The first Irish Coastal race of the Viking Marine ISORA Coastal Championship 2019 took place on the 18th May with a starting time of 10.00. 21 boats from the entry list of 22 came to the start line in Dun Laoghaire.
Setting the course was difficult for the Sailing Committee as very light northerly winds were forecast for the race. To add to the difficulty, strong spring tides were also predicted. With this combination, it was decided that the course should try and accommodate the tide by heading north at the start and south later in the race. It had been hoped that the course would be 40 miles by heading to South Burford, Lambay Island and back by the Kish Light. Instead, Lambay was substituted by using Howth Yacht Club’s “East” racing mark and North Kish Cardinal mark was substituted for the Kish Light.
When this course was first published Dublin Port requested that South Burford not be used as it meant that the fleet would be crossing the TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme) at South Burford. To comply with their request, ISORA has now created a permanent virtual mark, “ISORA Dublin” mark, just south-east of South Burford. It is now intended that this virtual mark will be used for all future ISORA races, acting as a Turning mark for boats entering or leaving Dublin Bay. It is also proposed that all TSS’s will be no-go areas in future races.
The fleet of 21 boats slowly moved east off the start line in a tight reach towards the new ISORA Dublin mark. Frank Whelan’s “Eleuthera” was the first to break from the pack but was soon overtaken by Ben Shanahan’s “Ruth”, Chris Power-Smith’s “Aurelia” and Lindsay Casey’s “Windjammer”. Just south of these, Vincent Farrell’s “Tsunami” was sneaking along toward the first mark.
“Ruth” and “Aurelia” rounded the first mark and hardened onto a beat north toward HYC “East” mark. In an effort to minimise the effects of the tide and to seek stronger winds many of the fleet tacked out to sea while the remainder stayed close to the land. It was on this leg that the wind started to play tricks. On the outer east side of the course, the wind was northeast and varying while on the inside of the course the winds was north-west and strengthening. At one stage boats on each side of the course were sailing the same heading while on opposite tacks!! The stronger winds on the inside were sufficient to counteract the strong tides against those boats close to Howth Head and these boats gained hugely.
These wind conditions changed the whole dynamic of the race and allowed the smaller boats to take control. “Eleuthera” rounded the HYC East mark first followed by George Sisk’s “WOW” and then by “Ruth”. However, “Windjammer” was close by to the leading pack.
The leg to North Kish was a run south in the ebbing tide. When the first of the fleet rounded North Kish they had to beat for the ISORA Dublin turning mark and towards the finish line while the boats further back took advantage of another massive wind shift and they had a fast reach past the turning mark to the finish line.
While “Eleuthera” took line honours, “Windjammer” took the Overall win and Class 2. Second place went to another Class 2 boat, Leslie Parnell’s “Black Velvet” and Class 1 “Ruth” took third place. Class 0 boats only managed to get on the leader board at 9th position with Paul O’Higgins' “Rockabill VI”. Sean Hawkshaw’s “Wardance” took Silver Class.
After the race, many of the crew headed to the National Yacht Club for the usual “Apres Race”.
On the same day, a coastal race was held in Pwllheli. At this stage in the series Andrew Hall’s “Jackknife” is just ahead of “Rockabill VI” in the leadership table for the Wolf’s Head.
The Race Organiser for Race 4 was Grainne Ryan. Anita Begley was Safety Officer. The finish was automatically recorded using the YB trackers.
The next race is the second Offshore of the season and takes place on Saturday 25th May with an 08.00 start from Dun Laoghaire. The original race schedule was for the start to be in Holyhead and finish in Dun Laoghaire but Holyhead was unable to accommodate the start. The start and finish is now in Dun Laoghaire and it is hoped that the race will be 60 miles.
Full results and the YB tracking of the race are on the ISORA website here