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Royal St. George's O'Connor on Top as SB20s Hit the Heat in Northerns at Carlingford

28th July 2021
Costa del Carlingford – idyllic racing in Carlingford Lough in the SB20 Northerns with (foreground) Mel Collins chasing Eoin Leahy
Costa del Carlingford – idyllic racing in Carlingford Lough in the SB20 Northerns with (foreground) Mel Collins chasing Eoin Leahy

"We'd an amazing weekend at Carlingford Marina for the SB20 Ireland Northern Championships", reports Irish SB20 President John Malone of Lough Ree YC

Conditions were perfect on the very beautiful Carlingford Lough. There was wall-to-wall sunshine and a good enough breeze to make for some very competitive racing, and the wind direction even made it possible for the Start/Finish line to be right in front of the Marina to give everyone ashore a great view of the racing on both days.

We want to say a massive well done and heartfelt thanks to Carlingford Sailing Club for their organisation of the racing. Carlingford Marina worked closely with Carlingford Sailing Club in the months leading up to the event, and the Carlingford Marina involvement included everything from the lifting and launching operations for the SB20s, towing the boats to their berths, reserving wet berths for competitors, and providing storage for the road trailers in the Boat Yard.

"Welcome to Carlingford" – Carlingford Marina provided an ideal base."Welcome to Carlingford" – Carlingford Marina provided an ideal base

On the hospitality side of things, there was festive Pig on the Spit (thank you Jonathan) for the competitors, and a Guinness and Oysters (Carlingford of course) reception by Harry Jordan as crews came off the water. As well, the lovely staff in Rabelo Restaurant kept the racers fed and watered at other time all weekend in a gargantuan effort, for not only were they looking after the race competitors and spectators, but they did it while still providing their exceptional café and bar service to their regular weekend customers.

Carlingford SC Commodore Ainne Gorman, Race Officer Pat McCormick, and Ron Finegan on Sailing Club/Marina liaison kept everything running smoothly afloat and ashore in a shared vision with the Class Association, and the resulting accomplishment was even better than we'd fondly imagined in anticipation.

As to the sailing, a weekend of Lake Garda style-weather and racing was experienced with the steady Southeastly kicking in as forecast each morning after overnight northerly or variable breezes.

Although there were spring tides, race officer Pat McCormick set courses inshore as much out of the stream as possible, making the racing user-friendly for competitors and spectators alike.

Michael O'Connor from Dun Laoghaire initially had it all his own way for three wins on Saturday, but Day 2 saw the chasing pack unlock the O'Connor dominance, with the Wexford-based Doran family on LowFly (Doran Family) taking two bullets in Races 4 & 6. In Race 5, it was Cork's turn, with Mel Collins on Gold Digger taking the bullet.

The Doran family from Wexford took two wins on Sunday, and finished third overall.The Doran family from Wexford took two wins on Sunday, and finished third overall.

But despite everyone else's best efforts, the O'Connor squad in Team Ted did enough on Sunday to retain their overnight overall lead – in fact, they did it in in some style, as their discard as a third.

El Presidente John Malone had managed a personal race best in the second contest on Saturday to get a second, and this contributed to his winning of the Silver Fleet As for the class's future, this is one tough and experienced challenge for young helms to contemplate, but the bare scoreboard doesn't tell it all – 18-year-old Ben Graf of Lough Ree with Glasson Farm Bango was often right there even if his race best in the final tally was a fourth, and 13-year-old Lucy Ives seemed set to take second in Race 6 before being cruelly caught in seaweed.

Despite the inevitable individual instances of personal setback, this was an idyllic event in perfect conditions in one of the loveliest sailing locations in Ireland, and the SB20 class will cherish the memory of a very complete sailing hospitality package.

The final scorecard revealed overall winner Michael O'Connor (Royal St George YC) as having the luxury of discarding a thirdThe final scorecard revealed overall winner Michael O'Connor (Royal St George YC) as having the luxury of discarding a third

Published in SB20, RStGYC
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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