Displaying items by tag: Offshore
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.
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.
Cork offshore sailing body SCORA has announced a new race that it says will be run in association with Dun Laoghaire Harbour's National Yacht Club and the Royal Cork Yacht Club. The 'pop-up' race is from Dun Laoghaire to Cork Harbour via the Fastnet Rock.
The IRC race will start in Dun Laoghaire on Saturday, August 22 which would have been the date of the Round Ireland Race start.
It will pass the Muglin, Tusker, Conningbeg and Fastnet lighthouses to Starboard before returning to Cork Harbour and passing the Cork Buoy to Port, finishing when Roches’s Point bears due East.
The course is specifically designed to be of sufficient length to qualify skippers and crew for the RORC Fastnet Race 2021.
Competing boats are invited to take part in the Tricentenary At Home Regatta of the Royal Cork Yacht Club which sees racing for IRC classes from the 28th – 30th August and will be one of the highlights of the club's celebrations.
The race will be governed by the COVID-19 guidelines as laid out by Irish Sailing and organising clubs.
Interested parties are asked to complete an expression of interest form here and a Notice of Race will be available in the coming days.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Eamon Ryan T.D. today (20th July 2020), announced that Ireland has received State aid approval from the European Union to operate a new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) out to 2025.
Minister Ryan said:
“As the Minister for Climate Action, I am delighted to welcome this announcement today from the EU Commission. It endorses the Government’s commitment to the Green Deal and launches a renewable energy revolution in Ireland. The RESS will provide us with a platform for rapid deployment of onshore and offshore wind and solar projects at scale and at least cost, replacing fossil fuels on our energy grid. It also offers communities the opportunity to produce their own power and share in the ownership of Ireland’s energy revolution.”
“As stated in the Programme for Government, Our Shared Future, we have committed to an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030 (a 51% reduction over the decade) and to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The RESS is one of the flagship measures that will assist Ireland on its way to achieving this target”.
The RESS will play an integral part of the progression to the ambitious 70% renewable electricity target by 2030 set out in the Programme for Government and to Ireland’s contribution towards an EU-wide renewable energy target of 32% by 2030, within a competitive auction-based, cost-effective framework.
- The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) is a competitive auction-based scheme which invites renewable electricity projects to bid for capacity and receive a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate for a maximum of 16 years.
- The RESS will operate for a 5 year period out to 2025 (with an option to extend subject to evaluation) with a series of auctions planned, depending on the pipeline of renewable electricity projects. This will provide pathways for renewable developers including offshore wind projects. The scheme will set out the indicative timelines and volumes for auctions over the coming period and provide clarity for developers in relation to when they need to have their projects 'auction ready'.
- The RESS is being rolled out with the cooperation of both the Commission of Regulation of Utilities (CRU) and EirGrid. EirGrid will implement and operate the auctions with CRU providing competition advice as well as auditing and monitoring the auction process.
Increasing Diversity of Renewable technologies. The Scheme is open to a range of renewable technologies that will broaden the renewable energy mix and enhance security of supply including solar and offshore wind.
- Preference categories: RESS includes the use of preference categories to enable technology diversity. The first RESS auction (RESS 1) includes a specific solar category, which would represent approximately 10% of the overall auction.
- Community-led category: RESS includes the use of preference categories for community projects. RESS-1 includes a specific community category of up to 30 GWh. This will allow communities to develop their own renewable energy projects and sell the energy back to the grid
Community Participation: The Programme for Government, "Our Shared Future", recognises the importance of community involvement in energy projects. Communities have been designed into RESS. The first RESS auction includes mandatory community benefit funds for all projects and a dedicated community projects category. Additional community policies and supports are included in the State Aid; financial support for community-led projects, mandatory community benefit funds, investment opportunities for communities and citizens, and additional community categories for future RESS auctions.
- The scheme will also include an EU state aid evaluation during the five year period to examine and evaluate the intended objectives of the scheme.
In conclusion Minister Ryan added,
“To date, onshore wind energy has been the most cost-effective technology available to Ireland, however to drive on and meet our renewable energy ambitions, other technologies such as solar and offshore wind will play a critical role in diversifying our renewable generation portfolio for the period out to 2030.”
After a long and open discussion by the RORC Race Management team, senior members of the RORC Committee, and with advice from medical experts, it has been decided that any overnight race that the Club would run would not adhere to the UK Government guidance currently in place. As a result, the Ushant race has been cancelled and in its place will be organised a long day race in the English Channel using laid and virtual marks, starting and finishing in Cowes.
"It was a difficult decision as we were all keen to run a proper offshore race," said RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone. "The crux of the decision was based around the guidance that overnight stays away from home are permitted, but only with others from the same or one other household. So whilst a group of up to six people from different households can meet outside, and therefore race a boat (subject to social distancing), they cannot stay together overnight. Our medical expert also pointed out that it would be impossible to honour the 1m+ social distancing guidance when down below in all but the largest race boats."
"The RORC has to take a responsible position when organising offshore races and although teams are in the open air where transfer of the virus is dramatically reduced, we had to consider the position while below decks and the current Government guidance on staying away from home overnight," said RORC Commodore Steven Anderson. "The decision only affects the Ushant race and we will consider the options for the Cherbourg race (Friday September 4th) at the end of July."
RORC Mini Series
The RORC will now put in place a series of long day races which will include the 'Race the Wight' on Saturday August 1st, a round the cans day race in the Channel on Saturday 15th August and another long day race on Saturday 22nd August, with the Cherbourg race (or its replacement, on Saturday September 5th) and trophies awarded to each class winner, the Two Handed division and overall.
Race the Wight
Given that Government guidance now allows up to six people from different households to race on the same boat, the RORC Race Management team have also reviewed the eligibility criteria for the forthcoming Race the Wight, scheduled for the 1st August. There is no change to the Two Handed division, but the number of crew on any boat will be limited to six in total, or two thirds of the IRC crew number (rounded down), whichever is the least, with a minimum of three people.
RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone notes: "With the changes in regulations we believe that adopting the maximum crew of six people or two thirds of the boats IRC crew number (rounded down) is a fair solution for all the fleet and allows the smaller boats a greater opportunity to observe social distancing guidelines."
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.
ISORA has made good on its promise to publish its 'Back to Boating' Protocol this week (downloadable below), the offshore racing body is eager to get back racing at the earliest possible opportunity on the Irish Sea.
The first race will be on July 4th and it will be a coastal race of 35 miles duration. The revised programme (below) has in excess of 300 miles of racing for Round Ireland Race qualification purposes with two races of 75 miles each and a night race too.
The ISORA programme is also tying in with other major key sailing events such as an August 14th race as part of the Welsh IRC Championships, an August 29th race as part of Greystones Harbour Regatta off County Wicklow and a September 12th Lambay Race off Howth as part of WAVE Regatta.
The ISORA documents (downloadable below) are live working documents and the intention of the Race Management team is to update it as and when restrictions are relaxed/changed in the various territorial waters relevant to each race.
The Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA) is working on a protocol that will allow coastal racing to begin at the end of this month.
The protocol will be issued early this week, Ryan told Afloat.
Irrespective, ISORA racing will be provided for two-handed and family pods this month. The body is unique in that it provides racing on both sides of the Irish Sea and has a combined fleet of up to 70 boats.
The news is a fillip for Dublin, Liverpool, Isle of Man and Pwllheli racers who are keen to get back on the water after a three-month delay to the summer season. Significantly, a number of key competitors have already been back on Dublin Bay in different crew configurations including some new two-handed combinations. Others, however, are still ashore and some boats still in sheds since lockdown began in March.
The ISORA move chimes with Dublin Bay Sailing Club's plans to resume racing from July 20.
It is proposed that all ISORA starts and finishes would be done using onboard trackers eliminating any need for committee boats.
If offshore racing resumes on 29th June, it provides further welcome impetus to the season highlight of the 700-mile Round Ireland Race that has been rescheduled for August 22nd. The race has received a buoyant entry to date with 44 entries, the latest being a second Belfast Lough entry over the weekend.
ISORA will at all times comply with the recommendations of Irish Sailing, RYA and RYA Cymru Wales, Ryan confirmed.
Back then, we didn’t know we were living. “Back then” was the first eight or so years of the 21st Century - not forever ago at all. Yet now it feels like not so much a foreign country as more like a different universe. Because back then, there was a buzz. Everything was on the move. It was Action Stations All Areas. It wasn’t a case of “Is it permissible under Government Regulations?” or “Can we do it?” It was more a matter of “When will we do it?” and “How soon will we do it?”
We may now have the makings of a Road Map out of the Covid-19 paralysis, but all the roads in it are long, and some are very winding indeed. As each stage is reached, it will be day-to-day pilotage rather than visionary navigation. And of course, its implementation will all depend on the scourge receding according to the hopeful scientific expectations.
How different it was back then, back when everything was a matter of just get up and go. Of course, there were some crazy episodes. One year, for instance, Ireland had something like three teams racing in the Commodore’s Cup. And they were racing against each other with such determination that there were absurd inter-Ireland protests.
So inevitably we didn’t finally win the Commodore’s Cup until 2010 with its ferocious economic downturn, with a very sober cost-effectively-planned recession-aware single team, put together with infinite patience by Anthony O’Leary and ICRA. But the recession was so deep that there was no defence in 2012, and while the same O’Leary determination won the Commodore’s back in 2014, there was a sense of it being a satisfactory way to end an era, but an unmistakable ending nevertheless.
Yet in looking back to those early years of this now uncertain Century in which we are living with increasing difficulty, there are boats and successes which stand out, boats and achievements which seem to have endured some special test of time.
Everyone will have their own favourite superstar boats, and if we scratch about in the memory bin, others will emerge. But for me the first three that spring to mind are George Radley’s Holland 39 Imp and Eric Lisson’s Granada 38 Cavatina – both from Cork - and Ger O’Rourke’s Cookson 50 Chieftain from Kilrush.
Of course, there were other outstanding boats, such as the O’Leary family’s Antix in the white and silver and red versions. Yet there was something mainstream and extremely sensible about the superb O’Leary campaigns, whereas the wild card element is unmistakable in the doings of Chieftain and Imp and Cavatina.
We focused on Chieftain a couple of weeks ago in highlighting her outstanding overall win in the 2007 Fastnet Race to round out an extraordinary global programme, a programme which had seen her win her class and come fourth overall in the 2005 Sydney-Hobart Race, and then place second in the 2007 New York to Hamburg Transatlantic race before going on to sweep the board in the Fastnet of that same year.
That was a sometimes chaotic gale-swept race which was already out of kilter at the start. The RORC fleet was still becoming accustomed to having the Fastnet start on the Sunday at the end of Cowes Week instead of the time-honoured Saturday, yet in 2007 a sudden gale saw its further postponement to the Monday 13th August, so it was right into the next weekend by the time most of the greatly-reduced fleet finished. And though Chieftain had finished late on the Thursday evening to take the win, the exhausted skipper had his work cut out getting his crew kitted out in clean white shirts for the prize-giving on the Friday.
Ger has been through the mill more than somewhat since, as he had the misfortune to break his back in a kite-surfing accident in South Africa and spent a year out of action mending up after open-spine surgery. But he was in a fine nostalgic form when phoning out of Lockdown the other day, and sent on some photos of that Day of Days in Plymouth and the full names of his diverse international crew, who were Ger O’Rourke (IRL) skipper, Jochem Visser (NED) navigator, Dee O’Rourke (IRL) pit, Edwin O’Connor (IRL) Trim, Ryan Houston (NZ) Drive, Cam Marshall (NZ) Bow, Matthew Stuart (NZ) Trim, Tom Whelan (IRL) Trim, Robert Gullan (UK) Mid-bow, Donie Hegarty (IRL) Trim, Kevin Johnson (IRL) Trim, and Tom Whitburn (UK) Pit.
International they may be, but Ger’s roots in Limerick are so strong that he even has a link to the Limerick ketch Ilen, as Gary Mac Mahon of Ilen reckons it was he who introduced the hyper-energetic young Ger O’Rourke to sailing. Back in the 1980s, Willie Sexton’s bar on Henry Street in Limerick was where all the movers and shakers met on a Thursday night, and Gary mentioned in Sexton’s during a typical early-summer Thursday night that the following evening he was off to do a weekend boat delivery under sail, and Ger O’Rourke overheard that and said that he’d be interested in giving this sailing a try for the first time and…….well, history can take it from there.
In the case of Imp, the wild card recognition is because anything to do with George Radley and boats has a streak of wild card brilliance about it. George is a cradle sailor, yet his approach to sailing is sui generis, and the rest of the world can only wonder at what he’ll do next.
But in the case of Cavatina, the wild card is found firstly in the reality that although there were maybe about three dozen Granada 38s built between 1979 and 1983, Cavatina seems to be the only one which has been consistently campaigned offshore under the IRC rule, and she has been doing it with great success since before the turn of the Century.
In fact, her rating has seemed so favourable that when RORC measurer Mike Urwin was at Cork Week one year, he was asked to run the tapes over Cavatina to find out what was the secret ingredient. He reported back that there was no secret ingredient, she just happened to fit the rule very neatly, and maybe the secret ingredient was that her crew happened to sail Cavatina very well in offshore races of adult length.
There’s probably a doctoral thesis to be written about Cavatina and her crew, who seem to have remained remarkably consistent in their makeup over the years under the ownership first of Eric Lisson, and more recently of Ian Hickey. Boat and crew, they know each other inside out, such that in any set of circumstances everyone will know what sail combination should be set in order to maximize performance, and they can often seem to communicate this knowledge through a sort of telepathy.
Thus they’re always seen as a threat by others in the Round Ireland Race when they’ve come from behind more than once to take the overall win, they’ve had at least two excellent Fastnets with second overall in 2005’s race and their class win in 2007 when Chieftain took the top prize, and before that in the same year, Eric Lisson and Dave Hennessy brought Cavatina the two-handed division and overall win in the Azores & Back Race.
Dave has also logged a four-year global circumnavigation with the 1989-built Jeanneau Sun Magic 44 Laragh with his wife Katrina Emtage between 2013 and 2016, and they’ve been back to northwest Spain and the Azores since. On top of that, in shore life he’s a renowned melodeon player on the traditional music scene in Cork and beyond. In fact, he seems to achieve so much that you feel inclined to enquire of your usually reliable Cork sources if they’re sure we’re talking about one and the same Dave Hennessy around boats and music, and they’ll enigmatically reply they’ve often wondered the same themselves, but it seems he is just the one person, and here he is with melodeon and friends on YouTube
Meanwhile, we look at the Covid-19 Exit Programme, and wonder why - as the Government has taken such extensive powers to itself - they didn’t simply de-commission today’s Bank Holiday, and keep it in reserve for deployment at a time when people like those who sail Imp and Cavatina can make better use of it…