The 12th race in the ISORA Offshore Series took place on Saturday the 11th of August, with 11 of the 13 entered boats coming to the start for an 08.00 gun writes ISORA Chief Peter Ryan. Many of the regular competitors were elsewhere engaged, with this month’s busy event calendar. Bam (Read about her retiral here) and AJ Wanderlust taking part in the Round Britain and Ireland Race. Others that did and did not take part were still suffering from the August “crew blues”.
The forecast was for moderate South Easterly winds steadily building throughout the day and veering to strong Southerly. It was decided that the course would be direct to Pwllheli with Bardsey Island not a mark of the course. The fleet was set on it’s way to windward from Pier Mark at Dun Laoghaire by race officers Larry Power and Barry MacNeaney of the National Yacht Club.
The first leg toward Bardsey was a beat against strong north going spring tides. The tide was due to change south at midday.
“Jacknife” and “Aurelia” lead the fleet out of the bay taking the middle course followed by “Mojito” and “Wakey Wakey”. “Mojo” and “YoYo” took the more Northerly side followed by “Andante”. Meanwhile “Sgrech J111” was heading South through Dalkey Sound taking the Southerly track to take advantage of the stronger tide later in the race and the forecast Southerly shift in the wind.
The race developed into a long one sided beat and a short tack towards Bardsey and the race was on to arrive before the tide turned in the notorious sound where a late arrival can be greeted by adverse tides of 6 knots and big seas. The wind strengthened to 25 to 30 knots and all of the forecasted rain arrived. There was little change in the positions across the Irish Sea. The wind never veered, as the fleet battled to windward most with one or two reefs and heavy weather jibs, and needing to tack down the welsh coats towards Badrsey Sound. Strangely, the south going tide never took hold with the wind preventing the tide gaining strength. This did not help the fleet, particularly “Sgrech J111” who had banked on this tidal assistance.
“Aurelia” lead the fleet through the sound followed by “Jacknife”. Next were “Sgrech J111” and closely behind, “Mojito”. At this time the tidal gate at Bardsey was closing fast. The first boats passed through the sound with slack tide closing out the following boats with the renewed strong north going tide. T
With all to play for and the race far from over, the closely spaced boats fought for advantage as they fetched to the headland at Trwyn Cilan where at last sails could be eased for a reach home to Pwllheli, through the sound at Tudwals Island. The winds were a steady 28 knots at this stage and gusting over 30. “Aurelia” whilst lightly crewed decided not to hoist a spinnaker but continued in the lead with a J2 at 10 knots while the chasing boats hoisted spinnakers bravely to try and catch up. “Jacknife” hoisted a code zero and made speeds of over 17 knots, whilst “Mojito” and “Sgrech J111” hoisted an A5. “Aurelia” held onto the lead and crossed the line first after 11 hours of racing to narrowly win IRC overall by only 3 minutes from “Mojito”, with “Sgrech J111” in third. “Aurelia” also took line honours and the Cruiser Zero Race. “Mojito” won the Cruiser One Race. “Windjammer” won the Cruiser Two Race.
All the very wet participants headed to the marina for complimentary berthing assisted and marshaled by Richard Tudor and up to the Plas Heli sailing centre where they received a wonderful Welsh welcome from Heidi and her staff with hot food and a few cold drinks. As crews sat tired, battered and bruised in the bar, there was a quite satisfaction in having taken part in what turned out to be another classic ISORA.
The results for this race has concentrated the Overall Series on existing Champion “Mojito” and “Aurelia”. These are followed closely behind by “Rockabill VI” and “Wakey Wakey”. While anything is possible, the two leading boats will have to battel out the last race to secure the coveted Wolf’s Head Trophy. The other two boats can in theory take the title but it will depend on a large fleet taking part producing additional points in the high point system.
The next race is the feeder coastal race to Greystones on the 25th August. The final offshore is the James Eadie race from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire on the 8th September.
Full results can be found here