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#isora – There are two ISORA night races scheduled for this Friday night one on either side of the Irish Sea. The Dun Laoghaire Night Race (ISORA - Race 8a) is organised by the National Yacht Club in conjunction with the Royal Alfred Yacht Club Offshore Series.  On the Welsh side, the Pwllheli Night Race (ISORA - Race 8b) is organised by Clwb Hwylio, Pwllheli Sailing Club.

Sailing Instructions for both races are attached.

Published in ISORA

#isora – The weather forecast was depressing for ISORA's  2014 KONA Offshore Perpetual Trophy Race on Saturday 26th July from Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli writes Peter Ryan. The only conversation during the pre-race get together in the NYC on the previous evening was "how can any boat manage to get to Pwllheli with that forecast?" The ISORA Sailing Committee decided after extensive deliberations to shorten the course to go direct to Pwllheli.

All the forecast for the entire week prior to the race was predicting little or no winds for the entire weekend. As the week went on, a small glimmer of hope started to appear that there would be some freshening of the condition late on Saturday evening.

The weather forecast appeared to deter those boats whose crew had anything planned for the following day and early into that week? Of the 19 entries for the race 12 came to the start line. As a fitting reward for those who race offshore the Gods provided 5 knots of and easterly breeze to help the fleet out of Dublin Bay. At the time of the start line there was a strong flooding tide pushing the boats away from the line. Eventually all boats crossed and the "Starter", NYC Commodore, Larry Power could stand down.

The route from the start was a beat out of Dublin Bay. The winds were very fickle as the fleet beat their way against a strong tide towards the Muglins. "Sgrech" was to first boat to draw blood by negiotiating the fickle winds and taking an inside route to avoid the tide emerged to be the first boat out of Dublin Bay. Even at that stage the entire fleet was spread in the north south line leaving across most of the mouth of the bay.
After that, I have absolutely no idea what happened!!!

Some of the fleet appeared to take a southern route, beating towards Bardsey while other found themselves heading north being taken by the tide. There was little or no wind anywhere. The wind rose and fell all through the day with progress being made when the wind was there and the boats drifting back when the wind fell. There were times when one could view the sea conditions from Wicklow head to Howth head and there was not a wisp of wind around. Despite the clear conditions the fleet dispersed and only immediately adjacent boats were visible.

Leader out of the Bay, "Sgrech" took a southerly path with fellow J109s, "Mojito" and "Jetstream" and "Adelie" following. "First of September" was there also but taking a midway route. Current holder of the KONA trophy "Ruth" and "Jackknife 2" tacked out and disappeared, not to be seen again.

It was a long frustrating day with the wind rising and falling, veering and backing, jibs and spinnakers and anchors up and down. And then came the night!!! With a clear sky and a most wondrous display of stars, masthead lights started appear as the fleet neared Bardsey. By this time the tide was ebbing and all baost took the route through the Bardsey Sound.
"Ruth" took a huge lead and finished with line honours miles in front of the "Jackknife 2". Next over was "First of September" and "Sgrech" followed immediately by the Class 2 Sigma 33 "Elandra". "Mojito" was next to cross the line in dying wind conditions for the ISORA finisher and ISORA Vice Chairman, Gerry Williams. The last boat finished after 10.00 on Sunday morning.

"Ruth" took the Overall win and retained the KONA Offshore Perpetual Trophy and also tool Class 1. "Elandra" after sailing a great race took Class 2 and Silver Class.

Pwllheli Sailing Club who had been expecting the fleet in the previous evening had breakfast and refreshments available for all the finishers. All boats finishing were welcomed with much appreciated refreshments served from a PCS inflatable.

The race Sponsors KONA have created a photographic competition where all photographs taken during the race will be judged. All entries should be emailed to [email protected] and also copied to me [email protected] . All entries will also be posted on the ISORA website picture gallery.

At this stage in the Series "Ruth" is in a commanding lead and only needs to take care during the last three races to win the coveted "Wolf's Head Trophy".

They will be mindful of this position after their experience in the last race when "Sgrech" overtook them within 3 miles of the finish of the last race to steal the Series from them. "Ruth" will be hungry for success after also being robbed of the Round Ireland Race win when within 10 miles of the finish.

The next race is the ISORA RAYC Night Race on Friday 8th August. This is always a popular race with the course heading south around North India and along the well lit Wicklow coastline.

Published in ISORA

#isora – Race 7 of the ISORA series takes place tomorrow with the race from Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli. This race is being sponsored by KONA and is also the feeder race to the Welsh IRC Championships to take place in Pwllheli on the following weekend.

A fleet of 17-18 boats are expected to take part in the race. How the fleet handles the forecast light winds in the early morning could be the deciding factor in the overall placing. "Ruth", who came second in the recent Round Ireland race will be taking part. He is also leading the Overall ISORA Series and needs a good result in this second last offshore to ensure his placing.

KONA are presenting their KONA Offshore Perpetual Trophy for the race. Coincidentally "Ruth" won this event last year. As it is the feeder race to the Pwllheli event the Royal Dee Yacht Club is also presenting their Tidal Cup to the overall winner. The winner of this race will collect three trophies.

It is hope that many of the ISORA boats will take part in the IRC Championship. Many of them took part in the recent ICRA Nationals. ICRA are presenting a trophy to the boat with the highest combined points in both events. This is an innovative idea to further develop the relationships between both sides of the Irish Sea. Pwllheli are in an advanced stage of construction of their Sailing Academy and are likely to be a dominant player the sailing in the Irish Sea. The first part of this work - the 40 dedicated racing berths on the marina will be available for the ISORA finishers this weekend.

Published in ISORA

#CelticRegatta - The inaugural Spinlock IRC Welsh Championships hosted by Pwllheli Sailing Club (PSC) is less than a fortnight away, with the Irish expected to make a strong showing in a competitive fleet over the weekend of 1-3 August.

And with a few free berths available in the harbour's new pontoons, there's still a chance to get involved in what's shaping up to be a strong weekend of racing.

Last year's successful J Cup at PSC was a springboard to launch the first 'Celtic Regatta', with the added award of the Spinlock IRC regional title.

The event will also showcase the recently completed visitor and event pontoons which form part of the £8.3m investment in the Welsh National Sailing Academy and Event Centre.

The Welsh Championships will be the first major event to make use of the new facilities, a year in advance of the Fireball Worlds scheduled for 17-28 August 2015.

Among the Celtic Regatta's supporters is the Irish Cruising Racing Association (ICRA), which has just completed its own successful championships hosted by the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.

ICRA chairman and event organiser Norbert Reilly commented that the two events strengthen the ties already established across the Irish Sea. Indeed, a trophy will be awarded to the competitor with the best combined results in the two events.

And that's not to mention the Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli ISORA Race on 26 July, a feeder race to the Welsh Championships that counts as the seventh race in the ISORA 2014 series sponsored by Kona.

"The ISORA fleet regularly visits Pwllheli either for a race start or finish and the Welsh welcome is always warm and friendly," said ISORA chairman Peter Ryan. "The new facilities in Pwllheli will make the sailing waters easily accessible and a great destination for visiting offshore fleets, flotillas and for keel boat regattas and championships."

Among the other competitors readying for the regatta is Richard Fildes, a seasoned campaigner in Cork Week and Dun Laoghaire, notably successful in his recently sold Corby 37 Impetuous.

His home waters are in Cardigan Bay, and he says he's looking forward to competing in the Welsh IRCs in his recently acquired Corby 33 Impostor - as well as return the favour of the many great Irish welcomes he's received over the years.

Fildes and the rest will race a programme designed by international race officer Mike Butterfield, who heads the IRC Welsh Championships race management team and promised to provide the best possible competition on the water.

"The bay offers ideal race management opportunities with no commercial shipping to worry about and the tidal influence is not significant," said Butterfield.

Meanwhile, PSC Commodore Stephen Tudor - a former Irish Sea ISORA Champion himself - expressed his pride in his clubs hosting of the first Welsh IRC Championships and said he is "delighted to see competitors already entered from Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland and Liverpool in addition to the local competitive fleet.

"Entries are still being received and we still have free berths available for the event on the new academy pontoons."

Published in ISORA

#isora – Three different Beneteau models filled the top three places in ISORA's 35–mile offshore day race on Saturday. The light air race from Dún Laoghaire to Tailor's Rock, Loughshinny and back off Dublin's East coast was won by the Beneteau First 40.7 Tsunami skippered by ISORA commodore Peter Ryan of the National Yacht Club. Second in the 13–boat fleet was the Royal Irish Yacht Club's Mermaid IV, a Beneteau First 50. Third was First of September, a First 43.5. Full results available to download below as a png file.

The next ISORA race is the KONA offshore Race from Dún Laoghaire to Pwllheli on 26th July. This is also the feeder race for the IRC Welsh Nationals on 1st to 3rd August.

Additional report by Peter Ryan, ISORA

With many of the ISORA regulars recovering after the recent Round Ireland race and also taking part in Cork Week, 13 of the 15 entries came to the start line at Pier Mark for the ISORA Lighthouse Day Race.
The forecast for the day was light winds from the south strengthening around midday and reducing again in the evening and veering west. The original plan for the course was to round or pass the main lighthouses around Dublin – Baily, Rockabill, Kish, Muglins and Dun Laoghaire lighthouses. This would have produced a course of 45 miles. When the course was being decided just prior to the pre-race briefing, Dublin Bay was like a mill pond with little or no wind. Another factor in deciding the course was the strong tides on the day – HW at 12.20.

The Sailing Committee set the course to give a shortened race of 35 miles using Tailors Rock Cardinal just north west of Lambay instead of Rockabill. The course was:
Baily (P) – Tailors Rock (S) – Kish (S) – Muglins (S) – Finish at Dun Laoghaire – (35 miles)

Commodore of the NYC, Larry Power, sent the fleet of 13 boats off under spinnaker in 10 knots of wind towards Baily Lighthouse at 10.00. The wind was as per the forecast, from the south giving a dead run to Tailors Rock. The fleet was lead past Baily lighthouse by "Mermaid IV" with "Tsunami", "First of September" and "Adelie" in close contact. As the fleet passed by Ireland's Eye and Howth the winds became fickle with a slightly steadier wind seeming to exist out to sea.

As the fleet approached Tailors Rock, "Mermaid IV" was the first to round. As a celebration of their rounding they sent one of their crew up to the top of the mast, probably looking to find more wind!!!! This event was photographed and the picture is similar to the famous "Hugo Boss" photograph of the mast walker.

At this stage the entire fleet were well bunched and the race was there for anyone to take. ISORA debutante "Hypermene" a Mini Transat 6.5 was expected to dominate the race but Skipper, Graham Barker, had gear difficulties and was unable to live up to expectations in this race.

The leg to Kish was a beat and the leading boats "Mermaid IV" and "Tsunami" extended their lead ahead of the following fleet. The winds had started to strengthen as forecast and varied from 12-15 knots from the south.

The leg to the Muglins was a tight reach and by that time "Mermaid IV" was well clear of "Tsunami". However, the "Dalkey Island Curse" was present to stop the progress of "Mermaid IV". She passed the Muglins and appeared to sail into the "hole" and then made little progress against the strong south going tide at the rock. The wind also backed to south east and reduced producing another dead run to the finish. "Mermaid IV" opting for the line close to the land to avoid the tide, found only fickle winds. "Tsunami" approaching the Muglins observed the difficulties "Mermaid IV" was having and gybed immediately out towards Baily and steadier winds but stronger tide after rounding Muglins. This move paid off for "Tsunami".

This was not the end of the problems for the leading boats and the following fleet. A "hole" had also formed around the finish area at the pier heads and what winds were there veered and backed continuously. The bad luck had not ended for "Mermaid IV" who parked in front of the finish line for several minutes before crossing and taking line honours. "Tsunami" who benefitted from "Mermaid's" experiences crossed the line very shortly after in a filling breeze taking Overall and Class 1. "First of September" took Class 2 and "Big Deal" took Silver Class. The last boat crossed the finish line at 17.22 after a very pleasant race.

The usual "Apres Sail" took place in the NYC.

The next race is the KONA Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli Race on the 24th July. This is the feeder race to the Welsh IRC Nationals in Pwllheli from 1st -3rd August. The sponsors of the race KONA are providing the perpetual KONA Offshore Trophy for the winner of the race and the winner also receives a replica of the trophy to keep. The Royal Dee Yacht Club have also provided a trophy, "The Tidal Cup" for the winner of the feeder race.

It is hoped that as many of the ISORA boats take part in the Welsh Nationals. KONA will be providing a crew bus back to Holyhead to take those participants in the KONA feeder race and who are leaving their boats in Pwllheli for the IRC Nationals. A crew bus will also be provided to take those same crew back to Pwllheli on the following Thursday evening for the IRC event. The KONA prize giving for the feeder race will take place on the Thursday evening of the IRC Nationals when the crew bus from Holyhead arrives. A reception is also being provided for those who took part in the feeder race.

I hope to see all the ISORA boats supporting PSC for the IRC Nationals. This promises to be a great racing and social event.

Published in ISORA

#rdirl – A father and son duo from Listowel in County Kerry are taking on the double-handed challenge in this year's Round Ireland Yacht Race. The pair Derek Dillon and son Conor, a 19–year–old Univesity of Limerick student, will race the family Dehler 34 'Big Deal' that is based on the Shannon Estuary.

The Foynes Yacht Club pairing have been racing together inshore for over  ten years, and have competed at numerous ICRA's, Cork Weeks and Calves Weeks. The pair are sponsored by leading marine supplier, Union Chandlery.

They recently made the move into offshore racing, enjoying recent success in multiple ISORA Qualifying races. 

'We look forward to the competitive adventure associated with doing such an endurance race, double- handed', father Derek told

The pair also plan to compete in the Volvo Cork Week double-handed and compete fully-crewed in Cork Dry Gin Calves Week, in which they have finished first in class in the past two consecutive years.

Published in Round Ireland

#ISORA – The Offshore Racing Weekend, a higlhight of the 2014 ISORA calendar, started with a fast and furious 'midnight' race from Liverpool to Douglas with a fantastic spinnaker leg for the entire 75 mile voyage.  Results are available to download below. The first boat in was Jackknife who finished approximately 0200hrs on Saturday morning followed rapidly by the rest of the fleet and the last boat finishing approximately 0630hrs.

Bada Bing (Andy Napper, Andy and Annie Farrell) were overall winners again this year. Baba Bing, a Humphreys 30, was previously known as Men Behaving Badly, and subsequently Hot Rats and was built at Firmhelm in Pwllheli.

Published in ISORA

#isora – ISORA sailors are in bullish form after a strong turnout last night for the 97th race from  Liverpool to Douglas in the Isle of Man. Organisers of the Offshore Racing Weekend are hoping hoping that the 25–boat fleet for the first race to Douglas will increase for the Douglas to Dún Laoghaire race tomorrow, Sunday.

The 75–mile race started last night at 18.30 and is sailed under the burgees of Tranmere Sailing Club and Liverpool Yacht Club.

The second offshore race starts on Sunday morning at 0900hrs from Douglas to Dun Lagohaire, a distance of approximately 80 miles. 

The offshore weekend is a new Irish Sea initiative bringing together boats from across Northern Ireland,  the Isle of Man, England, Wales and Ireland. The venture has  won the support of Hudson Wight who are providing prizes for the weekend offshore series.

This race is also a feeder race for the ICRA championships in Dun Lagohaire next weekend.

Published in ISORA

#isora – Utilising its virtual waypoint rule for the grey and windy conditions that existed at the time of yesterday's start, a 20–boat ISORA fleet headed out of Dublin Bay on a long port hand windward leg bound for Holyhead. The course to eb sailed was 1. Start 2. Virtual Mark - N 052 54.000 W 005 15.000 and 3. Finish at Holyhead

Potent J109 entry Mojito from Pwllheli Sailing Club in North Wales made the most of the harsh north easterly even as the fleet exited the Irish coast on the 50–mile voyage.

It is the second tough race for the hardy ISORA men and women who faced similar conditions in the race to Dun Laoghaire a fortnight ago.  As reported previously, the weekend fixture doubled as an important Round Ireland race qualifier. Ireland's big offshore race from Wicklow starts on June 28th next. 22 boats are entered to date.

Although two J sisterships Ruth (Liam Shanahan) and Sgrech (Stephen Tudor) finished third and fourth respectively, second overall was taken by Shannon estuary yacht, Big Deal, a class 2 entry from Foynes Yacht Club. The Dehler 34 – sponsored by Union Chandlery – has relocated to the east coast to participate in ISORA and the next month's ICRA National Championships in Dun Laoghaire. 

Full ISORA Race 3 results available to download below as a jpeg file.

A group of ISORA boats, inlcuding the winner Mojito, are now on passage from Holyhead to Liverpool in order to position for a summer highlight of the ISORA season.

Report on Race 3 – Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead by Peter Ryan

After the last two gruelling races the weather was not looking kind for the Race 3 from Dun Loaghaire to Holyhead. Northerly gales for the previous two days whipped up the sea to such a state that berthing for the visiting competing boats at the NYC prior to the race was impossible.
The weather forecast for the race was not much better. Northerly possibly going north easterly later force 4-6 was predicted. The Sailing Committee discussed the options for the course and decided to use a "Virtual Mark" for the first time in an ISORA race.
The course was set to go from the start at Pier mark direct to the virtual mark located at N 052 54.000 W 005 15.000 – east of Wicklow and approximately mid way across the Irish Sea. Boats rounding the virtual mark would then go direct to Holyhead.
The tide was ebbing south at the start of the race. However, technical issues with the starters RIB caused the race to be postponed for approximately 50 minutes.
20 boats came to the start area for NYC Commodore, Larry Power, to send them on their way. The first leg was a tight reach which kept much of the fleet bunched. The weather forecast, while the direction was as predicted, the wind strength only varies from 8 to 14 knots. With the tight reach and the ebbing tide, the fleet sailed directly for the virtual mark.
There was a 90 degree rounding at the mark and it would appear that all boats were meticulous in the care taken to round the mark. The leg to Holyhead was a beat. As the first boat "Jackknife" rounded the mark followed by the J109's "Ruth", "Mojito" and "Sgrech" closely bunched and "Axiom" and "First of September" all round together. At that stage the tide was still flowing strongly south as the leaders beat towards Holyhead against the tide.
At this stage the fleet split and the new flooding tide helped the fleet towards Holyhead. "Jackknife" lead the fleet towards Holyhead with the three J109s bunched together behind.
Strange things happen at the "Stacks" on the approach to Holyhead. As the leaders approached the Stacks in 18 knots of wind, it was hoped that the last of the flooding tide would shoot the leaders up to the finish line. This did not happen. Serious back eddies at the Stacks slowed the fleet down and caused mayhem between the battling J109s. "Jackknife" held pole position. "Ruth" who was ahead of "Mojito" and "Sgrech" lost their lead after a huge header forced them to tack. None of the nearby pursuant boats experienced the change in wind direction and "Ruth" slipped behind "Mojito" and back towards "Sgrech". It was "Mojito"s turn to experience the affects of the Stacks when they sailed into a hole and practically stopped. Just for a short moment things were looking good for "Sgrech" as "Ruth" powered up with their huge Code 0 was being forced under the Stacks and into the same hole. This was not to be, as the hole disappeared just a quickly as it appeared and the two J's roared towards the finish under their Code 0. "Sgrech" with no Code 0, was unable to match their speed.
"Jackknife" crossed the finish against the strong tide getting line honours followed 20 minutes after by "Mojito" pursued by "Ruth" three minutes behind and "Sgrech" just over one minute behind them. At this stage the weather had deteriorated and all boats finished in lashing rain and strengthening winds. The following boats had to deal with the higher winds and poor visibility. However, the wind for the last boats to finish had disappeared causing them even more difficulties in trying to plug the strong south going tides. The last boat finished at 01.47.
"Mojito" took overall and Class 1. ISORA new comer "Big Deal" a two handed boat from Foynes Yacht Club took 2nd place overall and 1st in Class 2. "Yahtzee" took the Sliver Class.
The Predict Wind Tracker was used with 18 of the boats registering. The result was relatively successful but with some snags to be sorted out. The race can be followed at this link:
Early the next morning many of the fleet headed off the Liverpool for the Offshore Weekend that starts with the "Midnight Race on Friday the 6th June from Liverpool to Douglas in the IOM. This race is followed by a race on the Sunday 8th June from Douglas to Dun Laoghaire. It is hoped that these two races will be well supported and will give more good night racing experience to those taking part in the Round Ireland race.

Published in ISORA

#isora – It's a busy weekend for offshore sailors with both British and Irish crews heading on separate key races counting towards overall series points in the RORC and ISORA programmes but as well as the forthcoming fixtures the most pressing matter for offshore sailors this week is the hope of finding four fellow racing sailors alive in the Atlantic Ocean. As Afloat reported last night, renewed calls have been made for authorities to resume a search for a Brtitish crew from a 40–yacht returning from racing in the Caribbean.

On the UK South coast, a fleet of 40 yachts from five nations will compete in RORC's Myth of Malham Race while on the Irish east coast up to 20 are expected on ISORA's 100–mile race from Dún Laoghaire to Holyhead sailed under the burgee of the National Yacht Club.

One boat that will miss the start is Isle of Man regular, Polished Manx, a Sigma 33 that was dismasted and rescued a fortnight ago in a punishing race off Holyhead. It had been hoped that the yacht would be back on the startline on Friday but instead the aim now is to be ready for the Liverpool race on May 28th. Still not a bad turnaround!

The exact Irish Sea course to be sailed on Saturday will not  will be published until the eve of the race, next Friday evening, and may include one of ISORA's innovative new virtual marks. 

The race, which is also one of the qualifying races for next month's Round Ireland Race from Wicklow, will start in Scotsman's Bay in Dublin Bay between the DBSC 'Pier' mark and an adjacent committee boat flying a NYC burgee.

According to the Sailing Instructions, (downloadable below as a pdf file) the finish line off the Welsh coast shall be between the end of the Holyhead breakwater and the Clippera Buoy – 0.6 miles off pier head, bearing 067(T).

Published in ISORA
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