesis' commented: "We had quite a week – I did say on the first day that we were a bit chaotic, and so it proved. But basically I thought we were pretty good all week, we seemed pretty fast. Considering we haven't been in the boat for two years, and some of the crew has never been in the boat, we're just happy to be on the pace really. I think we and Jerry probably set our rigs up slightly differently – but we're not going to tell him what we do!
"The four day format has been good – I like it. I almost wonder if we could do three races a day – but it's nice to do the odd longer Cowes Week course, it's a bit of a different challenge. We came here with our eyes on the Dubarrys and we've got them on now!"
There was a special prize of a distinctive set of Harken bobble hats for the team of 'Red Kite' for their attempted (and aborted) port-tack flyer. Skipper Roger Harford admitted, 'We took a bit of a risk at the start. We were five seconds too early – if we'd been five seconds later we'd have got away with it! But there were 36 boats coming towards us..."
The Grand Slam was also sponsored by Bolle, Selden, Hydes, White Formula, Tony Castro, Sportsboat World, and TCA Productions.

SB20 Cowes Grand Slam Results:
Race 7: 1st GBR 3722 '', 2nd GBR 3053 'Hyde Sails, 3rd GBR3047 'F5 Synthesis'. Race 8: 1st GBR 3722 '', 2nd GBR3047 'F5 Synthesis', 3rd GBR3710 'Chill Pill+'.
Overall: 1st GBR 3722 '' 8 points, 2nd GBR3047 'F5 Synthesis' 12 points, 3rd 'Sponge Bob' 26 points.

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#sb20 – Three Irish yacht clubs have expressed an interest in hosting the 2017 SB20 World Championships in Ireland.

SB20 Class President Justin Burke is also inviting other clubs to make contact and get involved with the Sportsboat bid. Ireland previously hosted the inaugural worlds – when the class was known as the SB3 – in 2009 at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.

Burke revealed the Irish interest in hosting the world event as the Irish class prepares for its West Coast championships on Galway Bay. The one design class recently completed a very successful 22-boat national championships at Royal Cork.

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#sb20 – There was a little bit of everything on the first day of the SB20 Grand Slam at  Cowes Week, yesterday. Racing for the 36 entries began in heavy downpours with black clouds bringing shifty, gusty conditions, which later moderated into more consistent south-westerly breezes.
Two races were held as part of the class's four-day Grand Slam format, which has proved hugely popular with SB20 sailors and seen entry numbers boosted again since the 'event within an event' was launched last year. This year the Grand Slam has attracted visitors from Belgium and Holland, two boats from Oman Sail, as well as teams from across Britain, including a boat from Scotland.
The first race honours went to Marshall King in 'Sponge Bob' from Rob Gullan in 'F5 Synthesis', with Jerry Hill and the '' team in third. These front-runners, together with 'Chill Pill' enjoyed plenty of place-changing throughout the race, until 'Sponge Bob' was able to pull away.
Jerry Hill and Rob Gullan reversed the finishing order in the second race, with '' taking the win from 'F5 Synthesis', while Charlie and Alec Russell took third in EDigitalResearch'. 'Sponge Bob' had to retire after a collision. This leaves '' and 'F5 Synthesis' tied at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the first day.
Jerry Hill of '' commented, "We had two great races today. We saw anything from 18 knots to 8 knots, sunshine through to torrential rain, and a good shift to the right as the day went on – all classic Cowes Week stuff!"
He added, "In the second race it was very close at the first mark with a lot of boats, we managed to break clear of that pack and Rob Gullan was a long way ahead but we steadily pulled back into them. Then right at the end a supertanker came through the pack – neither of us had seen it and we were both in danger of going from first and second to completely out of the top results, but ultimately we overtook him to win. It was a great Cowes Week lesson about needing to keep your eyes out of the boat!"
Rob Gullan was helming 'F5 Synthesis', and admitted that the team went into today underprepared. "Today was pretty entertaining, we got out and realised we didn't have a buoy map or anything – we were pretty chaotic. In the second race we must have been 500m in first, and didn't have any idea where we were going. But actually it made us sail really conservatively, and we were quite fast, so it worked out well – it was just all a bit stressful!
"Two seconds is good, we're very happy."
Rob and owner Peter Hine are returning to the fleet for the first time in two years, with their eyes on next year's worlds in Torbole.
The fleet also includes two teams from Oman Sail. Ibtisam Al Salmi was racing for her first time on an SB20. She said her introduction to the fleet was: "Very hard work – they are all very good sailors, and it's very high-level racing. I enjoyed it a lot though, especially downwind surfing the waves, although it's like taking a shower every second!"

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#sb20 – Seven SB20s took to the water last night on Dublin Bay for the fourth Thursday of Series 2, many fresh from an exhilarating nationals in RCYC last weekend, while others were obviously recharging their batteries after their exertions in Cronins... :-)

For a pleasant change on a Thursday this season, we saw some decent breeze on Dublin Bay which allowed the SBs to get up on their toes and start dancing... A steady force 5 from the West guaranteed plenty of thrills and spills were to come... Perfect SB20 weather! The OOD set a 10 degree pin-end bias and the fleet duly congregated down at the pin with 30 seconds to go. At the start, Should Be... (Michael, Dave, and Gavan) managed to get the pin but Venuesworld (Marty, Ger and Rory), Probably (Mark, Ian and Billy) and Alert Packaging (Justin, Darren et al) all managed to start with better pace slightly up from the pin and those three boats quickly established a lead group beating up towards Harbour mark.

At the weather (Harbour) mark, Probably led by a boatlength from Venuesworld with Should Be...another 1/2 boatlength back. Alert Packaging, Timber (Alan et al), Seriously Bonkers (Peter et al) and Smoke on the Water (Bob, John et al) were very close astern and primed for the fast reach to Omega where speeds in the teens were experienced by most boats. At the all-important first hoist, Probably went trawling for mackerel followed by Should Be... allowing Venuesworld, Alert Packaging and Timber to pass and to take a jump on the fleet... However, there were a few broaches down the first reach keeping manners on everyone. Disaster struck Venuesworld when they snapped their port kite sheet allowing both Alert Packaging and Should Be... to overtake them shortly after the gybe mark on the run (ok, SB20s don't run in a force 5, we just reach very quickly a bit closer to the leeward mark!) en route to Poldy mark. Alert Packaging held on to their lead followed by Should Be... with Venuesworld, Probably and Timber in the thick of it at the leeward (Poldy) mark.

Places remained largely unchanged for the next beat and run (ok, again, not really a run but just lots of very, very fast reaching back and forth really!) and another beat with Alert Packaging extending their lead and looking very comfortable in the process. However, at the final weather mark, a twist in Alert Packagings kite necessitating a couple of gybes allowed Should Be... to close to within three boat lengths and ensure an exciting finale...

At the last leeward mark, Alert Packaging tacked shortly after the mark and headed left while Should Be... continued on right getting separation and in the hope of breeze or a favourable shift to get closer to Alert Packaging. In the end, Should Be... got both (they donate heavily to charity apparently!) and when the boats converged closer to the finish line, Should Be... had Alert Packaging by a whisker and they would finish in that order. They were followed by Venuesworld in third, Timber in fourth, Probably (who had showed their mettle and recovered very well) in fifth, Seriously Bonkers in sixth and Smoke on the Water in seventh.

As it was the last Thursday of the month, that meant SB Social food and pints... this month the fleet got together in the RIYC for the BBQ/stir-fry/pizza and, of course, pints. Lots of pints. No doubt some of them are still going strong!

Class notices:
Next SB Sunday (first SB Sunday of Series 3) is Sunday 10th August. Put it in the diary and get out there!

SB Sunday no. 3 is being re-sailed on August 17th (effectively, this is the last Sunday of series 1 (that was lost due to strong winds) being re-sailed). This is with kind permission and co-operation of both DBSC (Chris Moore and Joanne Sheehan) and our many volunteers (Barry O'Neill, Fionnuala Loughrey, Cathy Booth and Barbara Conway) so please show your appreciation by attending in numbers!

Westerns in Galway are on 23/24 August followed by Midlands in Lough Ree on 27/28 September. Two amazing venues with lots of fun and top quality racing guaranteed. I would strongly recommend those of you less inclined to travel to make the extra effort and see what all the hype is about.

See you on the water next Thursday,

Michael O'Connor

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#sb20 – The 2014 SB20 One Design National  keelboat Championship was hosted by Royal Cork Yacht Club. The event was generously sponsored by Dubarry Shoes and Dinghy Supplies.

Conditions proved ideal for the 22 competing boats with winds ranging from 5 to 15 knts. The high standard of race management ensured that the racing was exceptionally close throughout. PRO Peter Crowley and his team laid on 9 races over three days with the event going to the wire and settled by one point in the last race. Racing was held to the south of Roches Point with the tide helping competitors out each day and in on the return journey to keep commuting times down.

Day One saw Daragh Sheridan, Dinghy Supplies, getting out of the blocks quickly winning the first two races followed closely by Mel Collins, Who's The Boss, with two second place finishes. Conditions ranged from 5 - 12 knts providing a stern challenge with place changing the order of the day. After four races Stefan Hyde in Bád emerged as overnight leader, closely followed by the chasing pack. This was warming up to being a high scoring event with all to play for on day two.

Day Two saw Darren Martin, Shark Bait, putting in a great performance with three second places to take the lead by ten points from Mel Collins and Bád having slipped to joint second place. Rob Howe, Milvus Milvus also had a stellar day with a 3, 3, 1 to move into contention.

Day Three proved to be very challenging for the PRO with a sea breeze competing with the gradient wind resulting in light shifty conditions. Bád went into Race 8 needing to put a dent into Shark Bait's 10 point lead to have any hope of the title. Shark Bait, after a slick leeward gate rounding led Bád on the short beat to the finish. In a dying breeze Bad split tacks to find a line of breeze on the right hand side and finish in third followed closely by a cluster of boats leaving Shark Bait to cross the line in seventh. This left Bád in clear second needing seven points over Shark Bait in the final race to have a chance of the title. To add to the tension the weather was acting up making it extremely difficult for Peter Crowley and his team to set a course. With the time limit of 1430 now fast approaching a fresh northerly settled in and a course was promptly laid. Bád arrived at the weather mark in fifth with Shark Bait on her heels. Bád showing some excellent downwind positioning worked her way into second and held on to the finish with Shark Bait in hot pursuit. A tight cluster of boats finished behind Bád with Shark Bait shipping a ninth.

This left Bád one point to the better, helmed by Stefan Hyde (RCYC) and crewed by brothers Jerry (RIYC) and Jimmy Dowling (RStGYC) as SB20 Champions 2014.

Mel Collins finished third overall with Robert Espey in fourth. James Gorman emerged as Silver Fleet champion with a superb second in the penultimate race.
Kieran O'Çonnell and his team at RCYC are to be congratulated for organising an excellent event. A warm welcome was extended to all competitors with on and off the water activities carried out to the highest standard. RCYC are preparing a bid to host the 2017 SB20 World Championships, this would be an ideal venue for such an event given the professional race team available and superb race areas available.

Report by Jimmy Dowling RStGYC

Full results here

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#sb20 –  A competitive fleet is expected for the SB20 National Championship in The Royal Cork Yacht Club this weekend writes Kieron O'Connell.

All the usual suspects will be present in what looks to be a wide open competition with many strong teams travelling to the event. Fresh from their victory in the Northern Championship the Manama crew of Graeme Grant, Ronan Downing and Tara Flood can expect very stiff competition from local sailors Mel and Killian Collins, class newcomer Bob Espey from the RNIYC, previous National Champion and Olympian Peter Kennedy who won the event the last time it was sailed in Cork.

Also expected to be in the mix are Aidan O Connell, and the in form Dinghy Supplies crew of Darragh Sheridan, Shane Murphy and John Phelan from Howth Yacht Club as well as Michael O Connor from Dun Laoghaire. The weather forecast looks good with warm weather and light winds forecast. Race Officer Peter Crowley will have a busy weekend keeping manners on the fleet and getting three races a day.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club have great entertainment planned, there will be live music and a BBQ in the club Friday from 17.30 after racing and on Saturday there will be a live band from 17.30 till late with the event dinner at 19.30.

Venues for the 2015 SB20 season will be discussed at this weekend's national championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club that includes an option of running an event at Greystones Marina Co. Wicklow.  A coaching structure for 2015 wil also be put in place

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sb20 – Eight SB20s battled it out on Dublin Bay this evening in a northerly, easterly, and southerly breeze (depending where you were on the race course at any given moment in time) in a wind ranging in strength from 0 to 15knts (again depending where you were and when you were there!). Warning - Those easily confused should probably look away now...

Initially, the fleet prepared to start in 6knts of wind coming from the east with an ebbing tide pushing the fleet over the start line. The OOD had set a short line with a pronounced pin end bias, normally a recipe for disaster with an SB fleet not shy at coming forward... However, approximately 1 minute before the start, the wind died away to about 3 knts and backed, making the line practically impossible to cross on starboard, even with the help of the ebbing tide. Spotting the opportunity, Bad (Jerry, Jimmy et al) started on port at the pin and nailed it, owning the entire fleet. Just to leeward of them, Bomchickawahwah (John, Ed et al) and Alert Packaging (Justin et al) tacked onto port just as the gun went and kept their bows out from Bad. The remainder of the fleet also tacked onto port as the gun went and the entire fleet started heading out right in the very fickle easterly breeze.

Should Be... (Michael, Gavan and newest SB fleet member Andy Gale) were forced to tack back onto starboard shortly afterwards and head left once again but they found a rich (4knts!?!) vein of wind as they separated from the fleet going towards the opposite side of the course. Not long after, they were joined by Bad and Smoke on the Water (Bob et al) on the left side of the course as the remainder of the fleet continued right.

As the boats made their way slowly towards East mark, disaster struck the boats on the right hand side of the beat as the wind swung further left to the north, allowing the boats out left to reach into the mark while the boats out right were left struggling back against the tide to get to the mark. Particularly badly hit were SacreBleu (Richard, Ben et al) and Manamana (Doug, Ronan et al) who had been looking good for a time on the right. At the top mark, Should Be... led from Smoke on the Water and Bad and the three boats set their kites expecting a reach inshore towards Omega mark. However, as soon as they set their kites and looked up, they were greeted with the site of boats reaching under spinnaker heading directly towards them, on the same gybe! The boats that had gone right up the beat were now in a 12knt southerly breeze about 50 metres away from the weather mark! The three leaders dropped their kites and waited for the new breeze to hit them with Should Be and Bad going right and Smoke on the Water heading left into what had turned into a beat to Omega in the now southerly breeze.

Smoke on the Water did very well out left and took the lead from Should Be... in second and Bad in third. Unfortunately for Smoke on the Water, they overstood the lay line to Omega in the ebbing tide allowing Should Be... to sneak inside them at the mark and retake the lead. A fetch to Pier mark followed by a gybe and a close spinny reach to Poldy mark didn't provide much opportunity for overtaking, but with some very slick boat handling, Bad managed to sneak in front of Smoke on the Water at Poldy mark. By now, Venuesworld (Ger, Chris and Rory) were in hot pursuit of Smoke on the Water followed closely by Alert Packaging and Bomchickawahwah. Another fetch to Pier followed by a close spinny reach to Omega meant that once again passing was not going to be easy and by Omega mark, Should Be... had extended on Bad in second, Bad in turn had extended on Smoke on the Water in third and Venuesworld had closed to within a boat length of Smoke on the Water...

With only a fetch to finish, it looked like it would stay that way but as the boats rounded Omega mark before heading for Harbour mark and the finish, Smoke tacked straight away while Venuesworld continued on a couple of boat lengths to avoid the Squib, Dragon and Glen fleets heading towards and away from Omega mark. This move was to provide great dividends with Venuesworld managing to pass Smoke on the Water as Smoke contended with the added disturbed air and sea... alert Packaging and Bomchickawahwah battled it out to the very end with Alert Packaging appearing to squeeze Bomchickawahwah out at the finish line.

At the finish it was Should Be... in first, Bad in second, Venuesworld in third, a very hard-fought and well deserved fourth for Smoke on the Water, Alert Packaging in fifth, Bomchickawahwah in sixth, Manamana in seventh and SacreBleu in eighth. Timber (Alan et al) unfortunately appear to have missed the start but we hope to see them out next Thursday along with the return of some Thursday regulars (Probably, Seriously Bonkers) to make the magical double figures on a DBSC Thursday...

Saturday is the RStGYC regatta and by the latest head count we are approaching double figures so it looks like we have another great days racing ahead of us. Next SB Sunday is the following weekend, 13th July, only two weeks before the nationals... See you all out there...

Michael O'Connor

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#sb20 – 11 SB20s battled it out on Dublin Bay yesterday for SB20 Sunday No. 5 race in a light F2 breeze and sunshine...

OOD Barry O'Neill and his team of seasoned SBers Dave Barry, Ger Bythell and Gus Legge on the committee boat had their work cut out yesterday in a breeze that was forecast to die and clock around from the North East to the South East as the day progressed. In addition to the persistent veer, the wind was oscillating through 30 degrees about the mean and was patchy as hell just to make it a bit more challenging! Somehow, they managed the impossible and provided three excellent, fair, well-balanced windward leeward courses in the toughest of conditions, so the first plaudits of the day must go to Barry and the committee boat team, well done lads!

Race 1 - Race 1 set off in 8 knts of breeze with a substantial pin end bias. Seriously Bonkers (Peter et al) were closest to the pin but they jumped the gun slightly and had to gybe back around the pin and restart. Manamana (Doug, Ronan et al) were next up from the pin with Should Be... (Michael, Dave and Gareth) and Venuesworld (Ger, Chris and Rory) on their hip. The boats quickly peeled off onto port towards the expected right hand shift with Bad (Jerry, Jimmy et al) leading the charge followed by Venuesworld, Should Be... and Alert Packaging (Roger (helming this race), Justin et al). The predicted right-hander never fully materialised up the first beat and Should Be... managed to find some extra breeze and led at the first mark from Venuesworld and Alert Packaging. The boats spread out down the run with Should Be... going for the gybe set, Venuesworld going hard right and Alert Packaging taking the middle route. The middle left paid good dividends down the run, and Alert Packaging showed some good pace and momentarily took the lead down the run, however Should Be... snuck back into the lead just at the leeward mark. Up the second beat, Alert Packaging once again showed their aptitude in finding an extra gear and better breeze and passed Should Be... By now, the fleet had fallen back and the two boats had a tacking duel up the final third of the beat, with Alert Packaging rounding 4 boatlengths ahead at the weather mark. Down the final run, it was the turn of Should Be... to show good pace and an earlier gybe allowed them to shadow and overtake Alert Packaging. A short beat to finish didn't provide further opportunity for Alert Packaging to pass and they had to settle for second behind Should Be... Venuesworld recovered well from the first run to finish third. Just behind, another battle was raging with Seriously Bonkers and Bomchickawahwah (John, Ed and Kevin) (making a very welcome return to DBSC racing fresh from their second place in the Northern Championships) fighting tooth and nail for fourth. In the end, Seriously Bonkers took it by a whisker from Bomchickawahwah in fifth, Manamana in sixth, and Odin (James, Ted and Keith) in seventh. These boats were followed by Rubadubdub (Nick et al), Lupi d'Irlanda (Marco et al), Bad and Smoke on the Water (Bob et al).

Race 2 - Race 2 required some course adjustment but after a short delay the boats were off. A very strong pin end bias saw Seriously Bonkers get it right this time, claiming the pin, with Should Be... and Venuesworld to weather but with more pace. Most of the boats tacked off onto port shortly after the start and those that peeled off earliest found the right hand shift and made large gains on the fleet. Doing particularly well up the first beat were Alert Packaging (this time with Justin back at the helm), Rubadubdub, Odin and Bomchickawahwah. Again, the fleet spread out down the run with big gains and losses to be made in the light breeze. By the leeward gate, Venuesworld, having chosen the right hand side down the run,had made big gains and led from Alert Packaging, Bomchickawahwah and Odin with Rubadubdub close behind them in fifth. Up the second beat, there was a split with Alert Packaging, Odin and Bomchickawahwah going right and Venuesworld and Rubadubdub going left. As the boats converged at the weather mark, it was Venuesworld by a whisker (and plenty of shouting!) as they tacked around the mark a few feet ahead of Alert Packaging. Bomchickawahwah was refusing to be left out of the fun and stuck stubbornly to their transoms a few boathlengths back. Odin rounded fourth closely followed by Should Be..., Rubadubdub and Manamana in a tightly packed group of three. Down the final run, the three frontrunners extended their lead on the fleet astern and had their own private race up the final short beat to finish. With Venuesworld and Alert Packaging focusing on each other, Bomchickawahwah skilfully manoeuvred their way into first place to take the gun ahead of Venuesworld in second and Alert Packaging in third. Should Be... and Rubadubdub snuck in front of Odin to claim fourth and fifth respectively with Odin sixth and Manamana seventh. Seriously Bonkers came home in eighth ahead of Bad, Smoke on the Water and Lupi d'Irlanda finishing off the pack.

Race 3 - Race 3 again required some tinkering with the course in order to avoid a one sided beat with OOD Barry O'Neill moving the weather mark further towards the south and shortening the distance to the leeward gate. The boats got off at the first time of asking with again some boats opting to tack off onto port shortly after the gun in search of another righthander shift. Alert Packaging, Odin, Bomchickawahwah and Should Be... headed right with the majority of the fleet continuing left. As the boats closed in on the weather mark, a right hand shift arrived allowing those boats that had gone right to pass ahead of the boats that had gone up the left hand side of the course. At the weather mark Alert Packaging led from Odin, Bomchickawahwah, Should Be... and Rubadubdub. Alert Packaging and Bomchickawahwah opted for a quick gybe with Odin, Should Be... and Rubadubdub staying on starboard in the hope of better breeze offshore on the downwind leg. Places were changing all the time down the run as those boats able to find the small puffs of wind made significant gains on their counterparts. As the boats gybed for the leeward mark, those that had gone right down the run had gained some distance and the fleet were tightly bunched going around the leeward gate. By now, the wind was oscillating frequently through 20 degrees and the fleet started playing the shifts up the beat. At the weather mark, Bomchickawahwah led by four boatlengths from Alert Packaging and Should Be... with Odin and Venuesworld in close pursuit. Bomchickawahwah and Should Be... opted for the gybe set while Alert Packaging and Venuesworld continued towards the right and Odin choosing a middle track. Down the run, it was all about keeping the boat moving and finding that extra little bit of pressure over your competitors and with only a few boatlengths separating the first five boats, every inch counted. It was all very cagey and approximately 5 boatlengths from the leeward gate, Should Be... on starboard crossed marginally ahead of Bomchickawahwah, Alert Packaging, Odin and Venuesworld. Should Be... opted to go for the right-hand gate with the others opting for the left-hand gate. However, the boats were so close and the wind so light that the wind shadow of the four boats crossing on port gybe spelt disaster for Should Be... as they scrambled against the tide towards the leeward mark in little breeze. Up the short beat to finish, Bomchickawahwah took full advantage and again took the well-deserved first place after expertly negotiating the light airs down the final part of the run. They were followed by Alert Packaging in second approximately 1/2 boatlength ahead of Should Be... in third. Odin had to dip Should Be... as they approached the finish line and Venuesworld were no more than a further boatlength astern of Odin for one of the closest finishes to a race this season. The lead pack of five were followed closely by Manamana in sixth, Bad in seventh, Seriously Bonkers in eighth, Lupi d'Irlanda in ninth, Smoke on the Water in tenth and Rubadubdub in eleventh.

Overall, the day was a great success and although the racers were out on the water for a little longer than usual, it was well worth it in order to get three top-quality races in (also, it wasn't that taxing being out on the water a little bit longer in glorious sunshine!). Congratulations to John, Ed and Kevin on Bomchickawahwah on their return to DBSC racing and a great return to form with two firsts on the day. Next up for the SB fleet will be the RStGYC regatta this coming Saturday, 5th July, and the next SB Sunday is scheduled for Sunday 13th July.

Michael O'Connor

Published in SB20
Tagged under
Page 15 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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