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The countdown is now most definitely on for the SB20 World Championships that have been moved from 2023 to 2022 on Dublin Bay. 

The Irish hosted World Championships will be held at the Royal Irish Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire Harbour from 5-9 Sept 2022.

The change in year 'was due to a number of factors and thankfully Ireland has managed to retain the worlds, albeit one year earlier, " says the Irish class president John Malone.

The planned Worlds in Singapore and the Europeans in St Petersburg, Russia are cancelled and the Netherlands will host the Worlds in 2023.

The 2022 World Championships sees the event return to Dublin Bay some 14 years after the inaugural world championships were sailed at the NYC in 2008.

That event attracted 136 SB3s drawn from 13 countries and was won by Britain's Geoff Carveth, Roger Gilbert, Roz Allen & Sarah Allan.

More recently, Dun Laoghaire's Royal Irish Yacht Club hosted the successful SB20 European Championships in 2018 when a final race win for Royal St. George's Michael O'Connor, the 2017 SB20 Corinthian World Champion, allowed him to produce the goods again for Ireland by taking third overall.

More immediately, however, the Irish class gets its season underway next weekend (July 3) with the Eastern Championships at the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

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Say what you like about the SB20s, but you have to commend the class and its President John Malone of Lough Ree YC for always being game to have a go. Back in September 2020, when everyone else reckoned they’d squeezed in just as much sailing as was possible with COVID-19 sweeping in over all horizons, the SB 20s' hopes for a short and sweet series on Lough Derg in the second weekend of October was probably the last tattered banner to be shot away.

Now they’re showing a fresh new pennant or two above the rims of the bunkers to which they retreated for the duration, with these replacement banners signalling hopes for doing the business afloat during 2021. They anticipate that training sessions may be under way from May 10th onwards, and beyond that the programme (subject to the pandemic regulations of the day) is posted as follows:

  • 2-4 July Westerns (DL Regatta One Design Event, 3 Day Event)
  • 24-25 July Northerns (Carlingford Lough Sailing Club)
  • 31 July-6th Aug LRYC Annual Regatta (3 or 7 Days Entry Available)*
  • 14 – 15 Aug. Southerns (Royal Cork Yacht Club, Crosshaven)
  • 29 Aug- 3 Sept. Cascais Worlds (Clube Naval de Cascais, Portugal)*
  • 4-5 Sept. Gortmore Bell (Lough Derg, Iniscealtra SC)*
  • 17-19 Sept. Nationals (Lough Ree YC)
  • 24-26 Sept. UK Nationals (Royal Torbay YC, England)*
  • 9-10 October. Midlands (Keelboat Regatta, Lough Derg YC)

* items not part of traveller series

In online conferences during the dark days, the international class has introduced some new rules, including one which allows a 3:1 block arrangement on the jib sheets, which should widen the crewing options to less powerful individuals.

As for anyone interested in joining the class as an owner, it seems that SB20 folk would never resort to anything so vulgar as advertising their boats for sale, but if you contact John Malone at [email protected] he might point you in the right direction.

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As previously reported in Afloat, the Irish SB20 fleet was awarded the 2023 World Championships, to be held in the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire in September 2023. As a consequence, the sportsboat class have seen a resurgence with an influx of boats in 2020, both new and old, as teams gear up for the first World Championships in home waters since 2008. According to Class President John Malone, several more boats are expected to join the fleet throughout 2021 and 2022 as preparations for the Worlds intensify.

First to dip their toes in the water were Kevin Fenton and John McGonigle. Kevin sailed his first SB event at the Lough Derg Freshwater Regatta in late 2019 and was instantly smitten. So much so, that he immediately went in search of an SB20 to buy. As luck would have it, Ewen Barry offered the highly decorated and ultra-quick "Bango" 3065 for sale at that time, and Kevin didn't hesitate. Although Covid-19 restricted national and regional competitions in the early parts of the season, Kevin, sailing with John McGonigle and 420 hotshot Ben Graf on the tiller, used the opportunity to practice their manoeuvres and to get up to speed in the boat, training with the ever-friendly and ever-expanding Lough Ree fleet. In early August, Bango made their championship debut at the Western Championships held out of the Royal St George Yacht Club and got their first taste for SB20 racing in the waters where the Worlds will be sailed.

Also making their debut at the season's delayed curtain-raiser were the new owners of "Tiger Lite" 3184. Tiger Lite was bought by Ruth Loughrey just prior to the event, and there was a frantic race to get the boat race ready before the event. 2020 DBSC class captain Sarah Dwyer volunteered to show the new owners the ropes and hopped on board with Ruth, Ben Loughrey and Dermot Tynan for the event. Although the overall weight combo with four sailors didn't suit the light and variable conditions, reports were that the new owners were delighted to get some expert tuition from an experienced SBer on all aspects of SB20 boat handling. It is understood that Tiger Lite will be sailed out of the Royal Irish Yacht Club for the 2021 season.

New SB20 from White Formula Boats UK

September saw the arrival of the latest boat out of the mould from White Formula Boats UK, the licenced manufacturer of SB20s. "Ted 2 – Tammi-Lyn" 3809, was brought in by the experienced team of Davey Taylor, Ed Cook and Michael O'Connor. Sadly, a Covid-19 resurgence at the end of the summer resulting in a cancellation of the nationals prevented Ted 2 - Tammi-Lyn from making its debut in 2020 and the lads trying out their new toy.

October saw Eoin Leahy and Donie Heggarty bring the highly-rated "Uber" 3720, winner of the 2016 UK Nationals, over to Ireland. Eoin and Donie are no strangers to the SB20 class having bought "Strictly Business" 3272, a couple of years ago when they decided to dip their toes back into the SB20 fleet. Eoin, winner of the first SB20 Irish nationals in 2007 with Nin O'Leary, and Donie, no stranger himself to the sharp end of competitive fleets, have already built a formidable team. Having spent two years polishing and optimising Strictly Business to within an inch of its life, the pair decided that a newer hull was in order for their 2023 Worlds campaign, hence Uber's purchase.

Thankfully, the market for good second-hand SB20s is strong at the moment and a fully kitted out, pre-loved SB20 like "Strictly Business" wasn't going to stay on the shelf for long. In what is another case of the return of the prodigal son, the SB20 class is delighted to welcome back James Ives from Carlingford. James previously sailed 3146 for a number of years before taking a break from SB20s. In an exciting development for the class in the North East, it is understood that James intends to race Strictly Business on Carlingford Lough in addition to doing the SB20 circuit. Although the class have often raced in Carlingford, most recently in 2016, they were not previously able to gain a foothold in the club.

Not to be outdone by the resurgence in the North East, the formidable Cork duo of Aidan McSweeney and Mel Collins has also decided to re-enter the fray for the 2021 season. It is not yet known who will fill the third berth. Both Aidan and Mel have racked up top quality results at past SB20 Worlds. Aidan recently brought "Gold Digger" 3044 in from the UK, and although likely to be one of the older tubs in the fleet, with the lasting build quality of SB20s, it is expected that they will be "on the pace" for 2021. 3044 is from a well-known batch of top-quality SB20s including Mel's former boat (sail no. 3045), current Class President John Malone's hull (sail no. 3040) and a multiple world championship-winning hull (sail no. 3042).

Finally, in late November, "KnowHowDo" 3490 (formerly Dinghy Supplies) was purchased by John Malone to get her dusted down and race-ready for 2021. KnowHowDo sat out the 2019 and 2020 seasons but prior to that, KnowHowDo had a very strong race record both nationally and internationally under the team from Howth of Darragh Sheridan, Shane Murphy and John Phelan. We look forward to seeing KnowHowDo back on the water in 2021. As John Malone can't sail two boats at once, it is understood that a new entrant to the class will be taking the reins of KnowHowDo for the 2021 season and the boat will be racing regularly out of Lough Ree Yacht Club.

SB20 Class President John Malone

Class President John Malone added: "it is exciting to see so many additions to the fleet for the 2021 season as we build towards the Worlds in 2023. Having beginner, intermediate and experienced crews joining the fleet now augurs really well for the class. Although activities were heavily curtailed in 2020, we have an exciting programme of events and training scheduled for 2021 and we look forward to seeing all of these boats and their crews on the water in 2021. In addition, we would call on any former SBers that have boats in storage to get in contact with us. We would be delighted to help them get back out on the water or if they are looking to move their boats along, we can help them find a new home."

Published in SB20
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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

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The Royal Southern Yacht Club in Southampton welcomes the SB20 Class for four days of action. On Thursday 16th September, the SB20 UK Sprint Championship is a stand-alone event with the SB20 fleet blasting along through six back-to-back short, sharp races.

The SB20 National Championships 2020 will be held 17th-20th September with ten races scheduled on their own windward-leeward course.

Hot favourite for the championship will be John Pollard’s Xcellent. However, strong competition is expected from McAdam & Whelan’s Breaking Bod and Gillet & Hines’ PBII. Expect fireworks from Ollie Hill’s young guns on Ethel and James Howells’ Gelert, featuring the Bedford Pack. Simon Russell’s Sportsboatworld has a stellar team of Ben McGrane and Jamie Lee.

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SB20 sailors Luke Johnson and Eoin Leahy were winners of the North Shannon Yacht Club Regatta's Portlick Cup sailed at the weekend.

The North Shannon Regatta normally hosted further north on the river being sailed in the waters to the North of Lough Ree Yacht Club over 2 days due to the Kildare lockdown affecting the logistics of the usual organisers.

Upwind from Startline - Race 4, Day 2 SB20 North Shannon, Portlick CupUpwind from Startline - Race 4, Day 2 SB20 North Shannon, Portlick Cup

This was the first time (according to the RO, Ian Croxon) the North Shannon Yacht Club had hosted two fleets simultaneously at an event (in its 100 year history). A bottle of Moet Champagne was presented to the Helm of SB20 Strictly Business for winning the first SB20 race hosted by the North Shannon Yacht Club.

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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.

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Heading into day two of the SB20 ‘Western’ Championships hosted by the Royal St George YC, and after confounding conditions out in the bay, three Dun Laoghaire waterfront Clubs will battle it out, with just two points separating first and third overall.

As Afloat reported previously, the 13-boat event is the first of the year on the SB20 circuit.

TED sailed by RStGYC's (Michael O’Connor, Davy Taylor and Philip O’Connor) lie in first place overnight on five points. SoBlue NYC & RSGYC (Chris Helme, Justin Burke and Alan Coffey) are on six points and late entry, Bád RIYC (Stephan Hyde, Jimmy and Jerry Dowling) on seven.

RO Barry O’Neill and his team have three races scheduled today for the Techworks Marine Sponsored event with on the water umpires joining the fleet.

Published in SB20

The overall winner of the Lough Ree 250 SB20 event was John Malone and Emmet Sheridan's 'Slippery Nipple' 3040, with Patrick Whyte as bowman.

There were race wins for five SB20s in the eight-race 250 Regatta to celebrate 250 years of the River Shannon club.

Eoin Leahy, Donie Hearaghty and Luke Johnson won the Andrew Mannion Trophy for race one.

Lough Ree 250 Regatta Plate PrizeHusband & Wife Team Liz & Martin MacNamara on-board Jude Kilmartin's Sharkbait took line Honours in race six to win the Lifeboat plate.

Racing continues this week with a lay day Tuesday.

Lough Ree Yacht Club Race Officer Alex HobbsLough Ree Yacht Club Race Officer Alex Hobbs

The regatta is warm-up for the first SB20 Regional event of 2020 will be hosted by RStGYC this coming weekend 8/9 August on Dublin Bay.

SB20 Lough Ree 250 results


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Given the busy schedule of events set between now and the end of the season in October, it looks like the Irish SB20 class is not letting COVID-19 push it too far off course. According to its revised fixtures calendar (below), crews could manage to get in as much sailing as they would have in any other season.

The class is based on Lough Ree, Lough Derg and Dublin Bay, where there are active local scenes. There is a serious push on to promote the three-person class across Ireland with a view to a robust national turnout for the 2023 SB20 Worlds that will be staged at the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay.

The first regional event this season is now on the 8th August, hosted by the Royal St George Yacht Club, with a fleet of 15 boats expected. Barry O'Neill is the Race Officer in charge of the two-day event.

2020 Irish SB20 calendar

1st Regional - Royal St George YC, Dublin Bay 8/9 Aug

Easterns - Royal Irish YC, Dublin Bay, 6/7 Sept (Previously Scheduled scheduled for May as part of DL Cup)
Nationals - Lough Ree YC, Athlone, 18-20 Sept

Midlands - Lough Derg YC, Dromineer, 10/11 Oct

New dealer

The Dublin based Rope Dock firm has been appointed as the new SB20 dealer for Ireland.

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