Many of the international teams have now arrived in Dublin for the SB20 European Championship. VIS Sailing Team of Saint-Petersburg announced their intentions with a win at last week's East Coast Domestic Regionals, dominating the final day of racing with 3 wins out of 4.
Equipment for the Australian Porco Rosso team arrived at the venue on Thursday and the team arrived on Friday. Their 2nd place finish at the recent Portuguese Nationals marks them out among the favourites. The Portuguese team Animal of Clube Naval de Cascais who won that event are also here in Dublin.
Multi world champions Give Me 5 are absent, but a strong French contingent of five teams is led by Alain Roig. Ukrainian team #GAMECHANGER is also expected to mount a challenge.
The SB20 class has had a strong presence in Ireland since its inception, and any of four local teams can be expected to be in the mix. Michael O'Connor's 6th place at the 2017 World Championships remains the stand out performance by an Irish team at the top level.
Jerry Dowling and Stefan Hyde of host club The Royal Irish Yacht Club, have won the national championship several times. No big event in Ireland would be the same without Marty O'Leary and after a couple of seasons dominating the RS200 racing nationally he switches over to helm Boomsticks for this event. A Howth Yacht Club team with Cillian Dickson, Sam O'Byrne and Diana Kissane as regulars joined the class last season and will be strong contenders
After three months of sunny and stable weather Autumnal equinox conditions arrived in Dublin last week. The first day of the east coast championship served up winds pushing past 35 kts. It's a testament to the resilience of the SB20, and the suitability of the venue for sportboat racing, that racing continued in conditions that may otherwise have been of concern. Dublin bay can be a tricky venue with a strong tidal influence and the long-range forecast indicates there is the potential for similar full-on racing next week.
Sponsors for this event include Dubarry, racegeek, venuesworld.com, Casio and Dunlaoghaire-Rathdown County Council, and their contribution and support will be Instrumental in ensuring a superb event next week.