McAllister Volkswagen Laser SB3 East Coast Championships
  Author: David Quinn      Posted on: 21/8/07

The event was run by RAYC
and hosted by Howth Yacht Club

18th & 19th August


35 Laser SB3ís travelled to HYC for the inaugural East Coast Championships from Cork, Bangor, Wicklow, and Dun Laoghaire.

This was the biggest entry on the SB3 circuit so far this year and shows the continued success and growth of the class.

Saturday started with a promising light breeze only to die throughout the day to very light or zero wind, rain and more rain. Two races were sailed in very challenging conditions thanks to the patience of both sailors and the race committee.

The first race saw a dramatic right hand shift at the first weather mark which turned the fleet inside out and had some competitors hoisting spinnakers. A strong flood tide also made for tricky mark roundings. In the end it was local entry Ben Duncan, from New Zealand but a recent addition to the Howth Fleet, who won the first race from Gareth Flannigan of Bangor and another local entry, Eoin Quinlan, in third.

The second race was also very light at the start but as the fleet rounded the weather mark it dropped to less than a knot, with competitors separating across the course looking for any zephyr to give them an advantage. Eventually a few knots of wind filled through the middle of the course giving Tom Fitzpatrick of Howth the race win from Rory Byrne and Sean Craig in third. Overnight it was Tom Fitzpatrick who had a small lead on 8 points from Gareth Flannigan and Ben Duncan, both on 11.

The HYC Dining Room was packed on Saturday night for the event dinner, which further strengthened friendships in this new class and added to the reputation of the class as a very social and friendly group.


On Sunday the conditions were the exact opposite to Saturday with 25 to 30 knots greeting the fleet as they arrived to their boats. Race Officer David Lovegrove made a wise decision to postpone racing for an hour while the wind moderated to a more manageable 20 knots.

The sailing was exhilarating and the SB3s were in their element planning downwind at high speed with the asymmetrical kites up crossing each other on route to the leeward gate. There was no shortage of action throughout the day with dramatic broaches and high speed drama. Winds were steady with oscillating shifts and excellent courses.

Ronan Collins gave a master class in windy weather sailing, scoring a 1 2 1, which made up for a disappointing Saturday for the Cork entry. Tom Fitzpatrick did enough with a 4, 1, 3 scoreline to maintain his lead and win the event from Collins in second and Gareth Flannigan in third, after scoring a 3, 5, DNS on the final day.

Many thanks must go to McAllister Volkswagen for their generous sponsorship of the event, to David Lovegrove and his team for the high quality of race management, and to Mike Evans, Ailbe Millerick and Eunice Kennedy from HYC and the Royal Alfred for organising the event and social.

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