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SB20s Enjoy 'A Cracking Days' Racing on Dublin Bay

6th May 2014
SB20s Enjoy 'A Cracking Days' Racing on Dublin Bay

#sb20 – Another cracking days racing last weekend on Dublin Bay for the second (of ten) SB Sundays writes Michael O'Connor. Despite the many obstacles put in their way (an anchor that refused to catch and a windlass engine that started billowing smoke and gave up the ghost early in the day), Barry O'Neill OOD and his team of Ian, Fionnuala, Barbara and Ed managed to get in three high quality windward leeward races. In truth, given the circumstances, it was nothing short of remarkable that they managed to get any races in at all and the Committee Boat Team take the award for stellar performance of the day!

With a forecast of 15-20 knots, the fleet were expecting some champagne SB sailing conditions but Dublin Bay was still a mill pond 45 minutes before the scheduled start time of 12.30. Thankfully, the forecast southerly breeze did establish itself just in time for the start of racing but 30 degree oscillations meant that the crews were kept on their toes all day long.

Race 1
After a brief postponement, the warning signal was sounded and everyone put their game faces on... however, with a committee vessel slipping backwards, the pin end biases became increasingly pronounced as the start time approached and the fleet were like a pack of rabid dogs all trying to get the perfect pin end start. After a couple of general recalls, Barry decided to move proceedings to shallower water in an attempt to allow the anchor to catch and also to take a significant wind shift into account. The black flag was also raised to try and put some manners on the fleet. The black flag had the desired effect and the fleet finally got away at the third time of asking. Unfortunately, the committee vessel was still slipping backwards meaning a heavily biased pin end with a few boats managing to tack just before the start and cross the line and fleet on port. Odin (James, Keith and reigning SB Easterns champ Aidan O'Connell making a cameo appearance) were closest to the pin to weather of Should Be... (Michael, Owen and Gina (on their real pre-marital course!)) and visitors Sharkbait (Darren et al with special guest and SB legend Ben Duncan in the middle). Most of the fleet drag raced out to the right hand side for weaker tide and by the weather mark, Sharkbait had taken the lead by a narrow margin from Odin with Venuesworld (Ger, Chris, Rory and Katie) and then Should Be... in close pursuit. Marginal planing conditions meant big gains were to be made (and lost!) on the runs and by the leeward gate Should Be... and Venuesworld had snuck past the early leaders. It stayed that way up the next beat but with Should Be... and Venuesworld opting for the left hand side down the run and Sharkbait and Odin going right, it was still all to play for in the sprint to the finish. By now, Alert Packaging (Justin, Darren et al) and Manamana (Doug, Ronan et al) had joined the party and they seemed to take a more central route down the run, hooking into some good breeze along the way. At the leeward gate, it was clear that the right hand side had paid and Sharkbait led well from Should Be... and Odin in third followed by Manamana and Alert Packaging. Sadly for Venuesworld they paid a heavy price for staying left down the run and fell back to sixth place. Some slick crew work on Odin and a slight left hand shift up the last short beat to finish put them ahead of Should Be... meaning that the results of race 1 were: 1) Sharkbait; 2) Odin; 3) Should Be...; 4) Manamana; 5) Alert Packaging; and 6) Venuesworld.

Race 2
Before the start of the second race, the OOD brought the windward mark in closer by a considerable way to shorten the length of the race track. Race 2 got underway with another pin end bias and many of the boats heading out left were caught out by the shortened beat and several including Mananmana, Odin, Seriously Bonkers (Peter, Dave and Michael) and Should Be... were caught out and overstood the port tack layline to the weather mark. Sharkbait however were not caught out and they led from a pack including Smoke on the Water (Bob, Louise, John et al), Rubadubdub (Nick Doherty et al), Alert Packaging, Venuesworld and Lupi d'Irlanda (Marco, Conor et al) chasing hard in a close sixth. The wind was back up again and with favourable wave patterns allowing surfing downwind, place changes were once again aplenty. At the leeward mark, the OOD signalled for a shortened course with the fleet finishing at the next gate. Sharkbait had held on to first with Alert Packaging in second and Venuesworld in third. Rubadubdub showed impressive pace to keep hold of their top five placing and were only narrowly pipped for fourth by Should Be... with Smoke on the Water rounding out the top six.

Race 3
The Committee vessel team got the fleet back into sequence without delay and this time the line was set up initially with a small bias to the Committee boat. Venuesworld won the battle for the boat stuffing a few boats in the process. Up the beat, the fleet spread out to all corners of the course with everyone trying to get clear air and a bit more breeze... At the weather mark, Rubadubdub continued in their rich vein of form and led from Should Be..., Alert Packaging, Manamana, Lupi d'Irlanda and Seriously Bonkers in that order. Again, the breeze was up and down and good downwind pace and catching the gusts was critical. By the leeward mark, Should Be..., Alert Packaging and Seriously Bonkers had slipped past Rubadubdub and other notable movers included Bad (Gerry, Enda et al - great to see Gerry back on the helm of an SB!) and Venuesworld both picking up places on the run. There were a number of place changes after that up the next beat and down the final run and nobody was feeling safe! Unfortunately for Seriously Bonkers, after doing all the hard stuff really well and climbing up to second by the last leeward mark, they hit the mark and had to take a 360 penalty turn which dropped them from second to seventh, which just goes to show how tight the racing is! At the finish it was 1) Should Be...; 2) Alert Packaging; 3) Rubadubdub; 4) Bad; 5) Venuesworld; and 6) Lupi d'Irlanda.

Apres Sail
After racing, the fleet, and I am delighted to say many friends old and new that were not sailing on the day, adjourned to the Royal Irish Yacht Club for pints, chat and bar food generously sponsored by with the die-hards progressing to Olivettos and the die-harders progressing to Walters.

Fleet Numbers Building
The fleet numbers continue to build - there were eleven boats out today with some regulars missing due to the bank holiday weekend... numbers are expected to build further next weekend for SB Sunday 3 with up to 15 boats expected on the start line next Sunday 11th May, the last SB Sunday before the Easterns in the NYC on 17th and 18th May. Visiting SB20s are welcome and for €50 can get temporary membership of DBSC and sail in Thursday and Sunday races for the following 14 days. Looking forward to another excellent race day next Sunday!

Published in SB20 Team

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