The SB20 class were overwhelmed by an enthusiastic response from Techworks Marine to sponsor this first event of the season, for which the class are very appreciative, and the marine data company were represented on the water by CEO, Charlotte O’Kelly helming the only all-girl team this weekend.
Team George with Sailing Manager Ronan Adams, Darius in the boathouse and Jamie in the dining room, smoothly facilitated the first COVID event in the club this year.
We are living in a different world now with online registration, Covid declarations, updated SOPs and a virtual briefing. SB20 veteran RO Barry O’Neill did the honours with his ‘pod’ team and RSGYC mark layers. The George managed a thoroughly enjoyable event, while ensuring safety protocols were observed both afloat and ashore.
Saturday’s forecast had us all armed with factor 50 and water as we headed out to the race area, near the anchorage as we competed for space with DBSC racing and the Fireball Nationals. A breeze of 5-7 knots, occasionally gusting 10, and a strong flooding tide proved challenging, and although the day was warm, with wind direction fairly consistent from a NE direction, sadly no sea breeze developed.
The first two races of the WW/LW course became drag races out to the right, but the fleet split in the slack tide for the final race of the day. There was just one general recall, with the fleet consistently on the line, battling for spots all weekend. After racing, we withdrew to the balcony for post mortem and drinks before a delicious dinner in the dining room.
As Afloat reported previously, overnight there were just two points separating the top three boats Ted, SoBlue and Bád, so umpires Ailbe and Eunice stepped up to ensure the lead boats behaved. Racing was closer to the harbour, and a stronger breeze split the fleet across the race area both up and downwind.
SoBlue NYC won the first race on Sunday, and Bád the second. With one more race to go, the top three boats were on just 7 points apiece.
The final two lap race had CM Provident with John Malone, Emmet Sheridan and Luke Johnson from LRYC led the fleet around the weather mark, followed by TED, Bád in fourth and SoBlue lying 6th. Ted took the lead down the run with an 8 boat lead over Bád in second up the second beat.
A 25-degree shift up the second beat brought Doran’s LoFly back into contention and Bád sneaking ahead of Ted at the WW mark. A nip and tuck down the last run of the weekend, resulted in SoBlue now chasing hard and lying fourth behind LoFly. Bád held onto their lead of about 3 boat lengths with a split at the final gate. SoBlue headed for the left gate and Ted and Soblue went for the right.
With just a 300m beat to the finish, Bád tacked to cover, while Ted and SoBlue benefited from more breeze on the left side of the short leg to the finish. A tacking duel ensued between Bád and Ted but Bád had enough in the bag to cross one boat length ahead of Ted, taking the title by a point, SoBlue took fourth place in the race, just 2 or 3 boat lengths behind, securing third place overall.
Provident CRM took the Silver fleet trophy home to Lough Ree.
In a competitive fleet where one error can cost so dearly, the two additions to the fleet (Bango from a burgeoning fleet in LRYC and Tiger Light from the RIYC) were doing well to keep in sight of the pack at all, and showed promise in the mix at times.
A socially distanced prize giving took place on the balcony with RSGYC Commodore Peter Bowring doing the honours and a short speech regarding the 2023 Worlds coming to the NYC by SB20 Council World President, Jerry Dowling.
The next SB20 event is in NYC on the 5/6th September and the SB20 Nationals will take place in Lough Ree on 18-20th September.