Sailing: Big year beckons for Irish SB20 sportsboats

Royal Irish Yacht club to host European Championships from August 28th

Ireland will host the SB20 European Sportsboat Championships on Dublin Bay from August 28th next year. Photo: David O’Brien

Ireland will host the SB20 European Sportsboat Championships on Dublin Bay from August 28th next year. Photo: David O’Brien

 

In a big year ahead for Irish SB20 sportsboats interests, the European Championships will be staged on Dublin Bay.

But the first international competition of the new year is in Tasmania just after Christmas where Dun Laoghaire’s Corinthian World champion, Michael O’Connor, will defend his title.

Royal St George’s O’Connor, who finished sixth overall at the Cowes Worlds just last September, is one of three Irish boats en route to the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania for the Derwent River regatta.

A three-boat Irish team are heading for Hobart with Howth’s Cillian Dickson and Ger Dempsey of Dún Laoghaire also competing.

It marks an exciting start to the year for the three-man keelboat with a packed domestic calendar of seven fixtures starting in April in Greystones, County Wicklow and also taking in a new venue at Strangford Lough for the Northern Championships in May.

Club racing for the national fleet of 50 boats has developed beyond the capital with six boats now based in County Tipperary on Lough Derg too.

The Irish Championships will be hosted by the National Yacht Club (NYC) on June 29th with the SB20s, one of the biggest one design fleets in the country, returning to Royal Cork (RCYC) for the Southern Championships on July 14th, the weekend before Cork Week.

Season highlight

It all builds towards the season highlight of the European Championships from August 28th at the Royal Irish Yacht Club. The last time Ireland hosted a major SB20 championship was a decade ago, again in Dublin, when the new design, then known as the Laser SB3, held its inaugural worlds on the Bay in 2008.

Ireland’s youth sailing team, comprising of three boys and a girl have all scored top 10 results at the Worlds in China this week that conclude on Friday.

Quinn, from Rush Sailing Club, made the top ten of his 46-boat fleet in race six when he finished seventh in that race. Bell, from Belfast Lough, also scored high in her race six taking a second place as her best individual result in the regatta so far. It places Quinn 24th overall and Bell 26th with one race left to sail.

The boys 420 team of Geoff Power and James McCann are 21st in their fleet, with a top individual result of eighth scored in race seven.

The Notice of Race for 2018 Cork Week has been published. A ‘super early bird’ entry rate applies until December 30th where 10 per cent of entries received before the deadline will get a full refund on their entry fee.

For its 40-year anniversary event, RCYC is launching an all new format where competitors can choose which element of the week they wish to attend; giving options for one, two, three or five days racing for the Volvo Cup.

The new executive committee of the International Fireball dinghy class includes Irish representation in its line-up with Dublin Bay sailor Cormac Bradley appointed as ‘Rear Commodore, Europe West’.

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