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Irish sailing Goes Beyond The Pale to Keep the Show on the Road

22nd September 2020
Suntan Sailing beyond The Pale – SB20s on the Shannon lakes, with 3272 (John McGonigle, second left) throwing a judiciously-judged gybe which helped towards her overall win Suntan Sailing beyond The Pale – SB20s on the Shannon lakes, with 3272 (John McGonigle, second left) throwing a judiciously-judged gybe which helped towards her overall win Photo: Eadhbhard Mulligan

At midnight on Friday, the lockdown shutters came down on the million-plus inhabitants of a place that no longer exists. And no, we don't mean that Dublin has obviously become a ghost town. But what we do mean is that when the powers-that-be start firing off diktats as to what the people of County Dublin can or cannot do as regards socialising and travel, they're talking of a place that is at one with Nineveh and Tyre.

For County Dublin as an administrative area has long since been replaced by the fiercely independent Dukedoms of Dun Laoghaire-Rathedown and South Dublin, the Commune of Dublin City, and to the north by the Viking Fortress of Fingal, the Land of the Fair Strangers. Denmark West, in other words, where we're bygge on hygge.

Lough Ree's racing was livelyLough Ree's racing was lively. Photo Mary Paul Mulligan

Doubtless m'learned friends will have a field day if legal actions are taken on the basis of prohibitions relating to this Dublin County place. But the rest of us know that, just as you should be wary of a car coming off the production line on a Friday afternoon, so you should be wary of the ultimate validity of official pronouncements made at that same time.

Thus the sailing community, being responsible citizens, cancelled the weekend's events left right and centre in the greater Dublin area. But way down the road on the lakes and wherever – the Land Beyond The Pale – they were indeed well beyond the Pale, as they continued to work in their suntans at Lough Ree Yacht Club, which gallantly manages to put a meaningful if very reduced programme together to comply with limitations while celebrating their Quarter Millennium with racing on Friday and Saturday, and then on Sunday the SB20s moved to Lough Derg YC for the first race of their Sunday Series.

While Dublin went into paralysis, Race Officer Alan Algeo and Regatta Organiser Jonny Swann were working hard on their elbow bumps and suntans down Lough Ree wayWhile Dublin went into paralysis, Race Officer Alan Algeo and Regatta Organiser Jonny Swann were working hard on their elbow bumps and suntans down Lough Ree way. Photo: John Malone

At Lough Ree, it was the Homecoming Regatta organised by Jonny Swan (that's the Swan of Classic Half Tonner Harmony when he's on salt water) with racing for SB20s, Shannon One Designs, and cruisers, with the pace being set by the SB20s.

They hope that this will lead on to a big-fleet SB20 Midlands at Lough Derg on 10th/11th, as our Midlands Messiah points out that the imprisonment of Dubliners – if the powers-that-be mean three weeks when they say three weeks – should actually end at 23.59 on 9th October.

Meanwhile on Sunday at Lough Ree, the SB20 racing was concluded with Eoin Leahy and Donie Heraghty on Strictly Business winning overall with 9 points to the 11 of Bango (Commodore John McGonigle & Kevin Fenton), which had been helmed by Cillian Dickson on the Saturday and young Ben Graf on the Sunday, with third slot on 14pts going to Ken Hudson of Arklow’s Serius Black helmed by Aidan Breen with third hand Niall Smythe.

Conditions were so light on Sunday that racing an SB20 with just two was a possibilityConditions were so light on Sunday that racing an SB20 with just two was a possibility. Photo: Brian McElligott

Published in SB20
WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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SB20 (formerly Laser SB3) information

Designed by Tony Castro, the SB20 is a British-built strict one-design 6.15m keelboat conceived as a wide appeal, affordable, competitive sportsboat for teams of three or four sailors. It is also, arguably, the most successful sportsboat in the world with 800 owners competing regularly in a programme of exciting local, national and international events.

Originally known as the Laser SB3, the SB20 continues to deliver on its pioneering promise: a boat that is fun, fast and easy to sail by anyone of any age; the best value-for-money sportsboat in the market.

The Laser SB3 was designed by Castro and launched in 2002. In 2007 the Laser SB3 was awarded ISAF Recognised Status and the first World Championships were held in Ireland in 2008. In 2012, Tony Castro appointed a new builder, Sportsboat World. At this time, the Laser SB3 was renamed the SB20 and building was returned to the UK from Malaysia. The ethos of the class continues.

The boat is a strict one-design class, economic to buy and campaign, easy to sail with a simple deck layout and electric downwind performance delivered by the generous sail plan. The boat has a lifting keel, can easily be launched from a slipway and towed behind a family car.

Previous SB20 World Champions

2008 GBR: Geoff Carveth, Roger Gilbert, Roz Allen & Sarah Allan

Host National Yacht Club, Dun laoghaire, Ireland

2009 GBR: Craig Burlton, Stephen White, Adam Heeley

Host Clube Naval de Cascais, Cascais, Portugal

2010 GBR: Jerry Hill, Grant Rollerson, Joe Llewellyn

Host Circolo Vela Torbole, Lake Garda, Italy

2011 GBR: Geoff Carveth, Andy Ramus, Ian Mills & Emma Clarke

Host Royal Torbay Yacht Club, Torquay, UK

2012 GBR: Geoff Carveth, Lesley Dhonau, Roger Hudson & Asenathi Jim

Host Hamilton Island Yacht Club, Queensland, Australia

2013 GRB: Craig Burlton, Stephen White, Adam Heley Host COYCH Club, Hyeres, France

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