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It’s indicative of the pace of Irish sailing in 2016 that for anyone taking an overview, it takes a bit of an effort to remember what the weather was like for much of our spring, summer and autumn. Admittedly, here in Afloat.ie we may skew recollections, as we’ll always go for a sunny photo or video if at all possible. Yet the cascade of memories of success and memorable events at home and abroad has been at such a pace that even if the sun wasn’t shining or the wind wasn’t obliging, the recollections are good. W M Nixon tries to make sense of the highlights.

If 2016 wasn’t the greatest Irish sailing season ever, then we’ll be happy to take on board proposals arguing the case for other years. And in the fantastic golden year of 2016, the supreme moment was on the evening of Tuesday August 16th, when the entire nation at home – or at least the entire sailing nation – was glued to a television screen of one sort or another, following every twist and turn for Annalise Murphy in the brief but intense drama of the final Olympic Medal Race for the Women’s Laser Radials on the flukey yet undeniably glamorous waters off Rio de Janeiro.

As the weeks and months have passed since, we’ve forgotten that for Annalise to win the Silver Medal, it was a pilgrimage of sorts to put right the pain of missing out so closely on a medal at the 2012 Olympics. We’ve also forgotten that the tension was exacerbated by the fact that the Medals Race should have been held on Monday August 15th, but was blown out to cause an agonizing 24-hour postponement. And we’ve largely forgotten that only three months earlier, the prospects hadn’t seemed at all good for Ireland’s best hope, with a poor performance at the Worlds in Mexico.

Yet we remember just enough of that situation to put into perspective the ten weeks transformation that Annalise wrought within herself. With her dedicated support team, she ensured that she’d become a hugely improved sailor, a fitter athlete and psychologically in a very good place, as she took on the Olympic challenge on August 8th with a cool confidence which in due course received its proper reward.

Thanks to the close focus which was put on the outstanding Murphy medal, we are well aware of the breadth and depth of the backup team which helped to make it all possible. But in the end it was just one lone sailor entirely on her own who was trying to carve out the right route through extraordinarily difficult sailing conditions, racing against the very best in the world. So it is entirely right and proper that Irish sailing will remember 2016 primarily as the year of Annalise’s Silver Medal.

With a peak like this, a manageable review of the season can only re-visit the highlights, so if your favourite event doesn’t come up in the next thousand or so words, that’s the way it when the Olympics come up, which mercifully is only once every four years.

A year hence, we’ll be looking back at a more normal season in all its variety, but for now some further thoughts on the Rio experience fit the bill. For the fact is, the entire Irish sailing team put in a decent showing. Best of the rest of them were Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern in the 49er. Had the chips fallen slightly differently, they might have come home with a medal themselves. But as it is, the fact that they had two race wins would have been a matter of added excitement in any previous year.

Seaton McGovern ISAF Worlds 2014 Day 8Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern in the 49er recorded two race wins in the Rio Olympics

As for Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey in the 49er FX, they had one of their best regattas, very much at the races for most of the time, while the very young Finn Lynch – youngest sailor racing the Olympics – may not have been on his best form in the Laser Men’s, but his snatching of the Irish place in this class as late as May 18th in Mexico was testament to his grit, as he still hadn’t fully recovered from an injury sustained in an accident while out on some training cycling.

In fact, if there’s one little lesson which really came home from Rio, it’s the need to keep your athletes in one piece all year round. Our young international-level sailors can be an exuberant bunch, sometimes training and post-event relaxation becomes horseplay, and it was notable that some significant longterm campaigns were knocked off course by silly injuries.

Thus in looking back at the way Annalise’s success was celebrated in the heart-warming welcome home party at the national Yacht Club on Thursday August 26th, a notable recollection is that in thanking all those who had helped her to the Medal, Annalise particularly mentioned the physiotherapist Mark McCabe. For it seems that whatever training and guidance Mark McCabe has been giving her over the years, she has never been hampered by any serious injury or temporary disability.

This may seem a slightly odd point to be making in an annual sailing review, but there’s a lesson for sailors at every level in this. So if 2016 also emerges as the year in which we all learned the benefits of keeping ourselves in good shape and following best practice in sailing fitness, then it will have been be a very good year indeed.

But as the Olympics didn’t take over the stage until the second week in August, an impressive amount of sailing had already been registered. Indeed, it went right back to January when Doug Elmes and Colin O’Sullivan – who sail from Howth but Doug’s from Kilkenny and Colin is from Malahide – returned from Malaysia with the Bronze Medal from the 420 Worlds.

sailing 20163 A Bronze Medal for Ireland with Doug Elmes and Colin O’Sullivan in the 420 Worlds in Malaysia

Then in February offshore racing came centre stage with the RORC Caribbean 600 seeing Conor Fogerty of Howth with his Sunfast 3600 Bam! continuing a remarkable programme of Transoceanic criss-crossing (some of it single-handed), the Caribbean 600 “diversion” producing a win in Class 3.

sailing 20164Conor Fogerty’s Bam! on the way to the class win in the RORC Caribbean 600 Race

Into April, and attention focused on the Irish GP 14 Association’s superb group effort in getting 22 boats to Barbados for the GP14 Worlds 2016. Merely to achieve that was quite something in itself, but then Shane McCarthy of Greystones, crewed by Andy Davis, emerged as the new World Champion. That provided extra impetus back home as the rapidly developing Greystones Sailing Club worked towards its new clubhouse, which came on stream in May with the hosting of the Cruising Association of Ireland’s Start-of-Season rally.

sailing 20165Shane McCarthy of Greystones wins the GP14Worlds in Barbados

With the proper season in Ireland under way, June’s highlight was clearly the Volvo Round Ireland race from Wicklow, but before that ICRA had to get in their three-day Nationals at Howth, and despite light winds the programme was completed, winners including John Maybury’s J/109 Joker II in Division 1, Dave Cullen’s Half Tonner Checkmate XV in Div. 2, Ken Lawless and Siobhan McCormack’s Quarter Tonner Cartoon in Division 3, and Colm Bermingham’s Elan 333 Bite the Bullet in Division 4.

rambler wicklow headWith a hugely talented crew, George David’s Rambler 88 dominated the mono hull classes in the Volvo Round Ireland race

In the Volvo Round Ireland Race starting June 18th, for the leaders at any rate lack of wind was definitely not a problem. For those biggies, it was a cracker. And as an event, the Round Ireland is back and then some, with 63 entries including George David’s wonderful Rambler 88 and three MODs which sailed the entire course within close sight of each other, and records tumbling at every turn.

Rambler had a brilliant a crew of international talents, and they were able to take every last advantage of the fact that the weather Gods – or more properly the wind Gods – smiled on them. They took monohull line honours in a runaway record time, and then achieved what many would have thought almost impossible for a boat with a stratospheric rating - they won overall on IRC as well.

As for the MOD 70s, with Damian Foxall with Sidney Gavignet on record holder Oman Sailing, and Justin Slattery with Lloyd Thornburg on Phaedo III, there was added home interest, particularly as both Irish stars admitted they’d been so busy all over the world building their sailing careers that they were Round Ireland virgins……

And what a race the trio of trimarans served up for those virgins…... Within reach of the finish in the dark, Team Concise was in the lead in a fading breeze, but Oman Sailing went a little bit offshore and found a fresher air to come in on port tack at first light and nip into the win.

sailing 20167Oman Sailing and Phaedo 3 at the start of the Volvo Round Ireland Race. Oman snatched the multi-hull lead in the final mile of the race to win and overturn the record she already held.

euro car parksThe J/109 Euro Car parks (Dave Cullen), seen here with Mark Mansfield on the helm shortly after the start, was the only Irish boat to take a class win in the Volvo Round Ireland race

As for any all-Irish contenders, the best performance was put in by the J/109 Euro Car Parks (Dave Cullen), the only Irish class winner, a good marker early in the season, for at the beginning of October the temporary Euro Car parks, long since reverted to her proper name of Storm, won the Irish J/109 Nationals for Pat Kelly and his keen crew from Rush Sailing Club.

July had three major highlights – Volvo Cork Week at Crosshaven, the Topper Worlds at Ballyholme, and the KBC Laser Radial Worlds at Dun Laoghaire. While the numbers involved in the two dinghy events were stupendous, it was Volvo Cork Week which captured public imagination in an unexpected way with the inaugural Beaufort Cup series.

sailing 20169Joker II, skippered by Commandant Barry Byrne, became the first winner of the Beaufort Cup.

Racing for the trophy named after the famous Irish admiral and maritime researcher, the Beaufort Cup started out to be an event with an international flavour between crews from national defence forces. But then its remit was broadened to include personnel from emergency and security services with maritime links, and in the end 32 owners generously made their boat available for something which perfectly captured the mood of the moment. The amount of goodwill generated was beyond measure, and the win by an Irish Defence Forces crew skippered by Commandant Barry Byrne sailing John Maybury’s J/109 Joker II has given a visionary event an excellent inauguration.

The Topper Worlds at Ballyholme looked like providing an Irish win until the last day, when a fresh northerly swept in with real Belfast Lough vigour to make it a big boys’ game, but young Michael Carroll from Cork hung in gamely and finished fourth overall, while Sophie Crosbie from Crosshaven was first girl and 7th overall.

sailing 201610The Topper Worlds at Ballyholme had one of its most international fleets yet, including a large Irish contingent and a group from China.

With a total fleet pushing towards the 350 mark, the KBC Laser Radial Worlds in Dun Laoghaire were almost beyond comprehension, but a pattern was discernible, and what was most encouraging was that at least five young Irish sailors were serious contenders at the very top level.

However, one was head and shoulders above the rest in every way, and this was Ewan MacMahon of Howth. He was right in there pitching for the Gold in some ferocious racing, and though he concluded the series with the Silver Medal, this was serious stuff and the world quite rightly sat up and took notice of a remarkable and developing talent.

sailing 201611Ewan MacMahon borne ashore after winning the Silver Medal in the KBC Laser Radial Worlds in Dun Laoghaire.

sailing 201612The fleet of 76 boats in the 29er British Championship at Torbay saw the win going to Harry Durcan and Harry Whittaker of Cork.

Came August, and just two days before the Olympics took all attention, 29ers took to the seas off Torbay in Devon for the annual British Championship, 76 boats in all and just one of them Irish – Harry Durcan and Harry Whittaker of Royal Cork. They won overall by two good clear points, an achievement so brilliant that further comment is superfluous.

Then in August we had of course all sorts of local festivals such as Calves Week out of Schull, but everyone’s thoughts were on the Olympics, with normality only returning after an afternoon and night of celebration seemed to have just about the entire Irish sailing community – and many non-sailors too - gathered in Dun Laoghaire and around the National Yacht Club to welcome home Annalise and her medal.

Cruising being something undertaken at its own pace, reviews of what has been achieved are a matter for more leisurely contemplation in the depths of winter. But in late August a real text-book cruise drew to its close when Neil Hegarty of Cork sailed his Dufour 34 Shelduck into Baltimore after an efficient Atlantic crossing from Newfoundland, with Shelduck blithely coping with two mid-Atlantic gales, one of Force 8 and the other hitting Force 9. There have of course been many other Atlantic crossings during 2016 involving Irish boats, but this successful conclusion of a detailed Atlantic circuit cruise of several years duration really was a model of its kind, a cruise to be savoured.

sailing 201613Neil Hegarty’s Dufour 34 Shelduck during her Atlantic Circuit cruise

Other cruises and new additions to the fleet were to be savoured as the Cruising Association of Ireland held its end-of-season rally in Dublin’s River Liffey in mid-September, with a goodly fleet providing the annual entertainment of all the opening bridges being opened at the same time in a neatly choreographed exercise, which succeeded brilliantly in bringing a sense of the sea into the heart of the city.

sailing 201614“A sense of the sea into the heart of the city” – the Cruising Association of Ireland hold their Three Bridges Rally in Dublin’s River Liffey.

Meanwhile in nearby Clontarf the 70th Anniversary of the iconic Irish Dinghy Racing Association 14ft OD Dinghy was celebrated in style with a series of well-attended events driven on by the energy and enthusiasm of Ian Sargent, who saw his efforts well rewarded with a memorable Gala Dinner for the class in Dun Laoghaire at the Royal St George Yacht Club, where the concept of the IDRA 14 was first aired way back in 1946.

sailing 201615Living history. The newest IDRA 14 no. 166 (left) built 2016, and the newest Dragonfly sister-ship from Waldringfield in England, also built 2016, were the stars of the show at the IDRA 14th 70th Anniversary Regatta at Clontarf

As for those who like it offshore with a bit of competition, 2016 was a year of further growth for the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association, with the season neatly rounded out by a points championship settled in the final race, the overall win going to Stephen Tudor’s J/109 Sgrech from Pwllhei.

The further we got into the Autumn, the better the weather became. So although the All-Ireland Junior Championship at Schull at the end of September raced in the Dave Harte-developed TR 3.6 dinghies was put through successfully despite some very mixed weather in the rest of the country, with Johnny Durcan of Royal Cork the new champion, a week later in the first weekend of October the All-Ireland Seniors were sailed at Crosshaven with racing in the new Phil Morrison-designed Ultra variant of the National 18, and they had weather that was almost too summery on the second day.

sailing 201616Johnny Durcan (Royal Cork) became the new All-Ireland Junior Champion at Schull at the end of September.

sailing 201617The historic salver – 2016 All-Ireland Champion Alex Barry with ISA President David Lovegrove (left) and Royal Cork YC Admiral John Roche. The annual championship for the salver will be celebrating its 70th anniversary next year.
But a breeze filled in and it ended up as an absolute cliffhanger, with so many boats tied on points at the end that they’d to go through several permutations of countback to get a result, with RS 400 champion Alex Barry of Royal Cork and Monkstown Bay the Champion of Champions 2016.

October saw Irish interest swing towards the Mediterranean and the annual Rolex Middle Sea Race from Malta with extra Irish interest in three boats in the 107-strong fleet. Conor Fogerty’s ubiquitous Bam! appeared yet again, and though it wasn’t her most successful race, the points accumulated shunted her up to 3rd overall in the RORC Class 3 Points Championship 2016 despite doing only five RORC races, but the Caribbean 600, the Volvo Round Ireland, and the Rolex Middle Sea race all carry extra points weighting.

A better Middle Sea result was obtained by the XP 44 Xp-Act, which came second in Class 4 with her crew including the RIYC’s Barry Hurley and the Irish National Sailing School’s Kenneth Rumball. But our outstanding result was the clear overall win taken by Vincenzo Onorato’s Cookson 50 Mascalzone Latino, navigated with pure genius by international star Ian Moore, who hails from Carrickfergus.

Mascalzone Latino Yet another major win for Ian Moore – and yet another major win for a Cookson 50. Mascalzone Latino on her way to overall victory in the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2016. Photo Rolex

This rounded out a remarkable year for the Moore family, as his mother Wendy was Commodore 2016 in Carrickfergus Sailing Clyb, where they were celebrating their 150th Anniversary (as was the Royal Ulster YC across Belfast Lough in Bangor) with events at Carrickfergus including a Hilditch Regatta for boats constructed by the legendary Carrickfergus boatbuilder. He created many vessels of distinction including the 1898 Howth 17s, who in turn arrived in Carrick to help celebrate a year which was to finish in such style in Malta.

Except it hasn’t quite finished yet. Even as we write this. Cork Institute of Technology are in the top three in the 36th Student Yachting World Cup which concludes today in Las Rochelle. And then tomorrow the irrepressible Enda O’Coineen with Kilcullen Voyager will be one of 29 starters along the French Biscay coast off Les Sables d’Olonne, where the Vendee Globe gets under way before a crowd of tens of thousands. Irish sailing in 2016 is truly a complex and endless tapestry………

Howth 17Homecoming……the Howth 17s Aura, Leila and Zaida return to Carrickfergus to join in the celebrations of Carrickfergus SC’s 150th Anniversary. The first five Howth 17s were built in Carrickfergus by John Hilditch in 1898. Photo Trish Nixon

Published in W M Nixon

#ISORA - More than half of respondents to the recent Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA) fleet survey consider themselves regular offshore racers.

The online questionnaire, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, aimed to determine whether ISORA is 'providing the racing that will inspire and excite existing and future sailors', as well as solicit suggestions for possible changes and improvements.

In terms of activity, the survey was good news for ISORA chiefs.

Of the 115 completed responses, 53% considered themselves to be regular offshore racers and 30% to be regular coastal racers.

Indeed, more than three-quarters - 77% of the total - claimed to have raced in 2016.

Some 40% of responses came from self-professed owner/skippers, while 57% were crew. Almost two-thirds of respondents have been taking part in ISORA races for between one and five years, while 16% have been racing with ISORA for 10 years or more.

However, ISORA was disappointed to find that only 2% of responses came from shore crew or supporters, indicating room to grow those aspects of the association's running of events.

"it is apparent from the results that more work is required to bring crews and skippers together," the survey report states.

The survey confirmed Dun Laoghaire's dominance as the hub for the ISORA fleet, with 89% confirming that the port is accessible for boats and crews, and 86% satisfied or very satisfied with the social and racing aspects of the port.

A clear coastal axis from Howth to Greystones was revealed, as well as an east-west axis to Holyhead (66% for accessibility and 48% for social and sailing) and Pwllheli (46% and 53% respectively). Douglas on the Isle of Man scored 29% for accessibility and 50% for social.

ISORA also identified that boats based to the north of the east-west axis wish to race further north, while those to the south of the axis wish to race further south.

Responses from those who have stopped racing or competing regularly with ISORA were low, but added to an emerging pattern of changing work or family circumstances, as well as a lack of challenge from the race schedule in some cases.

Still, most replies cites the 'camaraderie, challenge and fun' as their biggest 'likes' of their experience with the association.

The full survey report is available to download below.

Published in ISORA
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Offshore sailing body ISORA that goes from strength to strength on the Irish Sea, with 54 boats racing in 2016, is surveying competitors in an on-line questionnaire for competitors (past, present and future) to make sure it is 'providing the racing that will inspire and excite existing and future sailors' whilst keeping within the ISORA ethos.

ISORA chief Peter Ryan says this is ''particularly important now that the fleet is growing with a wide variety of types and sizes of boats'. ISORA, Ryan says, is also 'aware of the need for a forum for suggestions and opinions bearing in mind that the owners and competitors are from all corners of the Irish Sea'.

ISORA has embraced cutting edge of modern race management techniques this season with a world first for a virtual start on Dublin Bay and it is something ISORA wishes to develop 2017.

Competitor boats are located in many ports in Ireland, Wales, Isle of Man and England and consequently competitors, crew and skippers will not have many opportunities to share their thoughts and ideas for offshore and coastal racing in the Irish Sea catchment area.

In framing the survey (see link below) the race organisers are considering the different boat types and varying boat sizes competing in ISORA races with IRC numbers ranging from 1.152 to 0.831 – the equivalent of 16 minutes in an hour or almost 7 hours in a 24–hour race!

Despite this ISORA are expected to deliver fair racing where each competitor has a real chance of winning. ISORA has attempted to provide this by applying appropriate class splits and fleets not only arranged by size (IRC) but by type. 'We now need to know if the Class structure is correct and will be relevant to the competitors in 2017' says Ryan.

Take the survey here

 

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Champions Johnny and Stephen are Sailors of Month
Looking back on a September packed with success stories, singling out a Sailor of the Month was always going to be an impossible task — so our judges picked two title-winners, and for the second time this year one of those is an overseas raider. Read why we thought Laser Radial ace Johnny Durcan deserved the inshore award, while Phwelli’s Stephen Tudor had to be recognised for his offshore achievements.
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In a year in which one of our 'Sailor of the Month' awards went to America’s irrepressible George David for his fabulous overall victory in the Volvo Round Ireland Race 2016 in Rambler 88, we see no reason at all why we shouldn’t extend the same accolade to another overseas sailor who has not only achieved regular success in Irish waters during the past season, but over the years has contributed enormously to the pleasure everyone gets in sailing the Irish Sea.

You don’t get to win the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association Annual Championship without being a steady and regular competitor and a very capable skipper, and Stephen Tudor of Pwllheli has been all of those things for many years, rounding out a busy 2016 season by winning the ISORA Championship in the last race of all with his J/109 Sgrech.

He has done this with a crew drawn from both sides of the Irish Sea. Indeed, it is one of the most attractive features of ISORA that several boats are based on crew panels from the two sides of the channel. The Brotherhood of the Sea is alive and well in ISORA, and when the fleet is racing to or from Pwllheli, they are well aware that in a different shoreside guise, Stephen Tudor has played a key role in transforming the waterfront and marina facilities in that pleasant port on the Snowdon Riviera where he has been a member of the Pwllheli SC since the age of eight, helping to make him a very worthy Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month (Offshore)” for September 2016.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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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.

 

 

 

Published in ISORA
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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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