Frank Whelan's well sailed Eleuthera, a Grand Soleil 44, was the winner of ISORA's Viking Marine Coastal Series first race in ideal sailing conditions on Dublin Bay this afternoon.
An exotic mix of new and nearly new entries into the 2018 Dublin offshore fleet included the race winner Eleuthera (named after an Island in the Bahamas, there is more on the race winner here) but also a 1976 World Champion vintage Half–Tonner, a brand new SunFast 3600, as well as a heap of ultra competitive J109s and an all conquering JPK10.80, all adding to the excitement of the much–anticipated first race.
IRC Class Zero 2017 Champion, the J122 Aurelia, skippered by Chris & Patanne Power Smith, of the Royal St George Yacht Club was second overall
The colourful 25–boat ISORA fleet departing Dublin Bay in ideal westerly winds – and sunshine – made sure it was a very auspicious start to the offshore sailing year.
"An exotic mix of new and nearly new entries into the 2018 Dublin offshore fleet included the race winner, Eleuthera"
After weeks of gloom, following Storm Emma's path of destruction, finally there was a tonic for Dun Laoghaire Harbour sailors and spectators alike as spinnakers filled Scotsman's Bay to mark the arrival of summer and the first offshore race of the year.
Race officers Larry Power and Barry MacNeaney prepare for the off as a bumper fleet make for the ISORA line off Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Photo: Afloat.ie
Still well bunched as the ISORA fleet passes Sandycove on the way to the Muglins Rock. Photo: BJ Marine/Facebook
The 21.5 mile course for race one of the Viking Marine Coastal Series was as follows: Start at DBSC Pier mark, Muglins (S), Bray Outfall (P), Kish Lighthouse (P), North Burford (P) and Finish - at Dun Laoghaire Pier Heads.
It didn't take long for the front runners to find their form. In truth, last week's practice race had ironed out some of the wrinkles so there was not time lost in setting kites off the line in a 10–15-knot west to south west breeze with some strong gusts thrown in for good measure. An ebb tide meant a fast departure across Scotsman's Bay leaving the Muglins to starboard.
See our Afloat.ie photos below as the fleet headed south with leaders back in Dun Laoghaire for a 1.30pm finish.
In all, an excellent start for the ISORA season with a good turnout in Pwllheli for the Welsh coastal race, running concurrently, bringing a total of 32–boats in ISORA competition this weekend. Next stop is the 60–mile race from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire on May 12th.
At the pin end of the line it was the J109 Jigamaree (red spinnaker) skippered by Ronan Harris of the Royal Irish Yacht club that got the best start with club mates Keith and Rodney Martin preferring to white sail Lively Lady of the line. Paul O'Higgins' JPK!0.80 is behind them with blue and lemon kite with the overall winner Frank Whelan's Eleuthera obscured. To leeward of the bunch is Andrew Algeo's Juggerknot, also of the Royal Irish. Photo: Afloat.ie
Above and below: There was some strong gusts shortly after the start leading to some early boat handling issues Photos: Afloat.ie
Above and below: The fleet races south with DBSC Yacht of the Year, the J97 WindJammer going strong under red spinnaker. Photo: Afloat.ie
The IRC Class one First 35, Platinum Blonde skippered by Paul Egan of the Royal St George Yacht Club was fifth overall. In a high speed dash, she raced out of the bay neck and neck (below) with the JPK10.80 Rockabill (Paul O'Higgins) Photo: Afloat.ie
Royal Irish Yacht Club IRC Class 0 entry Rockabill VI finished sixth overall. Photo: Afloat.ie
The J109 Jigamaree skippered by Ronan Harris of the Royal Irish Yacht club was fourth overall. Photo: Afloat.ie
All in a day's sailing – Daragh Gafferky's IRC Class 1 entry AnotherAdventure, an Archambault A35, sailed up from Greystones Marina for the 10am start. After her 12 mile delivery, she completed the 21–mile ISORA course by 2pm and then headed back home to Wicklow. Photo: Afloat.ie
(Above and below) Inspite of a cracking lead on the first leg to the Muglins and into Killney Bay, Roger Smith's Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club entry, Wakey Wakey, that won last weekend's warm–up race, finished third overall Photo: Afloat.ie
Above and below The Martin Brother's Lively Lady was second boat to the Muglins Rock Photo: Afloat.ie
(Above and below) New Jeanneau 3600 entry Yoyo (Brendan Coghlan of the Royal St. George YC) was 14th overall
For full results click here