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There is no rest for ISORA offshore racers. After a marathon race from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire last weekend the fleet is back out on the Irish sea this Friday evening for the fifth race of the series from Dun Laoghaire to Douglas in the Isle of Man. The 80–miler starts at 8pm off DBSC's Pier mark on Dublin Bay, close to the East Pier. A complimentary breakfast will be issued by the Isle of Man Sea Cadets to all arrivals in Douglas!

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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.

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In view of the light wind forecast this weekend ISORA are making provisions for a finish outside Dublin Bay for its fourth race of the series from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire tomorrow. ISORA will also be using virtual waypoints for the 50–mile race.

The forecast appears to be no deterrent as a bumper fleet of 29 has confirmed for the Irish Sea duel. The ISORA fleet nearly broke the 30–boat ceiling except for two unavoidable last minute pull–outs this morning.

The reason behind a Kish light as opposed to a Pier finish is that it is envisaged that there will be no wind in the bay when the fleet arrives late tomorrow afternoon.

The tracker managed finish line – between North Kish and Kish light will give accurate crossing times to within approx five seconds. Is this is the first time an offshore race has been 100% finished using technology alone?

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Provisional results from yesterday's 55–mile ISORA race from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead reveal Royal St George Yacht Club J122 Aurelia (Chris & Patanne Power Smith) were winners in a bumper turnout for race three of the 2016 season. Second was former ISORA champion Sgrech skippered by Pwllheli Sailing Club's Stephen Tudor. Third place went to Peter Hall's First 34.7 Adelie of Dun Laoghaire's National Yacht Club. Download results here.

The fleet for Race 3 of the ISORA Avery Crest Offshore Series was the largest assembled for many years. 28 boats took part. It is hoped that this number will increase for the next race when 29 boats are expected to return to Holyhead for the 100 mile return leg to Dun Laoghaire on the 28th May.
The weather forecast for the race was not good since the beginning of the week. All indications pointed to a “drifter”. However, a window was spotted by the Sailing Committee that showed easterly winds backing northerly 8-12 knots would prevail from the start to late into the evening. However the “drifter” conditions would form on the west side of the course from mid-morning. With this limited window of opportunity available, the Sailing Committee decided to shorten the course to go direct to Holyhead.
At the start, the winds were Easterly 10-12 knots giving a beat to Holyhead. The tide was running south. The fleet took the port tack and all boats headed south. The south going tide took the entire fleet over 10 miles south before the winds started to back allowing boats to head further north towards Holyhead.
For whatever reason the tide was over an hour late in turning and the winds did not start to back until early afternoon. This kept the boats on a tight fetch for most of the race. The northerly winds for the previous few days had produced a slight choppy sea which made driving the boats at top speed more difficult.
Although all the boats were on the same tack, speed was the object as all the boats worked hard to maintain top speed through the choppy sea. When the winds eventually started to back and the tide weaken, the decision had to be made about what the approach to Holyhead was to be? Does one free off and head directly toward Holyhead or does one stay on the wind and head further north, knowing that there will be a strong south going tide as boats were approaching the finish.
On the approach to Holyhead, many of the fleet underestimated the strength of the south going tide at the North Stacks and across the mouth of the harbour. Also by the time the leading boat was passing the North Stack the infamous “Holyhead Hole” was forming under the Stacks.
The trouble was not yet over at the Stacks as boats negotiated around the pier head and tried to fly a spinnaker down to the finish located half way along the breakwater. At that stage the winds were light and were coming over the breakwater. Due to the huge bias on the line, boats had to sail down along the breakwater and cope with the wind reversal off the breakwater.
Despite the forecast, most of the fleet got to Holyhead. Some of the later boats could not make progress against the tide and slackening wind and were forced to retire.
Chris Power-Smith’s “Aurelia” took an overall and Class 1 win. Peter Hall’s “Adelie” took Class 2 while Mark Thomspon’s “Aquaplane” took Silver Class.
The next race in the 100mile Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire on the 28th May. All ISORA races can be followed by downloading the YB tracking app or on the tracker viewer on the ISORA website www.isora.org .
Peter Ryan
Chairman ISORA

Read also: WM Nixon's Irish Sea Offshore Racing Is Getting A Whole New Lease Of Life

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We take it for granted, and it’s always there - whether we like it or not. The good old Irish Sea. But could it be that there’s a new and growing awareness of just how much the Irish Sea can offer if you’re interested in cruiser-racing which really does test a boat and crew’s ability to do what the boat was designed to do? In other words, going offshore, and staying offshore for a decent distance of the course, rather than using the boat only for semi-inshore races which could perfectly well be done by craft with no accommodation at all. W M Nixon wonders if the long-forecast re-birth of the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association really has been happening while we all were looking elsewhere.

It was some time ago now, several years it must be, when a function was scheduled for the National Yacht Club in the dark days of November. At it, former enthusiasts from both sides of the Irish Sea were going to get together to have a proper-job black tie gala dinner to finally lay to rest the ghost of the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association, which had been attracting little or no turnouts for events which used to be the backbone of a busy annual offshore racing programme which had been the envy of many comparable sailing areas.

Part of the idea was that by giving it a decent burial, the numerous trophies could be re-distributed to clubs which might find a better use for them, and who knows, but maybe in individual cases specific and historic distance events might be kept going on a stand-alone basis.

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Sunstone (centre) with ISORA racers among the fishing boats in the pre-marina days in Howth during the 1970s. Photo: W M Nixon

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If ISORA could be said to have a single founder back in 1971, it was Dickie Richardson of Holyhead (left), seen here aboard his Ohlson 38 Matthew Walker which he completed with his sons from a bare hull. Photo: W M Nixon

At least that’s my recollection, but it’s vague in the extreme, for although like many the annual ISORA programme used to dominate my summers, those days were long gone, surrendered – sometimes rather unwillingly, it has to be admitted – to growing family demands.

Time was when the husband of the household was expected to be away at sporting things most weekends. But that attitude was changing very rapidly, and you only had to look at ISORA turnouts to see the change in domestic priorities taking place as a fact of life in its new form.

Of course there were some splendid family crews racing offshore involving two and sometimes three generations. But as other forms of sport and specialist interests developed, such crews became increasingly rare, and anyway offshore racing wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. So you could argue that the thing that almost killed off ISORA was the most scary advertising slogan of our times, five seemingly innocuous little words which promote any event or activity which reflects the new domestic priorities.

“FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY!!!!!!” For dyed-in-the-wool offshore racers of the rather anti-social traditional type, hearing or seeing this chirpy message was like showing the sign of the cross to a vampire on the prowl. And for enthusiasts of the smelly crazy sport of taking a three day weekend to position and return an offshore racer for a distance race involving kindred spirits from God knows where, it meant death by a million painful pinpricks.

So much so, in fact, that we who were formerly addicted were brainwashed into totally abandoning our old ways. Thus when I heard that a dinner was maybe being planned to wind up dear old ISORA, excuses were readily forthcoming for being elsewhere.

Except that reports of the death of ISORA proved to be greatly exaggerated. Memories are vague in the extreme. And anyway I wasn’t there, even though I’d been in and around the birth of ISORA way back in the early 1970s. But in this instance I don’t want to spoil the myth by asking specific questions of those who were there a few years back about that supposed Laying To Rest That Never Happened. For my impression is that, owing to a November mega-gale, the ferry from Holyhead was unable to sail. The Welsh and English contingents didn’t get to the requiem dinner in the first (or last) place. And the Irish crowd enjoyed themselves so much they decided they were going to keep ISORA going after all.

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 The National Yacht Cub, where ISORA was re-born

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Peter Ryan, former Commodore of the National Yacht Club, has played a key role in ISORA’s re-birth

 

Failure is an orphan, but success has parents everywhere. Nevertheless I think few will disagree with the assertion that it is former NYC Commodore Peter Ryan, with the help of Stephen Tudor from Pwllheli, who has done most to keep ISORA going on life support, and then start to revive it actively with sponsorship from Avery Crest when the time is right.

And that right time seems to be right now. ISORA is putting Lazarus in the ha’penny place with a very healthy turnout for today’s 54-mile Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead Race. With 28 boats coming to the line, and it still only mid-May, we’re looking at substantial growth which shows every sign of being sustainable, so maybe we should try to explain the odd appeal of short to middle distance offshore racing.

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Holyhead is the destination for today’s ISORA cross-channel race. The marina in the corner of the harbour known as Porth y Fellyn is a world away from the popular perception of Holyhead as a raw ferry port.

Part of the answer has to be that once you’ve fulfilled all the complex tasks of bringing your boat up to the required standard in terms of equipment and crew qualifications, the actual event itself could not be simpler. The basic simplicity of an offshore race is its USP in today’s ludicrously complicated world. Unlike complex inshore multi-race regattas, there’s just one start, just one course, and just one finish line. Heaven knows but our everyday lives are weird enough and busy enough these days, thus it’s refreshing to find a sport whose basis is so utterly simple.

Of course there are all sorts of complexities of winds and tides and tactics and strategies underlying this basic simplicity. For instance, to an outsider, surey nothing could seem simpler than a race from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead? Believe me folks, it may be a straight line across channel. But once you’re into it, you find the factors involved are infinite in their variety.

Yet underneath it all is this appealing simplicity of just the one start and just the one finish. And it goes on for long enough to build up a silent but strong relationship with the boats and crews you’re racing against. That old sailor’s opinion: “I don’t like the cut of his jib” can begin to have real meaning.

At ISORA’s height when the annual season-long points championship could involve more than a hundred boats when every event was included, the fleet was as diverse as it was long-lived. Today you see boats of the S & S 34 class, or a whole raft of Swans, or boats like Sarnia or Setanta, as being interesting yet still very much alive relics of a different age of sailing. And in this historic list, one boat in particular stands out. When we raced against her, she was called Dai Mouse III and she was owned by a Cheshire publican called David Hague. But nowadays - and for more than 25 years – she is known as Sunstone, the 40ft S&S sloop which Tomy and Vicky Jackson cruise the length and breadth of the globe with such competence that they recently became the latest awardees of the annual Blue Water Medal of the Cruising Club of America, which is tops of the tops.

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Abersoch on the Lleyn Peninsula in North Wales is another ISORA location. The clifftop clubhouse of South Carnarvon YC is reputedly suspended from its roof in a masterpiece of engineering.

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Pwllheli provides total shelter at the head of Tremadoc Bay when the ISORA fleet is in port

But for old ISORA hands, the attitude is that Dai Mouse III is doing well for herself, and it’s just right and proper. They could be an odd bunch, the ISORA people. The kind of people who take to offshore racing aren’t people who indulge in passing fads, and throwaway entertainments. They’re literally in it for the long haul. Yet they’re not the kind of people who’ll necessarily attach themselves to the high profile glitzy glamorous offshore events. Rather they go for the straightforward low-key distance races with a strong local tinge, races which provide them with private satisfaction, and an absorbing way of relaxing at weekends.

So obviously it’s not for everyone. In fact, it’s obviously not for the vast majority of the sailing population. Yet it’s not elitist. It’s a form of sailing which appeals to those who may not be the ultimate hotshots in club racing, but give them a moderate offshore challenge, and they come into their own. As for it being accessible, if you show genuine interest you’ll find you get involved, but it’s not for the casual thrill seeker who will be interested in something else entirely the following weekend. And exclusive? Of course it’s exclusive. If you can’t face with continued enthusiasm the thought of being cold and wet and in the dark and probably seasick now and again, then you’re automatically excluded.

Published in W M Nixon

The biggest ISORA fleet in many years gathers at 8am on Saturday morning for a 54–mile race from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Holyhead. 

The number of boats taking part in the race is a record for recent times in ISORA. Although the number of boats taking part in ISORA have been increasing from a low of 3-4 boats in 2007, such numbers have not have not been seen since the late ‘80s.

See the full entry list below.

Saturday morning is the start of first ISORA offshore race of the 2016 Avery Crest sponsored Offshore Series and follows a coastal race to Wicklow a fortnight ago.

The numbers have been boosted by boats obtaining the required offshore experience for the Round Ireland Race in Wicklow in June. The number of entries for the three qualifying races prior to the Round Ireland are similar to the first race. “Tanit”, winner of the Round Ireland Race and now owned by veteran ISORA sailor Robert Floate, will be making its ISORA debut on Saturday. The boat recently won the Round the Isle of Man Race. The race has also attracted some older boats – Darryl Hughes’s “Maybird”, a 1937 Gaffer is taking part in preparation for the Round Ireland. 

ISORA bosses says they hope that the vision of such a large fleet of boats heading off across the Irish Sea will attract those other boats on both sides of the Irish Sea who are thinking about taking part. There is a big social après sail arranged for the finishers in Holyhead Sailing Club.

The course will be posted on the ISORA website, texted and emailed to all entries and shall be available in the NYC on Friday evening.

Boat NameSail NumberClassLatest IRC TCFFull NameSailing Club
ADELIE IRL 9631 IRC 0.987 Peter Hall National Yacht Club Dún Laoghaire
Albireo 3435 IRC 0.939 David A Simpson Royal Irish Yacht Club
Another Adventure IRL3511 (Note IRL 35 FOR RACE 1 IRC 1.029 Daragh Cafferky Other Club than listed below
Applegreen Sail For Kids IRL7963 IRC 0.947 Stephen Mullaney Howth Yacht Club
Aquaplane GBR7878L IRC 1.001 Mark Thompson Pwllheli Sailing Club - Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club
Aurelia IRL35950 IRC 1.077 Chris Power Smith Royal St George Yacht Club
Axiom IRL3709 IRC 1.035 Michael O'Neill Royal Irish Yacht Club
Bam IRL1471 IRC 2-handed 1.047 Conor Fogerty Howth Yacht Club
Flashback IRL 3470 IRC 0.987 Paddy/Don Breen Howth Yacht Club
Harriet Marwood GBR3556L IRC 1.005 Bryan Mullarkey Holyhead Sailing Club
Jackknife GBR8859R IRC 1.152 Mr Hall Pwllheli Sailing Club - Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club
Justjay GBR7709R IRC 1.015 Nigel Ingram Holyhead Sailing Club
Lively Lady IRL 1644 IRC 1.106 Derek Martin Royal Irish Yacht Club
Lula Belle IRL3607 IRC 0.992 Liam Coyne Wicklow Sailing Club
LYNX IRL 7386 IRC 1.044 Kenneth Rumball Other Club than listed below
Maybird GBR 644R IRC 9.999 Darryl Hughes Other Club than listed below
Mojito GBR0947R IRC 1.010 Peter Dunlop Pwllheli Sailing Club - Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club
MoJo GBR8134T IRC 1.007 PAUL HAMPSON Liverpool Yacht Club
Obsession IRL 4513 IRC 0.931 Bryan Dobson Sailing in Dublin (SID) Club
Pink Panther IRL2504 IRC 2-handed 0.94_ Carol Bellamy National Yacht Club Dún Laoghaire
Pipedreamer VI GBR2271L IRC 1.016 Paul Sutton Holyhead Sailing Club
Polished Manx2 GBR 7003T IRC 2-handed 1.029 Kuba Szymanski Douglas Bay Yacht Club
REBELLION IRL 6001 IRC 1.056 John Hughes National Yacht Club Dún Laoghaire
Ruth IRL 1383 IRC 1.016 Shanahan Family National Yacht Club Dún Laoghaire
Sgrech GBR9319R IRC 1.015 Stephen Tudor Pwllheli Sailing Club - Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club
Tan It GBR 731T IRC 1.051 ROBERT FLOATE Isle of Man Yacht Club
Thalia IRL733 IRC 1.028 Leggett Kinsman National Yacht Club Dún Laoghaire
Windshift irl37737 IRC 0.98_ Brian Gillen Royal St Georges Yacht Club
WOW IRL4208 IRC 1.123 George Sisk Royal Irish Yacht Club
 
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Last Friday, the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire saw a gathering of NYC members who raced in ISORA in the 1980’s. The dinner was attended by over 40 members and guests, representing the skippers and crew of six boats.
Represented there were:
• “Lightening” – Liam Shanahan Snr
• “Emircedes” – Michael Horgan Snr & Peter Ryan
• “Humphrey Go Kart “- Vincent Farrell
• “Eliminator” - Peter Cullen.
• “Boomerang” – Paul Kirwan
• “Avanti “ - (Brendan Briscoe)

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Peter Cullen, Liam Shanahan Snr and Anita Begley

The night was organised by Anita Begley who raced on “Avanti”, owned by the late Brendan Briscoe. Anita also raced on “Emircedes” and “Eliminator”. The dinner was a great social event with amusing anecdotes of taking part in ISORA races being recounted in the many casual after dinner speeches.

Liam Shanahan recounted the fierce competitiveness between “Lightening” and Peter Cullen’s “Eliminator” during races when boats crossed the Irish Sea three times in the race!! Despite the competitiveness during the race, the famous “Spirit of ISORA” was always present when the boats finished.

Present Chairman of ISORA, Peter Ryan, reiterated that is was great to see the keen and constant interest in ISORA by those members who sailed in races over 30 years ago. The memories of those incidents that occurred during and after the races years ago, as recounted by those after dinner speeches, was a testament to the future longevity and success of ISORA.

The evening was such a success that there were suggestions that the dinner could become an annual event and involve all previous skippers and crew who sailed in ISORA in the past.

 

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Defending ISORA champion Ruth (Liam Shanahan) from the National Yacht Club was the winner of yesterday's first coastal IRC handicap race of the season but not before a protest for redress was lodged following a finish line problem off Wicklow writes Peter Ryan.  Full results are downloadable below.

In a buoyant turnout, 20 boats departed Dun Laoghaire harbour on a 29–nautical mile course for Wicklow.

The J/109 champion made the best of a very light wind start from Dun Laoghaire's Pier Mark as a mixed fleet of cruiser types jostled for a clear lane on a shy spinnaker reach out of Dublin Bay

ISORA Yacht Race

Spinnakers flying – but only just – part of the 20–boat ISORA fleet depart Dun Laoghaire yesterday morning bound for Wicklow. To windward Chris Power–Smith's J122 Aurelia (IRL 35950), the First 40.7 Tsunami (IRL4007) Vincent Farrell and Darragh Cafferkey's A35 Another Adventure.

The first race of the Overall ISORA Avery Crest Offshore Championship 2016 was also the first race in the ISORA Viking Marine Coastal Series 2016 and the Royal Alfred Yacht Club Coastal Series 2016. The weather for the race was like “champagne sailing” except a few degrees colder.

This first race saw the appearance of some new boats to ISORA. Kuba Szymanski’s “Poilshed 2”, Grant Kinsman’s “Thalia”, Daragh Cafferky’s “Another Adventure” and Stephen Mullarney’s “Applegreen Sail for Kids” all took part in this race. Carol Bellamy’s “ Pink Panther” returned to the ISORA fleet after a few years sabbatical.

20 boats took part in the race and another 6 boats took part in the ISORA day race being run from Pwllheli at the same time. This gave a record 27 boats racing in ISORA!

It had been hoped that the course would be to start in Dun Laoghaire, round North Arklow and finish in Wicklow. However, the forecast on the day was for lighter northerly winds than originally thought making the beat from North Arklow to Wicklow impossible against the very strong south going tides.
The Race Committee changed the course shortly before the start to: Start in Dun laoghaire – South Burford (S) – North India (S) – South India (S) and Finish in Wicklow.

As forecast, the winds at the start were light northerly as NYC Commodore, Larry Power, sent the fleet of 20 boats reaching off towards the first mark. Fluky winds and conditions at the start made it difficult for many of the boats to get fast off the start line. Chris power-Smith’s “Aurleia”, Peter Hall’s “Adelie” and reigning ISORA Champion, Liam Shanahan’s “Ruth” were the first boats to break away. Aurelia took a northerly course, Adelie headed south and Ruth took a mid course.

Shortly after rounding the first mark, the boats headed in a run down towards the India Bank against the last of the north going tide. Although the fleet were well spread, there was little change in positions with “Ruth” leading the fleet from the centre. “Aurelia” went far out to sea while “Adelie” gybed in towards the coast. When the fleets merged at North India, the tide had turned and was flowing south at 3.5 knots. The placings remained largely unchanged with again “Ruth” leading the fleet.

John Keogh’s “Windshift” and Byran Dobson’s “Obsession” misjudged the rounding at North India and got swept around the wrong side of the mark. The light winds were not sufficient to propel both boats back to the North India due to the strong tide and they had to retire.

The third leg was the short blast down along the India Bank before the fleet hardened up for the dash to Wicklow. Those boats with asymmetric spinnakers gained hugely on this leg as they were able to hold reaching kites while the other were forced back to white sails and fell behind.

Due to a technical problem at the original finish line, the finisher in Wicklow had to change the line just as “Ruth” was approaching. This led to “Ruth” seeking redress.

“Ruth” took line honours, winning Overall and Class 1. “Adelie” came 2nd Overall and 1st in Class 2. David Simpson’s “Albeiro” took Silver Class.

As the boats finished most made their way into Wicklow harbour for the usual ISORA après sail get together at WSC. There pleasantries were exchanged between crews and tips and comments were freely exchanged. Crews gathered in the sunshine outside the club and planned their next ISORA adventure.

As the race was tracked using the Avery Crest Trackers, the progress of the race can be re-played using the YB app or on the ISORA website

With eight weeks to go to the Round Ireland Race from Wicklow, many in the Irish Sea offshore fleet are using the early ISORA races as a valuable tune–up with yesterday's first race providing many of the conditions that will be experienced in June.

The next race is the first offshore on the 14th May from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead. It is hoped that there will be another large fleet taking part in preparation of the Round Ireland race in June.

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ISORA expects a turnout of 20 boats for its first coastal race from Dun Laoghaire to Wicklow tomorrow morning. A further 5-6 boats are expect for the ISORA day race in Pwllheli, North Wales.

The course for the race tomorrow is based on moderate northerly winds. The course will be as follows:

Start Dun Laoghaire (Usual at Pier Mark)
Rosbeg East (S)
North Arklow (S)

A Finish at Wicklow will be completed wih boats crossing the line in a Northerly direction, leaving a yellow inflatable to starboard.

Download entry list for the race below.

UPDATE:

The Course for the first race in the Avery Crest ISORA Offshore Series 2016 on Saturday 23rd April, from Dun Laoghaire to Wicklow, has been changed to:

Start
South Burford (s)
North India (s)
South India (s)
Finish in Wicklow crossing line in a southerly direction leaving yellow inflatable to port (p)

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The Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA) has introduced short handed sailing to the Irish Sea offshore game this season, a recognition for the Irish boats acheiving success in the discipline on the international stage over the last few seasons.

Although ISORA has always encouraged short-handed racing (it accommodates single handed racing in its day races) the 2016 initative from Commodore Peter Ryan goes a step further with the new double handed class open to any boat sailed double handed for any of the ISORA races.

Reflecting the drive of the individual for the love of offshore sailing and noting Irish short–handed wins in the 2015 Middle Sea Race and the Round Britain and Ireland Race two years ago, it will be ineresting to see the take up for the new class on either side of the Irish Sea.

The Double Handed Overall Class winner will be determined by the best four Double Handed results for that boat. Race prizes for Double Handed will be allocated depending on the number of boats taking part in the race. Double Handed boats will also qualify for the normal Overall and Class prizes. 

The first race in the Avery Crest ISORA Offshore Series 2016 takes place on the 23rd April with the day race from Dun Laoghaire to Wicklow. 

As the first race of the season it is anticipated that the selected course will allow boats and crew to ease into the 2016 season while having enough time after the race to sample the hospitality of Wicklow Sailing Club while waiting for the north going tide.

The second race of the Offshore Series 2016 is the Pwllheli Bay Day Race also on 23rd April. This race will take the fleet along the scenic Welsh Coastline and out into the spectacular and World renowned sailing waters of Cardigan Bay. After racing the crews will retire to the new Sailing Club in the iconic Academy where there will be opportunities to discuss the 2016 offshore campaigns and the challenge to retain the ISORA Team Trophy again this year.

This sailing season’s highlight is the Volvo Round Ireland Race and it is hoped that this will encourage those boats taking part to gain the required experience and practice in offshore racing by taking part in ISORA.

As Afloat previously reported, this season sees some new boats entering: Kuba Szymanski’s First 40.7. Grant Kinsman’s Sigma 400 and Robert Floate’s Sydney 36 should make some competitive racing for the Class 1. George Sisk’s, ICRA 2015 Boat of the Year and overall winner of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, “WOW” is back racing in ISORA. There are persistent rumours of a JPK 10.8 appearing and a J105 from Wales?

 

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