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Defending ISORA champion Ruth (Liam Shanahan) from the National Yacht Club was the winner of yesterday's first coastal IRC handicap race of the season but not before a protest for redress was lodged following a finish line problem off Wicklow writes Peter Ryan.  Full results are downloadable below.

In a buoyant turnout, 20 boats departed Dun Laoghaire harbour on a 29–nautical mile course for Wicklow.

The J/109 champion made the best of a very light wind start from Dun Laoghaire's Pier Mark as a mixed fleet of cruiser types jostled for a clear lane on a shy spinnaker reach out of Dublin Bay

ISORA Yacht Race

Spinnakers flying – but only just – part of the 20–boat ISORA fleet depart Dun Laoghaire yesterday morning bound for Wicklow. To windward Chris Power–Smith's J122 Aurelia (IRL 35950), the First 40.7 Tsunami (IRL4007) Vincent Farrell and Darragh Cafferkey's A35 Another Adventure.

The first race of the Overall ISORA Avery Crest Offshore Championship 2016 was also the first race in the ISORA Viking Marine Coastal Series 2016 and the Royal Alfred Yacht Club Coastal Series 2016. The weather for the race was like “champagne sailing” except a few degrees colder.

This first race saw the appearance of some new boats to ISORA. Kuba Szymanski’s “Poilshed 2”, Grant Kinsman’s “Thalia”, Daragh Cafferky’s “Another Adventure” and Stephen Mullarney’s “Applegreen Sail for Kids” all took part in this race. Carol Bellamy’s “ Pink Panther” returned to the ISORA fleet after a few years sabbatical.

20 boats took part in the race and another 6 boats took part in the ISORA day race being run from Pwllheli at the same time. This gave a record 27 boats racing in ISORA!

It had been hoped that the course would be to start in Dun Laoghaire, round North Arklow and finish in Wicklow. However, the forecast on the day was for lighter northerly winds than originally thought making the beat from North Arklow to Wicklow impossible against the very strong south going tides.
The Race Committee changed the course shortly before the start to: Start in Dun laoghaire – South Burford (S) – North India (S) – South India (S) and Finish in Wicklow.

As forecast, the winds at the start were light northerly as NYC Commodore, Larry Power, sent the fleet of 20 boats reaching off towards the first mark. Fluky winds and conditions at the start made it difficult for many of the boats to get fast off the start line. Chris power-Smith’s “Aurleia”, Peter Hall’s “Adelie” and reigning ISORA Champion, Liam Shanahan’s “Ruth” were the first boats to break away. Aurelia took a northerly course, Adelie headed south and Ruth took a mid course.

Shortly after rounding the first mark, the boats headed in a run down towards the India Bank against the last of the north going tide. Although the fleet were well spread, there was little change in positions with “Ruth” leading the fleet from the centre. “Aurelia” went far out to sea while “Adelie” gybed in towards the coast. When the fleets merged at North India, the tide had turned and was flowing south at 3.5 knots. The placings remained largely unchanged with again “Ruth” leading the fleet.

John Keogh’s “Windshift” and Byran Dobson’s “Obsession” misjudged the rounding at North India and got swept around the wrong side of the mark. The light winds were not sufficient to propel both boats back to the North India due to the strong tide and they had to retire.

The third leg was the short blast down along the India Bank before the fleet hardened up for the dash to Wicklow. Those boats with asymmetric spinnakers gained hugely on this leg as they were able to hold reaching kites while the other were forced back to white sails and fell behind.

Due to a technical problem at the original finish line, the finisher in Wicklow had to change the line just as “Ruth” was approaching. This led to “Ruth” seeking redress.

“Ruth” took line honours, winning Overall and Class 1. “Adelie” came 2nd Overall and 1st in Class 2. David Simpson’s “Albeiro” took Silver Class.

As the boats finished most made their way into Wicklow harbour for the usual ISORA après sail get together at WSC. There pleasantries were exchanged between crews and tips and comments were freely exchanged. Crews gathered in the sunshine outside the club and planned their next ISORA adventure.

As the race was tracked using the Avery Crest Trackers, the progress of the race can be re-played using the YB app or on the ISORA website

With eight weeks to go to the Round Ireland Race from Wicklow, many in the Irish Sea offshore fleet are using the early ISORA races as a valuable tune–up with yesterday's first race providing many of the conditions that will be experienced in June.

The next race is the first offshore on the 14th May from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead. It is hoped that there will be another large fleet taking part in preparation of the Round Ireland race in June.

Published in ISORA

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The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

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