Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Dun Laoghaire's SB20 Ireland Team for World Champs Thwarted by Red Sea Crisis

10th January 2024
Reroute - The Irish SB20 boats bound for the class World Championships in Dubai in February have been returned to Dublin due to the Red Sea Crisis
Reroute - The Irish SB20 boats bound for the class World Championships in Dubai in February have been returned to Dublin due to the Red Sea Crisis

It’s only four weeks since the Irish team, due to race in the 2024 SB20 World Championships, packed up their boats and shipped to Dubai, but already they are back on Irish soil.

The three teams, Ger Dempsey, RIYC, Colin Galavan, RIYC and Tadgh Donnelly, NYC, were shocked to receive an email on 27th December informing them that the container ship their boats were on would not enter the Red Sea and therefore, could not make Dubai in time for the February championship.

The necessary re-routing around Cape Horn would mean the container and their boats would not arrive until the week of the 10th of February, right the in the middle of the event they had hoped to campaign.

The crews are now preparing to unload the container in DublinThe crews are now preparing to unload the boats in Dublin

At the time the boats were in Le Harve and the advice was to turn them around, with only 24 hours to make a decision the three teams concurred with the experts.

The crews are now preparing to unload the container this weekend in a cold, bleak Dublin, a stark contrast to the sunny experience they were anticipating in Dubai next month, however they remain philosophical despite the disappointment.

‘It’s hard to dwell on our misfortune in the context of why it has occurred’ said crew member Chris Nolan. ‘There will be other opportunities for us, and we are glad to have our boats back home safely.’ Team

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SB20 (formerly Laser SB3) information

Designed by Tony Castro, the SB20 is a British-built strict one-design 6.15m keelboat conceived as a wide appeal, affordable, competitive sportsboat for teams of three or four sailors. It is also, arguably, the most successful sportsboat in the world with 800 owners competing regularly in a programme of exciting local, national and international events.

Originally known as the Laser SB3, the SB20 continues to deliver on its pioneering promise: a boat that is fun, fast and easy to sail by anyone of any age; the best value-for-money sportsboat in the market.

The Laser SB3 was designed by Castro and launched in 2002. In 2007 the Laser SB3 was awarded ISAF Recognised Status and the first World Championships were held in Ireland in 2008. In 2012, Tony Castro appointed a new builder, Sportsboat World. At this time, the Laser SB3 was renamed the SB20 and building was returned to the UK from Malaysia. The ethos of the class continues.

The boat is a strict one-design class, economic to buy and campaign, easy to sail with a simple deck layout and electric downwind performance delivered by the generous sail plan. The boat has a lifting keel, can easily be launched from a slipway and towed behind a family car.

Previous SB20 World Champions

2008 GBR: Geoff Carveth, Roger Gilbert, Roz Allen & Sarah Allan

Host National Yacht Club, Dun laoghaire, Ireland

2009 GBR: Craig Burlton, Stephen White, Adam Heeley

Host Clube Naval de Cascais, Cascais, Portugal

2010 GBR: Jerry Hill, Grant Rollerson, Joe Llewellyn

Host Circolo Vela Torbole, Lake Garda, Italy

2011 GBR: Geoff Carveth, Andy Ramus, Ian Mills & Emma Clarke

Host Royal Torbay Yacht Club, Torquay, UK

2012 GBR: Geoff Carveth, Lesley Dhonau, Roger Hudson & Asenathi Jim

Host Hamilton Island Yacht Club, Queensland, Australia

2013 GRB: Craig Burlton, Stephen White, Adam Heley Host COYCH Club, Hyeres, France