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No Big Deal as Shannon Estuary Yacht Makes Its Mark on ISORA Race to Holyhead

25th May 2014
No Big Deal as Shannon Estuary Yacht Makes Its Mark on ISORA Race to Holyhead

#isora – Utilising its virtual waypoint rule for the grey and windy conditions that existed at the time of yesterday's start, a 20–boat ISORA fleet headed out of Dublin Bay on a long port hand windward leg bound for Holyhead. The course to eb sailed was 1. Start 2. Virtual Mark - N 052 54.000 W 005 15.000 and 3. Finish at Holyhead

Potent J109 entry Mojito from Pwllheli Sailing Club in North Wales made the most of the harsh north easterly even as the fleet exited the Irish coast on the 50–mile voyage.

It is the second tough race for the hardy ISORA men and women who faced similar conditions in the race to Dun Laoghaire a fortnight ago.  As Afloat.ie reported previously, the weekend fixture doubled as an important Round Ireland race qualifier. Ireland's big offshore race from Wicklow starts on June 28th next. 22 boats are entered to date.

Although two J sisterships Ruth (Liam Shanahan) and Sgrech (Stephen Tudor) finished third and fourth respectively, second overall was taken by Shannon estuary yacht, Big Deal, a class 2 entry from Foynes Yacht Club. The Dehler 34 – sponsored by Union Chandlery – has relocated to the east coast to participate in ISORA and the next month's ICRA National Championships in Dun Laoghaire. 

Full ISORA Race 3 results available to download below as a jpeg file.

A group of ISORA boats, inlcuding the winner Mojito, are now on passage from Holyhead to Liverpool in order to position for a summer highlight of the ISORA season.

Report on Race 3 – Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead by Peter Ryan

After the last two gruelling races the weather was not looking kind for the Race 3 from Dun Loaghaire to Holyhead. Northerly gales for the previous two days whipped up the sea to such a state that berthing for the visiting competing boats at the NYC prior to the race was impossible.
The weather forecast for the race was not much better. Northerly possibly going north easterly later force 4-6 was predicted. The Sailing Committee discussed the options for the course and decided to use a "Virtual Mark" for the first time in an ISORA race.
The course was set to go from the start at Pier mark direct to the virtual mark located at N 052 54.000 W 005 15.000 – east of Wicklow and approximately mid way across the Irish Sea. Boats rounding the virtual mark would then go direct to Holyhead.
The tide was ebbing south at the start of the race. However, technical issues with the starters RIB caused the race to be postponed for approximately 50 minutes.
20 boats came to the start area for NYC Commodore, Larry Power, to send them on their way. The first leg was a tight reach which kept much of the fleet bunched. The weather forecast, while the direction was as predicted, the wind strength only varies from 8 to 14 knots. With the tight reach and the ebbing tide, the fleet sailed directly for the virtual mark.
There was a 90 degree rounding at the mark and it would appear that all boats were meticulous in the care taken to round the mark. The leg to Holyhead was a beat. As the first boat "Jackknife" rounded the mark followed by the J109's "Ruth", "Mojito" and "Sgrech" closely bunched and "Axiom" and "First of September" all round together. At that stage the tide was still flowing strongly south as the leaders beat towards Holyhead against the tide.
At this stage the fleet split and the new flooding tide helped the fleet towards Holyhead. "Jackknife" lead the fleet towards Holyhead with the three J109s bunched together behind.
Strange things happen at the "Stacks" on the approach to Holyhead. As the leaders approached the Stacks in 18 knots of wind, it was hoped that the last of the flooding tide would shoot the leaders up to the finish line. This did not happen. Serious back eddies at the Stacks slowed the fleet down and caused mayhem between the battling J109s. "Jackknife" held pole position. "Ruth" who was ahead of "Mojito" and "Sgrech" lost their lead after a huge header forced them to tack. None of the nearby pursuant boats experienced the change in wind direction and "Ruth" slipped behind "Mojito" and back towards "Sgrech". It was "Mojito"s turn to experience the affects of the Stacks when they sailed into a hole and practically stopped. Just for a short moment things were looking good for "Sgrech" as "Ruth" powered up with their huge Code 0 was being forced under the Stacks and into the same hole. This was not to be, as the hole disappeared just a quickly as it appeared and the two J's roared towards the finish under their Code 0. "Sgrech" with no Code 0, was unable to match their speed.
"Jackknife" crossed the finish against the strong tide getting line honours followed 20 minutes after by "Mojito" pursued by "Ruth" three minutes behind and "Sgrech" just over one minute behind them. At this stage the weather had deteriorated and all boats finished in lashing rain and strengthening winds. The following boats had to deal with the higher winds and poor visibility. However, the wind for the last boats to finish had disappeared causing them even more difficulties in trying to plug the strong south going tides. The last boat finished at 01.47.
"Mojito" took overall and Class 1. ISORA new comer "Big Deal" a two handed boat from Foynes Yacht Club took 2nd place overall and 1st in Class 2. "Yahtzee" took the Sliver Class.
The Predict Wind Tracker was used with 18 of the boats registering. The result was relatively successful but with some snags to be sorted out. The race can be followed at this link: http://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/race/ISORA
Early the next morning many of the fleet headed off the Liverpool for the Offshore Weekend that starts with the "Midnight Race on Friday the 6th June from Liverpool to Douglas in the IOM. This race is followed by a race on the Sunday 8th June from Douglas to Dun Laoghaire. It is hoped that these two races will be well supported and will give more good night racing experience to those taking part in the Round Ireland race.

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