A fleet of 55 Laser SB3s competed in their inaugural Irish National Championships on 13th-15th September at the National YC in Dun Laoghaire.
Three days of sunny 12-20 knot breezes brought the best out of these fast and feisty boats in a test of seamanship, nerve and sometimes near disaster management with high speed crossing and boat speeds of 15 knots downhill. Jack Roy, the PRO set great courses and the team at the NYC put on a great performance on and off the water.
Who was there?
The UK fleet was represented by both Geoff Carveth, current European Champion, sailing with a hot Irish team of Tim Goodbody and Maurice O Connell, and Dan Geoghegan, a UK Grand Prix winner.
It was time to test the new Irish fleet, containing the likes of Tom Fitzpatrick HYC, Sean Craig RstGYC, Gareth Flanagan RNIYC Nicolas O’Leary and Killian & Ronan Collins from RCYC all sailing in the Platinum fleet.
What was at stake?
The Platinum. Gold and Silver Fleets had an equally competitive spirit competing for the first ever National Championship and some big prizes. Helly Hansen awarded clothing prizes for the top three in each fleet worth €3000. Three perpetual silver trophies, one for each fleet, and an open trophy were sponsored by McCauley Graham Judge, National YC/SB3I, Dinghy Supplies and McCready Sailboats.
What happened next?
Nicholas O’Leary with Eoin Leahy started out with intention with a win, with Fitzpatrick and Carveth fighting back in the second and third races, leaving Carveth with the overnight lead from Fitzpatrick second and O’Leary third. Sean Craig and Mike Evans HYC were also prowling in the hunt.
On the second day Flanagan, reflecting some season form, sought vengeance with a win, but Carveth was black flagged and Craig, the Collins brothers and Fitzpatrick had mixed results – the prize was wide open. O Leary slipped into a slim overnight lead from dark horse Evans.
A squall on the final day made only one race possible. Do or die time. Fitzpatrick did all he could with a convincing win, however O’Leary with good maneuvering at the last gate scraped into second to steal the Championship from Fitzpatrick by two points. Evans was third, Carveth forth, Sean Craig fifth and the Collins sixth. There were notable performances from Gareth Nolan and Colin Galavan (NYC) in 7th & 8th.
In the battling Gold Fleet, Gavin Jones RIYC held off Tim Bourke RstGYC and Rory Byrne, sailing with Laura Dillon NYC, for The National Trophy.
The Silver Fleet and The Rose Bowl were conquered by Luke Tritchler RstGYC by two points ahead of Andrew Braken, Garrykennedy SC and five ahead of the Sean and Dave Cahill NYC.
The wet bit was the best part of the event as sailing in the SB3 is the most fun you can have at 15 miles an hour. On land everyone was a winner, and most had smiles on their faces well into the early hours – enjoying responsibly, of course.
by Tim Bourke