All week previous to the fourth ISORA race the weather forecast was for very light conditions writes Peter Ryan. This did not change up to the date of the race. This did not put off any of the 30 entries who came to the start line. 28 boats had trackers but there was not enough time to order additional units for the two late entries, “Big Deal” and “Desert Star”
To deal with this weather difficulty, the course was set as follows:
Start – between the Committee boat located off the Pier Head and the Clipereu Buoy.
Waypoint 1 (SE corner of Skerries TSZ - N53 20.990 W4 48.110) (S) Rockabill (P)
Finish - The finish line is the line between Cardinal Buoy North Kish (N53 18.553 W5 56.424) and Kish Bank Lighthouse (N53 18.655 W5 55.547)
Waypoint 1 was a virtual mark and marked the SE corner of the traffic separation zone off Holyhead. This was used as the rhumb line between the start and Rockabill would pass through the TSZ.
As the winds were feared to be very fluky as the fleet approached Dublin Bay, it was decided to use an unmanned finish line out at the Kish Light.
The ISORA Avery Crest YB tracking provided the necessary Race Management to give an accurate time for each finishing boat crossing between the two marks. This system of finishing has been tested before and gave accuracies of no worse than +/- 5 seconds on times taken by a finisher on the line.
The weather lived up to its forecast at the start with only 2-3 knots of wind from the north east. Despite this, most of the boats managed to move across the start line, aided by the last of the south going tide. Dave Cullen’s “Euro Car Parks” was the first boat to break from the pack but this initial manoeuvre did not last long. A small group of boats became becalmed in Holyhead Bay and never reached the first mark, 5 miles north west of the start.
Most of the boats were under spinnaker for the entire race. However, light winds from directly behind caused all boast problems and no boat was able to sail the rhumb line.
Rounding WP1 had its difficulties. While most of the boats accurately rounded the waypoint, some did not and received a penalty. The monitoring of this rounding was possible due to the use of the ISORA Avery Crest YB trackers.
The winds on the 55 mile leg to Rockabill remained light and it was a dead run. Boats had difficulty keeing going on a course towards Rockabill in the winds that never exceeded 6-8 knots.
“Jackknife” led the fleet from WP1 to the finish. As boats rounded Rockabill the light winds backed giving another run and forcing boats to reach up to maintain speed.
The finish line was manned by the ISORA Avery Crest YB trackers and their innovative system of increasing the rate of pinging thereby allowing positions to be recorded every 5 seconds in the finish zone. This allowed the “intercept time “ of each boat crossing the finish line to be calculated and recorded.
Of the 30 starters, 19 boats finished with “Jackknife” taking line honours crossing the finish line at 02:16:46 on Sunday morning. However, late entry, Conor and Derek Dillion’s 2-handed “Big Deal” from Foynes took Overall, Class 2, Sliver Class and 2-handed!!!! The last boat to finish was Darryl Hughes’s “Maybird” that crossed the finish line at 09:21:13, over 25 hours after the start.
Existing ISORA Champion “Ruth”, skippered by Ben Shanahan for this race took 2nd place Overall and Class 1 followed by Stephen Tudor’s “Sgrech”.
The spread of wins and the size of the fleets for this season has left the Overall Series wide open. After four races the existing champion “Ruth” is leading with just 4 points separating them and “Sgrech” and only 3 points separating “Sgrech” and Peter Hall’s “Adelie”.
The next race takes place at 20.00 next Friday evening with a night offshore to Douglas in the IOM. This is the last offshore before the Round Ireland race on the 18th June. Again a large fleet is expected and a win by any of the above three yachts could put them is a commanding lead of the overall championship.