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ISORA Race 6 was originally planned as an offshore race from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire, but had to be re-planned to start and finish in Dun Laoghaire, due to ongoing infrastructure issues at Holyhead, following last years devastating damage to the marina writes ISORA's Mark Thompson.

The build up to the race gave the race committee the usual course setting conundrums with light winds forecast, and tides to consider. The forecast seemed to consistently indicate a light SW wind building to a stronger 10 - 12kt westerly as the day progressed

After much deliberation, a course was agreed as follows:

Start (DL Pier Mark)
Muglins (S) and keeping the ISORA Dublin Bay Virtual mark to port (this mark is to keep the course away from the TSS)
West Codling (p)
South Codling (p)
East Codling (p)
Kish Lighthouse (p)
ISORA Dublin Bay VM (s)
Finish (DL Pier heads)

A distance of 43 miles, with hopefully two hours of south going tide to help the fleet on its way. 

ISORA tracker

17 boats came to the line, in 4-5 knots of SE breeze, giving a beat down to West Codling. With two distinct groups at either end of the line, with Mojito choosing the pin and Jackknife the committee boat, the south going tide making it a challenge to stay above before the gun, at least two boats got recalled. Once away the fleet made steady progress past Muglins, taking advantage of the weak tide, with three tactical choices splitting the fleet - go into Bray head and remain inshore to stay out of the tide when it changed, and hopefully benefit from the wind veering, go offshore towards the banks, where there can be less tide but more wind, but risking getting headed with the wind shift, or stay close to the rhumb line. After a debate on Jac Y Do, we felt inshore was risky with potentially less wind, and the boat feeling “sticky” in the light airs, so we decided to take the least distance option. As the tide changed, we encountered the usual lack of apparent wind and stalled off Greystones, for what seemed an eternity in the company of Joe Conway (Elandra).

Looking at YB, it appeared that the brave group of four boats lead by Andrew Halls Jackknife made very good progress inshore, with the offshore group not getting anymore significant wind.

Fighting the tide and with the wind building a little, we finally started to make better progress towards West Codling, with the wind veering towards the SW, and were encouraged by the sight of the offshore group not too far ahead. Once around South Codling, it was a relief to hoist the A2 for a great ride to East Codling, with just a couple of gybes (and of course a mandatory forestay wrap and sheet change). Gybing round Codling East and a shy kite reach to Kish. We were starting to see 12-15 knots of wind now but decided to hold the A2 as long as we could, probably benefitting from about an extra 3/4 knot compared with the Jib. Watching “More Mischief” bravely carrying his A2, we were pleased to have a wide transom! Ultimately the time came to drop the kite for the last mile to Kish and tack towards the virtual mark.

With the wind now building now to 13-18kts at times, it was a three tack sail into the sunset and the welcoming Pier Heads of Dun Laoghaire Marina and the finish.

Always a case of “what ifs” and the conditions not initially suiting the wider transom boats, it was a very fine tactical race by Andrew Hall (Jackknife) taking line honours, Mojito taking the class 1 and overall win, skippered today by Anthony Doyle, and Windjammer taking class 2 and second overall.

A tough race, but with a great welcome in the National Yacht Club for the usual ISORA post-race party.

Race management by Grainne Ryan with Anita Begley as Safety officer. Jackknife continues to lead the series from Windjammer. The next race is the D2D race on June 12th

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Andrew Hall's Pwllheli Sailing Club based J125 Jacknife will start Saturday's 60-mile race six of the ISORA calendar as the overall fleet leader.

Originally Scheduled as a Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire race this will now be a Dun Laoghaire to Dun Laoghaire offshore race that carries a weight of 1.2. This race is the second offshore race in the ISORA 2019 series. The warning signal is at 0755hrs.

The course has been published as follows:

  • Start at DBSC Pier mark (as defined)
  • Muglins (S) [leaving ISORA Dublin mark WP to (P)]
  • West Codling (P)
  • South Codling (P)
  • East Codling (P)
  • The Kish Light (P)
  • ISORA Dublin Bay Mark WP N53 17.110 W6 00.100 (S)
  • Finish - at Pier Heads (as defined)
Published in ISORA
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During the build-up to the Global Displays Welsh Coastal Series ISORA race 5, a changeable forecast showed winds potentially less than 5 kts and as much as 12kts in Cardigan Bay, giving the race committee a challenge to set a course catering predominantly for the class 2 boats, with big spring tides to contend with. With more gradient wind forecast to the west, a course was set to Gwylan Islands, close to Bardsey sound, and return to a mark outside of the St Tudwals Islands, a distance of 30 miles. 

The fleet was a little depleted with several boats in Ireland, sailing in race 4, so just five boats left the Plas Heli pontoons for the midday start, with the wind just indicating 5kts. The forecast showed an increase after midday and for about four hours.

Luckily as the start time approached, the wind built to a steady 10 kts from the NNW, which looked favourable for a fast race.

Race Officers Robin Evans and Brian Metcalf started the fleet from the PSC bridge, and it was the two Sunfast 3200’s “Jac Y Do” (Mark and Jo Thompson) and “Zig Zag” (Pete Ashworth) that got way together at the front of the pack with a fetch down to PSC1 a turning mark just after the club start line. “Jac Y Do” alongside and to windward of “Zig Zag” had a premature kite deployment when setting the tack, giving visibility issues for the helm, and whilst hoisting was unable to fully bear away due to “Zig Zag” having spinnaker issues of its own and holding its course. After a tense 30 secs or so, “Jac Y Do” was able to settle down with an A2 reach and run towards St Tudwals sound, pinching as much to windward to give a better angle through the sound where the winds can be notoriously fickle. The shenanigans at PSC1 allowed Andrew Halls J125 “Jackknife” to overtake the two Sunfasts, and start to open up an early lead. Once through the sound and turning more to the west towards hells mouth, the wind had built up to a steady 12 kts, and as the apparent wind came forward, and with a need to head a little inland, it was time to drop the kite and fetch the Gwylan Islands under white sails.

Keith Greenwood’s “Hullabaloo Encore” and Simon Windle’s “Shaula” were also making excellent progress, just behind the two SF3200’s,  both under spinnaker.

Jay Y DacDoClass two winning crew Jac Y Do crew off Hells Mouth Glen Pritchard

First to round Gwylan was “Jackknife” a mile ahead of “Jac Y Do” and “Zig Zag”, almost alongside each other. “Jackknife” relished the conditions, flying an A5 to start really pulling away from the fleet, with the small boats holding the A2 back toward Abersoch Bay. “Jac Y Do” briefly flirted with a code zero, but finally settled on the Jib for the fetch to the finish after passing Carreg Y Trai, the final mark of the course. With the wind holding at a steady 9-10 kts the fleet all finished reasonably close to together. “Jackknife” took line honours, class 0 and overall, 6 minutes ahead of class 2 winner “Jac Y Do” 

After racing crews had a great social evening in the Pwllheli Sailing Club  Club bar at Plas Heli. The next race sees the fleets from both sides of the Irish Sea combine for an offshore race starting at Dun Laoghaire on May 25th

Results and information at www.isora.org

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The first Irish Coastal race of the Viking Marine ISORA Coastal Championship 2019 took place on the 18th May with a starting time of 10.00. 21 boats from the entry list of 22 came to the start line in Dun Laoghaire.

Setting the course was difficult for the Sailing Committee as very light northerly winds were forecast for the race. To add to the difficulty, strong spring tides were also predicted. With this combination, it was decided that the course should try and accommodate the tide by heading north at the start and south later in the race. It had been hoped that the course would be 40 miles by heading to South Burford, Lambay Island and back by the Kish Light. Instead, Lambay was substituted by using Howth Yacht Club’s “East” racing mark and North Kish Cardinal mark was substituted for the Kish Light.

When this course was first published Dublin Port requested that South Burford not be used as it meant that the fleet would be crossing the TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme) at South Burford. To comply with their request, ISORA has now created a permanent virtual mark, “ISORA Dublin” mark, just south-east of South Burford. It is now intended that this virtual mark will be used for all future ISORA races, acting as a Turning mark for boats entering or leaving Dublin Bay. It is also proposed that all TSS’s will be no-go areas in future races.

ISORA courseThe above course provided a 30-mile race

The wind at the start was as forecast – 4-7 knots north-easterly. The start at 08.00 was provided by NYC’s Barry MacNeaney and Grainne Ryan at the DBSC’s Pier Mark.

ISORA Coastal raceA packed 21-boat start line in a light easterly for the Viking Marine Coastal Race start on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat.ie

coastal race ISORAFive minutes after the start Frank Whelan’s “Eleuthera” (second from right) was the first to break from the pack on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat.ie
The fleet of 21 boats slowly moved east off the start line in a tight reach towards the new ISORA Dublin mark. Frank Whelan’s “Eleuthera” was the first to break from the pack but was soon overtaken by Ben Shanahan’s “Ruth”, Chris Power-Smith’s “Aurelia” and Lindsay Casey’s “Windjammer”. Just south of these, Vincent Farrell’s “Tsunami” was sneaking along toward the first mark.

“Ruth” and “Aurelia” rounded the first mark and hardened onto a beat north toward HYC “East” mark. In an effort to minimise the effects of the tide and to seek stronger winds many of the fleet tacked out to sea while the remainder stayed close to the land. It was on this leg that the wind started to play tricks. On the outer east side of the course, the wind was northeast and varying while on the inside of the course the winds was north-west and strengthening. At one stage boats on each side of the course were sailing the same heading while on opposite tacks!! The stronger winds on the inside were sufficient to counteract the strong tides against those boats close to Howth Head and these boats gained hugely.
These wind conditions changed the whole dynamic of the race and allowed the smaller boats to take control. “Eleuthera” rounded the HYC East mark first followed by George Sisk’s “WOW” and then by “Ruth”. However, “Windjammer” was close by to the leading pack.

The leg to North Kish was a run south in the ebbing tide. When the first of the fleet rounded North Kish they had to beat for the ISORA Dublin turning mark and towards the finish line while the boats further back took advantage of another massive wind shift and they had a fast reach past the turning mark to the finish line.

While “Eleuthera” took line honours, “Windjammer” took the Overall win and Class 2. Second place went to another Class 2 boat, Leslie Parnell’s “Black Velvet” and Class 1 “Ruth” took third place. Class 0 boats only managed to get on the leader board at 9th position with Paul O’Higgins' “Rockabill VI”. Sean Hawkshaw’s “Wardance” took Silver Class. 

After the race, many of the crew headed to the National Yacht Club for the usual “Apres Race”.

On the same day, a coastal race was held in Pwllheli. At this stage in the series Andrew Hall’s “Jackknife” is just ahead of “Rockabill VI” in the leadership table for the Wolf’s Head. 

The Race Organiser for Race 4 was Grainne Ryan. Anita Begley was Safety Officer. The finish was automatically recorded using the YB trackers.

The next race is the second Offshore of the season and takes place on Saturday 25th May with an 08.00 start from Dun Laoghaire. The original race schedule was for the start to be in Holyhead and finish in Dun Laoghaire but Holyhead was unable to accommodate the start. The start and finish is now in Dun Laoghaire and it is hoped that the race will be 60 miles.

Full results and the YB tracking of the race are on the ISORA website here

Published in Viking Marine
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Dun Laoghaire sailors will get a double helping of coastal races this month with Viking Marine's ISORA coastal fixture set for next Saturday, a week after DBSC's own coastal race held on Saturday, results here.

The 40-mile ISORA race will have a start at 0955 and a finish off Dun Laoghaire Pierheads and the course will be announced on Thursday.

It is the second of five races in the Viking Marine Coastal Series from the National Yacht Club.

As Afloat readers will recall, Storm Hannah led to the cancellation of the first coastal of the season and a fortnight later Royal Irish's Paul O'Higgin's took early honours with a win for Rockabill VI in the first offshore of the season into Holyhead.

In Wales, the ISORA fleet in Pwllheli will sail the second of four races in the Global Displays Coastal Series on Saturday that is billed as 'one long bay race'.

Published in ISORA
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The first offshore race of the ISORA Offshore Championship 2019 took place on the 4th May with a starting time of 08.00. 19 boats from the entry list of 20 came to the start line in Dun Laoghaire writes ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan

The course was decided early by the Racing Committee due to the long term forecast of northerly winds. The forecast promised gusty and cold conditions in the Irish Sea. With Races 1 & 2 blown out due to Storm Hannah on the previous week, the fleet needed some “comfort racing” conditions. It was decided that the race would be from the start, direct to the finish in Holyhead harbour leaving South Burford to Port – approximately 55 miles.

Rockabill Windjammer 1557The J97 Windjammer alters course to make the pin end of the start line off Dun Laoghaire Photo: Afloat.ie

The weather forecast for Race 3 was predicting northerly 15-20 knots however the winds picked up in the afternoon and veered more north-easterly.
The start at 08.00 was provided by NYC’s Barry MacNeaney and Larry Power at the DBSC’s Pier Mark. Difficulty in distributing trackers to boats at the line caused the race to be postponed for 5 minutes.

ISORA Dublin Bay 2029The forecast promised gusty and cold conditions in the Irish Sea

Sigma 33 ISORA 2075Great sailing at the start of the first ISORA offshore race of 2019 Photo: Afloat.ie

Technical issues arose with some boats even before leaving Dun Laoghaire harbour. Paul Sutton’s new J109, a replacement for “Pipedreamer” that was damaged on the Holyhead marina failure, developed a slight rudder problem and he decided to pull out of the race. Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox’s, “Mojito” form Pwllheli, the current ISORA Champion, developed a rig issue just at the start and also had to retire.

Early in the race John Hughes “Rebellion” and David Bolger’s “Lady Rowena” retired and returned safely to Dun Laoghaire.

Those less experienced with offshore racing would suggest that the course selected would just be a “soldier’s race”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The direction of the wind tested crew who attempted to fly Code 0s. The apparent wind direction was too far forward for those boats on the rhumb line to fly anything but a jib. Decisions had to be made whether pushing up north of the rhumb line early to allow the use of the Code O later in the race also taking into account the strong south going tides that will be present as the fleet approached Holyhead.

ISORA Race 2108The course selected suggested a 'solider's race' but that is not what transpired as the fleet closed on Holyhead Photo: Afloat.ie

As the fleet crossed the Irish Sea, Andrew Hall’s “Jackknife” led the way followed closely by Chris Power-Smith’s “Aurelia”, Brendan Coughlan’s “YoYo” and Paul O’Higgins “Rockabill VI”.

Jackhammer J125 ISORA 1598Andrew Hall’s J125 Jackknife Photo: Afloat.ie

The lead position on IRC changed constantly during the race amongst these four lead boats. However, it was “Rockabill VI” ability to fly a Code 0 for the last hour and a half of the race that got them over the line to take the race Overall and Class 0.

Rockabill JPK10.80 ISORA 1693Rockabill VI's ability to fly a Code 0 for the last hour and a half of the race that got them over the line to take the race Overall and Class 0 Photo: Afloat.ie

YoYo Sunfast3600 ISORA 1722Brendan Coughlan’s Sunfast 3600, YoYo Photo: Afloat.ie

Aurelia J122 1987Chris Power-Smith’s J122, Aurelia Photo: Afloat.ie

Class 1 was won by Nigel Ingram’s “Jetstream” and Class 2 was won by Irish Offshore Sailing’s boat “Desert Star”. They also took the two-handed prize.

Nigel Ingrams J109 Jetstream 1904Class One winner, Nigel Ingram's J109 Jetstream Photo: Afloat.ie

After the race, many of the visiting boats tied up at the Holyhead Sailing Club who had put on entertainment for the arriving crew.

The Race Organiser for Race 3 was Grainne Ryan. Anita Begley was Safety Officer. The finish was provided by Dawn Russell of Holyhead Sailing Club.

The next two races, as part of the Viking Marine and Global Display Coastal Series, are on the 18th May. These ware coastal races with one starting and finishing in Dun Laoghaire and the other in Pwllheli. It is hoped that great numbers will take part in these races as “champagne sailing conditions” have been booked for the events.

Full results and the YB tracking of the race are on the ISORA website here

Rockabill JPK10.80 ISORA 1628Paul O’Higgins' Rockabill VI Photo: Afloat.ie

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Race No 3. in the 2019 ISORA Series is on this Saturday 4th May from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead where a warm welcome awaits after the devastation there following Storm Emma in March 2018. 

This is the first of the 'Offshore' qualifying races and the forecast is good - well better than last weekend when Storm Hannah disrupted Race 1 (cancelled) and Race 2 (postponed)!

The course for Race 3 will be published this Thursday 2nd May and it marks the return of the fleet to the North Wales Harbour.

Supplemental Sailing Instructions are downloadable below.

Holyhead MarinaThe ISORA finish line shall be a line between the green light at the “centre elbow” of the Holyhead breakwater and the Quarterdeck of Holyhead Sailing Club, bearing approximately 226(T). Boats should keep clear of the rocks immediately inside the end of the breakwater

ISORA's Hon Sec Stephen Tudor has issued an appeal to the fleet for last entries. "We urge everyone who have not yet entered to do so. The entries will affect the class splits - so please enter now" 

The online entry form is available here.

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Due to the uncertainty of the track and conditions of Storm Hannah, the ISORA Sailing Committee have decided to cancel Race 1 scheduled for tomorrow morning.

It was a difficult decision for the Sailing Committee, drawn from all sized boats from both sides of the Irish Sea, but the safety of crew and boats is of paramount important to ISORA.

Race 2 will be rescheduled for another weekend as that Global Display Coastal Series has only 4 races, with 3 to count. The Viking Marine Coastal Series had 5 races with 4 to count. This will be amended to 4 races with 3 to count.

The next race will be the offshore next Saturday 4th May from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead.

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Viking Marine will sponsor the ISORA Coastal Series again this year for the third year running writes Ian O'Meara.

I have always loved offshore sailing. To this day, I remember my first offshore in 1980 onboard Barry O'Donnell's Oyster Yacht 'Sundowner'. Great sailing and great fun brings out the best in all of us. 

As Afloat previously reported, the Coastal series kicks off this weekend and I will be onboard Paul and Finnoula O'Higgins' JPK 1080 'Rockabill VI'.

The 2019 series promises to be an exciting one with ISORA and Afloat keeping everyone up to date on racing Instructions and results.

Wishing everyone a great series and stay safe. On that note, Spinlock has launched the new Deckvest Vito Offshore 170n Hammar Lifejacket at €260.00 and with harness €289.95

VITO Front side three quarter webDeckvest Vito Offshore 170n Hammar Lifejacket

If you need any assistance with safety equipment for the Coastal Series please do pop into us.

Editor's note: It's clear that Ian O Meara's love for Oyster Yachts continues, this year O'Meara was appointed the Oyster Representative in Ireland

Published in Marine Clothing
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ISORA has a full and exciting schedule of races in its 2019 series with a total of 16 races which will include the two Coastal Series, Night Races and, of course, its traditional Offshore Races. The series has been designed to combine with many top-class regattas and the classics races in the Irish Sea catchment area.

The 2019 series starts with the Viking Marine Coastal Races in Ireland and the Global Display Coastal Race in Wales, both on Saturday 27th April.

The coastal race weekend will be followed by the first Offshore race on 4th May from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead, an important return after the storm disaster there in 2017.

ISORA have again this year teamed up with other races in the Irish Sea and arranged the racing so that deliveries are minimised. This includes the Classics; Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race (D2D) and the 100th edition of the Liverpool to Douglas Midnight Race.

The Royal Dee Yacht Club, in conjunction with ISORA are running the RDYC Irish Sea Offshore Championship again this year as part of the VDLR. This includes the Race from IOM (Race 9) and the four coastal races in the VDLR.

ISORA has also been working with ICRA to set up a good programme of day offshore races that will be exciting. Quite a lot of effort and planning has been made to offer boats that are more interested in offshore day racing a quality programme of demanding day races. More Information about the ICRA Championships (7th - 9th July) here.

The full ISORA 2019 Schedule of 16 Races is available downloadable below as a pdf.

Published in Offshore
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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