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#sb20 – Day 2 of the SB20 Worlds 2013 brought lots more big wind action for the 15 Nation, 90 boat fleet. It was hard sailing again today in the short steep chop with the forecast breeze gradually increasing to 30 knots. On the leader board Craig Burlton has overtaken Rodion Luka for pole position with a very impressive 1,2,3 today with Luka dropping down to 4th overall. Kiwi-Irish interest NZL 3287 Sharkbait being sailed by Ben Duncan for his home nation is being crewed by Ireland's Joe Turner and Aidan MacSweeny. The combined Kiwi-Irish crew are lying a very impressive 5th overall up from their 9th place following day 1.

Mel & Killian Collins were happily back on the water today following yesterday's dismasting however Mel was one of 14 boats deemed over the start early and earned a Black Flag disqualification for the effort. The Cork crew which includes Killian's wife Mary, did better in the subsequent 2 races of the day and scored very well in the final race managing a 5th. The PRO called the fleet back twice in the first two races before allowing them cleanly away in race 3. Race 3 was then finished at the second top mark as the PRO wisely chose not to send the fleet downwind once again.

Ronan Downing (Manamana) dropped some places overnight and is lying 19th and lost a protest lodged against him by a French competitor for an incident at the leeward mark on race 3.. Manamana which is helmed by Graeme Grant from HYC, placed 12th on race 2 today.

The punishing conditions have inflicted yet more damage on the fleet with another two masts broken. Conditions for the next two days are not set to moderate at all. COYCH organisers may opt to keep the fleet ashore Wednesday and rehash the race schedule accordingly. Chris Nolan and Ger Dempsey broke their kicker in race 3 but managed to finish the race in 39th position.

Irish SB20 sailor Marty Cuppage (Seriously Bonkers 3) from the Royal St. George YC leads in the Masters division overnight having scored 1,4,2,1 in the first two days of racing. He is on joint 8 points Monaco entry Athos.

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#sb20 – Following yesterday's Mistral wind conditions, the COYCH Race Committee brought the start of racing on day two of the Audi SB20 World Championships 2013 forward by one hour to take advantage of the lesser wind conditions in the early morning.

The 90–boat fleet left the marina and made their way to the race course. Again, the competitive, pushy nature of SB20 sailors meant the fleet were recalled twice before the first race of day two was underway. Nine competitors were caught on the black flag start of the second race, including Roger Hudson's (RSA) Race Ahead crew and Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) who sails with his father Laurent and Xavier Leclair of Marçon Yachting. The Race Committee set the course further to the right hand side of Baie de Iles d' Or (Golden Island Bay) where the wind conditions were slightly less than the course position of the previous day. The left hand side of the course looked like the favourite for the first start.

While many of the fleet over stood the layline, Craig Burlton (GBR) arrived at the windward mark in first position, with Joe Llewellyn (GBR) hot on his heels. Burlton and Llewellyn enjoy competitive racing in their home waters and have bought their rivalry to the World Championships. Burlton extended his lead and by the leeward mark of the first lap, taking control of the race; he went on to win in style. Llewellyn returned ashore to discover to his disappointment that he too had be black flagged on the first race of the day.

Vladimir Prosikhin (RUS) sails his maiden SB20 World Championships in Team Nika. Prosikhin joined the SB20 class to increase his time spent at the helm, in training for his RC44 campaign. Coached in the RC44 by Rodion Luka (UKR) he will be smiling tonight knowing that he finished sixth in the first race today; while Luka finished eighth.

Just one boat was caught over the line in the second race today; Italian entry "Alghero" sailed by Pietro Fois was forced to sit out the second race while the fleet departed to the top of the race course in increasing pressure.

"Mary Vicky" helmed by Niccolo Bianchi (ITA) popped out at the windward mark in first place, Burlton was in hot pursuit in second place. Despite his exclusion from the first race of day two, Roger Hudson was back in the picture, rounding in third position, just ahead of Edward Russo (FRA), President of the SB20 Class. Rounding positions after the first windward leg were maintained to the end of the race, delivering the first bullet of the Championships to the Italian fleet. Other notable finishing positions include "Piscine Desjoyaux" sailed by Jean-Baptiste Bernaz in eleventh position and Phil Plumbtree (GBR) in PP Projects in thirteenth.

After claiming to feel "the boat slow" at the windward mark, Charlie Whelan's (GBR) "Here Comes Bod" suffered a dismasting on the second leeward leg of the race due to failure of a spreader bracket. A huge disappointment for the crew as the start of the third race was in sequence, they were recovered from the race course.

With increasing pressure, the race committee started the third race of the day but were forced to shorten the course and finish the fleet on their second rounding of the windward mark. A good decision as the Mistral had returned in full force and attrition of the fleet had begun. Joe Llewellyn took the bullet, Jean-Baptiste Bernaz second, Craig Burlton third and Vladimir Prosikhin fourth.

"That was a glamour day," grinned Burlton as he came ashore. "We still can't get ourselves off the start line, but we're pretty good at picking our way to the front of the fleet." Adding a 1,2,3 to the score sheet today, Burlton claimed a, "Good day at the office." And rightly so as he now lies first overall with only eight points while the second placed boat, helmed by Nicolo Bianchi, has racked up 33 points.

Full results can be viewed here

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#sb20 – Race 1 of the SB20 Worlds got off to a flying start Monday in Hyeres for the SB20 fleet World Championshps in the Mediterranean. After 2 general recalls in wind which started at 22 knots, the 90+ boat fleet soon had to battle with wind that had increased to a steady 32 knots. Mel and Killian Collins got off to a flying start finding the windy and extremely choppy conditions both familiar to them and to their liking. The RCYC crew led off the start from the weather end and tacked immediately for fleet position. They continued to lead the race by eight boat lengths to Russia’s Rodion Luka who eventually tucked them into second place.  On the last gybe before the finish, they were caught by a savage gust up to 35 Knots. Unfortunately for the Cork team they had a small twist in the kite which popped with such intensity it just took the rig over the side.  A new rig now stands in the boat overnight and Mel looks forward to getting involved again tomorrow. When questioned about the day, Mel wasn’t really sure what to say but the sheer effort of Race 1 and subsequent boat repair were telling in his words.

Otherwise, a strong Irish presence in the top 30 boats shows Ben Duncan and crew on Sharkbait lying 9th and Ronan Downing on Manamana lying 13th.  Rob Howe with wife Joanne Sheehy and crew Paul McMahon onboard are 25th.  The Irish skippers are extremely happy with their first day results given the conditions.  On a day that tested boats and crews to breaking point sheer survival seemed to be the key.  The butchers bill for the day was 2 masts, 5 poles and 5 rudders replaced.  Plenty to keep the shore crew at Sportsboatworld busy late into the afternoon.  In total 3 Irish boats retired to the pits for repairs.

Organisers posted an amendment to indicate that 4 races will be scheduled Tuesday. 

Results are here

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#SB20 – In big mistral breezes exceeding 32 knots at stages the SB20 fleet took to the racecourse for Race 1 today. Rodion Luka won the opening gambit of the event. Best placed Irish boat was Sharkbait in 9th but not without a bit of damage incurred with a leeward gate collision with fellow Irish boat Dave Barry (Lia) who subsequently broke their pole. also incurred damage with a broken pole. Unfortunately the news of the days also brings word of Mel and Killian Collins out of day 1 with a dropped rig. Some frantic boat repairs now required shore side.

Extreme conditions today, boats are reporting submarining conditions downwind with speeds in excess of 21 knots. The fleet has been called ashore for the moment which means race 2 is on hold for the time being. The forecast for the next 2 days is for more very heavy breeze.

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#sb20 – Racing has started today in the southern French port of Hyeres for the SB20 World Championship. The event is being run over five days and hosted by the International racing centre COYCH. Organisers have opted for a single start for the entire class which will see upwards of 90 boats jostling for position when the sequence commences. In the end, 10 Irish SB20s travelled which is a very impressive turnout from the Irish fleet.

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#sb20 – A competitive fleet of 17 SB20's travelled to the Royal Ulster Yacht Club over the weekend to compete in the Northern Championships. With a big section of the fleet travelling the Worlds in France in a little over three weeks time, the competition was very well timed for the final tuning of boats and crews.

PRO Robin Gray was always going to have his hands full on a shifty first day in Belfast Lough. Race 1 got underway on time, but a big shift on the first beat led to the cancellation of the race, and the next 90 minutes were spent waiting for the breeze to settle enough to get racing underway again. Finally setting off in 8-10 knots of breeze, Ben Duncan with Joe Turner and Aidan MacSweeny on Sharkbait took command half way through the race to snatch the lead from Michael O'Connor on 'Should Be', with ex flying-fifteen ace Darren Martin's 'Soda Bread' rounding out the top three.

Race 2 was convincingly won by Davy Talyor's, stealing the lead early on and doing a horizon job on the rest of the fleet, giving Boatmec their first regatta race win in the SB20's. Local favourites Ridgeway with James & Bob Espey and Gareth Flannigan on board sailed themselves into second place, with Aiden O'Connell's consistent Ruby Blue with Ross & Andrew Vaughan rounding out 3rd in an event which didn't see their results dip below 5th for the entire weekend. Race 3 on Saturday saw the third different race winner in this extremely competitive fleet with Ronan Downings Manamana steered into the lead by fleet newcomer Graham Grant, with Breffni Jones on the bow. Marty Cuppages Seriously Bonkers 3 held onto second place in front of Sharkbait in third.

With the delays in racing earlier in the day the fleet headed in to dinner at the Royal Ulster Yacht Club in the evening, and it was clear the difficult day on the water had fried a few brain cells including Justin Burke's Alert Packaging, Dave Barrys Lia, Rob Howes Milvus Milvus and Ger Dempsey & Chris Nolans usually consistent languishing further back in the fleet order. Ridgeway held the overnight lead tied with Ruby Blue, with the discard to kick in the following day.

Day 2 dawned with more promise of breeze and some of the sparkling downwind sailing the SB20's deliver in bucketloads when the wind is up. After the black flag appeared the fleet was a little line-shy, with Ridgeway leading the charge for the entire race only to be pipped on the finish line by Sharkbait. Dinghy Supplies with Daragh Sheridan, John Phelan and Dan O'Connell had their best result with a third. Race 5 was another black flag affair for the eager fleet, but 'Ruby Blue' capitalised and took the bullet from Ridgway, with Sharkbait fighting back from deep in the fleet to steal 3rd from Boatmec on the line.

So it was down to the last race of the regatta to decide the overalls. With a dropping breeze there was some frantic changes to rigs, and the fleet got underway dodging some big holes in the breeze on the first beat. Sharkbait eventually sealed her 4th Northern Championship crown by winning the final race, followed by Ruby Blue into a solid second overall. Manamana rounded out the top three for the final race, but it was not enough to claim the last podium spot which went to the local lads on Ridgeway.

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#sb20 – With an eye to the form book for the SB20 World Championships in Hyeres next month, won the inaugural SB20 UK Grand Slam on day four of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. Jerry Hill, Craig 'Spike' Watson and Richard Lovering sailed an excellent series in a brand new SB20 which was only launched on Thursday 1st August.

Without completing the final two races of the event, just one discard was applied to the six results generated over the previous three race days. After the discard Jerry Hill and Joe Lewellyn were tied on 8 points, but Hill took the Grand Slam title and lifted the Sportsboat World Trophy on count back

The SB20 class now looks towards the 2013 World Championships, in early September in Hyeres, south of France. 100 boats are expected to compete in the Championship, with 14 irish entries.

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#sb20 – Up to 14 Irish teams are expected to travel to the upcoming SB20 World Championships to be held in Hyeres, France and hosted by internationally renowned COYCH,recent host to the ISAF Sailing World Cup. As Afloat reported earlier, racing begins on September 9th in the Southern French venue that will see 5 days of intense competition for the 100 boats expected to compete. 14 Races are scheduled including the qualifier series over 2 days after which the fleet will be split between Gold and Silver over two separate race courses.

The combined Dun Laoghaire clubs are travelling in strength with James Gorman (Odin), Ger Dempsey / Chris Nolan ( Marty Cuppage / Peter Lee (Seriously Bonkers 3), Dave Barry (Lia) with Irish Class President Justin Burke leading by example and heading south for the event. have combined forces with Davy Taylor ( from Carrickfergus Sailing Club for the series.

Cork crews led by Southern Rep Mel Collins are also well represented. Mel and brother Killian were 11th at the last UK hosted World Championships in Torquay in 2011. This was the best ever placing for an Irish Crew at any of the Sportsboat worlds series. Previously, Ballyholme sailor Gareth Flannigan came 22nd overall in Gold at the 2010 Lake Garda series. The Cork duo are well used to stiff one-design competition with years of success in 1720's, J109's and Olympic Star class and will be seeking a repeat of their earlier performance. Kieran Dorgan (The Bear) who crewed with the RCYC pair in Torquay, is representing his own club (Cove Sailing Club) this September. Kieran recently showed a good turn of speed at the SB20 Irish Nationals in Galway. Kinsale Yacht Club's Ronan Downing (Manamana) has recruited Howth Yacht Clubs Graeme Grant and Irish Class Silver Medallist Breffini Jones. Monkstown Bay Sailing club is represented by Rob Howe and Joanne Sheehy (Milvus Milvus).

Although based in Ireland and representing the ISA at the regular Irish regional events, Three times SB20 National Champion Ben Duncan (Sharkbait) has opted to represent his native New Zealand in Hyeres. Duncan along with regular crew Joe Turner will be heavier than normal with substitute Aidan MacSweeney travelling and is hoping to better his 13th score at the 2011 Worlds.

The Irish teams are up against some stiff competition this year. Three times World Champion Geoff Carveth will be there to defend his title along with Jerry Hill (2010 Champion). A serious threat to the championship comes from Russia where the fleet has seen a steady growth. Some of the Russian teams including current European Champion Rodion Luka, have been using Portugal as a winter training base and are keen to bring the title home. In all, 14 countries will be represented in Hyeres. Recently, World Council President, Ed Russo who came 2nd in the Grand Slam series in Hyeres visited Galway for the Irish Nationals but had to be content with a 5th place overall as a result of a late black flag.

The Irish Fleet travel to Bangor this coming weekend to take part in the Northern Championships which will be the final preparation event before travelling to France.

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#sb20SB20 trio Ben Duncan, Brian Moran and Joe Turner sailing Sharkbait completed a hat-trick of SB20 national titles at a tricky 22-boat event in Galway last weekend in a nice race series cut short to six. It's a significant achievement in one of the top one design classes. Sharkbait leads 14 Irish SB20s boats entered for the World Championships, positive news with 15% of all entries for the French hosted event coming from Ireland.

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#sb20 – In really tricky conditions that saw the nine race series reduced to six races, the fleet of 22 SB20's took to the water to contend the title this weekend on Galway Bay. Ably commanded on the water by Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) Commodore David Vinnell, the GBSC team battled the elements all weekend with massive shifts, rain squalls, thunder and lightning storms and doldrums. Results below for download as a jpeg file.

Race 1 on Saturday proved to be a presidential affair with SB20 International Class President Ed Russo getting off to a flying start with a win closely followed by Irish class President Justin Burke in 2nd. Russo was sailing on chartered SB Mephisto and was crewed by Rob Smith and Americas Cup/Match race tour sailor Gilles Favennec. The team were using the Irish Event as a warm up to their campaign for the SB20 worlds later this year to be held in Hyeres.

Race 2 was won by Ben Duncan (Sharkbait) with Kieran Dorgan (The Bear) in 2nd who was definitely improving after a slow start to his day. Russo crossed the line in 3rd . By this time the crews were finding it increasingly difficult to get a measure of the tricky wind conditions. The odd flurry of breeze from the Southern shore would not last long and would inevitably cause a bit of intense head scratching. Vinnell and team boldly set the course for race 3 directly underneath one incoming cloud and it was Aidan O'Connell (Ruby Blue) took race 3 from Sharkbait. O'Connell opted for the left side of the beat from the start and beat Duncan to the weather mark coming nicely in on the port lay. O'Connell maintained his lead all the way to the finish. Kieran Dorgan again showed good pace and finished in 3rd.

PRO David Vinnell had wanted to run 5 races on Saturday but a large thunder and lightning storm that came in from the southwest killed any gradient breeze. What little breeze remained was shifting regularly by 30+ degrees which made it impossible to set a course so David wisely opted to send the fleet home.

The consistent Michael O'Connor and team (Should Be) won a very technically challenging Sunday race 1 with Ed Russo snapping at his heels. Another large shift indicating an imminent sea breeze made for a dog leg to the finish. Ed Russo now held the key to the event as Duncan could only manage a 7th. The ISA team on Sharkbait had a major hill to climb as now they were on joint 15 points with Russo who would have won the event had there been no more racing. It was Duncan who had to dig deep and get a good result in Sunday Race 2. Russo opted for a pin end start and went left. Duncan took the committee boat and went right sensing that the developing sea breeze would come from the right hand beat. Russo however picked up seaweed on the beat and had to back sails to remove the offending handbrake and lost places as a result. Duncan meanwhile came out of the beat 3rd to the weather mark behind Mel Collins (Who's the Boss) who came in bravely from the port lay, and Darren Martin (Soda Bread). Sharkbait was able to get a sniff more breeze and reeled in the two leaders to win with Daragh Sheridan from Howth Yacht Club on Dingy Supplies in 2nd.

For the final race 3 on Sunday, Russo had to engineer a race win and try and force Duncan into deep results. However PRO David Vinnell caught two boats over early at the start on a black flag sequence and it was Russo who had to sit it out on the bold step along with Carrickfergus man Davy Taylor on Sharkbait (Ben Duncan, Brian Moran and Joe Turner) commanded the final race and took a win to copper fasten their third consecutive SB20 Nationals Title with an impressive 1,1,1,2,5, (7) score and an 11 point margin over second.

Michael O'Connor from the Royal St George Yacht Club crewed by Howth pairing Breffini Jones and Simon Rattigan did enough with a 5th in the final race to merit a 2nd overall, a silver medal and some very nice Galway Irish Crystal. Third overall was Mel Collins, Killian Collins and Mary Credon who improved greatly on their Saturday performances and made the podium position.

Silver fleet was won by Strangford Loughs Darren Martin and crew on Soda Bread with Justin Burke (Alert in 2nd and Davy Taylor ( in third.

Results below for download as a jpeg file

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Page 19 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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