Northern Ireland Area Championships
Laser SB3 Northern Area Championships – Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club – April 26/27 2008
24 SB3s came to the line for the start of the second ever Laser SB3 Northern Area Championships at host club Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club.
The event was sponsored by North Down Tourist Board, who assisted with accommodation bookings, and Fleet Clothing sponsors Helly Hansen provided a wonderful spread of Sailing Clothing for event prizes.
In an experimental set up, the boats had been launched at Carrickfergus Sailing Club. They then sailed to Cultra to moor overnight on club moorings, giving a wonderful sight, as the fleet of sleek one-design racing yachts provided a glorious backdrop to some excellent on shore revelry.
Thanks go to Carrickfergus Sailing Club, and Rory Moore of Carrickfergus Boat Yard, for allowing the fleet to use their excellent facilities.
Last year’s winner Ronan Collins was replaced at the helm by his Olympic veteran and usual middleman Killian Collins, with Peter O’Leary, fresh from his Star World Championship race win in Miami last week, in the middle. However it was to be another Cork man who was to take the spoils overall, as Kieran Dorgan and team put in a marvellous series with a 2,13,1,2 to take the Championship title.
All looked set for a repeat of last year, as Killian shot off over the horizon in Race one, which saw a gusty force 2-3, the most breeze of the weekend. With the wind shifting to the right for race 2, Nigel Kearney, the PRO, adjusted the course, and Gordon Patterson, after a third in Race one behind the Cork duo, pulled away shortly after the start, to take the win from Aidan O’Connell, also formerly of Cork, by an impressive distance. Ross Nolan, with Stefan Hyde helming, picked up a Black Flag at the pin end by a whisker, when he might have got a way and crossed the fleet, an expensive error given his next two races saw a second and a first. Ben Duncan and Colin Galavan both showed the usual consistency to be well ranked overnight.
Dorgan won race three from Hyde, in a dying breeze, and the PRO wisely sent everyone ashore, from where a very boisterous and friendly evening commenced with a buffet and band at RNIYC.
Sunday awoke with unexpected sunshine, and no breeze, but unusually for April, there was enough heat to kick of a sea breeze, and the fleet was able to squeeze in a race before the gradient breeze finally pushed in moments after the fourth race finished to call a halt to proceedings, with Kieran Dorgan’s second place being enough to send the Trophy back to Cork again for the second successive year.
All in all, a very successful and fun filled weekend. The fleet now move to Dublin in late May for the Baily Bowl, where the Dublin fleet should see the numbers swell well into the 40s or even 50s.