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In a major change to ISORA's rebooted season, the offshore body is cancelling plans for any further attempt at cross channel racing this season.

It is the latest blow for Irish Sea offshore sailing fans and follows the loss of this month's Round Ireland Yacht Race.

In view of the COVID situation in UK and Ireland and the present regulations in force, a meeting of ISORA's Sailing Committee unanimously decided that there will be no cross channel races and instead there will be races on each side of the Irish Sea. In view of this, the Wolf’s Head Series is being abandoned for 2020, ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan told Afloat.

'This was a very difficult decision for ISORA where the Wolf's Head trophy has been presented every year since it was first presented to ISORA in 1977 but the safety of all competitors is our primary concern and we are of course guided by the rules and regulations of the separate Nations, Ryan said.

Competitors will compete for the respective championship titles on either side of the Channel, the Coastal Series, Class Results and the Silver Class.

ISORA's Wolf's Head Trophy - racing abandoned for ISORA's Top award for the first time in 43 years Photo: GPPhoto/ISORAISORA's Wolf's Head Trophy - racing abandoned for ISORA's Top award for the first time in 43 years Photo: GPPhoto/ISORA

Should the situation improve significantly later this month, resulting in a relaxation of the regulations, the last race, the James Eadie, may proceed as planned from Pwhelli to Dun Laoghaire.

On Saturday, ISORA ran two separate offshore races on either side of the Irish Sea in a bid to keep the offshore scene alive in spite of the pandemic.

The revised schedule will be published shortly with the appropriate amendments and revised Supplemental Sailing Instructions.

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Despite similar conditions as the three previous ISORA coastal races, Saturday's first offshore at nearly double the distance off Dun Laoghaire has produced substantially different results, with National Yacht Club Class two newcomer A Plus (Mick Flynn and Grant Kinsman) taking the IRC win overall.

The Wolf's Head qualifying race turned inside out when the wind died mid-race and smaller boats caught up with the leaders.

Neck and neck as weather boat J122 Aurelia, Sunfast 3600 Hot Cookie and eventual winner the Archambault A31 pass Dun Laoghaire Harbour MouthNeck and neck as weather boat J122 Aurelia, Sunfast 3600 Hot Cookie and eventual winner the Archambault A31 pass Dun Laoghaire Harbour Mouth

Provisional results published by ISORA here give second overall to Class 1 J99, Juggerknot 2, sailed double-handed by Royal Irish Yacht Club duo Andrew Alego and Mark McGibney. Third was More Mischief the Grzegorz Kalinecki skippered First 310.

Sailing doublehanded with Mark McGibney, Royal Irish skipper Andrew Algeo (above) was second overall in the 50-miler Photo: Afloat(Above and below) Sailing double-handed with Mark McGibney, Royal Irish skipper Andrew Algeo (above) was second overall in the 50-miler and the IRC One winner Photo: Afloat

Juggerknot II, a J99 in double handed configuration for ISORA racing offshoreJuggerknot II, a J99 in double-handed configuration is the only two-hander in the 2020 ISORA racing offshore series Photo: Afloat

Starting at 8 am at the Dun Laoghaire outfall buoy, the 11-boat fleet sailed a 50-mile course first to a Virtual Mark then to Kish light, South Codling, South India and the Muglins before finishing off Dun Laoghaire Pier Heads yesterday evening at tea time. The tracker is here. Light Westerly winds never got over 10-knots.

Reigning ISORA champion Rockabill VI (Paul O'Higgins) crashed out of the running and finished eighth in IRC overall.

Rockabill VI made an impressive downwind start right on the gunRockabill VI made an impressive downwind start right on the gun

John O'Gorman's Sunfast 3600 'Hot Cookie' was the IRC Class Zero winnerJohn O'Gorman's Sunfast 3600 'Hot Cookie' was the IRC Class Zero winner. Multiple Irish Fireball champion Noel Butler on helm (left) Photo: Afloat

The race was the first qualifying race of the 2020 season for the Wolf's Head trophy but due to COVID-19, the ISORA fleet did not race cross channel but instead competed separately in two different offshores, one in Dublin and one off Pwlhelli, as Afloat previously reported.

Pwllheli Offshore Race

A turnout of just three boats for the Welsh edition saw Nigel Ingram's J109 Jetstream from Holyhead Sailing Club win from Andrew Hall's J125, Jackknife.

ISORA Race 4a slideshow below

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In a first-ever for ISORA, there will be two separate offshore qualifying races for its overall Wolfs Head Trophy this Saturday, one in Ireland and one in Wales.

The change arises from differences in COVID-19 regulations on either side of the Irish Sea. It's something of a bravo move by ISORA chiefs aiming to keep channel racing going in a week that has already seen the Round Ireland Race, the highlight of the offshore calendar, fall victim to the pandemic.

28 boats are entered so far for the first offshore of the season over a course size of 55-miles, nearly double the length of recent coastal races.

ISORA's top prize for the famous Wolf's Head is decided over the best of five races but this must include three qualifying offshore races. These races are long offshore courses and traditionally cross channel.

Unfortunately, though, differences in crew number limitations, port access and difficulties with overnight stays onboard have all conspired to make it impossible to run a qualifying race which is equitable and equally available to all competitors.

The result is that Saturday's racing will be scored taking account of the respective fleet sizes in both races.

Given ISORA entries currently show only two Welsh boats entered, it looks like it will be a small race in Wales and a larger race from Dublin Bay.

ISORA's Wolf's Head Trophy for overall honours racing offshore in the Irish SeaISORA's Wolf's Head Trophy for overall honours racing offshore in the Irish Sea Photo: GP Photo 

ISORA racing in these difficult times has only been possible because of the association's investment in technologies which allow remote desk-top race management and as ISORA's Stephen Tudor told Afloat, [the association is] "Making the best of difficult times to get sailors on the water both sides of the Irish Sea!"

Saturday's race four consequently is a 55 miler, weighted 1.1. In Ireland, it will be a Dun Laoghaire offshore and back to Dun Laoghaire and in Wales from Pwllheli to Pwllheli. The course will be published by 1200hrs on Friday, 31st July. The forecast for Dublin Bay indicates more light westerlies that have been a feature of ISORA's 2020 Viking Marine Coastal Series thus far.

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The dominant form of the 2019 Irish yacht of the year, Paul O'Higgins' JPK10.80 Rockabill VI continues to stalk the ISORA racecourse, picking up another win at 1.30 am this morning off Dun Laoghaire Harbour in the well attended night race, according to provisional results via the ISORA Yellowbrick tracker.

The 25-boat race was the third in the ISORA 2020 Re-Boot series and the third race of the Viking Marine sponsored Coastal Series of four.

The fleet started off Dun Laoghaire outfall buoy at 8 pm (the same as race one and two) and headed south to the Muglins and onto Breeches just north of Wicklow before heading back up the Dublin coast and a finish off Dun Laoghaire Pier heads.

Rockabill VI Paul O'Higgins' JPK10.80 was the overall winner of the ISORA night raceRockabill VI Paul O'Higgins' JPK10.80 was the overall winner of the ISORA night race

Aurelia was line honours winner

Chris and Patanne Smith's J122 Aurelia from the Royal St George Yacht Club was the line honours winner but dropped to second overall on corrected time over the 32-mile course sailed in light south and south-west winds.

Third overall was the National Yacht Club's First 40.7 Tsunami (Vincent Farrell) in a clean sweep for Class Zero boats.

Vincent Farrell's First 40.7 Tsunami from the National Yacht ClubVincent Farrell's First 40.7 Tsunami from the National Yacht Club

J99 wins IRC One

In IRC Class One, Andrew Algeo's J/99 took the gun from the J/109 Mojito with Prima Luce, third.

Patrick Burke's Prima Luce was third in IRC OnePatrick Burke's Prima Luce was third in IRC One

Black Velvet Takes IRC Two win

Leslie Parnell's Beneteau 34.7 Black Velvet from the Royal Irish Yacht Club was the Class Two winner from Greystones Harbour JOD 35 entry Red Alert. Third was Humdinger.

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Reigning ISORA Champion Rockabill VI (Paul O'Higgins) took a one-minute 35-second margin on corrected time to win the second ISORA Viking Marine Coastal Race on Dublin Bay this afternoon.

The JPK10.80 was the IRC overall and Class Zero winner according to provisional results published by ISORA via the association's tracker that are subject to official confirmation.

XP 44 WOW overtakes the Greystones JOD 35 Red Alert shortly after the reaching start XP 44 WOW overtakes the Greystones JOD 35 Red Alert shortly after the reaching start

Second overall was the Howth Yacht Club J109 Indian (Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles) who was also the Class One winner.

J109 Indian from Howth Yacht ClubHowth Yacht Club J109 Indian (Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles) was the Class One Winner

The fleet contained a number of new entries for the second of the four-race mini-series including the new First 40 to Dublin Bay, Prima Forte and the Channel 32 Wavetrain from Greystones Sailing Club.

The gleaming varnish of the Channel 32 Wavetrain from Greystones takes the Committee Boat end at the start of the second ISORA Viking MarineCoastal RaceThe gleaming varnish of the Channel 32 Wavetrain from Greystones takes the Committee Boat end at the start of the second ISORA Viking MarineCoastal Race

Rockabill VI (Paul O'Higgins) going well in the light winds under symmetric spinnakerRockabill VI (Paul O'Higgins) going well in the light winds under symmetric spinnaker 

O'Higgins of the Royal Irish Yacht Club gave a fine display on how to navigate Dublin Bay's tidal currents even though hugging the Dublin Bay shoreline did not always look like the right move in the fickle sub-ten-knot westerlies as the 19-boat fleet started from the Dun Laoghaire Harbour's outfall Mark in Seapoint Bay.

ThePrima Forte First 40The First 40 'Prima Forte' on its first ISORA race

Early into the 24-mile race, it appeared that boats such as first race winner George Sisk's WOW, an XP44, had secured the best pressure in the centre of the course in the light westerlies as the feet raced towards the first mark at the Muglins at the southern tip of Dublin Bay.

It became obvious though as the fleet exited the Bay that O'Higgins's ploy to hug the Scotsman's Bay shore in the south of the Bay in the last of the ebb tide was a race-winning move.

Grand Soleil 34 Justina John Treanor's Grand Soleil 34 Justina from the National Yacht Club

Second in Class One was the Grand Soleil 34, Justina, skippered by John Treanor, from the National Yacht Club who followed a similar strategy.

J97 Windjammer steered by Fireball ace Noel ButlerThe Royal St. George Yacht Club J97 Windjammer steered by Fireball ace Noel Butler

Class Two in the four-hour race was won by Leslie Parnell's First 34.7 Black Velvet who won from the Royal St. George J97 Windjammer.

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Race 2 of the Viking Marine Coastal Race this morning will be a shorter 24-mile course from Dun Laoghaire Harbour at 0955.

From a start, at Dun Laoghaire Outfall Buoy, the expected 20-boat fleet will pass the Muglins on the Southern Tip of Dublin Bay.

From there the course is - ISORA Dublin Virtual Mark Gate - (Muglins (S) and the ISORA Dublin Virtual Mark (P)) East Kish (S) Killiney Outfall (P) Bray Outfall (P) Pass through the Muglins - ISORA Dublin Virtual Mark Gate - (Muglins (P) - and the ISORA Dublin Mark (S))
The finish is between the between Dun Laoghaire Pier Heads.

The form boat WOW, George Sisk's XP44 that won last weekend's race and Thursday's DBSC race is expected to compete.

Winds are as per forecast, light westerlies.

Live Dublin Bay webcam here and Race Tracker below

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The second of four races in the Viking Marine Coastal Series has attracted a fleet of 20 for Saturday's ISORA race from Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Hoping that their early-season training, that paid off so handsomely in last Saturday's tricky conditions, is overall leader WOW, George Sisk's Class Zero XP44 entry from the Royal Irish Yacht Club

The XP44 WOW crew took early advantage last Saturday to lead the Viking Marine Coastal Series at Dun LaoghaireThe XP44 WOW crew took early advantage last Saturday to lead the Viking Marine Coastal Series at Dun Laoghaire

Conditions look equally tricky this Saturday and a similar 35-mile course is planned. The forecast is for more light westerlies with the chance of a sea breeze to get the fleet around just a bit quicker than the first race's marathon 11-hours for some.

Chasing hard in second place is the Class One J109 Mojito sailed by Anthony Doyle of Skerries with a full Irish crew. Third, is reigning ISORA champion Rockabill VI,  the JPK10.80 of Paul O'Higgins from the RIYC.

J109 Mojito skippered by Anthony Doyle on the transom of two-handed J99 Juggerknot II (Andrew Algeo) after the start of last Saturday's first Viking Marine Coastal Race raceJ109 Mojito skippered by Anthony Doyle on the transom of two-handed J99 Juggerknot II (Andrew Algeo) after the start of last Saturday's first Viking Marine Coastal Race race Photo: Afloat

Scores for the coastal series count three results from four races with one discard applicable after four sailed.

The ISORA fleet now stands at over 20 boats with another new entry being a Beneteau First 40, Prima Forte. This is the First 40 La Response, formerly known as Courier Zen and a veteran of several British Commodore's Cup teams that arrived into Dublin Bay in January.

ISORA competitors must use a mandatory crew manager app to register crew names before each race according to the association's updated Sailing Instructions.

Race two starts on Saturday at 0955 with the possibility of a glimpse of the fleet from the live Dublin Bay webcam if the fleet head south

Race tracker is below:

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A new ISORA app has been developed by the offshore sailing body to register competing crews before each race.

The 2020 ISORA season got underway last Saturday with a 35-mile Viking Marine sponsored coastal race from Dun Laoghaire Harbour and was won by the Royal Irish's WOW (George Sisk) as Afloat reported here.

The 'ISORA Crewmanager App' logs crew names and mobile phone numbers as well as shore contact names and phone numbers.

Skippers are required by ISORA's Sailing Instructions to register all crew using the app that the association says will only be used for:

  • for safety purposes and in an instance of an emergency.
  • if required in association with the ISORA COVID Protocol and Contact Tracing

The App is available for Apple and Android phones.

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George Sisk's XP44 WOW took an emphatic win in the first ISORA race of the 2020 season yesterday when racing got off to a decidedly tricky start in the first of four Viking Marine Coastal Series races on Dublin Bay.

Provisional results on ISORA's tracker (scroll down for tracker) handed the line honours, IRC and Class Zero victories to the Royal Irish's WOW with Welsh J109 Mojito skippered by Anthony Doyle from Skerries and sailed by an Irish crew second. Sisk's clubmate Paul O'Higgins in the JPK10.80 was third in IRC overall.

Top five on IRC overall in the first Viking Marine ISORA Coastal Race Top five on IRC overall in the first Viking Marine ISORA Coastal Race sailed yesterday on Dublin Bay

ISORA's Viking Marine Coastal Race Start at Dun Laoghaire Harbour(Above and below) On your marks: ISORA Boats make a clean start to the 2020 season. Front runners J109 Mojito (GBR 9047R) to leeward with Rockabill VI, pink striped spinnaker (IRL10800) and Aurelia (yellow spinnaker) and Lively Lady (blue spinnaker) to weather and in a good gust that would send the Beneteau 44.7 to the front of the fleet as the 19-boats passed the harbour mouth at Dun Laoghaire shortly after the start Photo: Afloat

ISORA Yacht Race Dun Laoghaire Harbour

ISORA Viking Marine Coastal Yacht Race Start at Dun Laoghaire Harbour

A great turnout of 19 boats made for a great spectacle under a colourful reaching start at the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Outfall buoy, where a fleet that included both current and former ISORA champions, plotted a course around Dublin Bay that included the use of ISORA's virtual marks.

ISORA Race start and National Yacht Club Race Officer Larry PowerNational Yacht Club Race Officer Larry Power sends the fleet on its way around a 34-mile course across Dublin Bay to Killiney via some virtual marks and the Kish Light. Photo: Afloat

The fleet started at 0955 under National Yacht Club Race Officer Larry Power and headed for a Dublin Bay Virtual Mark to port. But as soon as the fleet sailed the short distance across the Harbour Mouth and into Scotsman's Bay, the wind died away on the first of many occasions in the 34-miler over seven hours.

J122 Aurelia leads XP44 WOWThe Royal St. George J122 Aurelia (Chris and Patanne Smith) narrowly leads overall winner George Sisk's XP44 Wow (orange spinnaker) Photo: Afloat

Rockabill VI (IRL10800) is chased hard by Brendan Coghlan's Sunfast3600 and Welsh J109 Mojito (GBR 9047R) shortly after the startRockabill VI (IRL10800) is chased hard by Brendan Coghlan's Sunfast3600 and J109 Mojito (GBR 9047R) shortly after the start Photo: Afloat

The fleet then negotiated a series of sail changes before heading for Bennett and then the Killiney Outfall buoy. From there the boats rounded the Muglins to Port and finished between Dun Laoghaire's Pier Heads, many returning home around 6 pm. Review the race on the Tracker below.

Quite a few of the offshore boats were using the Dun Laoghaire Harbour opener as a shakedown for the season including August's Round Ireland Race.

 The 19-boat fleet was a mix of some potent offshore designs including A31s, J109s, a J99, a JPK10.80 and two Sunfast300s The 19-boat fleet was a mix of some potent offshore designs including A31s, J109s, a J99, a JPK10.80 and two Sunfast300s Photo: Afloat

Rockabill VI gets into her stride under a symmetric spinnaker shortly after the startRockabill VI gets into her stride under symmetric spinnaker shortly after the start Photo: Afloat

Doublehanders: Andrew Algeo and Mark McGibney from the Royal Irish Yacht Club sailing the J99 Juggerknot II in double-handed mode and chasing Rockabill VI at the start of the ISORA 34-miler(Above and below) Doublehanders: Andrew Algeo and Mark McGibney from the Royal Irish Yacht Club sailing the J99 Juggerknot II in double-handed mode and chasing Rockabill VI at the start of the ISORA 34-miler Photo: Afloat

Andrew Algeo's Juggerknot II

Brendan Coghlan's Sunfast 3600 YoyoSunfast: Brendan Coghlan's Royal St. George entry YoYo was one of two Jeanneau Sunfast 3600 in the race Photo: Afloat

In the forecasted IRC 2 battle between the J97 Windjammer, the ISORA A31debutante APlus and Leslie Parnell's First 34.7 Black Velvet, it was Denis Power and Lindsey Casey's J97 from the Royal St. George Yacht Club that came out on top and RIYC's Parnell second, according to provisional tracker results.

Royal St George Yacht Club ISORA Class 2 entry, the J97 Windjammer (Lindsey J Casey & Denis Power) Royal St George Yacht Club ISORA Class 2 winner, the J97 Windjammer (Lindsey J Casey & Denis Power) Photo: Afloat

New arrival: The National Yacht Club Archambault A31 A-Plus made her ISORA debut Photo: AfloatNew arrival: The National Yacht Club Archambault A31 A-Plus made her ISORA debut Photo: Afloat

Light and shifty: Looking to escape the north going tide Howth J109 Indian, Sigma 38 Wardance, Tsunami First 40.7 and the XC45 Samaton head for the Scotsman's Bay shoreline. Photo: Afloat Light and shifty: Looking to escape the north going tide Howth J109 Indian, Sigma 38 Wardance, Tsunami First 40.7 and the XC45 Samaton head for the Scotsman's Bay shoreline. Photo: Afloat

Becalmed: As the boats head out of the bay, the wind dies and not for the first time in this race sailed in variable westerlies Photo: AfloatBecalmed: As the boats headed out of the bay, the wind died  Photo: Afloat

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This morning's Dun Laoghaire Viking Marine Coastal Race (Re-Boot) course has drawn a potent fleet of ISORA 19 boats that includes former champions Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Victoria Cox) from North Wales and reigning champions Rockabill VI (Paul O'Higgins). The entry list is below and the fleet previewed here.

This morning's race that will be sailed in light to medium  west to south-west winds marks the start of the 2020 offshore season with a course beginning and ending off Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The fleet start off Dun Laoghaire Outfall Buoy at 0955 and leave a Dublin Bay Virtual Mark to port before heading for Bennett and then the Killiney Outfall buoy. From there the boats will round the Mugling to Port and finish between Dun Laoghaire's Pier Heads. Follow the fleet on the Tracker below.

ISORA Race Tracker

ISORA Competitors Race One

IRC Class 2 A Plus IRL 977 Archambault 31 NationalYacht Club Mick Flynn and Grant Kinsman 0.978    
IRC Class 0 Aurelia IRL 35950 J122 Royal St George Yacht Club Chris & Patanne Power Smith 1.076    
IRC Class 2 Black Velvet IRL 3471 First 34.7 Royal Irish Yacht Club Leslie Parnell 0.983    
IRC Class 0 Hot Cookie GBR7536R Sunfast 3600 NationalYacht Club John O'Gorman 1.043    
IRC Class 2 Humdinger IRL 1357 Jenneau Sunfast 37 Arklow Sailing Club John Conlon 0.980    
IRC Class 1 Indian IRL 1543 J109 Howth Yacht Club Colm Buckley & Simon Knowles 1.007    
IRC Class 1 Juggerknot 2 IRL 3990 J99 Royal Irish Yacht Club Andrew Alego 1.012    
IRC Class 0 Lively Lady IRL 1644 First 44.7 Royal Irish Yacht Club Rodney & Keith Martin 1.089    
IRC Class 1 Mojito GBR 9047R J109 Pwllheli Sailing Club Peter Dunlop & Victoria Cox 1.008    
IRC Class 2 More Mischief IRL 966 First 310 ISA Grzegorz Kalinecki 0.911    
IRC Class 1 Prima Luce IRL 3504 Beneteau First 35 Royal Irish Yacht Club Philip O'Dwyer 1.015    
IRC Class 0 Rebellion IRL 6001 Nicholson 58 NationalYacht Club John Hughes Hanlon O'Mahony 1.043    
IRC Class 0 Rockabill VI IRL 1080 JPK 10.8 Royal Irish Yacht Club Paul O'Higgins 1.050    
IRC Class 0 Samatom GBR1345R XC45 Howth Yacht Club Robert Rendell 1.074    
IRC Class 0 Tsunami IRL 4007 First 40.7 NationalYacht Club Vincent Farrell 1.052    
IRC Class 0 WOW IRL 4419 XP44 Royal Irish Yacht Club George Sisk 1.125    
IRC Class 2 Wardance 7360 Sigma 38 TBC Sean Hawkshaw 0.977    
IRC Class 2 Windjammer IRL 2597 J97 Royal St George Yacht Club Lindsey J Casey & Denis Power 0.972    
IRC Class 0 YOYO 3618 Jeanneau 3600 Royal St George Yacht Club Brendan Coghlan 1.036
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