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ISORA Sailors Vote to Double Number of Coastal Races in 2023 at Golden Jubilee AGM

15th November 2022
Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox's J109 Mojito crew celebrate overall ISORA honours and lift the Wolf Head's Trophy at the National Yacht Club ISORA Golden Jubilee Dinner. Scroll down for the photo gallery of the evening
Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox's J109 Mojito crew celebrate overall ISORA honours and lift the Wolf Head's Trophy at the National Yacht Club ISORA Golden Jubilee Dinner. Scroll down for the photo gallery of the evening Credit: GP Photo

ISORA will double its coastal races in 2023, the offshore body heard at last Saturday's AGM in the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The move comes after a straw poll of all skippers voted in favour of more coastal racing on both sides of the Irish Sea. 

Bringing together crews from across Ireland, Wales and the UK, the meeting was held amid a weekend of golden jubilee celebrations for ISORA.

Saturday night featured a Dinner and Prizegiving at the NYC, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the offshore racing association (1972 to 2022).

As Afloat previously reported, Welsh yachts claimed the top two places overall in the 2022 ISORA Series.

A win for Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox's J109 Mojito in the final cross-channel race from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire in September saw the crew also seize overall ISORA honours and lift the Wolf Head's Trophy. 

ISORA Golden Jubilee Dinner and Prizegiving photo gallery by GP Photo

23 races for 2023

Seven offshore and eight coastal races will be held in Dun Laoghaire and Pwllheli next year, where only four were held at each port in 2022.

This gives a total of 23 races for 2023 in a draft programme (see below), with the best five races of a yacht's series counting for points for the overall Wolf's Head Trophy.

60% of 48 skippers polled favoured more coastal races. The poll also saw 30% happy with the status quo and 10% favouring more offshore races. 

The fact crews had to take an extra day off work for the delivery of boats for offshore races was not favoured, the poll confirmed.

It is proposed the season will start on April 15th with a 35-mile coastal race, a fixture that will be repeated weekly until May 6th, when the first of seven offshore will race from Dun Laoghaire - Pwllheli and then a cross-channel return race on May 20th.

Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race

A season highlight is the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race (D2D) on June 7th, leading into the Royal Dee Offshore Championships as part of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta on July 9th, where four VDLR coastal races and July 1st's Holyhead - Dun Laoghaire Lyver race from will comprise the championship.

Another initiative of the 2023 ISORA calendar is a move that will see the fleet head North in a tie-in with Belfast Lough's Royal Ulster Yacht Club on August 5th. 

'Talk is cheap...'

ISORA Chief Peter Ryan cautions, however,  that while the plan looks good on paper, the reality on the water can often be different with some of 2022's fixtures bedevilled by some low turnouts, especially later in the season.

"Talk is cheap. Getting the boats to the start line is difficult. This season most races had 20-plus entries, but it is difficult getting more than 12 to the line", Ryan told Afloat.

Bearing in mind that 2022 was a big year for offshore racing that featured Grand Prix events like the Round Ireland Race in June and July's inaugural K2Q Dun Laoghaire to Cobh Race, there was always going to be pressure on crews. 

"Poor offshore race conditions did not help. There was crew exhaustion before the end of the season", Ryan says in response to the turnouts.  

Ryan reports that some key boats running for the overall Wolfs Head Trophy could not field a team for the season's last race.

Ryan is also worried some regular boats may be going up for sale or have been sold, which could be a further setback to ISORA numbers.

The ISORA Committee believe there was 'excellent momentum gained at the AGM' and has issued a draft 2023 Race Schedule below and wait for further feedback.

 ISORA draft 2023 Race Schedule ISORA draft 2023 Race Schedule

Published in ISORA, National YC
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