For the first time the overall race included "no spinnaker" and "short-handed" boats. The IRC rating allows this and ensures that every entry is competing for the coveted "Wolf's Head Trophy". The large fleet was divided in two classes with the break at rating 1.025 producing nearly an even divide of the fleet.
All week the weather forecast for the race was predicting ideal conditions. On the morning of the race there was not a breath of wind in the marina and there were mutterings from some boats about shortening the race. Fortunately, as the race was a qualifier for the Round Ireland Race, it had to remain at 75 miles length. By the time the large fleet gathered at the start there was 18k of wind. The forecast for 15-20k southerly winds was correct as the 22- boat fleet powered out of Scotsman's Bay towards the Kish Lighthouse. Rounding the Kish the fleet went onto a full beat down the 15 miles to the North India buoy. The wind
remained while the fleet rounded the North India but started to go light soon after. The leg to Holyhead was a very tight reach and those boats that chose to fly spinnakers lost out very soon after.
The approach to Holyhead was at its usual trickiest. The wind dropped and the light variable winds and the strong tides made it critical that the right approach was taken. "Tsunami", Vincent Farrell, made all the right decision in staying east of the rhumb line while crossing the Irish Sea and being south of Holyhead on the approach to the finish with a flooding tide. "Tsunami" took line honours while the tide changed against the remainder of the fleet. Barry O'Connor, sailing short handed in "Katanca" took 1st Overall and 1st Class2. Matt David in his Sigma 400 "Raging Bull" took first place in Class 1 and 2nd
overall. Of the 22 starters, only 3 retired but two of those, Neil Eathough, "Lancastrian" and single-handed Ciaran Hughes "Temper Tantrum", continued to Holyhead for the après race.
The finisher for the race was Rear Commodore of Holyhead Sailing Club, Geoff Garrod. For those boats who went ashore in Holyhead, Sailing Secretary and Past Commodore, Dawn Russell had arranged a great party. The hospitality shown in Holyhead was worth the frustration of the closing stages of the race and ISORA look forward to its next visit there on the 15th May for the ISORA and feeder race to the ICRA Championships in Dun Laoghaire.
The next race is a combined ISORA / RAYC Day race on the 8th May down to the North Arklow buoy and back to Dun Laoghaire. I ask those ISORA boats taking part in this race to also enter the Royal Alfred / Lee Overlay Series. This series is sponsored by Adrian Lee of Lee Overlay and the entry fee is very nominal.
Details on www.rayc.ie .