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Following an intense battle between three top contenders across the Irish Sea yesterday overall ISORA leader Sgrech skippered by Sptehen Tudor was crowned ISORA champion at the National Yacht Club last night.

Defending champion Ruth skipperd by Liam Shanahan of the National Yacht Club, who was in contention for a hat–trick of ISORA season wins, did not compete yesterday due to 'family circumstances', according to ISORA Chair Peter Ryan.

In an exciting climax to a 12-race series, the ISORA fleet completed the season in yesterday's James Eadie Trophy race, a 75–miler from Tudor's home port of Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire.

A past 2012 ISORA Championship winner, Sgrech is no stranger to the Irish Sea, her skipper Stephen Tudor and crew are a hardened offshore racing team from Pwlhelli in North Wales who have many years experience of Irish offshore campaigns for over 40 years.

Sgrech is a 2003 version J109. She was purchased in November 2010 by Hugh Williams, Philip Yapp and Tudor and replaced the team's J92 in which they achieved a very wet second overall in the 2010 ISORA series.

The team also achieved a second overall in Sgrech in 2011 again being beaten by Skerries Yacht Raging Bull.

The Tudor association with ISORA goes back to the 1970's when they raced with their father (Huw Tudor) on a Golden Shamrock, Gwobr Aur, at a time before DECCA or other navigation aids.

At that time there were regular ISORA fleets of about 40 which peaked at about 70. Stephen's first race was to Dun Laoghaire in 1976 (aged 16).

The Tudor's then campaigned a Contention 33, Panache and after that Greased Lightning. Richard and Huw went on to sail Corwynt Cymru III (Winner Class1 Cork Week 1992).

Corwynt Cymru was later renamed and was known as Raging Bull, the 2011 ISORA champion wrecked in gales in May 2012.

The last race of the 2016 Averycrest ISORA Offshore Series  was the “LC Tyres James Eadie Race” from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire – 75 miles. This is a long standing race in the ISORA calendar. It was originally run from Abersoch to Dun Laoghaire.
What made this race special was that four boats, twice ISORA Champion Liam Shanahan’s “Ruth”, Peter Dunlop’s “Mojito”, Chris Power-Smith’s “Aurelia” and Stephen Tudor’s “Sgrech” all stood to win the overall championship with a good performance in the race.
Even in the past when starter numbers were low, this race attracted the best turnout. A week before the race 26 of the 34 entrants confirmed that they intended racing. However, as happened for the previous two years, bad weather for the deliveries wrecked the intended start numbers. 

Despite the bad weather forecast for Irish boats delivering to Pwllheli before the race and UK boats returning to UK ports after the race, 14 boats came to the start line at the bridge at the old Pwllheli Sailing Club premises. Unfortunately “Ruth” had to pull out of the race at the last minute.

Strangely, with very bad weather forecast for the day before the race and the day after the race, the forecast for the start of the race was for little wind. There was to be fluky conditions in the morning with a south westerly winds filling in around mid-afternoon and building.

With such light winds and consideration for boats delivering back after the race, the course was selected to be from the start, direct to the finish with a short detour around the PSC 2 racing buoy close to the start.
The wind at the start was 4-5 knots from the North giving a gentle reach to PSC 2. Andrew Hall’s “Jackknife” and “Aurelia” were the first to round followed closely by the other contenders, “Sgrech” and “Mojito”.
The next leg to Tudwal’s was a full run in the same light airs. Luckily the tide was help the fleet in that direction. It was obvious from the start the three remaining contenders were going to cover one another. “Aurelia” being a faster boat led the procession.

The fleet were tightly bunched as they passed through Tudwal’s Sound with “Aurelia” and “Jackknife” leading. Just as the lead boats had rounded the next headland before turning for Bardsey, the wind dropped and the entire fleet stopped. Fortuitously, the tide at that stage was still pushing the boast towards Badrsey.

Progress was slow and torturous. These conditions caused a split in the fleet and particularly the “contenders”. “Aurelia” and “Jackknife” broke first into a band of wind that took them off towards Bardsey Sound. After some time “Sgrech” slipped into the wind. Lastly “Mojito” and Ken Robert’s “Kerageous” got moving but not until “Sgrech” was over 3 miles ahead!!.

This would normally be “game, set and match”, but not at Bardsey!! The north going tide had just started to sluice through the Sound as the first boats arrived. Again it was “Jackknife” and “Aurelia” who blasted through the sound only to hit a hole of no wind on the other side. “Sgrech” joined them and waited for the rest of the fleet to gather.

This “gathering” allowed the contenders to group. With “Aurelia” over a mile ahead of “Sgrech” and Mojito over a mile behind, the south easterly wind started to fill. The final leg was a loose fetch to Dun Laoghaire in the last of the north going tide. Those boats blessed with “Code Zero” sails were able to fly them for the first part of his leg and they pulled away from the remainder of the fleet. Only when the wind picked up to over 20 knots were the “Code Zero” sails dropped and replaced with jibs.

At this stage the fleet had formed into a procession across the Irish Sea. “Jackknife” took line honours followed by “Aurelia”, “Sgrech”, “Kerageous” and Mojito. “Sgrech” took Overall and Class 1 while Mark Thompson’s “Aquaplane” took Class 2 and Silver Class.

All finish times were recorded by the Yellow Brick trackers and immediately uploaded onto the leader board on the YB app. The race can be reviewed on the YB app or on the ISORA website.
Going in to the race, “Sgrech” was leading the championship and this race win secured its position as ISORA Averycrest Offshore Champion for 2016. “Mojito” took 2nd place with “Aurelia” taking third. They achieved similar places in Class 1. In Class 2 was won by peter Hall’s “Adelie” with “Aquaplane” taking 2nd place and David Simpson’s “Albireo” taking 3rd. In Silver Class “Aquaplane” took 1st place ahead of Albireo” and John Keogh’s “Windshift”.
The race sponsor, LC Tyres, provided a separate prize for the Class 1 and Class 2 winners. These prizes and the trophies and prizes for all the ISORA race will be presented at the annual dinner to be held in the National Yacht Club on the 12th November.

 

 

 

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The last race of the AveryCrest 2016 ISORA series, the “LC Tyres James Eadie Race”, takes place on Saturday 10th September from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire, a distance of about 75 miles. As happened in the last two years this very popular race has been hampered by bad weather forecast. While the forecast for the race promises to be “champagne sailing”, weather for the delivery of Irish boat to Pwllheli and the return of the UK boats after the race is less attractive.

AS the series is scored using the High Point system, this race is critical for four boats, any of whom can win the overall Avery Crest ISORA Championship and be celebrating in the NYC after the race.

Competitors and shore crew are now trying to work out the permutations of who could win and what margin they require to win the Overall Championship for the Woolf’s Head, Class 1, Class 2 and the Silver Fleet. To work out the possibilities and understand the complex tactics during the race the competitors and tacticians on-board will be looking closely at the points each boat will achieve from the scoring system for finishing positions in the race.

The following is an overview of the bespoke scoring system that ISORA has successfully used since 2011 to reflect the varying fleet sizes and to reflect the difficulty difference between races. The whole series of 12 races is scored using the ‘ISORA High Scoring System’ where the more difficult races are weighted with a factor of 1.3 for cross channel Races over 100 miles. 1.2 for cross channel races less than 100 miles. 1.1 for the Night Race and 0.9 for day races. A win in a large fleet will also score better than a win in a small fleet using the ‘CHIPS 3’ formula. Without weighting or adjustment for fleet size a win would score 100.

The fleet size entered for the race on Saturday was 27 boats and the race was scheduled with a weighting factor of 1.2. This would give the winning boat in a large fleet 120 points. Due to the changing weather forecast and other factors the fleet size has now been confirmed at 19 boats and this would give the winning boat 118.9 points.

The Overall series is won by the boat that scores most in her best five races. So if we look at the best 4 results for each boat so far (see table below results adjusted to best 4 results). Sgrech is in the best position with 450.2 points, a margin of 20 points on the next boat Aurelia with 430.2 followed closely by Mojito with 429.7, then Ruth with 428.8 and Jackknife with 389.5
For Aurelia to win she must get more than 20 points more than Sgrech
In a fleet of 19, first place will get 118.9 and 5th would get 95.0 (see results for race 5)
So if Aurelia is first and Sgrech 4th – Sgrech will win the championship.
Mojito, Aurelia or Ruth could win if Sgrech is 5th or worse whichever is in first place.
If Jackknife is first, she would end up with 508.4 so Aurelia, Ruth and Mojito would have to be 8th or worse for Jackknife to come second to Sgrech.

Points of interest –
• The current ISORA Champion is Ruth who is looking for a third win in a row having won in 2014 and 2015
• The race on Saturday is also a standalone race for the James Eadie Trophy
• There have been 54 boats taking part in one or more ISORA race in 2016 and increase from 39 in 2012 and 26 in 2009.
• Sgrech has 6 results in the top 3 and must be 4th or better to secure an overall win (and Class 1 win) if Aurelia, Ruth or Mojito are first in this race.
• In Silver Class Albiero leads Aquaplane by only 10 points – so whoever comes first will probably win!
• In Class 2 Adelie is well clear of the fleet so should confirm her overall win of Class 2 on Saturday
• The race can be followed live on the ISORA YB tracker here

ISORA Chairman, Peter Ryan said … ‘It really is all to play for in the last race with tactics and boat covering being the order of the day - Aurelia, Ruth and Mojito will want to do something different to Sgrech. Going on a flyer may work, so who does Sgrech cover and in covering one could another slip through!! The forecast will have a say in matters with very light winds now being forecasted for Saturday with lots of wind on Friday and Sunday and the winds swinging from NE to SW during the time of the race – so big opportunities to make big gains on wind shifts and “….it is not over until the fat lady sings”.

ISORA overall

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There are some familiar names at the top of the ISORA 2016 leaderboard that should produce a cliff hanger finish off Dun Laoghaire on September 10th. J109s fill the top three places and J Boats the top five overall. Former champion Sgrech skippered by Stephen Tudor from Pwllheli leads on 525.7 points, club mate Peter Dunlop is second on 520 points with defending champion Ruth (Liam Shanahan) in third place on 518.2 points.

The next and final race in the ISORA Averycrest 2016 Series is Race No. 12 from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire. 25 boats are already entered and in an exciting conclusion, the Irish offshore season is still all to play for. This race will decide the winner of Class 2, Class 1, The Silver class and the overall championship for the Wolf's Head. The results up to and including race 11 are available here.

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The ISORA / RAYC Irish Hospital Supplies Day race was the concluding race in the Viking Marine / RAYC Coastal Series and was also the feeder race to the Greystones Regatta writes Peter Ryan. It took place on Saturday 27th August.

At 10.00, 21 boats headed off towards Greystones harbour in light winds. The forecast for the day was for light to moderate SE veering S winds so the 25 mile course was set by the Sailing Committee to be: Start – South Burford (S) – West Codling (S) – Breaches Shoal (S) – Finish at Greystones. The start was provide by the Comodores of the National YC, Larry Power and of the RAYC Barry MacNeaney. The finish was provided by Daragh Cafferky of Greystones SC. The finish line was from the new clubhouse to a buoy off the pier head.

The fleet set off east towards South Burford in the start of the south going tide in light NE breeze. Chris Power-Smith’s “Aurelia” was the first to round followed closely by Keith & Rodney Martin’s “Lively Lady”. As the fleet approached the first mark the wind started to veer to SE sending the fleet beating down toward West Codling. Fickle winds in the second leg kept the fleet bunched. However, the changing tide soon allowed the leading pack to round West Codling and open the gap before the new north going tide held back the trailing boats. “Lively Lady” was the first to Round West Codling followed by “Aurelia”, George Sisk’s “WOW” and Vincent Farrell’s “Tsunami”. Paddy Gregory’s “Flashback” and Kenneth Rumball’s “Lynx” were very close behind the bigger boats.

The leg to Breaches Buoy was a dead run in light airs. The building tide made rounding that mark very tricky. Rounding the mark “WOW” lead the fleet in the close fetch to the finish.
“WOW” took line honours but could only manage 5th Overall. Paddy Gregory’s “Flashback” and local boat, Steve Hayes’s “Magic Touch” took 1st and 2nd Overall and Class 2. “Aurelia” took Class 1 and 3rd Overall. David Bolger’s “Lady Rowena” took Sliver Class.

“Aurelia” performance managed to displace Liam Shanahan’s “Ruth” from the top spot in the Viking Marine / RAYC Coastal Series and wins that Series.

The result was not significant for the Overall ISORA championship. Only 10 points now separate the top four boats. “Stephen Tudor’s “Sgrech” leads the points with Peter Dunlop’s “Mojito”, “Ruth” and “Aurleia” close behind as they head into the last race from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire on the 10th September. The high points scoring system makes it possible for any of them to capture the championship.

When the fleet arrived in Greystones the pre-regatta “atmosphere” was in full swing and it extended well into the early morning in the fantastic new clubhouse.

The race was recorded on the Avery Crest Trackers and can be viewed on the YB app and on the ISORA website 

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The offshore from Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli at 08.00am on Saturday 6th August attracted 16 boats from the 27 boats entered writes Peter Ryan. Mainly crew availability had forced boats to pull out of the race.
The course for the race was from the Start, direct to the finish with Bardsey Island not being a mark on the course.
The weather for the race area was for very light winds from the north west at the start in Dublin Bay going calm and then building from the south later in the day. The first part of the forecast was correct as the 16 boats came to the line to be started by NYC Commodore, Larry Power and RAYC Commodore, Barry MacNeaney.
There was just enough winds for the fleet to slide over the start line under spinnaker and make their way towards the Muglins. The winds were so light that some boats gybed north towards Howth in an effort to find wind.
Andrew Hall’s “Jackknife” and Christ Power Smith’s “Aurelia” led the fleet towards the Muglins pointing out the massive wind shifts and holes.
By the time that first boats had reached the Muglins the wind had shifted to the south east and increased so spinnakers were swapped for jibs. After rounding the Muglins the fleet set off on a beat towards Bardsey. While most of the fleet tacked east towards Holyhead, others tacked south to attempt to catch the forecasted new wind sooner.
The forecasted southerly wind arrive by mid-morning and was increasing to 18-19 knots. At that stage there was a good spread across the fleet. Despite the spread, the new wind appeared to arrive at all boats at the one time. The advantage the southerly boats had was the ability to sail freer in the building winds. “Jackknife” was the most southerly boat while “Polished Manx 2” took the northerly route.
As the tide turned at mid-afternoon the wind increased to 24-25 knots and the weather deteriorated. Blue skies were replaced with dull overcast and building mist that got worse approaching Bardsey.
As the fleet converged approaching Bardsey “Jackknife” was the first boat through, followed by “Lively Lady”, “Aurelia” and “Sgrech”. The latter boat was followed very closely by “Mojito” and “Ruth”.
While the three leadind boats continued their reach towards Tudwals and cracked off to a run towards the finish, the three J109’s had only boats lengths between them. For the last 18 mile there was no more than 10 boats lengths between “Sgrech” and “Mojito”.
At the finish the visibility was very poor but the Pwllheli Finishers, Gerry and Gwen Williams aided by the YB tracker finishing system, managed to record all the boats. “Jackknife” took line honours. Despite “Sgrech” finishing 8 seconds ahead of “Mojito”, “Mojito” beat “Sgrech” by 22 seconds on corrected time to take the race overall and Class 1. “Adelie” took Class 2 and “Windshift” took Silver Class.
Prior to the race the ISORA Champion “Ruth” was leading the series and heading for their “three-in-a-row”. However their 3rd place behind “Sgrech” has changed the top of the table and changed it into a tight six boat possibility. The postponement of the Dun Laoghaire Night Race, which has been postponed until Friday 19th August, will add spice to the series as it could figure in the overall points. One way of the other the Series is likely to be determined on the last offshore of the Series on the 10th September, the LC Tyres Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire Race.

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The next race in the AveryCrest ISORA 2016 series is the race from Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli this Saturday. 

The race is also the feeder race for the Spinlock IRC Welsh National Championships in Pwllheli from August 12 to 14th. The 80 miler starts at 0800hrs from Dun Laoghaire harbour.

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Due to the total lack of winds forecast in the Irish Sea around Dublin and the strong tides, tonight’s ISORA Night Race from Dun Laoghaire has been postponed until 20.00 on Friday 19th August.

The decision was taken by the ISORA Sailing Committee after referring to the Skippers of all entered boats.

For those boats who have entered the race and who cannot take on the rescheduled race, their entry fee can be transferred to any of the remaining races in the ISORA Series 2016, according to ISORA chair Peter Ryan.

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Saturday's 42–mile ISORA offshore race from Dun Laoghaire features Dublin lighthouses Rockabill and Kish and a finish back at Dun Laoghaire in time to join the apres–sail at Saturday's Royal St George Yacht Club Regatta. Download the race details below. 

 

 

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Irish Sea Offshore Racers (ISORA) boats represent 25% of today's record Round Ireland fleet of 64–boat writes Peter Ryan. ISORA will be presenting a trophy to the winner of these boats and in view of the number of ISORA boats taking part, ISORA will also present class prizes based on the ISORA class split to Class 1, 2, Silver and Two-Handed.

The ISORA boats taking part today are:

Mojito - Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox

Bam - Conor Fogerty

Lynx - Kenneth Rumball

Aurelia - Chris Power Smith

Polished Manx 2 - Kuba Szymanski

Maybird - Darryl Hughes

Wakey Wakey - Roger Smith

Euro Carparks - Dave Cullen

Lule Belle - Liam Coyne & Brian Flahive

Desert Star - Ronan O'Siochru

Albeiro - David Simpson

Pipe Dreamer - Paul Sutton

Big Deal - Derek & Conor Dillon

Adelie - Peter Hall

Applegreen for Kids - Stephen Mullaney

Tanit - Robert Float

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Innovation by necessity in windless conditions led ISORA to start Friday's race from Dublin to the Isle of Man by Virtual Race Management (VRM). The ground breaking move that brought about a silent start and finish could revolutionise race management, writes Peter Ryan.

At the start of the week when long range weather forecasts start approaching reality, the weather forecast for the race from Dun Laoghaire to IOM was indicating NE winds 20-25knots – a big bad long beat!!! Well after the tame weather conditions earlier in the season for the ISORA races, a good blast could not be unexpected. See results below. 

As the week progressed, the forecast indicated that the winds were decreasing. That was good. Then decreasing again, that was OK. Then decreasing again to nothing – that was a problem!!! By Friday morning of the race the forecasts were indicating no wind in much of the Irish Sea. Added to this woe was the fact that the tides on the day were strong springs. These are not good conditions for setting a long offshore course.

The usual start was to be provided by Commodores Larry Power and Barry MacNeaney at Pier mark. However the Committee thought that the start there would result in the fleet drifting away from the start line in the strong north going tide and ending over at Dublin Port. This would have made an unusual spectacle for the thousands of people walking the pier on that sunny evening!!!

As Afloat.ie previously reported, The best chance for wind was outside of Dublin bay. To access this, it was decided to use the finish line that was used for the last race, between North Kish cardinal and Kish.

This obviously posed logistical problems for the starters as it would not be safe to bring a RIB out the 7 miles to the start that late in the evening. These problems were overcome by ISORA by an innovative way of using the Avery Crest YB trackers that each of the 19 boats taking part were provided with. The start time was set at 20.30, the later time allowing boats who were waiting for crew off the ferry to make the extra distance to the start area. The use of the YB trackers with increased “pinging” set at the start time to accurately position every boat at the start time, monitored the start line. Amendments were issued to inform competitors that there would be no committee boat, no flags and there may be no sounds signals. The time was to be taken directly from their GPS, adjusted for BST. This would ensure that the competitors and trackers were working off the same clock.

Amendments were also issued to allow boats use their engine up to when they crossed the start line, even after the official start time. This was necessary for two mains reasons. The first was if any boat underestimated the long trek out to the start area in the strong tides and the second was ensuring that boats were not pulled across the start line by the very strong tide with no wind forecast and unable to get back. To ensure that this rule was not abused the amendment also stated that a boat using his engine after the Warning Signal must complete a 360 degree turn immediately after turning off his engine and before crossing onto the course side of the start line.
The amendments also set out the penalty that would apply to boats over the line at the start – one minute would be added to the boat’s finish time for every second it was over the over the start line after the start time had been reached as recorded by the YB tracker. This is very onerous and kept all boats clear of the start line.

The innovative “Silent Start” worked well despite the total absence of officials on the line. To assist the competitor the Race Organiser, who was taking part in the race, called the count down – 5,4, 1 and Go. No boats were recorded by the trackers as being over the line at the start.

The finish at Douglas was also unmanned but monitored by the tracker. The finish line was a transit from the signal light at the end of the pier through the No2 buoy and extending the full width of Douglas Bay. Even using human monitoring, it would be extremely difficult to accurately take finish times, particularly at night or poor visibility.

This is no problem to the Avery Crest YB Trackers!!! The line was set out by YB and the “pinging” increased as each boat entered a selected zone before the finish line. The YB system records the time that every boat crosses that imaginary finish line. Trial on this last season showed the difference to sight times to be no more than +/- 5 seconds. There was no need for boats to call the “Finisher” and all finishes were recorded with the same accuracy.
This system worked well with good comparisons between the YB intercept time and those declared by each of the finish boats as part if their mandatory declaration text after every race.
This innovative use of the Avery Crest YB trackers can also allow the formation of a finish anywhere and can allow the shortening of an offshore race in the situation where weather conditions require, on life or mental safety reasons???? Example – Severe weather warning not forecast or the total lack of weather not forecast. The line can be set anywhere and identified by two waypoint coordinates. “Innovation by necessity”.
Anyway that description of ISORA’s innovative race management, was by way of introducing the report on Race 5 on Friday evening from Dun Laoghaire to Douglas IOM. There did not appear to be any wind at the start line but miraculously enough wind appeared just before the start to move the fleet off the start line and on towards Douglas.
The wind from the west was very light and fickle but with the strong tide pushing the fleet north, the effect of what wind was that it gave the boats great speed over the ground. These condition held for most of the evening but things started to happen – and I don’t know what?? The fickle winds veered to the north in line with the forecast and kept the boats moving. Then the fickle winds veered again to the north east – so far so good. As the fleet was 20-30 miles off the finish – all of a sudden – Nothing!!! The wind dropped completely but the tide was still pushing boats north easterly towards the IOM.
The leading and faster boats, “Aurelia”, “WOW”, “Lively Lady” “Lynx” and “Jackknife” all slipped across the finish line in Douglas Bay with the last of the north going tide. Those poor unfortunates who had not finished by then were unmercifully treated by the new south going tide.

Jackknife approaching the finish

Jackknife approaches the finishline

In the fickle winds no progress could be made in the 2-3 knot tide that raced along the south east coast of the island. If boats could not get into bays for refuge, they were whisked away by the tide, back into the Irish Sea. Those who could crawl into the many bays along the IOM coast fared no better. While they were not dragged back into the Irish Sea, they could not get out of the bays and remained on hold until the next north going tide. These frustrating conditions forced many boats to retire while other held their positions and proceeded to the finish line, 6 hours later.
Andrew Hall’s “Jackknife” took line honours arriving at 09:52 on Saturday morning but failed to take Overall or Class 1. Chris Power Smith’s “Aurelia” snatched those accolades from “Jackknife”. Peter Hall’s “Adelie” took Class 2 and Derek & Conor Dillon’s “Big Deal” took the 2-handed and the Silver Class.
After 5 races the existing ISORA Champion Liam Shanahan “Ruth” still holds poll position with “Adelie”, “Aurelia” and Peter Dunlop’s “Mijito” very close behind. The National YC is leading the Team Prize chased by Pwllheli SC. All exciting stuff!!
The arriving boats were treated to a complimentary breakfast prepared by the IOM Sea Cadets. Unfortunately for those boats that did not get in at the first tide, it was going to be brunch or even dinner.
The next race is on the 2nd July, the Adrian Lee & Partner’s “Lighthouse Race”. This is a day race that will be run in conjunction with the Royal St. George YC regatta. This race is also part of the Royal Alfred YC Viking Marine Coastal Series. It is hoped that all ISORA boats will also enter the RStGYC regatta and take part in their great social activities after the race. It is also hoped that new boats entering the RStGYC regatta will opt to take part in this ISORA / RAYC coastal race as well. The course for the race will be selected to ensure that all boats taking part will finish in time to take full part in the regatta’s social program. The Adrian Lee & Partners “Lighthouse Race” trophy will be presented at the RStGYC’s regatta prize giving that evening.

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