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Significant changes to the ISORA 2022 fixtures schedule (downloadable here) on the Irish Sea will be discussed online at this year's Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA) Annual General Meeting.

The offshore body promotes offshore racing on both side of the channel, principally from Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay and Pwllheli in North Wales.

As Afloat previously reported, it is proposed to hold two Coastal Series, one on each side of the Irish Sea. Points for the Coastal series will not count for the Wolf’s Head. The Coastal Series will have its own signature trophies.

The AGM will be held virtually by 'Zoom' on Saturday 4th December 2021 at 11.00 hours.

The meeting is for the transaction of the following business:-

  • To approve the minutes of the previous AGM.
  • To approve the accounts for the year to November 2021
  • To elect Officers of the Association for the ensuing year.
  • To elect members of the Committee
  • To Agree the 2022 Race Management Detail and Proposed Race Schedule

The meeting is for the following categories:

  • 2019, 2020 and 2021 Skippers, or their appointed representative
  • 2022 prospective Skippers, or their appointed representative
  • 2021 Committee Members
  • 2022 Committee Members (proposed)
  • Yacht/Sailing Club Representatives

Voting will be restricted to one vote per ISORA participating boat.  Questions for the AGM are required to be forwarded to the Hon Sec before 2nd December 2021

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Some significant changes to the ISORA 2022 fixtures schedule (downloadable below) on the Irish Sea are highlighted by ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan ahead of this year's online AGM. 

The Offshore will be a stand-alone series for ISORA's overall Wolf’s Head Trophy. The offshore races will be longer, more like the traditional ISORA races.

There will be two Coastal Series, one on each side of the Irish Sea. Points for the Coastal series will not count for the Wolf’s Head. The Coastal Series will have its own signature trophies.

The Offshore will include the Round Ireland Race and the new RCYC/ISORA Kingstown to Queenstown Race – Dun Laoghaire to Cork, via the Fastnet.

To facilitate gathering for socialising after races, the class starts will be staggered, with Class 2 heading off first. This will also keep the fleet in touch for longer.

ISORA's Peter Ryan is instigating change for 2022 ISORA's Peter Ryan - instigating change for 2022 offshore season

We are strongly promoting the social side of racing. Even with the longer offshore races, there will still be facilities at the finishing club for every boat irrespective of when a boat finishes.

ISORA coastal racing off Dun Laoghaire Harbour, the hub of offshore racing in IrelandISORA coastal racing off Dun Laoghaire Harbour, the hub of offshore racing in Ireland

Encouraging cruising boats to join with the ISORA racing fleet and join in the post-race social events.

We are working with ICRA to create an ICRA National Offshore / Coastal Championship.

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9th November 2021

John Morris 1933-2021

At first light on Saturday 5th July 1980 off Wicklow, Johnny Morris of Pwllheli - who has died aged 88 - secured himself a permanent place in the story of offshore racing. In command of Force Tension, a One Tonner to the High Tension 36 design by Jac de Ridder, he became the first skipper to complete a non-stop Round Ireland Race, taking line honours in Wicklow SC’s inaugural event in five days 15 hours and two minutes.

He thereby placed himself two hours and 10 minutes on the water ahead of Dave Fitzgerald’s 40ft Partizan from Galway. However, when all the fleet was in, Brian Coad’s Rival 34 Raasay of Melfort (Waterford Harbour SC) was declared the overall handicap winner under WSC’s special Round Ireland Rating system, while Jim Poole’s Ron Holland Half Tonner Feanor (National YC) won under the RORC system, the IOR.

But there at the top of the listings as the clearcut line honours winner was - and always will be - Force Tension (A J Vernon, South Caernarvon YC, sailed by J.S.Morris). With the biennial Round Ireland Race now more than four decades old and well established as a pillar event of the European offshore season, it’s an achievement of steadily increasing significance. Yet it tells us much about the dedicated enthusiasm of Johnny Morris to sailing, and to life generally, that it was just one of many milestones in a very fully-lived existence.

Pre-start manoeuvres at the first Round Ireland Race 1980 off Wicklow, with Line Honours winner Force Tension on left, and handicap winner Raasay on right. Photo: W M NixonPre-start manoeuvres at the first Round Ireland Race 1980 off Wicklow, with Line Honours winner Force Tension on left, and handicap winner Raasay on right. Photo: W M Nixon

His sailing started at Abersoch in Dragons and 30 Square Metres. But soon after the family had acquired the attractive 34ft Holman-designed cruiser-racer Grenade for regular participation in the developing programme of the newly-formed ISORA - which had emerged from the Northwest Offshore Association - Johnny started to go his own way. He did this with the acquisition in 1972 of the new Sparkman & Stephens-designed She Wolf, a She 31 of a very attractive marque which became well-represented and successful in the Irish Sea programme.

Having proven he’d a winner in his ISORA racing, Johnny took She Wolf to the English Channel and repeated his success in season-long RORC Class V racing. This provided an introduction to the wider RORC programme, and in 1976 he was very much in contention in the RORC Round Britain and Ireland Race with Tiderace, the competition including Denis Doyle’s 47ft S&S design Moonduster – the “Blue Moonduster”.

Pocket rocket…..Johnny Morris’s very successful She Wolf was a Sparkman & Stephens-designed mini-classicPocket rocket…..Johnny Morris’s very successful She Wolf was a Sparkman & Stephens-designed mini-classic

Yet his first love as a sailing location was Cardigan Bay, and in 1977 it became home with his establishment of Firmhelm Ltd at Pwllheli Boatyard. Among his early contracts to put the yard on a sound footing was the completion from a bare hull of the boat which became Force Tension for Tony Vernon who - a couple of years later – loaned the boat to Johnny for “this new-fangled Round Ireland Race”, thereby doubling the Morris achievement as he took the honours racing a boat he’d built himself.

It was only one success in an extraordinary life of dedication to the sport and the boats involved in it. He’d spend the week in hands-on management in Firmhelm, and then he’d go off and spend the weekend in ISORA racing, often in command and always in a key role, and usually aboard a boat in which he’d made a significant constructional or tuning input, craft such as Autonomy, Greased Lightning, Teambuilder, Jackhammer, Korimako, and Glider.

Pwlheli with Snowdonia beyond. John Morris’s development of the Firmhelm Boatyard here from 1977 onwards was important for the harbour’s growth.Pwlheli with Snowdonia beyond. John Morris’s development of the Firmhelm Boatyard here from 1977 onwards was important for the harbour’s growth.

As to the administration of ISORA, his input was typically practical. For many years he served on the committee, but in addition, he was longtime Trophy Secretary. It’s a key job, for as any sailing secretary well knows, as one busy season rapidly succeeds another, it sometimes happens that the inscription on some historic piece of silverware is the only record of the outcome of an increasingly remote race.

With all these areas of involvement in and around boats and racing, you might well think that Johnny Morris had his plate well filled, but he was also hugely enthusiastic about horses, and a demon on the ski slopes. And though in his latter years he’d retired from racing, his passion for being afloat and involved continued with the acquisition of the very comfortable cruising catamaran Sirena, which as often as not was to be found on duty as Committee Boat or Pin End Boat at many of the national and international events hosted by Pwllheli SC and Plas Heli.

Always afloat whenever possible – the late Johnny Morris glimpsed aboard his comfortable cruising catamaran SirenaAlways afloat whenever possible – the late Johnny Morris glimpsed aboard his comfortable cruising catamaran Sirena

Johnny Morris added a new dimension to “enthusiasm and zest for life”. He may have gone from among us, but his wide circle of friends and family around the Irish Sea and beyond are much heartened by the memory of all that he achieved, and the way that he did it. 


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Top Irish offshore yacht Rockabill VI was first in line honours, first in IRC overall and class in the seven-boat James Eadie long offshore (76-miles) from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire yesterday. 

Race 15 was the final race of the Musto ISORA Offshore Series for the cross-channel association that has been frustrated for a second year by COVID restrictions. 

The winning JPK 10.80 skippered by Paul O'Higgins of the Royal Irish Yacht Club finished in 14 hours, 53 minutes and 20 seconds. 

Chris Power Smith's Aurelia crew from the Royal St. George Yacht Club were second in line honours and IRC Zero, but third overall as the Welsh J/109 Mojito ( Peter Dunlop) from Pwllheli took second overall.

The seven boat ISORA fleet start their cross-channel race off Pwllheli The seven boat ISORA fleet start their cross-channel race off Pwllheli

As reported earlier, as there were only two possible combined offshore races between the Welsh and Irish fleets this season, the Wolf’s Head Trophy for the Musto ISORA Offshore Champion will not be awarded in 2021.

Details are provisional and as per the ISORA YB tracker.

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Out of an entry list of 13 boats, seven will take part in the last offshore of the Musto ISORA Offshore Series on Saturday. 

The 'Long Offshore' will start from Pwllheli in North Wales at 10 am and sail a course to Dun Laoghaire Harbour to conclude the 2021 season.

While there are only seven boats taking part, they are the top boats of the year and the overall placings in the Irish and UK Musto ISORA Offshore Series will be decided by this race.

ISORA James Eadie race fleetISORA James Eadie race fleet

Known affectionately by ISORA sailors as the “James Eadie Race” it is traditionally the last race of the ISORA season.

As there were only two possible combined offshore races this season between the Welsh and Irish fleets, the Wolf’s Head Trophy for the Musto ISORA Offshore Champion, will not be awarded in 2021.

The race can be followed on the YB tracker app and on the ISORA website.

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Provisional results give Paul O'Higgins' Rockabill VI the overall win in ISORA's Race No. 12. The Royal Irish JPK 10.80 was the line honours winner in the slated 35-mile coastal day race that started and finished Dun Laoghaire Harbour.  

It was a light air affair from the get-go for the 11-boat fleet at 10 am on Saturday that saw the ISORA champion take just over five hours to complete the course.

Second overall was Pete Smyth's Sunfast 3600 Searcher that won in IRC 2.  Ninth on the water but third on IRC was the double-handed First 310 of Grzegorz Kalinecki, the silver fleet winner. 

This 12th race of the 2021 Musto Series also doubled as the third race of the ISORA Viking Marine Coastal Series. 

Light winds for ISORA's 12th race off Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo: Michael HorganLight winds for ISORA's 12th race off Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo: Michael Horgan

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Yes indeed. With only a fortnight to go to the Golden Jubilee of ISORA's emergence from the old Northwest Offshore Association, Chairman Peter Ryan of Dun Laoghaire and Honorary Secretary Stephen Tudor of Pwllheli and their members can walk tall in the knowledge that all three boats with direct ISORA connections that were doing the Rolex Fastnet Race 2021 have been very much in the big-time success frame.

Let's go straight to the IRC Overall listing, in which 264 boats started - everything from slim little Contessa 32s up to the mighty 140ft Skorpios. We've only gone three places down the listing when we come to the Lombard 46 Pata Negra. Until now, she has only been a rare visitor to the Irish Sea, if at all. But she'd have been here last August when Darren Wright of Howth had her lined up for the postponed Round Ireland Race, as he knew the boat with his successes with her in the RORC Caribbean 600. But then the Round Ireland 2020 had to be cancelled completely.

Now, she's owned by Andrew Hall of Pwllheli, who must have sailed every course in the ISORA programme many times in boats like Jackknife and Jackhammer. Whether or not Pata Negra becomes an ISORA regular is neither here nor there. After all, she is a star, at her best in the majors. But the Middle Sea Race must be beckoning, and next year's Round Ireland is surely made for her, a formidable contender with second in IRC 1 to add to her third overall around the Fastnet.

Going on down the long list, we've only got to 14th overall when the Sunfast 37 Desert Star pops up. The sudden arrival in Cherbourg this morning (Friday) of a whole gaggle of IRC 4 boats opened up the overall list more than somewhat, and Desert Star's cool placing was augmented by being second in class after hours and days of very switched-on strategic and tactical sailing by Irish Offshore Sailing's principal Ronan O Siochru, and his talented right-hand man Conor Totterdell.

Over the years, Desert Star has become an ISORA regular, as the Association's bite-sized events are ideal for a sailing school working within tight time constraints. That said, those who signed up for 2021's Fastnet Programme with IOS ("No Experience Necessary, We'll Provide It and Turn You Into a Veteran") have now got themselves the bargain of a lifetime – a bargain which they can scarcely have imagined during the first incredibly challenging 24 hours of the race itself.

Happy campers. The Fastnet Race trainees aboard Irish Offshore Sailing's Desert Star (with skipper Ronan O Siochru on right, and Conor Totterdell third from right) got themselves the bargain of a lifetime in buying into the 2021 programme. Photo courtesy IOSHappy campers. The Fastnet Race trainees aboard Irish Offshore Sailing's Desert Star (with skipper Ronan O Siochru on right, and Conor Totterdell third from right) got themselves the bargain of a lifetime in buying into the 2021 programme. Photo courtesy IOS

And finally, the ISORA threesome is completed by the Figaro 3 RL Sailing. While Pamela Lee has only occasional ISORA experience to refer to, co-skipper Kenneth Rumball is an old ISORA hand. And although the turnout in the special Figaro 3 Two-Handed Class was a modest five boats, RL Sailing's victory in it was by an incredible margin. In fact, the high point in her race was in the final stages, when she found herself in a fortuitous three-way duel with the two IRC 2-Handed leaders, the Sun Fast 3300 Swell and the JPK 10.30 Leon, from which RL Sailing emerged six minutes ahead boat-for-boat at Cherbourg. UPDATE Penalty for RL sailing. (August 17) here 

Pamela Lee and Kenneth Rumball on RL SailingPamela Lee and Kenneth Rumball on RL Sailing

Only three boats perhaps, but they provide a remarkably comprehensive lineup of memorable achievements in just one sailing of this great race in its new format, in which Cork's representative, the Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo, put in a truly heroic performance in pulling herself out of a private quagmire which had put her back in 26h in IRC 3 at one low point, yet by the finish she'd got back up to 13th, a memorable recovery.

But if we were forced into a corner and asked to nominate the Rolex Fastnet Race 2021's outstanding achievement, it was probably the way in which Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat took the IMOCA 60 Apivia through the first 24 hours.

Getting an IMOCA 6 to go well directly to windward in a seaway is not a talent with which every skipper is blessed. Of course, to some extent, it depends on the boat in question, but in some cases it's what you'd imagine a giraffe would look like if it tried to go ice-skating.

But with Apivia, these guys were doing the business from the word go, and they put the cream on the cake by the master-stroke of holding on starboard tack after the Needles to go clear across the Channel and on behind and beyond the Channel islands until they finally went on to port off the north coast of Brittany, having carried the same ebb tide the whole way from the Solent to Cap Brehat. There, they were beautifully placed for a swift and clear open water passage across towards the Isles of Scilly, where they found themselves pacing with Skorpios despite the latter being more than twice their overall length, and better configured for going to windward.

It was a master-stroke. Some would way say it was a case of taking a beautiful flyer. But when it turns out as well as that, it's everyone else who is taking a flyer………..

Apivia at the Fastnet Rock, after a strategic master-stroke which made it look as though every other boat in the race had made a tactical error.Apivia at the Fastnet Rock

Tracker below

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First in IRC One and first in IRC overall, Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox sailing the J109 Mojito were the winners of the seven-boat ISORA race from Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli on Saturday. 

Andrew Hall's Jackknife took line honours in the 80-miler, the first ISORA cross channel race in almost two years. The J125 finished third on IRC overall.

Grzegorz Kalinecki, small First 310 More Mischief from Dun Laoghaire took second in IRC overall.

Results are here 

Next up for the ISORA fleet is the ISORA Viking Marine Irish Coastal Race on August 28.  The race is weighted at 0.9 for the overall Championship.

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ISORA will stage its first cross-channel race in nearly two years on Saturday morning for a 75-mile offshore race from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Pwllheli.

Despite teething problems with COVID passports, new customs procedures, a clash with deliveries to Calves Week Regatta, and this weekend's Lions Rugby match, an eight boat fleet will start Dun Laoghaire outfall buoy for an 8 am start.

Four Dublin boats and four Welsh boats will test the waters, but the reigning champion Rockabill VI from the Royal Irish Yacht Club along with the Royal St. George top performer Aurelia, both from Dublin Bay, have pulled out.

Nevertheless, there's still a potent lineup with two J/109 designs, a J/125 as well as some Jeanneau Sunfast marques competing.

The starters are: A Plus (Archambault 31), Indian (J109), More Mischief (First 310) and Elandra from Dublin Bay and Mojito (J109), Zig Zag (Sunfast 3600), Jac Y Do (Sunfast 3200i) and Jackknife (J 125) from Pwllheli.

J/109 Indian from Howth

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Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox's J/109 Mojito were winners of the Tremadog Bay 'pop up' Regatta at Pwllheli Sailing Club in North Wales.

This Welsh regatta was organised over the same days as the cancelled Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta - hence its “pop up” moniker.

It produced a great local fleet of 14 offshore boats with IRC racing for Class One and two and inshore boats.

There were four days of 'Round the Cans' races as well as a day to take in the sights of Tremadog Bay.

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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.


At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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