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SB20s Set Sail in Howth Yacht Club's Spring Warmer Series

11th April 2016
The start of the SB20 Spring Warmer Series at HYC. Scroll down for video. The start of the SB20 Spring Warmer Series at HYC. Scroll down for video. Photo: John Malone/SB20 Facebook

Eleven SB20s came out of winter hibernation early this year for the Key Capital Private sponsored Spring Warmer Series in Howth Yacht Club. There has been a shake-up in the event format this year and instead of the traditional six races there are four races planned over two weekends – more of a sprint than a marathon this year. It is very encouraging to see so many SBs out this early in the season and the fact that the SBs made up more than 50% of the total fleet augers well for the year ahead. It was great to see the maiden sails of Project Mayhem (Davey Taylor’s renovated tub on steroids) and (Ger Dempsey and Chris Nolan’s brand new tub).

The day started with a very shifty 8-10 knot southerly (ish!) breeze that was oscillating through approximately 30 degrees, making setting a fair course and a decent start line “challenging” to say the least. The OOD did however get the fleet away at the first time of asking but a combination of rustiness, a large right handed shift a minute before the start and the end of the flood tide pushing competitors up the line towards the committee boat meant that a lot of crews were left blushing as they were caught to weather of the committee boat and had to wait for the procession of boats to leeward of them to start before they could get going in earnest. The large right hand shift just before the start meant that boats were laying the weather mark from the start line so the OOD rightly abandoned the race a few minutes after the start and called the fleet back to try again.

After a short wait, the SBs were off again, this time from a heavily pin biased line. 2 Men and their Monkey (ex Dinghy Supplies, Daragh, Shane and John) and Corona Extra (ex Manamana, Graham, Ronan et al) were a little eager to get going and tipped over the line at the pin a few moments early. 2 Men and their Monkey returned but Corona Extra continued on and only learned their fate at the finish. Although the line was heavily pin biased, the best pressure was out to the middle-right hand side of the course and those boats that bailed out early fared best. At the weather mark, Project Mayhem led comfortably from Animal Origami (ex Yachtsman Marine, ex Boatmec, ex McCready Sailboats… Seriously lads, this has to stop… make up your minds!!! with Chris Chapman et al) with sneaking around in third inside Lia (Dave, John et al.). The run was a really tense affair with plenty of shifts and pressure differentials across the course. In the end, those that picked their way down the middle and kept going in breeze fared best with the fleet compressing again at the leeward mark. Project Mayhem still led from Animal Origami but their lead over the rest of the fleet had been cut considerably and now Dinghy Supplies in third, Sin Bin in fourth (Michael, Owen and Ted) and Bango in fifth (James, Jerry and Jimmy) were in hot pursuit only a few boatlengths back.

Up the second beat, it was all about finding the pressure and keeping the boat moving as the wind continued to oscillate and die. Project Mayhem made the decision to go left up the second beat and at one stage was looking like they were storming away with it until the wind died completely on them. Also cruelly caught out on the left hand side of the course were VenuesWorld who were also looking pretty for so long up the second beat. Towards the end of the second beat, the wind favoured the middle and right hand side of the course and the main beneficiaries were Animal Origami, Sin Bin and Bango. A shortened course was signalled at the weather mark and Animal Origami claimed the win by three lengths from Sin Bin in second with Bango a further three boatlengths back in third. 2 Men and their Monkey claimed fourth and Project Mayhem crept back up to fifth. Full results on the HYC website here

After a short postponement, the wind continued to die and the OOD called a halt to proceedings. The fleet retired to the junior room in HYC where coach Mark Rhodes discussed the days racing and went through the thought processes that each boat should have been going through before and during the race including an informative discussion on starting strategies. Some videos of the days racing from John Malone’s (Lia) headcam are available on the Facebook page. Next week, the plan is to try to get three races in and complete the series.

Published in SB20

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