IRL: Laser SB20 Southern Championships

IRL: Laser SB20 Southern Championships

And so, off we set, a mini armada heading to the deep west, only it only took 5 hrs from Belfast, and presumably a little less from Dublin. Getting to SB3 events in Ireland is getting so easy,there really is no excuse to miss them. With a promise of 12-18 knots building over the weekend from the perfect direction of North, blowing off the Atlantic into Tralee Bay, all was set for a beautiful weekend.

As always with such awesome forecasts, we awoke to no breeze and fog, and a chance to go back to bed for a couple of hours / faff with our boats for a little more. Extra time was facilitated by the fastest craning I have witnessed, less than 10 seconds from trailer to sea, clearly a fleet of a hundred would be no challenge to the Fenit Marina crane driver, and service with a smile too.

After a delay of a few hours, the wind filled, swung around a bit and finally settled in Mr Darcy’s favour and old peg leg set the pace to win from Rob Howe. Sean Craig took race two, Kiwi Ben race three (though he had to share it with Pete Kennedy, who had a little finish line schamozzle with Sean, resulting in him not finishing, nor Sean for that matter, and the subsequent gentlemanly gesture of Sean resulting in him lending his boat to Pete’s team for the Sunday. Chapeaux Sean Craig, and his team of Stephen and Ronan, who were relegated to a heavy imbibement scenario for Saturday night. Some confusion at the start of race 4 saw Rob Howe nip off into an early lead and adding a race win to give him the overnight lead.

Saturday evening saw some jocularity in the Yacht Club with some fine food and wine, expensive imports at that, and some big shapes on the dance floor from the very talented all rounder, Marty Cuppage. Paul McMahon won a prize for his endeavours too, best ask him why.

So a slightly tired fleet struggled out of the marina and round the corner for race 5, only to have all memories of the previous nights joviality swiftly erased by a glorious F4 and sunshine, now with some tasty little 3-4 foot ramps to play with. Pete K showed repaid Sean’s kindness by taking the other half of the crash to victory after hooking into a nice lefty and extending to the finish, then Ben Duncan, having finished his film making duties, romped home for a win in the final race.

So a wonderful romp in the Atlantic came to an end, with thoughts of Galway 3 weeks hence to keep the smiles going, and a fine burger at the Club in the sun to cap it off, life was good for the merry band of travellers.

We’ve got it all over here in Ireland, spoilt rotten, and so we should be, we deserve it. Great thanks to Tralee Bay Sailing Club, terrific and very capable hosts, with the infrastructure to easily host a National Championships for us in the future – we’ll be back!

For the record, after everyone had a go on the top of the podium, Pete K was given the trophy, with Rob Howe in second, by a point from Kiwi and Brian Riley in fourth.

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