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#OFFSHORE – 18 boats are expected on the line tomorrow morning for the start of the first ISORA offshore sailing race of the 2012 programme.

A split for Class 1 and Class 2 will be made but not until the morning and is subject to final entries.

15-20 knots of wind from the north east is expected and the above course is proposed.

The tide will be flooding for most of the race and as the fleet will most liklely avoid Wicklow Head in such circumstances the plan is to round North India instead of North Arklow buoy.

The course is 47 miles long, a route that should give two beats and loads of reaching and runs and return most boats to ISORA HQ at the National YC for results and a 'dry sherry' for 6pm.

Confirmation of the course will be given at the briefing on Saturday at 08.45 at Dun Laoghaire marina. It will also be broadcast on VHF Ch72 soon after. Boats are expected to return to Dun Laoghaire by 6pm.

Published in ISORA
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#OFFSHORE – As the days get longer thoughts are turning to offshore sailing again and as Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA) Commodore Peter Ryan writes 2012 promises to be a great year not just because it is Round Ireland year but because there are new and exciting things happening in ISORA.

We will be visiting Conwy and Keith Manders has already arranged a great social event on the Friday evening. We will be using the "virtual marks" that will ensure that there is a "corner" in every race. The schedule provides for feeder races to the ICRA Championships in Howth in May and Abersoch Keelboat Week in August. We will also be providing qualifying races for the Round Ireland.

I attach the Conditions, NoR and Entry Form for 2012. As we will be running a Silver Fleet it would be great to have some idea of likely entries as soon as possible. We are finalising Online Entry using PayPal for ISORA. We hope to have this complete next week. We hope this will make it handier to enter races.

I have now put all the ISORA trophies back into circulation and I hope that we can increase fleet numbers, populate the Sliver Fleet and ensure a better spread of trophies in 2012.

As I did last year, I will be coordinating a Crew Available list again this year. Anyone who does not have a place on a boat should complete the Excel sheet attached, indicating their availability for selected races. I am already aware of crew of all levels of experience who are looking for places on boats.

I hope as many of you as possible take part in ISORA in 2012 . Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries on ISORA. I would also appreciate if you could promote ISORA within your Club – Peter Ryan

ISORA Race Programme 2012

28th April - ISORA / RAYC / Lee Overlay Day Race - (50 miles)

Dun Laoghaire to Nt. Arklow Cardinal

5th May - ISORA Offshore - Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead (60 miles)

Qulaifying Race

19th May - ISORA Offshore - Conwy to Howth (100 miles)

Qulaifying Race

2nd June - ISORA Offshore - Pwllheli to Wicklow (100 miles)

Qulaifying Race

14th July - ISORA Day Race – Pwllheli day race (35 miles)

27th July - ISORA / RAYC / Lee Overlay Night Race - (35 miles)

Dun Laoghaire to Nt. India Qulaifying Race

18th August - ISORA Offshore - (75 miles) Qulaifying Race

Dun Laoghaire – Pwllheli (T.B.C)

1st September - ISORA / RAYC / Lee Overlay Day Race - (54 miles)

Dun Laoghaire to M2

8th September - ISORA Day Race - Pwllheli day race ( 35 miles)

15th September - ISORA Offshore - Pwllheli to Dunlaoghaire. (80 Miles)

James Eadie Race – Qulaifying Race

Overall Series: To win the overall ISORA series for the Wolf's Head Trophy boats must complete 2 of the 6 "Qualifying". Points for the overall series will then be taken from the best 5 results. Prizes will be awarded for a separate series to include all races in the schedule.

N.B. - All races will have a weighting applied.

Published in ISORA
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#RACING UPDATE - This summer the Royal Ulster Yacht Club will stage the 50th anniversary edition of the Ailsa Craig Race, one of the classics of the Northern Ireland offshore yacht racing calendar.

Many of the competitors from the inaugural race in 1962 - several of whom are now in their 80s - are expected to compete in the overnight challenge, which takes the fleet from Bangor to the rock at the mouth of the Clyde in Scotland.

The 2012 Ailsa Craig Race, sponsored by Hamilton Shipping, takes place on 15 June.

Published in Racing

#ANGLING - Northern Ireland river anglers are taking a novel approach to lobbying Stormont over salmon exploitation by harnessing the power of social networking.

According to the News Letter, the NoSalmonNets campaigners "have swapped their fishing rods for laptop computers", using Facebook to attract support for their campaign to bring an end to the offshore netting of wild salmon stocks.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Northern Ireland's Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) has called for a voluntary ban on offshore salmon fishing, following new research that shows a significant drop in their numbers in the North's rivers.

Seamus Donnelly of NoSalmonNets has welcomed DCAL's recent decision to stop issusing licences for commercial salmon nets that may "contravene European law" off Antrim's north coast, made in an effort to protect salmon stocks in the Foyle river system.

Donnelly explained that the campaign was borne from frustration at the apparent inaction by the NI Executive over the protection of salmon.

“One of the keys to our success has to be Facebook," he said. "The internet has an unlimited reach and we took advantage of that.”

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#OFFSHORE – Commodore Vinnie O'Shea is urging offshore sailors to turn out in good numbers when the 2012 South Coast Offshore Racing (SCORA) programme returns to its more traditional format this season writes Claire Bateman. The Jim Donegan Offshore Championship (IRC and ECHO) will be awarded to the overall winner of the series based on 'ALL IN' results.

This competition will commence on May 31st with the Crosshaven-Milford Haven Race, an event that SCORA's Martin Darrer has been organising.

The Championship will also consist of the Kinsale-Fastnet-Kinsale race on June 8th, the Gas Rigs Race on July 31st, Crosshaven-Schull August 3rd and Fastnet Race-Calves Week August 9th.

The SCORA League will include all races in the Kinsale YC Spring Series, the Cobh to Blackrock Race and all races in the Royal Cork YC Autumn Regatta.

Commodore Vinnie O'Shea is urging a good turnout for a season that promises excellent sailing with a variety of courses and venues and hopefully wind and sun to be included in abundance.

Published in SCORA
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#ANGLING - Northern Ireland's Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) has called on anglers to help protect the North's wild salmon, following new research that shows a significant drop in their numbers.

Fisheries Minister Carál Ní Chuilín told BBC News: "The continued commercial exploitation of wild Atlantic salmon and killing of salmon caught by rod and line in the DCAL jurisdiction is currently untenable."

Annual monitoring of Northern Ireland's salmon rivers has shown a failure to reach targets most years since 2002. The survival rate of salmon in the marine phases has in some cases dropped to as little as 5%.

DCAL has now urged offshore salmon anglers and fishermen to forego applying for 2012 licences, to give time to consider options for the future of salmon fishing.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#MARINE WARNING - The latest Marine Notice from the DTTAS advises all seafarers in the Irish Sea between north Dublin and north Wales to give a wide berth to the hydrographic and oceanographic survey operation in the area this week.

The SV Bibby Tethra (callsign 2EGF8) commenced survey operations yesterday (Monday 16 January) from offshore at North Beach in Rush to approximately 16 miles offshore north of Anglesey. The survey is scheduled for seven days, subject to weather delays.

The vessel will operate on a 24-hour basis, displaying appropriate day shapes and lights during survey operations, and will transmit an AIS signal. The vessel will be keeping a listening watch on VHF Channel 16 at all times during the operations.

Survey operations will involve towing survey equipment up to 100m astern of the vessel along pre-defined survey lines, which will restrict the vessel’s ability to manoeuvre.

Details of the survey area are included in a PDF of Marine Notice No 2 of 2012, which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Marine Warning

#julesvernetrophy – As the only British crew member on-board, Brian Thompson, today clocked up two major records as the maxi trimaran, Banque Populaire V, crossed the Jules Verne Trophy finish line near Brest, France this evening.

Thompson is part of the crew that has just smashed the world speed record for a lap of the planet on-board a yacht and has simultaneously become the first Briton to circumnavigate the globe non-stop for a fourth time.  Skippered by Frenchman Loïck Peyron with a crew of 13, Banque Populaire V, beat the existing record set by Groupama 3 by over two and a half days when they crossed the finish at  22hrs 14 minutes 35 seconds GMT Friday 6th January. The Banque Populaire V crew sailed non-stop around the world in an incredible 45 days 13 hrs 42 minutes and 53 seconds.

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Having spent over six weeks at sea, the crew were thrilled to see a flotilla of boats and crowds on the dock ready to welcome them home and are looking forward to celebrating their success with friends and family.

A triumphant Thompson said:

"This has been an incredible trip around the planet, almost a dream ride. And that is because of the quality of the boat, of the preparation and most of all to the incredible crew on board. I am very fortunate to have sailed with Loïck, the best all round multihull sailor there is, and the rest of the team that are so talented, industrious, dedicated, fun and welcoming to an English guy with schoolboy French! To achieve my dream of finally holding the Trophée Jules Verne, and of setting the most prestigious record in sailing for the second time, feels absolutely fantastic. At the same time, to become the first Briton to sail around the world non-stop 4 times, is just amazing and feels very special"

Despite having just completed an epic voyage, Thompson is already looking to the future as he hopes to be on the start line of the Vendée Globe in November 2012. Commenting on his next goal he said:

"I have so enjoyed sailing round the world on Banque Populaire V, a trip on fast forward. And the whole way around I have been thinking about every detail on how to do another solo lap of the planet - faster, safer and more environmentally efficient than ever before. What better place to test that experience, than in the Vendee Globe 2012?"

In addition to the overall speed record, the crew aboard Banque Populaire V have already broken two other world records on this amazing sprint around the globe; one across the Indian Ocean* and one from equator to equator**. Last year this formidable yacht set two further world speed records; the first for sailing around Britain and Ireland in June 2011 and the second when the crew were the fastest the classic Fastnet course in August 2011. Although this latest world speed record relates specifically to a yacht, the lap of the planet has actually been completed faster than any other vessel ever, be that under power or sail.

Published in Offshore

#SYDNEYHOBART – Dublin Sailor Gordon Maguire won the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race, a high point in his career as a leading international professional sailor based in Australia writes W M Nixon in the Irish Independent.

Twenty years ago, the young Howth helmsman was one of the key players in the Irish team which won the Southern Cross Trophy, the international offshore series which culminated in the Hobart Race.

For someone with Maguire's remarkable talents, Australia offered the perfect arena and base, and he increasingly focused on the active scene down under. But he also continues to sail worldwide, his most recent high profile appearance in Ireland being three years ago when he was lead helm on Mike Slade's 100ft Leopard establishing the course record in the Round Ireland Race.

lokicrew

The winning Loki crew included Howth's Gordon Maguire. Photo: Daniel Forster/Rolex

Since then, his career path has been as sailing master with Stephen Ainsworth's Australian team. Ainsworth acquired some note in Europe back in 2007 when his mini-maxi Loki, powering along in the stormiest Middle Sea Race yet experienced, broke the rudder and became a total loss on the northwest coast of Sicily. That iron shore would rank high on any world listing of least desirable places to be shipwrecked, and some advanced yacht racing equipment subsequently turned up in unlikely mountain sales.

But at least no-one was hurt. And a new Loki, a 63ft Reichel Pugh design, was already on the drawing board. To get the best from the new boat, Ainsworth and his ace navigator Michael Bellingham signed Gordon Maguire (48) onto what became a dream team. Since 2008, Loki has won just about everything of significance in the Australian eastern seaboard offshore racing scene except the annual thrash to Hobart, which Ainsworth has been trying to win for more than a dozen years.

loki

The winning mini-Maxi Loki. Photo: Daniel Forster/Rolex

The 628-mile classic – staged annually since 1945 – can be a tricky one. You go like the hammers of hell on rough ocean for upwards of 550 miles, and then the final approach to Hobart up the narrowing 60-mile ria of the Derwent River sees the winds all over the place, and often non-existent at night.

The new Loki (named for the Norse god of mischief and trickery) invariably finished among the leaders, but then saw her corrected time win for the Tattersall's Cup – Australia's premier offshore trophy – being snatched away by some smaller boat which came creaming up the Derwent on the afternoon breeze.

But Ainsworth and Maguire have been very close to the cup for the last two years, and this year they struck gold. It was the turn of the smaller boats to be becalmed in the small hours. After hours of the clock ticking painfully slow, Loki was declared winner of the Tattersall's Cup. The biggest box of all had been firmly ticked in gold.

Published in Offshore

#OFFSHORE – Over its sixty-seven year history, the race record at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has only been broken ten times, an average of once every six and a half years. Given that the current fastest elapsed time of one day, eighteen hours, forty minutes and ten seconds was set in 2005, statistics suggest that the feat is due to be surpassed again.

That time was set by Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI, a 100-ft Maxi yacht that has come to dominate the Rolex Sydney Hobart, claiming five of the last six line honours titles. She is the standout favourite for this year's title. The yacht, launched in 2005, has undergone regular and expensive enhancements throughout the past six years, yet has been unable to improve upon her record. Wild Oats XI finished within two hours of her record in 2008, the closest she has come, whilst the time set during her most recent victory saw her finish over 13 hours shy. Proof that in offshore racing, the elements dictate almost everything.

As is form in ocean sailing, the fastest time was broken frequently in the race's infant years. The inaugural winner was Captain John Illingworth's 35-ft Bermudan Cutter Rani, who finished, to her surprise, 17 hours ahead of second-placed Winston Churchill. The event evolved quickly, interest grew and entry numbers rose. There were four records set in the first six years alone. Claude Plowman's Morna achieved the feat twice. Her first triumph arrived in 1946 when the William Fife-designed 65-footer led the race from start to finish, finishing the 628-nautical mile challenge bereft of her main sail. Eerily similar to Wild Oats XI's famous finish in 2005 when the crew cruised through the last stretch of the Derwent River with only their headsail in tact. The crew reported arriving to a hospitable welcome in Hobart, having the sensation that they had been granted freedom of the city.

Two years later and with a crew of 16, Morna claimed her third consecutive line honours win, almost smashing her own record by a day, courtesy of champagne sailing conditions. She became the first boat in the race's four-year history to complete the race before the arrival of the New Year. Plowman received a knighthood just hours after crossing the finish line. Under the guise of Kurrewa IV, and new ownership, Morna was to take four subsequent line honours titles and one further race record.

After Margaret Rintoul set a benchmark of four days, two hours and twenty-nine minutes in 1951, the four-day barrier was broken in 1957 by the aforementioned Kurrewa IV, now owned by the Livingstone brothers. Ever since the end of the 1950s, surpassing the fastest time has become a much more irregular feat. In 1962, New Yorker Sumner A. 'Huey' Long steered one of two American record-breakers helming his lovingly-maintained 57-ft Ondine home in just under three days and four hours. This was the first of Long's three line honours triumphs at the event, the record attempt achieved following a tight battle with Astor in the Derwent River.

Ondine's record stood for an imperious nine years, when the 73-ft Helsal, owned by Dr Tony Fisher, the only purely Australian crewed and built race record holder, shaved barely two hours off the target.  She marked a trend: at the top end of the fleet, the faster boats were getting bigger. A ferro-cement yacht, Helsal was nicknamed the Flying Footpath. Her victory is seen as something of a miracle given the problems encountered in rendering her race-ready and that her array of sails was relatively sparse and out-dated compared to her rivals.

The second United States success was achieved by Kialoa III in 1975. She shattered Helsal's 1973 time by just under eleven hours, the Sparkman & Stephens 79–footer taking advantage of ideal conditions and a fantastically consistent race, sailing at 15-20 knots throughout the second day. Overall, she averaged a speed of over 10 knots, not outstanding when compared to today's Maxis, but significant at the time. Californian Jim Kilroy had already helmed his Kialoa II to line honours four years earlier. When the crew arrived in Hobart at 03:36, the sky was so dark that the shoreline was barely visible. Kialoa III dominated Maxi racing during the mid-1970s – she was also the fastest on the water in the Transatlantic and Fastnet Races in 1975. Quite a year.

Where others had tried and failed, Hasso Plattner's 80-ft Reichel-Pugh Morning Glory succeeded, breaking Kialoa III's record by a meagre 29 minutes in 1996. It is almost startling that in an era of outstanding developments in the design and construction of yachts, and the onboard apparatus, that the record remained unsurpassed for so long. Indeed: almost a minute for every year that had passed. The 1996 race was renowned for a particularly harsh start with winds hitting 40 knots and steep sea state building up. Morning Glory enjoyed a stretch of cruising at 30 knots before the gusts abated near Tasman Island. But for the softening of conditions, she would have beaten the record by a much greater margin.

Following the tragic events of 1998, when six sailors lost their lives in harrowing conditions, 1999's race was characterised by the arrival of the forecast strong gusts and record-breaking conditions once more. The Volvo 60 Nokia sliced a massive 18 hours off the short-lived1996 figure, cruising down the South Wales Coast and into the Bass Strait, in winds of 30-40 knots. The race was a spinnaker extravaganza. The water-ballasted Nokia, led by Stefan Myralf and Michael Spies, one of an incredible seventeen yachts to break the record that year!

In 2005, the most recent race record went to Oatley's Wild Oats XI, another Reichel-Pugh design. Led by skipper Mark Richards, Wild Oats' commanding lead over the pack, set with an average speed of 15 knots, gave her an overall handicap win ensuring she was the first boat since the inaugural year to claim all three of the race's main prizes: line honours, race record and Tattersall's Cup. Wild Oats XI starts as favourite this year to beat her own record. Only one yacht has ever achieved that. Has the time come?

Published in Offshore
Page 32 of 37

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