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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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According to provisional tracker results, reigning Irish ISORA Champion Paul O'Higgin's in the JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI was the winner of yesterday's 35-mile Dublin coastal race. 

There was a fine turnout of 14 competitive boats for Race Ten of the series to and from Dun Laoghaire Harbour that featured Lambay Island as a turning mark.

The fleet favoured the pin end for the the start of ISORA's Coastal Race Ten at Dun Laoghaire HarbourThe fleet favoured the pin end for the the start of ISORA's Coastal Race Ten off Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Local knowledge of the Fingal coast gave Simon Knowles's Howth J/109 Indian second overall with the line honours winner, Chris Power Smith's J122 Aurelia from the Royal St. George in third place.

Simon Knowles's Howth J/J109 Indian was second overallSimon Knowles's Howth J/J109 Indian was second overall

Chris Power Smith's J122 AureliaChris Power Smith's J122 Aurelia

The IRC 2 podium was a Beneteau affair, the winner was Leslie Parnell's First 34.7 Black Velvet with the Grzegorz Kalinecki skippered First 310 More Mischief second and a second 34.7, Magic Touch third.

Leslie Parnell's First 34.7 Black VelvetLeslie Parnell's First 34.7 Black Velvet

Kalinecki's plucky More Mischief also won the Two-handed and silver fleet prize. 

Grzegorz Kalinecki skippered First 310 More MischiefGrzegorz Kalinecki skippered First 310 More Mischief

Provisional results are here via tracker

Race Ten ISORA Photo Gallery

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There is a 'quality' fleet now assembled for Saturday's 35-mile Viking Marine sponsored ISORA race that starts and finishes at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

With entries still open for race ten of the season, the Irish fleet is back to full strength after a busy June that saw many boats opt-out of last weekend's 64-miler.

As Afloat previously reported, there will be three Sunfast 3600s and two J122s racing as part of the fleet that currently stands at 15. 

The Grand Soleil 34 Justtina has dropped out, but the arrival of a second First 34.7, Magic Touch, will be more competition for Leslie Parnell's Black Velvet sistership from the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

Early forecasts indicate light south-easterly winds for Saturday.

ISORA Race Ten latest entryThe latest entry for ISORA Race Ten totals 15 boats

The race start is at 10.00 am. Entry is still open here

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14 strong and competitive entries have been received for Saturday's ISORA Race ten of the Musto Irish Coastal Series including potent Greystones 2021 debutante, Frank Whelan's new J122, Kaya.

The July 10th race will be to and from Dun Laoghaire to Dun Laoghaire with a target distance of 35 miles starting at 10 am.

ISORA boss Peter Ryan says he is confident of even more starters by the weekend with Dublin Bay numbers back up to full strength after last month's trip south with both the D2D Race and the Sovereign's Cup at Kinsale. 

Two J122s

Chris Power Smith's Aurelia – last Saturday's line honours winner in the 64-mile offshore – can expect more competition from her J122 Wicklow sistership and a few more new entries besides including the overall leader Rockabill VI (Paul O'Higgins).

Pete Smyth's new Sunfast 3600, SearcherPete Smyth's new Sunfast 3600, Searcher

Three Sunfast 3600s

There will be no less than three Sunfast 3600s racing with Pete Smyth's new Searcher making her return to ISORA after the Dingle Race. Currently placed third overall in the offshore points series, John O'Gorman's 3600 Hot Cookie from the National Yacht Club is racing as is Brendan Coghlan's Yoyo from the Royal St. George Yacht Club. 

The entries so far for Saturday's tenth ISORA Coastal RaceThe entries so far for Saturday's tenth ISORA Coastal Race

Link to race entry form here

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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.


While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset


While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020

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