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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

Published in SB20

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
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#dbsc – The SB20 OOD brought the fleet in towards Scotsman's Bay in search of some wind in the dying easterly breeze and some respite from the strong flooding tide that was beginning to rip through the race course writes Michael O'Connor. An unusually long line was set with a heavy pin end bias which posed an interesting conundrum for the sailors: the upwind pin end in more adverse tide or the downwind committee boat end in less tide? Bad (Jerry, Jimmy et al), Venuesworld (Ger, Chris and Rory) and Smoke on the Water (Bob et al) opted for the committee boat end while Alert Packaging (Justin, Darren et al), Seriously Bonkers (Peter, Caroline et al), SacreBleu (Richard, Ben and Peadar) and Should Be... (Michael, Dave and Gavan) went for the pin. Mananmana (Doug, Ronan and Ainsley) hedged their bets and went for a more mid-line approach.

As soon as the gun went, the majority of the fleet peeled off onto port and drag raced towards shore to get out of the tide. Initially, as the boats approached the shore, those that had started closer to the committee boat began to gain as they made their way out of the strongest tide. However, a big left hand shift and more breeze offshore favoured those boats that had started closer to the pin and they would lead as the fleet started tacking up the shoreline. Alert Packaging and Seriously Bonkers led from the chasing pack as the boats went "rock-hopping" en route to Bullock mark. There were big gains and losses to be had as the fleet worked their way up the shoreline and it was still all to play for. Alert Packaging and Seriously Bonkers skilfully walked the tightrope between the flat calms close to shore and the vicious tide offshore and they squeezed around the mark ahead of a pack including Should Be..., Bad, Manamana and Venuesworld, with SacreBleu and Smoke on the Water close behind. A fetch across to Poldy followed by a broad reach down to Pier mark didn't offer much opportunity for passing and the fleet settled into those positions to the finish. Although another round was scheduled, the OOD wisely shortened the course and finished the fleet at Pier mark before the wind shut off entirely.

After racing, the fleet got together in the George for the regular end-of-month sailing supper. 27 sailors and guests attended the supper, preceded (and followed!) by pints on the balcony. We were delighted to be joined at the dinner by the newest members of the growing Dun Laoghaire SB fleet, Ronan Murphy, Niall O'Carroll and Ainsley Gibney. We will be holding the next SB Sailing Supper in the Royal Irish Yacht Club on Thursday 31st July, all welcome. Put it in your diary now!

This Sunday (29th June) is SB Sunday No. 5

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Nine  SB20s battled it out in Scotsman's Bay for the 2014 NYC regatta title. With a persistent veer forecast, OOD Harry Gallagher had his work cut out setting a course that would provide a good test over the course of the day. Fortunately, Harry and his team were in top form and they managed to set a great test for the competitors.

Race 1 started in 10-12 knts of breeze and with a substantial pin end bias on the line. Should Be... (Michael, Owen and Gavan) took the pin with Bad (Dave, Gerry and Jimmy) close on their hip with early season pace-setters Alert Packaging (Justin et al) and Venuesworld (Ger, Chris and Rory) further up the line. With better breeze out right and a forecasted veer, boats were eager to get out to the right hand side of the course quickly after the start and one by one the boats began to peel away onto port tack. The wind held steady for the first beat though and as the boats converged at the weather mark, Should Be... led by a few boatlengths from a congested pack including Bad, Alert Packaging, Probably (Ian, Billy and Tom) and visitors from HYC, Monkey (Keith Cassidy et al). Down the run, there was quite a spread across the course as each of the boats tried to find their own patch of clear air but coming to the leeward gate, it was clear that the left hand side of the course down the run had paid. Should Be... Bad and Monkey had made gains on the fleet by going left down the run and those three boats would keep their lead and those positions for the remaining three rounds to the finish. Behind them, there was a real dogfight for places with Venuesworld and Odin (James, Ted and Stroud) both having to come from deep early on in the race to keep their hopes alive in the two race series. At the finish, Alert Packaging held on to fourth ahead of Venuesworld (5th), Probably (6th) and Odin (7th) with Smoke on the Water (Bob et al) holding onto 8th ahead of Seriously Bonkers (Peter et al) in 9th.

After a short break for lunch, Race 2 got off in a lighter breeze of 8-10 knts. Again the OOD set the line with a pin-end bias although this time the bias was less pronounced. Should Be... again took the pin with Bad to weather and trucking. Once again, the emphasis was on getting out to the right hand side of the course as quickly as possible and Alert Packaging, Venuesworld and Odin were the first to get out there followed by Bad and Probably. This time, the forecasted veer did arrive and both Should Be... and Monkey, early pace setters from race 1, were further down the pack with work to do. At the weather mark, Venuesworld led from Alert Packaging and Odin. Just behind them, disaster struck Bad when they had a tiller extension malfunction mid-tack and hit the weather mark in the flooding tide. By the time that they had exonerated themselves they had lost several places and importantly, both Should Be... and Monkey had snuck ahead of them. Down the run, Venuesworld had their work cut out covering boats going either side of them down the run but they skilfully kept in the gusts in the middle to maintain their lead down the run. At the leeward mark, Venuesworld led by the narrowest of margins from Alert Packaging with Should Be... rounding just ahead of Odin and Monkey. There were few place changes to speak of on the next beat and run however all was to change on round three up the final full beat...

As the boats went around the leeward mark onto the last round, Alert Packaging, in second place, seeing better breeze on the right tacked off to the right hand side of the course while Venuesworld in first continued left followed by Should Be... in third and Odin in fourth. Monkey and Probably rounded approximately 10 boatlengths further behind in 5th and 6th with Bad, having recovered from their earlier misfortune, nipping at their heels. Shortly after Monkey and Probably had rounded the leeward gate, there was a massive right hand shift with the wind that Alert Packaging had expertly spotted and it seemed that the persistent right hand shift had finally arrived in spades. Venuesworld and Odin continued on in the hope of a left hander further up the course while Should Be... tacked back onto port and took the transoms of both Probably and Monkey. At this stage, Alert Packaging was in a regatta winning position, but only just! As if things weren't hotting up enough, Bad had come right back into it and trailed Monkey and Should Be... by only a couple of boatlengths so it was all to play for between these three boats up the final beat! The wind continued to clock further right, Alert Packaging made massive gains on the fleet and both Odin and Venuesworld had suffered large losses. Alert Packaging led around the weather mark by a distance. Somehow, Venuesworld managed to find a patch of private breeze to come back towards the fleet from the far left corner and held on to second place ahead of a bunch that included Should Be..., Monkey, Probably, Odin and Bad, all within a couple of boatlengths of each other. Those five boats tacked, ducked and crossed their way up the final quarter of the beat and at the mark it was Should Be... in third ahead of Monkey, Odin, Bad and then Probably. From there, after the significant right-hand shift, it was a drag race to the leeward mark and the last short beat to finish. Uncharacteristically, Venuesworld had failed to take into account the massive right-hander up the beat and rather than doing a gybe set, continued on in a nice patch of breeze after the weather mark. When they gybed back onto port, they couldn't hold their kite and dropped back to seventh as the boats with kites above sailed over the top of them en route to the leeward mark. At the finish, it was Alert Packaging by a country mile, followed by Should Be... (2nd), Monkey (3rd), Odin (4th), Bad (5th), Probably (6th), Venuesworld (7th), Seriously Bonkers (8th) and Smoke on the Water in ninth.

Overall, the regatta results were 1st Should Be, 2nd Alert Packaging, 3rd Monkey, 4th Bad, 5th Odin.

Just a reminder that there will be an SB Social evening in the RStGYC this Thursday after sailing. The fleet will gather for a drink on the balcony after sailing followed by sailing supper @ c. 9.15pm. Looking forward to seeing as many of you there as possible. Also, next Sunday (29th June) is SB Sunday No. 5. Let's hope the weather holds!

Published in SB20
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#sb20 – A fluctuating F3 NE breeze and glorious sunshine greeted the SB fleet on Dublin Bay for the last race decider of Thursday series 1. After 7 races, Should Be... (Michael, Owen and Gavan) led by a single point overall from the in-form Alert Packaging (Justin, Darren et al) with Venuesworld (Ger, Rory et al) a further three points back, so it was all to play for in the last race of the series.

The overall results are downloadable below as an xcel file

The line was set with a strong pin end bias and Manamana (Doug, Ronan and Tara) battled it out with Probably (Mark, Ian et al) for the pin with the rest of the fleet opting for a more cautious approach slightly further up the line. Although Manamana expertly won the pin, Probably started with better pace and soon eked out ahead of Manamana. One by one, the boats started peeling off onto port in search of clearer air out right, led by SacreBleu (Richard, Ben et al) followed closely by Should Be... Alert Packaging took advantage of the opportunity to split tacks with Should Be..., took their transom and continued left with Venuesworld. As the boats converged at the top mark for a starboard rounding, Probably had extended their lead on the fleet to round two boatlengths ahead of Should Be... with Alert Packaging two boatlengths further back with Venuesworld hot on their heels. At this stage, the series was in the hands of Should Be...

Venuesworld gybed off straight away followed by Manamana, while Probably, Should Be... and Alert Packaging opted for the straight set followed by Bad (Enda, Gerry et al), SacreBleu, Smoke on the Water (Bob et al) and Seriously Bonkers (Peter, Michael and Dave). Probably showed great pace down the run to extend their lead to 5 boatlengths by the leeward mark. Alert Packaging positioned themselves perfectly, gybing onto Should Be... as the boats gybed for the leeward mark. Alert Packaging squeezed around the leeward mark just ahead of Should Be... with Venuesworld a few boatlengths further back. With Alert Packaging needing to beat Should Be... and place either 1st or 2nd to win the series, Alert Packaging were now in a series-winning position.

Going up the next beat, both Venuesworld and Should Be... tacked out left in search of clear air and better breeze with Alert Packaging and Probably continued on. Should Be... came back early to keep in touch with Alert Packaging but Venuesworld took a larger bite out of the cherry. The boats on the left managed to get better breeze and coming to the second weather mark, Venuesworld had jumped from fourth to first and led from Probably followed by Should Be... in a distant third. By now, Manamana had entered back into the fray and was just ahead of Alert Packaging heading for the mark. In this position, Venuesworld had overtaken Alert Packaging in the overall standings!

Alert Packaging attempted to tack inside Manamana at the mark but disaster struck and in the building tide, Alert Packaging hit the mark and had to spin. Although they battled on valiantly, the gap to the boats ahead was now just too much to claw back and their race was effectively run.

Up ahead, Venuesworld maintained their lead over Probably and Should Be... down the run but as the boats went up the final beat, the wind softened and traffic from other classes meant that it was essential to plot a course through the other fleets keeping your air clear. The three lead boats bunched closer together and Probably took the lead just before the last weather mark followed by Should Be... with Venuesworld rounding outside Should Be... onto the last run. By the last leeward mark before the short fetch to the finish line, Probably led by 1/2 boatlength from Should Be... With Venuesworld approximately 4 boatlengths further back.

However, there was still time for one more cruel twist to the story and tragedy struck Probably. A navigational snafu by Probably saw them attempt to round the last mark on port. By the time they realised their error, they were the wrong side of the mark with no easy way back. Should Be... and Venuesworld took full advantage of Probably's misfortune to get first and second respectively ahead of Probably. Meanwhile, Alert Packaging, never giving up, had overtaken Manamana up the final beat and took fourth ahead of Manamana in fifth. In sixth was relative newcomers (as a team) SacreBleu followed by Bad, Seriously Bonkers and Smoke on the Water.

Overall, Thursdays series 1 went to Should Be... with Alert Packaging in second place a point ahead of Venuesworld in third. Hopefully, Thursdays series 2 will also go down to the wire!

Finally, and most importantly, next Thursday (26th June), the last Thursday of the month, there will be a fleet get-together in the RStGYC after sailing. We will be meeting on the balcony for a drink after sailing and we will head in to sailing supper at approx. 9.15pm. Dress is smart casual (no jacket and tie required) and the dinner will cost €25 for starter and main course. This was a fabulous social event last year and I would encourage everyone to come along and join in the fun. Early booking is recommended (last year we ended up with an overflow table!) and if you would like to attend, please contact me, rather than the RStGYC, directly asap and I will make sure your name is in the pot.

Good luck to those competing in the NYC regatta on Saturday, looks like there will be a zephyr, maybe two, but plenty of sunshine :-)


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#sb20 – A fickle F2 north westerly in beaming sunshine tested the SB20 fleet last Sunday for the 4th (of 10) DBSC SB Sundays and the first Sunday of Series 2.

After a short postponement to clear the race track of the ICRA cruiser fleet, OOD con Murphy and his team of Barbara, Cathy, Fionnuala, Owen and owner John Roberts on "Quite Correct" got the fleet off at the first time of asking. An individual recall was sounded for the crew of Alert Packaging (Justin, Darren and Marty) but the rest of the fleet had managed to keep their noses clean. Most of the fleet opted for a committee boat end start on starboard with Should Be... (Michael, Owen and Gavan) attempting a port tack start from the pin. They couldn't quite cross Venuesworld (Ger, Chris and Rory) but ducked their transom and headed out right along with Alert Packaging and Bad (Jerry, Jimmy and Dave, Dave helming), in expectation of the forecasted veer. VenuesWorld, Manamana (Doug, Ronan and Tara) and Rubadubdub (Nick et al - sorry lads (et al), we really need to introduce ourselves over a pint this weekend at the NYC regatta!!) headed left and inshore for more pressure. Half way up the beat the boats converged back towards the middle of the course and it was clear that left and pressure had paid handsomely with Venuesworld in a commanding lead followed by Manamana and Should Be... That was the order of rounding at the weather mark followed by Bad, Alert Packaging and Rubadubdub. Heading down the run, Bad, Manamana and Should Be... opted for the early gybe with Venuesworld, Alert Packaging and Rubadubdub again heading for pressure inshore. By the bottom of the run, Venueworld had extended their lead but the rest of the fleet was still tightly packed with a few boatlengths separating second from sixth. The big movers on the run were Alert Packaging getting back up into the mix and Should Be... moving in the opposite direction. Up the second beat, the wind started to die and Venuesworld expertly plotted their way up the course, holding onto their lead. Manamana and Alert Packaging had headed out right, however this time the veer and better pressure materialised off shore and both boats made significant gains on the fleet. By now, the new north easterly breeze was establishing itself so a reach followed by a fetch to finish ensured that no further place changes were on offer and at the finish it was Venuesworld followed by Alert Packaging (who made a miraculous recovery having gone back at the start), Manamana, Bad, Rubadubdub and Should Be...

The OOD took a short break waiting for the new breeze to establish itself and once it did, the fleet were treated to a steadier F3 north easterly. OOD Con Murphy sensibly opted for a slightly shorter course than race 1 in an attempt to ensure two or more races could be completed on the day. A committee boat bias meant bunching at the weather end with several boats including Bad and Should Be... going out right with Venuesworld and Manamana heading left. At the top mark it was Venuesworld once more in a commanding lead followed by Manamana with Should Be... and Bad (this time with Gerry on the helm) in close pursuit. With the boats going pretty deep on the run, there was plenty of opportunity for the back markers to make gains on the boats ahead and claw their way back into the race and the leaders were never completely safe. After the next beat and run, the two lead boats, Manamana and Venuesworld went around the last leeward mark overlapped with Should Be... in third only a boatlength behind and Alert Packaging (this time with Darren on the helm) only a further 1/2 boatlength back. The two leaders got tangled up in a personal duel and almost allowed Should Be... through but in the end Venuesworld, sailing very solidly, held on to take the win from Should Be..., Manamana, Alert Packaging, Bad and Rubadubdub.

Race 3 got off without any delay and the fleet once again bunched up at the committee boat and split tacks up the first beat. Alert Packaging (this time with Marty on the helm), Manamana and Should Be... opting to go right with Rubadubdub, Venuesworld and Bad (this time with Jimmy on the helm) going left. This time, the boats heading right found more pressure and at the weather mark Should Be... led from Alert Packaging and Manamana. The boats bunched once more at the leeward mark with Venuesworld storming up the fleet. Should Be... still led at the leeward gate but by the narrowest of margins. In an effort to get a clean getaway, Venuesworld opted for the right hand side gate mark, however it transpired that the left mark was in fact the favoured mark allowing those boats going to the left hand mark to gain distance on Venuesworld. By the second weather mark, Should Be... had held on to their lead and were followed a few boatlengths behind by Alert Packaging, Manamana and Venuesworld. After the final run and short beat to finish, it ended up with Should Be... taking the gun followed by Alert Packaging, Venuesworld, Manamana, Rubadubdub and Bad.

So after the first SB Sunday of series 2, Ger and the crew of Venuesworld lead series 2 with 5 points and have certainly set down a marker for the rest of the fleet. Alert Packaging are in second on 8 points followed by Should Be... in third on 9 points. Special thanks goes to Con Murphy OOD and his team on Quite Correct for setting three great races in very challenging conditions. Special thanks also goes to John Roberts for the loan of his 54ft Jeanneau "Quite Correct". Having enjoyed the splendour and creature comforts of "Quite Correct", I understand that it will be hard to drag Cathy, Fionnuala and Barbara back to MacLir - I hope that they aren't unionised!!

Finally, in last Thursday's race report, I failed to mention that Alert Packaging was helmed to a convincing victory by Darren Burke with Justin on the mainsheet (unfortunately we were never close enough to tell!). Darren is obviously following in his Justin's footsteps giving the class a beating! Congratulations Darren, you might have a regular spot there! See you all this Thursday for the last Thursday of Series 1. Forecast is for wind and sunshine so leave the office and be unproductive for a few hours!

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#sb20 – Nine SB20 sportsboats made it to the start line in beautiful sunshine and a gentle F2 south easterly for the penultimate race of the first Thursday series. With only a few points separating the top 3 boats and a second discard to be applied, it was still all to play for in the scrap for the prizes.

The fleet set off on a lengthy beat to Bullock into a strengthening flooding tide. The usual Dublin Bay conundrum of less tide inshore or more wind offshore faced the competitors with those boats avoiding the flat spots closer to shore faring best up the first beat. At the first mark, Manamana (Doug, Ronan et al) had weekend out a nice lead and a tidy hoist allowed them to extend away from the chasing pack. In second and third, Alert Packaging (Justin, Darren et al) and Venuesworld (Ger et al) were having an epic tussle with only feet separating them around the mark. A gap formed then to SacreBleu (Richard et al), Bad (Enda and Gerry), Probably (Billy, Ian and Mark), Should Be... (Michael, Owen and Gavan), Rubadubdub (Nick et al) and Smoke On The Water (Bob et al). Unfortunately for Smoke on the Water, a broken spinny sheet put paid to their race prematurely...

There were no significant changes down the first two reaches but the second beat turned the race on its head with massive gains and losses to be had. Venuesworld lost touch with the top two as Alert Packaging and Manamana pulled away from the fleet and match raced each other up the beat with the lead changing several times... (From a great, great distance it looked like a great battle!) Elsewhere, it seemed like there were place changes every couple of minutes with first of all Probably and then Should Be... nipping at the heels of SacreBleu and Venuesworld, and Bad falling back. Third around the second weather was Venuesworld followed closely by SacreBleu, Should Be... and Probably in hot pursuit.

With a run followed by another beat and two reaches (a good but very long course tonight!), you would expect that the fleet would have spread out a lot, turning the race into a procession however (other than the top 2 who were just crazy far ahead!), it is a testament to the evenness of the boats and the dogged nature of the competitors in the fleet that three boats (Bad, SacreBleu and Probably) went around the last gybe mark overlapped. Bad skillfully came out of that tussle with the bragging rights!

In the end, Alert Packaging snuck ahead of Manamana who gave them a terrific battle to the end and they were followed over the line by Venuesworld, Should Be..., Probably, Bad and SacreBleu in that order. Only one point separates the top two with third a further three points back so the stage is set for a great finale to series one next Thursday.

Just a reminder that the second Sunday series is about to begin with SB Sunday no. 4 on this coming Sunday, 12.30 first gun. This Sunday we are delighted to have Con Murphy filling in for Barry as OOD (big shoes to fill Con!) so looking forward to some great SB racing in the sunshine.

Published in SB20

#sb20 – The sb20 fleet assembled in Carrickfergus last weekend for their Northern Championship for what was supposed to be the opening of the new club house writes Ronan Downing. Unfortunately "Health & Safety" hadn't signed off on occupation or the club thought better of it considering the fleet had the last regatta at the old club before it burnt down. With an entry list comprising numerous national champions, commodore cup sailors and an Olympian the competition was always going to be fierce.

Results are available to download below as a PNG file.

The conditions on Saturday didn't live up to expectations with the wind completely shutting down at the second leeward mark of race one robbing Who's The Boss (Mel Collins, Killian Collins and Luca) of a comfortable race victory. This lead was hard fought for after Bad (Stefan Hyde, Gerry Dowling, Jimmy Dowling) managed to tie themselves to the spreader mark TWICE giving away a 2 minute lead. Sailing for the day was cancelled after much waiting around in very cold, dreary and wet conditions. The fleet retired to the bar in the boat shed where we were treated to a barbecue. The new club house might not have been ready but the hospitality made everyone feel welcome.

For day 2 the sun came out and the breeze was up building from 15 knots in the lulls to just shy of 30 in the gusts by the end of the day. After a general recall the fleet got away under the u flag off a square line. Over the next 3 legs the lead changed several times with Who's the boss leading around the second weather mark. The downwind legs were full planing on both gybes making the leeward gate arrive rapidly. With tidier drops Bad and ManaMana (Graeme Grant, Ronan Downing, Tara Flood) took the lead. A match race to the finish ensued which opened the door for Dinghy Supplies ( Daragh Sheridan, Shane Murphy, John Phelan) who had stormed down the last downwind leg. A photo finish at the line saw Dinghy Supplies take the win from Bad and ManaMana with Ridgefence (Peter Kennedy, Andrew Vaughan, Stephen Kane) taking fourth from Who's the Boss.

Race 2 saw Who's the boss take the lead on the first beat closely followed by a large pack. This time the Cork/ Italian crew weren't going to let it slip away and extended on every leg winning by a substantial margin. The race for second was one by Ruby Blue (Aidan O Connell, Brian Reilly, Alan Daly) from Dinghy Supplies and BomChickaWhaWha (John O Driscoll, Robert O Donohoe, Edward Cooke). Ridgefence took fifth with ManaMana in sixth. This put Dinghy Supplies out in front of Who's The Boss by a point. With the top sixth all within 3 points.

Race 3 got off first time of asking on another square line. ManaMana rounded the weather mark first closely following by BomChickaWhaWha, WhosThe Boss and RidgeFence. After a slow kite hoist at the second weather mark by ManaMana, BomChickaWhaWha took the lead and the win followed by Manamana, Ridgefence and Who's the Boss with Bad in fifth. This left the scoring all tied between Manamana and BomChickaWhaWha in second with Who's The Boss 1 point ahead in first.

With all to play for in race 4 the breeze really filled in as the fleet got off another clean start on a square line. ManaMana lead out to the right side of the course after starting second row at the committee boat. This gave ManaMana a 6 boat length lead at the first weather mark with what appeared to be the entire fleet arriving together behind. ManaMana extended on the first downwind with Ridgefence in second breaking away from the following pack. After Ridgefence broached and ditched their kite at the leeward mark ManaMana now had a substantial lead and loose covered the entire fleet up the next beat. BomChickaWhaWha made the best effort to next break away from the following pack by playing the right hand side of the course. With many wipe outs on the next downwind including a wayward kicker on the lead boat during a gybe, survival proved the better part of valour. ManaMana managed to hold onto first with BomChickaWhaWha taking second and Shark Bait (Darren Martin, Simon Murray, Roger Pannell) having their best race of the day with a third.

Who's the boss retired from the last race after being involved in a small collision which left the overall results ManaMana first on 6 points, BomChickaWhaWha second on 7 points and Dinghy Supplies taking third from Who's The Boss on count back both on 10 points. Ruby Blue took fifth from Ridgefence on count back tied on 12 points. The silver fleet was won by Bad with Shark Bait in second and (Davey Taylor, Trevor D'Arcy, Lisa Neary) in third.

The class would like to make a special mention about the Race Officer Robin Gray. The R.O. did an exceptional job on Sunday getting four fantastic races in on one day to complete the regatta.

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#sb20 – Five SB20s lined up for the weekly Thursday sail around the cans with southerly breeze of 13 knts gusting 16 and a rolling sea, Some of the usual contenders were presumably opting to use the evening to get ready for the trip up north this weekend. A 20 degree shift at the start made for a bias at the boat end where we duly lined up in a tight bunch which resulted in some excitement and the flying of a protest flag. Venuesworld and Sacrebleu got off the line first followed by Should be and Manamana. A decent length beat to the top mark resulted in four boats rounding within a few boat lengths of each other. The angle was just marginally too tight for some of the gusts so the fleet played it safe until Venuesworld decided to put up their kite. Enthused by their bravery Should be went for it and aimed to leeward of the fleet while SacreBleu and Venuesworld got involved in a luffing battle to windward with Manamana waiting to see what happened the kite hoisters. Should be saw the battle between SacreBleu and Venuesworld and caught a few strong gusts to lead the pack to the next mark where they lead to the finish.

The next leg was too tight to fly the kites but Manamana put in a brave effort to keep theirs up after the gybe but couldn't get the required height, still they worried the fleet for a while with their pace, the remainder of the fleet two sailed it back inshore with lovely rollers underneath, Venuesworld showed their skills in 2 sail reaching from the Enterprise days and rapidly closed the gap between themselves and Should be using the waves to great effect. Should be tacked inshore and took advantage of a right shift to increase their lead to the next mark.

A great tussle between SacreBleu and Manamana ended with SacreBleu getting to the right side of a flock of Glens to end in a photo finish which resulted in SacreBleu getting a well deserved 3rd.

Overall a great evenings yachting with everyone putting the kites up for a sleigh ride home, with Venuesworld sailing enthusiastically past the harbour never wanting it to end!

Many thanks to Barry O'Neill and the crew of Freebird for a great evening racing.

Best of luck to all those travelling north!

Final results
1. Should be
3. Sacrebleu
4. Manamana
5. Smoke on the Water

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Page 16 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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