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2018 will be a stand out year for the Irish SB20 class with the and European Championships taking place in Dublin Bay at the end of August.

Club racing will continue next summer in both Dublin Bay and on Lough Derg. There are now six SB20s based on Lough Derg.

Irish Sailing will hold the Champion of Champions Regatta in SB20s in 2018 at Lough Ree YC the weekend after the SB20 Midland Championships.

The list of events for 2018 is as follows:

28th - 29th April - Western Championships - HYC
26th - 27th May - Northern Championships - Whiterock - SLYC
29th June - 1st July - National Championships - Dun Laoghaire - NYC
14th - 15th July - Southern Championships - Cork - RCYC
11th - 12th August - Eastern Championships - Dun Laoghaire - RStGYC
28th August - 1st September - European Championships - Dun Laoghaire - RIYC
6th - 7th October - Midland Championships - Athlone - Lough Ree YC

Published in SB20
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Michael O’Connor of Royal St George YC is the “Sailor of the Month (Inshore)” after celebrating September with the Corinthian Division overall win in the SB20 Worlds on the Solent early in the month and then, in an intense three day series of multiple sailing conditions at Howth from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th September, he and his shipmates Davy Taylor and Edward Cook took the Irish title.

It speaks volumes for the quality of racing at the front of the contemporary Irish SB 20 fleet, that the winner of a major title at the worlds should have had to sail as hard and consistently as the crew of Sin Bin did at Howth. But they took the Irish title despite the best efforts of former Irish Champion Helm Stefan Hyde to deny them the prize. It all augurs well for a quality event when the SB 20 Euros come to the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire next year. But just for now, here’s to the Sin Bin, and all.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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New SB20 World Corinthian Champion Michel O’Connor of Royal St George YC took the class’s Irish title yesterday afternoon after a hectic series at Howth Yacht Club in which the 21–strong fleet experienced an entire year’s worth of weather in just three days writes W M Nixon.

Afloat, they came through thick and thin, and then ashore they cheerfully waded through gin as well. The Irish Nationals coincided with the first weekend of the HYC Autumn League at the peninsula port, and on the Friday night HYC Commodore Joe McPeake took the opportunity to introduce his members and friends to the new HYC–branded gin (we are not making this up), and the amiable SB20 crowd took that in their stride as well.

In fact, the SB 20s proved very popular guests. Long gone from their scene are the here-today gone-tomorrow types who sometimes soured the class in times past in Cowes Week, where the SB 20 people will tell you such problem children have now all moved on to the new J/70s. That’s maybe a bit unfair to the J/70s, but there you go.

sb nats2Marty Cuppage’s Sea Biscuit (Howth YC, foreground) trying to  keep things in hand on Broomsticks (M O’Leary, Greystones SC), but Altair under the lee bow is giving her a bad time. And at the finish, the Greystones boat was twelfth overall while the Howth boat was thirteenth.  Photo: Serena Blacoe

Meanwhile in Ireland the SB 20 class these days is made up of solid sporting enthusiasts with a great sense of camaraderie. And with the O’Connor win at Cowes in the Worlds at the beginning of September, the fleet at home had a gold standard benchmark to measure their performance at the Howth event, but the weather was determined to test them as well.

Friday’s races saw them pushing towards the limit, with 24 knots frequently on the wind clocks, while Saturday saw a more moderate northerly, but a well-forecast band of heavy rain moved remorselessly across the race area in mid-afternoon. Then on Sunday the weather Gods decided to relent, and they rounded out in sunshine, but with a rising barometer the distinctly crisp wind direction could be fickle.

sb nats3Peter Kennedy’s from Strangford (third overall at finish) ahead of Cillian Dickson (HYC) with Binn Eadair Racing (7th OA). Photo Serena Blacoe

Far from walking away with the series, O’Connor looked to be playing second fiddle to Stefan Hyde (formerly Cork, these days sailing under RIYC colours) in the early stages, as Hyde logged first, third and first to O’Connor’s three seconds on the Friday. Peter Kennedy of Strangford was next in line with an 8th, 1st and 5th, while Daragh Sheridan was best of the home fleet in the end, but his first day saw two thirteenths and a fourth.

However, in Saturday’s increasingly murky conditions, O’Connor came good with 2nd, 5th and 1st to Hyde’s 7th, 3rd and 7th, so it was Game On for Sunday’s sunny racing. There was a bit of covering going on, as O’Connor was prepared to take an 8th while Hyde was back in 9th, but by this time O’Connor could make do with a 3rd and 5th in the final races and still stay 3 points clear ahead on the leaderboard.

Overall, it was by no means a walkover. The honours were well spread, and the class were in a fine form in an excellent series enjoyed by participants and hosts alike. But before we run the top points place, could the Thought Police just make the point that the plural of gin and tonic is gins and tonic………

International SB20 Class Irish National Championship 2017 1st Michael O’Connor (RStGYC) 22pts; 2nd Stefan Hyde (Royal Irish YC) 25pts; 3rd Peter Kennedy (Strangford SC & Royal North of Ireland YC) 30pts; 4th Daragh Sheridan (Howth YC) 45 pts; 5th D Martin (Strangford Lough YC) 53 pts; 6th C. Galavan (RIYC) 66pts.

sb nats4After a decidedly mixed summer, even one day of that magic Autumn sunlight goes a long way. The Irish SB 20 fleet having themselves a fine old time at Howth on Sunday.   Photo: Serena Blacoe

Published in SB20
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Recently crowned Corinthian SB20 World Champions Michael O'Connor, Davey Taylor and Edward Cook are eyeing the Irish National title in Howth Yacht Club next weekend as the class surges ahead of the European Championships at the Royal Irish Yacht Club next August. 

On foot of the 2018 Irish-based Euros and this month's Irish team's success in Cowes, Class President, Colin Galavan, has said that there has been 'a flurry of activity' regarding SB20 boat sales with some talented sailors looking at joining the Irish class.

Current National Champions Bad/Kilcullen (Stefan Hyde, Gerry & James Dowling) who, according to Galavan, may feel they 'underachieved at the Worlds' will see Howth as an opportunity to redress the balance in three days of windward leeward courses.

Some Dun Laoghaire boats are planning to sail in-company across the bay on either Wednesday or Thursday evening for HYC Championships.

Published in SB20
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The Gortmore Bell Race, sponsored by Union Chandlery took place this Saturday on Lough Derg with 23 boats taking part across two classes.

This is the lough's longest race in the calendar from Iniscealtra Sailing Club’s base in Mountshannon to the Gortmore mark near Portumna and home via Mountaineer rock buoy near Domineer.

Class 2 got underway first at 10:45 followed 30 min later by class 1 at 11:15 in a NW breeze which was set to increase as the morning went on. 1st around the Gortmore mark and heading for home was Serendipity helmed by Robert Bourke, first around in Class 1 was Jumping Jack Flash helmed by Dominic O’Sullivan. The breeze increased to 30–kts at times which made for exiting reaching conditions for the three SB20’s in the fleet who managed to hold they asymmetric spinny’s from Coose mark to Mountaneer bouy. Line honours was claimed by the SB20 Jumping Jack Flash followed quickly by the rest of the fleet with all boats finished by 16:40pm.

gortmore bellGortmore Bell Winners 2017 – (from left to right) Sean Collins, Mary and Mike Sadlier of La Bamba
1st Place Overall and in Class 1 was LaBamba helmed by Mary Sadlier and crewed by Mike Sadlier and Sean Collins, 1st Place in Class 2 was Serendipity helmed by Robert Bourke, 1st Place in J24 fleet was Jobs for the Buoys, helmed by Barney Power and 1st place in SB20 fleet was claimed by Jonathan Foley’s Jumping Jack Flash helmed by Dominic O’Sullivan.

Full results attached below for download.

Published in Inland Waterways

Royal St. George's Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and Ed Cook are the SB20 'Corinthian' World Champions following today's final races in Cowes.

The Dun Laoghaire boat, that is a regular top DBSC performer, fell back two places overnight to finish sixth overall in the World Championships beating many of the top professionals.

There were also congratulations also to the rest of the Irish team that traveled to the event and finished well which bodes well for the 2018 SB20 Europeans to be held on Dublin Bay.

IMG Corinthian ChampionsSB20 Corinthian World Champions Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and Ed Cook

Team Ireland finished strong with the following final places as follows:

6th SINBIN Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor, Ed Cook
17th Bad/Kilcullen Stefan Hyde, Jerry Dowling, James Dowling
29th Lia Dave Barry, Cillian Dickson, Gareth Nolan
34th Venuesworld Ger Dempsey, Graeme Grant, Chris Nolan, Diane Kissane
35th Two Men and their Monkey Daragh Sherridan, Shane Murphy, John Phelan
65th Sea Biscuit Marty Cuppage, Niall O'Riordan, Barry Galvin

Published in SB20
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Royal St. George Yacht Club's Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and Ed Cook are looking for a podium finish at the SB20 World Championships in Cowes today.

The Dun Laoghaire trio are fourth overall and ten points off the lead and four points off the podium after a stunning penultimate day of racing.

O'Connor is in first position for the Corinthian Trophy and beating many of the professional sailors to boot! 

The forecast is for light winds again today but who knows what the wind gods will throw at the fleet today.

After four days of racing a new world champion will be crowned this evening at the Royal Yacht Squadron and Ireland is in with a shout.

Competitors got four races yesterday in what turned out to be a windier day than predicted. It was pretty shifty with the breeze varying between 6-25 knots in conjunction with strong tides, making this yet another tricky day of sailing.

With conditions making it hard to be consistent, O'Connor's Dublin Bay–based Sin Bin scored a 2, 3, 6 and 17 to move up from seventh to fourth overall. 

it was a tough day for tacticians with no rest from the changeable weather. With a full day of racing now behind us a lot of the top teams are carrying big scores ahead of the final day tomorrow.Now we’ve got one more day to go tomorrow with the potential for an additional three races.

A lot of boats will hope they used their discard up today as there is only one in this final series.

Competitors will compete in the final few races before the new World Champion is crowned tonight.

The results currently stand as follows:
1. Export Roo – Australia
2. Give Me Five! – France
3. Xcellent – Great Britain
4. Sin Bin – Ireland
5. – Great Britain
6. Marvel – Great Britain

For a full list of results click here

Team Ireland are making a great showing as follows:

4th SINBIN Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor, Ed Cook
22nd Bad/Kilcullen Stefan Hyde, Jerry Dowling, James Dowling
27th Lia Dave Barry, Cillian Dickson, Gareth Nolan
31st Venuesworld Ger Dempsey, Graeme Grant, Chris Nolan, Diane Kissane
36th Two Men and their Monkey Daragh Sherridan, Shane Murphy, John Phelan
61st Sea Biscuit Marty Cuppage, Niall O'Riordan, Barry Galvin

Published in SB20

After five races sailed at the SB20 World Championships in Cowes, Royal St. George's Michael O'Connor, Davy Taylor and Ed Cook is up to seventh overall – just 14 points off the leader – in the highly competitive 79–boat fleet.

Wind finally arrived for two races on the Solent yesterday with Dun Laoghaire's O'Connor as high as fourth overall after race four. 

Australian Expert Roo notched up another win in race five of the championships and takes a five-point lead into the final series.

Six Irish crews are competing in Cowes ahead of the SB20 Euros to be held at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire in August 2018.

Overall positions for team Ireland are as follows: 7th Sinbin Michael O'Connor, Davey Taylor, Edward Cook; 20th Bad/Kilcullen - Stefan Hyde, Gerry Dowling, James Dowling; 27th Lia; 30th Venuesworld; 38th Two Men & Their Monkey and 62nd Seabiscuit. Overall results are here

Published in SB20
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Michael O'Connor's Sinbin of the Royal St. George Yacht Club scored a third in race two to rise up the leader board of the SB20 World Championships at Cowes, Isle of Wight yesterday. O'Connor, as the top Irish entry, now lies in ninth position overall after another day of light winds saw only one race completed.

Overall positions for team Ireland are as follows: 9th Sinbin Michael O'Connor, Davey Taylor, Edward Cook; 19th Bad/Kilcullen - Stefan Hyde, Gerry Dowling, James Dowling; 31st Venuesworld; 38th Lia; 49th Seabiscuit and 51st Two Men & Their Monkey. Overall results are here

Clearly, the challenging conditions were a stern test for the crews who returned to shore looking closely at the forecast. 

A good breeze is forecast for today but the light condition are expected to return towards the end of the week.

Meanwhile, Team Ireland has made a presentation in Cowes about its staging of the Royal Irish Yacht Club hosted SB20 European Championships that will be sailed in Dun Laoghaire in August 2018.

Published in SB20
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The SB20 UK Nationals were hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble-le-Rice from 21st – 23rd July. The racecourse in the Solent used for the event is the same racecourse expected to be used for the upcoming SB20 World Championships to be sailed out of the Royal Yacht Squadron from 28th August to 1st September 2017, so plenty of teams were there to get a preview of the venue prior to the Worlds. There were visiting boats from across the UK and further afield including Australia, Belgium, Oman, Russia and Ireland. The sole Irish entry was Royal St George Yacht Club’s Sin Bin sailed by Michael O’Connor, Owen Laverty and Ed Cook. 

Throughout the weekend, conditions were quite “lively”, with winds often above 20 knots and sometimes gusting closer to the 30 knot mark. Race one on Friday was raced in perhaps some of the windiest conditions of the weekend, with the south easterly wind close to the UK class 25 knot cut-off limit for starting a race. The fleet did manage to get away after one general recall (which was to be a feature of the weekend) with former national champions Forelle Estates (Joe Lleywellyn, Nigel Wakefield and Jeremy Vigus) getting a jump on the fleet up the first beat. After a relatively poor start and a position in the early twenties, Sin Bin’s tactician Owen Laverty noticed that the fleet were overstanding in the tide on the starboard layline into the weather mark and a great call by Owen to tack below the layline resulted in a substantial gain for Sin Bin, getting them around the mark in the low teens and still in with a shout. The wind started to howl so once around the weather mark, the teams hoisted their kites, locked themselves in, said a little prayer and hurtled at speed down the run at 15+ knots, dodging broaching competitors and weaving in and around boats that had fallen off the plane.

There were big gains to be made by the boats that could keep the speed up and the boats under the mast through the gybes and at the first leeward mark, after a herculean effort by Ed Cook to expertly drop the kite in an unreasonably short space of time, Sin Bin had picked up several more places and rounded in seventh place, just behind the Russian team of Kirill Frolov. This Russian team finished fifth in the 2015 World Championships in Lake Garda so further advancement was likely to be challenging! A left handed shift and more favourable tide meant that the second beat was a drag race out to the right side of the course and thanks in no small part to Edwin Brennan’s expert boat preparation in the lead up to the event, Sin Bin were able to find another gear and sailed through the Russian team and another competitor to round the weather mark in fifth. The wind was still up and as an indicator of how “lively” it was getting, race leader Joe Lleywellyn broached out at the spreader mark allowing the Australian team of Porco Rosso (Elliot Noye et al) overtake them on the drag race to the finish. Scott Graham and the team on Chill Pill+ took third place. For their part, Sin Bin managed to overtake the fourth place boat in the final downwind leg into the finish snatching fourth place and a “counter” ahead of the Russian MST team of Vasily Grigoriev. The OOD decided to call an early halt to proceedings and the battered fleet returned to shore to fight another day.
Day two was less windy with a south-westerly breeze of 14-20 knots blowing down the Solent still making for some very exciting close finishes. Joe Lleywellyn kept his form from day one and scored a 3,1,2,2 scoreline that put him on 10 points for the event with a day to go. Former World champion Jerry Hill, from the host club Royal Southern YC started his march up the leader board and scored two firsts on day two, bringing him up to second overall on 19 points. Sin Bin had another decent day and scored an 11, 3, 5, 11 to lie in fourth place overall after day two, tied on 34 points with third placed Sweaty Betty. However, the discard only kicked in after six races so a number of competitors including the Australian team of Porco Rosso (counting a 39 point DNF) and former national champions Xcellent (John Pollard et al) (counting a 20 point ZFP) were likely to come straight back into the reckoning once the discard had been applied.

Day three started in a light westerly breeze that was due to build throughout the morning. A number of competitors were caught out getting out to the start line in the strong tides. Several boats including the event leader Forelle Estates, third placed Sweaty Betty and fourth placed Sin Bin were several minutes late for the start of the first race, despite having left the dock over an hour before the scheduled start time. Unfortunately for them, this race was the only race all weekend in memory not to have a recall! This threw the score board somewhat into disarray and the top ten boats were closely bunched with two races to sail. After counting a 10th in race 6 (the first race of the day), Joe Lleywellyn showed his class and bounced back with a second in race 7 in a freshening breeze to effectively snatch the title with a race to spare. Jerry Hill scored a 3,8,4 on the last day to keep hold of second place. The Australian team led by Elliot Noye scored a consistent 6,5,7 to climb back up the leader board and take third place on 33 points. John Pollard had a storming final day, scoring a 1,1,2 to climb up to fourth place overall on 37 points. Sin Bin bounced back after their late start and 21st in the first race of the day with two third places in the last two races to claim a 21,3,3 scoreline on the final day that would position them in fifth place overall on 40 points.

Published in SB20
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Page 5 of 22

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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