Bad-Kilcullen (Stefan Hyde, Jerry Dowling & Jimmy Dowling) crowned SB20 National Champions for 2016 which took place last weekend (5-7 August). Defending champions Sin Bin (Michael O'Connor, Owen Laverty & Kevin Johnson) on coming 2nd overall and to Venuesworld.com (Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan, Blair Stanaway & Graham Barker) on coming third overall.
It was a super event with some very high speeds downwind on the Saturday. Rubadubdub had an impressive max speed of 18.1 knots!
Hosted by the National Yacht Club and under the excellent race management of Colin McMullen and his team they managed six races over the three days. Sandra Moore welcomed the 19 competitors to the NYC race office and supervised the very accurate weigh in. Fridays racing presented the Colm Mc Mullin the PRO with a difficult task . The light wind was from the East and the forecast was for heavier winds from the west later in the day.
The SB20 is one of the most competitive fleets. This was evident in that they were five different race winners over the six races. It would need nerve and consistency for a winner to emerge.
Stefan Hyde, Jerry & Jimmy Dowling in Bád/Kilcullen were proving that they were determined to wrestle back their title they won in 2014 in RCYC, with two seconds on the first day in moderate conditions.Hot on their heals were the 2015 Champions of Michael O’Connor,Owen Lafferty & Kevin Johnson.
The first race was got off at the first time of asking . The race was won by the class President Peter Lee and hot on his heels was Stefan Hyde, and the Dowling Brothers Gerry and Jimmy in 2nd. The ever present Ger Dempsey / Chris Nolan on Venuesworld.com came in 3rd. And Michael O’Connor the current holder in 4th. The first race results reflected the duel that was going to finish on the podium.
The 2nd. Race the wind was shifting and falling away ,from the East . Colm Mc Mullin the PRO used the U flag after the general recall . Your author and one other were OCS and left the course . After a tiresome light airs beat the PRO abandoned the race ..
Colin move the course further into the bay to avail of the new strengthening westerly breeze.
The 2nd race got off into a 12 knot breeze from the SW.. The race was won by Davy Taylor (his luck deserted him later courtesy of a lobster pot), followed by the consistent Dowling / Hyde combination with Justin Burke, Ed Cook , Henrik Olerud Alertpackaging.com in 3rd.
Race 3 the wind had increased to 14 knots with Colin Galavan showing how to win a race by staying out of trouble. Dave Barry finished 2nd. but was subsequently unluckily DSQ in a multiple boat situation. Second was finally secured by Aiden O’Connell.The Hunt/Lee combination secured third.
Day two tested all competitors, winds close to 30–knots made sure that crews would have to be on top of their game.Venuesworld.com crewed by Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan, Blair Stanaway & Graham Barker were showing really good form with two seconds and a fifth. That put them into contention with four points separating them from the leading boat Bád/Kilcullen going into the final day. Michael O’Connor’s Sin Bin were just two points behind in second.
Race 4 was run in 18 knots with the right hand side paying . The tide swept the competitors away from the weather mark and made for very tight rounding . The race was all about doing the basic’s well and Michael O’ Connor won this race showing how it should be done. Not to be outdone Venuesworld.com came in 2nd. and the ever threatening Darragh Sheridan, Shane Murphy, John Phelan in third.
Race 5 starter in 22 knots with a massive left hand shift . This was especially frustration for James Gorman won had successfully port tacked the fleet only to find himself at the back of the pack within 5 minutes. The wind dropped to 12 knots and within 3 minutes has re-established mean direction at 22 knots . Michael O’Connor found no problem with this and went on to record his 2nd .win of the day. Alertpackaging rounded the weather mark in 2nd. hoisted and sailed for 1 minute only to watch the rig go over the side. Again the NYC infrastructure swung into place with Mal Nowlan no fuss rescues to hand. Ger Dempsey received his just rewards with a second and the Dowling/ Hyde keeping the pressure up with a 3rd.
The weather was forecasted to be wild for Sunday and the forecaster got it right. The PRO had no choice but to cancel the Sunday racing. The smile on Stefan Hyde's face said it all and the Dowling Bros./Hyde had won the 2016 SB20 Nationals with last years winner Michael O’Connor, Owen Laverty and Kevin Johnson in 2nd. and the Venuesworld.com team of Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan, Blair Stanaway,Graham Baker in 3rd. The silver fleet prize went to Colin Galavan, Chris Arrowsmith.
The class show their appreciation of the winners at the prize giving and recorded the appreciation for the sponsors Venuesworld.com and Dubarry , and the Committee, PRO and NYC for job well done. The Commodore Larry Power presented the prizes.
This left Bád/Kilcullen as well deserved Champions, they proved the most consistent boat over the series.Stefan Hyde and his team can look forward to competing in the ISA Helmsmans Championships later on in the year.
The SB20 World Championships are in Cascais, Portugal later this month.