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The Royal St. George Yacht Club J122 Aurelia continued her winning offshore form in the ISORA Series today by winning Race 13 from Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay to Greystones Harbour in County Wicklow.

The Chris Power Smith skippered entry, that is vying for the overall ISORA title as well as the Viking Marine Coastal Series, saw off a strong challenge today from Poolbeg J109 Roger Smith as well as a challenge from Frank Whelan's all-conquering Grand Soleil 44 Eleuthera from Greystones Sailing Club.

A 23 boat fleet had a hectic start at the pin–end of the line in Dun Laoghaire before the reach south at 10 am this morning in the 24-mile race.

Making a return to ISORA racing after his retiral from the Round Britain and Ireland Race was Howth Yacht Club's Conor Fogerty in his Class II entry, the vintage Silver Shamrock. 

See photos below

ISORA Start 0027(Above and below) There was a schmozzle at the pin end (DBSC Pier Mark) of the start line Photo: Afloat.ie

ISORA start 0028

ISORA Eleuthera 0284The Greystones crew of the Grand Soleil 44 Eleuthera Photo: Afloat.ie

ISORA Eleuthera 0243Eleuthera set a staysail to work out an early on the water lead Photo: Afloat.ie

ISORA WOW Farr 42 0080WOW Farr 42 flies a huge asymmetric spinnaker in the gusty northwesterly Photo: Afloat.ie

ISORA Samaton 0564Robert Rendell's Samatom, an XC45 from Howth Yacht Club Photo: Afloat.ie

ISORA Jeanneau Sunfast 3600 0554Two Sunfast 3600s – Hot Cookie Sunfast 3600 (John O'Gorman) to weather and Brendan Coghlan's YOYO (also below) from the Royal St George Yacht Club Photo: Afloat.ie

Yo Yo 0498

ISORA Flashback 0185Paddy Gregory's First 34.7 Flashback from Howth Yacht Club Photo: Afloat.ie

ISORA Waker Wakey 0128Poolbeg entry Waker Wakey is skippered by Roger Smith Photo: Afloat.ie

ISORA Aurelia 0146Chris Power Smth's race winner Aurelia was helmed by Duncan Lyster of the Royal St. George Yacht Club Photo: Afloat.ie

ISORA Aurelia Wakey wakey 0113Aurelia chases Wakey Wakey Photo: Afloat.ie

ISORA Silver Shamrock 0065Conor Fogerty at the helm of Silver Shamrock Photo: Afloat.ie

ISORA fleet 0097(Above and below) The 23-boat ISORA fleet head south from Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat.ie

ISORA fleet 0068

Top Five 
1 IRC Class 0 Aurelia IRL 35950 J122 Royal St George Yacht Club Chris & Patanne Power Smith
2 IRC Class 1 Wakey Wakey GBR 5909R J109 Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club Roger Smith 
3 IRC Class 0 Eleluthera NED 7025 Grand Soleil 44 Race Frank Whelan 
4 IRC Class 0 WOW IRL 4208 Farr 42 Royal Irish Yacht Club George Sisk 
5 IRC Class 0 Lively Lady IRL 1644 First 44.7 Royal Irish Yacht Club Derek Martin 

ISORA Full results here

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The 12th race in the ISORA Offshore Series took place on Saturday the 11th of August, with 11 of the 13 entered boats coming to the start for an 08.00 gun writes ISORA Chief Peter Ryan. Many of the regular competitors were elsewhere engaged, with this month’s busy event calendar. Bam (Read about her retiral here) and AJ Wanderlust taking part in the Round Britain and Ireland Race. Others that did and did not take part were still suffering from the August “crew blues”.

The forecast was for moderate South Easterly winds steadily building throughout the day and veering to strong Southerly. It was decided that the course would be direct to Pwllheli with Bardsey Island not a mark of the course. The fleet was set on it’s way to windward from Pier Mark at Dun Laoghaire by race officers Larry Power and Barry MacNeaney of the National Yacht Club.

The first leg toward Bardsey was a beat against strong north going spring tides. The tide was due to change south at midday.

“Jacknife” and “Aurelia” lead the fleet out of the bay taking the middle course followed by “Mojito” and “Wakey Wakey”. “Mojo” and “YoYo” took the more Northerly side followed by “Andante”. Meanwhile “Sgrech J111” was heading South through Dalkey Sound taking the Southerly track to take advantage of the stronger tide later in the race and the forecast Southerly shift in the wind.

The race developed into a long one sided beat and a short tack towards Bardsey and the race was on to arrive before the tide turned in the notorious sound where a late arrival can be greeted by adverse tides of 6 knots and big seas. The wind strengthened to 25 to 30 knots and all of the forecasted rain arrived. There was little change in the positions across the Irish Sea. The wind never veered, as the fleet battled to windward most with one or two reefs and heavy weather jibs, and needing to tack down the welsh coats towards Badrsey Sound. Strangely, the south going tide never took hold with the wind preventing the tide gaining strength. This did not help the fleet, particularly “Sgrech J111” who had banked on this tidal assistance.

“Aurelia” lead the fleet through the sound followed by “Jacknife”. Next were “Sgrech J111” and closely behind, “Mojito”. At this time the tidal gate at Bardsey was closing fast. The first boats passed through the sound with slack tide closing out the following boats with the renewed strong north going tide. T

With all to play for and the race far from over, the closely spaced boats fought for advantage as they fetched to the headland at Trwyn Cilan where at last sails could be eased for a reach home to Pwllheli, through the sound at Tudwals Island. The winds were a steady 28 knots at this stage and gusting over 30. “Aurelia” whilst lightly crewed decided not to hoist a spinnaker but continued in the lead with a J2 at 10 knots while the chasing boats hoisted spinnakers bravely to try and catch up. “Jacknife” hoisted a code zero and made speeds of over 17 knots, whilst “Mojito” and “Sgrech J111” hoisted an A5. “Aurelia” held onto the lead and crossed the line first after 11 hours of racing to narrowly win IRC overall by only 3 minutes from “Mojito”, with “Sgrech J111” in third. “Aurelia” also took line honours and the Cruiser Zero Race. “Mojito” won the Cruiser One Race. “Windjammer” won the Cruiser Two Race.

All the very wet participants headed to the marina for complimentary berthing assisted and marshaled by Richard Tudor and up to the Plas Heli sailing centre where they received a wonderful Welsh welcome from Heidi and her staff with hot food and a few cold drinks. As crews sat tired, battered and bruised in the bar, there was a quite satisfaction in having taken part in what turned out to be another classic ISORA.

The results for this race has concentrated the Overall Series on existing Champion “Mojito” and “Aurelia”. These are followed closely behind by “Rockabill VI” and “Wakey Wakey”. While anything is possible, the two leading boats will have to battel out the last race to secure the coveted Wolf’s Head Trophy. The other two boats can in theory take the title but it will depend on a large fleet taking part producing additional points in the high point system.

The next race is the feeder coastal race to Greystones on the 25th August. The final offshore is the James Eadie race from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire on the 8th September.

Full results can be found here

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The 11th race in the ISORA Offshore Series took place on the 28th July with an 08.00 start from Dun Laoghaire writes Peter Ryan. 20 boats were due on the start line for the race but poor weather forecasts and a problem with adequate crewing levels for the race resulted in two boats withdrawing.

The 60-mile course was from the normal start at Dun Laoghaire – South Burford (P) – M2 Weather Buoy (P) – Rockabill (P) – Rowan Rocks (S) and to a virtual finish line set up just west of Rowan Rocks. M2 Weather buoy is located in the middle of the Irish Sea east of Lambay Island.

The weather started to deteriorate before the race when 20 Knots of wind built rapidly while boats were still in the marina. The weather forecasts for the race area varied widely. While Met Eireann was forecasting SW 7-8 for the general sea area north of Howth, other more site-specific weather forecasts were talking about SW 25 knots veering W and decreasing 15 knots. Unfortunately for the fleet, MET Eireann was more accurate.

CourseISORA's 60–mile Course 11 Screenshot:YB

At the start, the wind was 25 knots SW and gusty, as the fleet headed over the start line set by past Commodore of the NYC, Larry Power. Some boats attempted to set spinnakers for the short reach to South Burford but were very quickly knocked over. Boats started to retire very shortly after arriving at the race area.

By the time the fleet rounded South Burford and went on the 22–mile dead run towards M2 the winds had increased to 30 knots with stronger gusts. Nobody attempted to fly spinnakers and most boats had reefed mains.

Andrew Hall’s “Jackknife” led the charge from start to finish and Paul O’Higgins’s “Rockabill VI” soon took their place on the rollercoaster behind “Jackknife”. On the leg to M2 Stephen Tudor’s “Sgrech J111” was following the lead boats with “Mojito”, Wakey Wakey” and “YoYo” in hot pursuit.

“Sgrech J111” recorded a maximum speed of 22.3 knots while surfing the top of a wave"

On the leg to M2 the winds were a steady 30-35 knots with stronger gusts. “Sgrech J111” recorded a gust of 42 knots. Boat speeds on this leg were extraordinary. Again “Sgrech J111” recorded a maximum speed of 22.3 knots while surfing the top of a wave.

The thrill of the rollercoaster ride was soon to be paid for in the fetch west towards Rockabill. Having sustained some sail damage “Sgrech J111” slipped behind the two J109’s. During this leg the wind and seas decreased significantly with 15 knots from the SW at Rockabill providing another fetch to Rowan Rocks, east of Howth. While Lambay Island was not on the course the fleet was divided with some boats taking the inshore passage towards Ireland’s Eye and the Rowan Rocks buoy and the finish Line. The inshore passage appeared to be the best choice with those boats pulling ahead,

By the time “Jackknife” crossed the finish line, 9 of the 18 starters had retired. While “Jackknife” took line honours, “Rockabill VI” took IRC Overall and Class 0. “Wakey Wakey” took 2nd Overall and Class 1 while “Windjammer” took Class 2. “More Mischief” won Silver Class.

With Chris Power-Smith’s “Aurelia” early withdrawal from the race, it kicked the 2018 Overall Offshore Series wide open. After the race, “Mojito”, the 2017 champions, have taken the lead in the overall table with fours races to go. “Rockabill VI” has slipped into second place followed closely by “Aurelia” and “Wakey Wakey”. Only 30 points separate these four boats, not a significant amount considering that up to 120 points could be awarded to a winning boat using the High Points Scoring system.

The next race will be critical for the shape of the series. That race is an 85 mile Offshore from Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli on the 11th August. A win by any of the leading four boats could push them beyond reasonable reach for the last race, The James Eadie race from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire on the 8th September.

Full details of the results and the race tracker can be found here 

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The Royal St. George Yacht Club J122 Aurelia, skippered by Chris Power Smith, will defend its overall lead in the 11th race of the 2018 ISORA Championships on Saturday. Power Smith will be chased by Welsh defending champions Mojito (Vicky Cox and Peter Dunlop) who are second overall and five points adrift of the Dun Laoghaire entry.

The 60–mile race starts off Dun Laoghaire's East Pier at 8 am and will finish off Howth Yacht Club.

David O'Brien has much more on the weekend ISORA offshore fixture. that has attracted a fleet of 20 boats, in this morning's Irish Times Sailing Column here.

Download starters list below.

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Crewman on Stephen Tudor's J111 Sgrech, Mark Thompson, reports on ISORA's race ten, the Global Displays Welsh Coastal Series Night race sponsored by Exposure Lights

With an entry list depleted due to regular entrants racing at Cork Week, three boats came to the line for a 25–mile race. The course had proved tricky to set, with changing forecasts and a big wind shift predicted as a weak occluded front passed through, promising a damp evening but the prospect for some wind during our period of racing.

With some concerns about light winds to the SE and potential for the wind to build from the North later in the night, a course was set as follow:

Pwllheli Bridge start - PSC1 - Causeway- St Tudwals Islands- Plas Heli Finish Line

The automated Pwllheli Bridge start system got the fleet away for a fetch in 7-8kts of southerly breeze down to CHPSC club mark number 1 before hardening up for the beat to Causeway. It was not clear which tack would be the favourable one, and with the wind straight up the rhumb line, J111 “Sgrech” and XP33 “Darling XX” elected to stay predominantly east of the line, with “Jackknife” staying to the West. With a forecast of the wind veering as the night progressed - it was unclear which strategy would pay off, with little tidal issues to impact. There was much debate on board as to which was the “paying tack” and I forget now if we ever came to a conclusion!.

After a long beat with patches of lighter airs, J125 “Jackknife” rounded Causeway first, with the two other boats not to far behind, though J111 “Sgrech” got stuck for a while in a difficult patch with light winds and chop slowing the boat down dramatically. Round Causeway and a great spinnaker run in the pitch black to St Tudwals, which certainly improved spirits, and just one gybe, and was (according to one crew member) “Champagne Sailing” he clearly hadn’t noticed the rain, which didn’t really abate for the whole race, lack of moonlight and stars making helming in the dark very difficult. The concentration and communication with the trimmers key.

Approaching the west of the St Tudwals Islands, the next phase of the race would begin, starting with a well-timed gybe in the sound between the west island and the mainland, which would need to give an angle to clear the east island. The issue, however, would be sailing into the wind shadow of the two islands, so the game plan was to time the gybe, then approaching the wind shadow, gybe again into Abersoch Bay, until free of the islands and then gybe back out into the bay. Just as we were about to execute this excellent plan, and gybe into the bay, the wind just shut down, and we were dead in the water.

After a few minutes of confusion, the wind gently picked up, just enough to give us sufficient boat speed to gybe. It became clear that the promised wind shift was starting, but the great surprise was it swung round very quickly, and built to 9kts or so, requiring us to get the jib out, drop the kite and beat to the finish. While not the tidiest drop, we got the kite away and hardened up.

This final phase required several tacks to lay the finish and again required great concentration by the Helmsman, having to largely steer by feel and reference to instruments, with nothing of use to see outside the boat. Tell tails stuck to the sails, making it tricky to trim as well.

Jackknife took line honours, class 0 and the overall win, with Darling XX a fine 1st in class 1. Thanks to Brian Metcalf for acting as the finisher.

After racing the competitors enjoyed a relaxed “apres sail” in Plas Heli discussing the challenges that the race posed. I think although it was a wet and dark, frustrating at times evening, everyone enjoyed it, and grateful that we maintained a decent breeze most of the night when the forecast showed that area of the bay having very little.

The next ISORA race is race 11, an offshore race from Dún Laoghaire to Howth next Saturday the 28th July.

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The National Yacht Club's J109 Ruth skippered by Ben Shanahan was the winner of this morning's 16-boat Exposure Lights sponsored ISORA night race. The race was the ninth in the popular Viking Marine Coastal Series.

The fleet sailed a 33–mile course starting at 8pm on Friday from Dun Laoghaire round Lambay Island and back to Dun Laoghaire. Winds were eight to ten knots throughout except for the reach home to the Dun Laoghaire finish from South Burford when the breeze dropped away. 

Second was Chris Power Smith's Aurelia, the RStGYC J122 that finished third overall in this month's Round Ireland Race. Third was Paul O'Higgin's Rockabill VI from the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

Full results here

Additional report by ISORA's Peter Ryan

Race 9 of the ISORA Offshore Series 2018 took place from Dun Laoghaire on the 13th July 2018. The race was a Night Race with a 20.00 start. The race was sponsored by marine lighting specialist suppliers “Exposure Lights” and was also part of the ISORA “Viking Marine” Irish Coastal Series.

Despite the fact that the recent gruelling Round Ireland race finish was only a week away, many of the stars of that race came to the line to take part in the Night Race – “Aurelia”, “YoYo”, “Rockabill VI”, “Wakey Wakey”, “Windjammer”, “Samatom” and “Red Alert”.

Of the 20 entries, 17 boats came to the start line at DBSC “Pier” mark and were sent on their way by RAYC’s Barry MacNeaney and Grainne Ryan.

The weather forecast was forecasting light winds for the evening – SE 10k at the start dropping and veering around midnight before continuing the veer and increasing again to 10-15k W. The tides on the day were spring tides. The traditional course for this race was to head south to North India buoy but the weather forecast was indicating no wind at Bray Head. For this reason, the decision was taken to go north with the flooding spring tide and to round Lambay Island – 33 miles.

To avoid shipping traffic entering and exiting Dublin Port, ISORA have agreed with Dublin Port to always exit and enter Dublin Bay by going south of South Burford. The Course was:

Start outside Dun Laoghaire Harbour at DBSC racing mark “Pier” – South Burford (P) – leaving North Burford (P) – Taylors Rock (S) – Lambay Island (S) – leaving North Burford (S) – South Burford (S) and the finish line between the pier heads in Dun Laoghaire harbour.

The tide at the start was strongly flooding north. The first leg was a tight fetch east out to South Burford with some boats being pushed too north by the tide and having to tack for the mark. First around the mark was a tight bunch consisting of “Lively Lady”, “Aurelia”, “Tsunami” and “Rockabill VI” with “Jackknife” having to tack before rounding.

The next leg to Taylors Road buoy, a cardinal mark immediately north-west of Lambay Island, was a dead run. On this leg, the J109’s particularly “Ruth” and “Wakey Wakey” made strong progress and joined the leading bunch at Taylors Rock and Lambay Island.

ISORA night raceTaken from the deck of Tsunami with (L to R) Rockabill, Jackknife in the background, Aurelia and Lively Lady approaching Lambay Island (on the right) Photo: Peter Ryan

Rounding the island the winds increased and remained in SE giving a full beat back towards North and South Burford. The change in the tide at 00.44 did not suit the lead boats as they had to plug the last of the flooding tide as they beat south towards the Burfords. As the later boats rounded Lambay the turning ebb tide helped them in this leg south. This tidal situation tended to keep the fleet bunched.

Rounding the South Burford, the leg to the finish was a very tight reach that suit those boats with Asymmetrical spinnakers. Just as the boats arrived at Dun Laoghaire harbour there was very little wind in that localised area around the finish. The now strongly ebbing tide was against the approaching boats and made the finish trickier with the last boats being becalmed for a time within sight of the line.

The finish line was between the Pier heads. The finish times were being logged automatically by the YB trackers. This meant that finishers were not required to sit a night shift at the end of the pier.

“Jackknife” took line honours while J109 “Ruth” took IRC Overall and Class 1. “Aurelia” took Class 0 while “Windjammer” took Class 2. “First of September” took Silver Class. 

The next race is the second Exposure Lights sponsored night race from Pwllheli on the 20th July.

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It is appropriate that Exposure Lights, specialists in marine lighting is sponsoring the two ISORA night races in the Viking Marine Coastal Series writes Peter Ryan. The first is tomorrow evening with a start and finish in Dun Laoghaire. The second night race is on the 20th July with a start and a finish in Pwllheli in North Wales.

Following so close to the gruelling Volvo Round Ireland Race last week many of the boats entered took part in that race and are out again campaigning for the ISORA Offshore Series. 

See the starters list downloadable below. 

20 boats are expected to come to the start line in Scotsman’s Bay for the 20.00 start. The course has not been decided yet due to light winds forecast but it is hoped that the winds will pick up for this race. For Dublin Port traffic reasons the fleet will leave Dublin Bay by going south of South Burford and enter back by the same route.

"Strong spring tides tomorrow will also influence the course"

The course is likely to be 25-35 miles depending in the winds. Strong spring tides tomorrow will also influence the course.

All boats in the race will have YB trackers. The race can be followed using the YB app or on the ISORA website www.isora.org.

The race sponsor Exposure Lights are providing some of their marine products as prizes for the races. These will be presented at the annual ISORA prize-giving.

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Taking place soon after the Midnight Race that finished on Saturday afternoon, the ISORA crews of most of the boats had just enough time to take part in the generous hospitality of Douglas Yacht Club’s BBQ and reception before preparing for the “Mid Sea Race” starting at 08.45 on Sunday morning writes Chris Power Smith.

The start line was set by Commodore of Douglas Yacht Club, Darren Barnes and extended from the Douglas Gead lighthouse eastwards for approximately 0.3 miles. The course was set for 48 miles, due to a very light forecast, direct to a virtual finish gate consisting of two waypoints in the middle of the Irish Sea close to the M2 Buoy. The YB trackers would automatically take the remote finish time of boats as they pass through the virtual gate. A technique pioneered by ISORA in conjunction with YB Tracking. Sixteen boats came to the start and could proceed to their respective home ports after the race finish on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Race eight pres start manouvers for the ISORA fleetAbove and below: The Race eight pre-start maneuvres for the ISORA fleet by Douglas Yacht Club

ISORA Race 8

The race started in 5-6 knots. First to break away in the light airs was “YoYo” closely followed by, “Jackknife”, “Jetstream”, “Lively Lady”, “Espresso Martini” and “Ruth”. Just behind were “Platinum Blonde”, “Jedi” and “Mojito”. The three lead boats continued to build a lead but the airs were very fickle. Some boats went further out to sea looking for breeze on the left, whilst “Jackknife” pulled ahead on the right where more breeze was forecast during the morning.

ISORA Race 8 Gate FinishISORA Race 8 Gate Finish

Progress of all boats was slow in the patchy intermittent wind which was only 3 knots by 11.00. By midday there was not much improvement but “Espresso Martini”, on the left side of the fleet, had stretched out a lead over “Jackknife” on the right and “Aurelia” in the middle. “Jetstream”, “YoYo” and “Ruth” were now close behind. The boats behind, that had gybed out right early towards the expected new wind, seemed to lose out and fall behind. By 13.00, the wind had filled into 10 knots and had shifted into the North with a noticeable drop in temperature as the cold front arrived. “Jackknife” and “Espresso Martini” stretched ahead on opposite sides of the course with “Aurelia”, “Ruth” and “Jetstream” leading the chasing pack in the middle.

“Ruth” crossed next with skipper, Ben Shanahan, taking his first Overall and Class One win of the series"

The three Class 0 boats continued to stretch their lead on the water but the clock was ticking and the J109s, “Ruth” and “Jetstream” were making steady progress behind as the breeze went down a couple of knots. By 16.00, the wind was back up to 11 knots and “Jackknife”, in the lead, gybed early for the finish gate but lost ground to “Espresso Martini” who hit the front and notched up her first line honours. “Aurelia” was third over the line to win back to back weekend Class 0 races and counting down the clock to “Ruth” and “Jetstream” close behind on the water for overall. “Ruth” crossed next with skipper, Ben Shanahan, taking his first Overall and Class One win of the series, just 46 seconds ahead after 9 hours racing of Holyhead Sailing Club’s and Nigel Ingram’s “Jetstream” second, with “Aurelia” third overall.

The Class 2 Race was won for the second time this weekend by Lindsay Casey’s and Denis Power’s “Windjammer”, with “More Mischief” second and “Altair” third.

The virtual finish gate worked flawlessly and was judged to be a great success by all participants.

Full results can be found here

YB Tracking of the race can be viewed on the YB app or here

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The Midnight Race from Liverpool to Douglas, Isle of Man, was being run for the 99th time on Friday 8th June. This is an evening race with the start at 19.30 provided by Commodore of Liverpool Yacht Club, Paul Pratt. The race was also Race 7 of the ISORA Offshore Series writes Chris Power Smith, skipper of Aurelia, the winner of the Class Zero race.

The race was the first part of a weekend qualifying series for boats taking part in the Round Ireland Race. The qualifying consisted of the delivery to Liverpool, the “Midnight Race” on the Friday evening and the “Mid Sea Race” to take place on the Sunday.

22 boats came to the start line on the Mersey close to Albert Dock. Due to the very light winds the course selected was essentially dome the river to the seas and direct to Douglas. All boats taking part were fitted with YB trackers.

ISORA Racing liverpoolLight winds for the Midnight Race Photo: Liverpool YC

At the start the wind was from SSE 2 to 3 knots and the tide had just started to ebb. All boats hoisted kites and made a spectacular sight on the river Mersey. The right side of the channel was preferred for the stronger tide but there seemed to be more wind on the left. As it turned out, there was no obvious advantage. In just over an hour the boats made nearly 4 miles with the wind between 2 to 5 knots to pass New Brighton to port. Crews were kept busy with very frequent gibes to stay within the narrow channel as all channel marks were marks of the course.

It was a very challenging and tactical race down the river with close-quarter racing and tight quarters boat on boat manoeuvres. Requests for room to gybe were constant with a fear of running out of depth or even worse hitting the revetment wall along the channel.

On exiting the channel the boats were still tightly bunched with “Jackknife” pulling out in mid-channel in front by a few hundred meters from “Mojito” on the starboard side and “Jedi” and “Wakey Wakey” on the port side. “Ruth”, “Platinum Blonde” and “Aurelia” were sailing closely in the middle with “YoYo” out wide on the starboard side.

"Round Ireland Race hopeful, Glyn Sheffield, in his Farr 40, “Espresso Martini Too” breaking out in front of “Jackknife”

The next hour saw the boats make about 5 miles in the strengthening tide with Round Ireland Race hopeful, Glyn Sheffield, in his Farr 40, “Espresso Martini Too” breaking out in front of “Jackknife”. “Platinum Blonde” was now in third, closely followed by “Aurelia” and “Ruth”. “Mojito” and “Wakey Wakey” were next having opened up a lead on “Jedi”, “Max Too”, “North Star” and “YoYo”.

“Espresso Martini” was the first boat to pass the Q2 Mark to exit the Queen’s Channel at approximately 22.15, followed closely by “Jackknife”, a few hundred meters adrift. Next to exit the channel was “Aurelia”, with “Platinum Blonde”, “Wakey Wakey” and “Ruth” close behind, followed by “Mojito”, “Jedi”, “North Star” and “YoYo”. Class 2 boats, “Windjammer” and “Mojo” were not far behind as they exited the channel around 22.30.

The wind was now a steady 10 knots and still from the SSE. By midnight “Jackknife” had opened up a lead on the water with little change in places in the pursuing front group of boats as they passed the exclusion zones of the Conwy Oil Field.

Midnight race isoraAsymmetric spinnakers are kept filling in the light winds Photo: Franscois Pean/Aurelia

By 03.00 the wind had dropped to 7 knots and shifted ESE. “Aurelia” had edged out in front on the water. “Ruth” was the leading J109 hotly pursued by “Wakey Wakey” and the First 35, “Platinum Blonde”, splitting her from sistership J109 “Mojito”.

By 06.00 “Jackknife” was leading the charge for line honours just ahead of “Aurelia”. The J109s were still neck and neck but “Platinum Blonde” was stubbornly fighting to split them up. As the boats approached the finish “Ruth” gybed South of the rhumb line and lost ground to the other J109s and “Platinum Blonde”.

“Jackknife” was first over the line to take line honours after 14 hours 35 minutes, followed by “Aurelia”, “Mojito”, “Wakey Wakey” and “YoYo”. “Mojito” had done enough to win Overall and Class One with “Wakey Wakey”, only 35 seconds behind after over 15 hours racing, taking 2nd Overall. “Platinum Blonde”, 5 minutes further adrift took 3rd Overall. “Aurelia” won the Class Zero race with “Jackknife” second. “Windjammer” won the Class Two race with a very credible 5th overall, followed by “More Mischief” second in Class 2.

Full results can be found here

YB Tracking of the race can be viewed on the YB app or here

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A great ISORA fleet has massed in Liverpool Marina, just upriver from the Lyver Building and the Albert Dock for tonight's Midnight Races. 

The 30 strong fleet (downloadable below) is now set up for this evening’s start (at 19.30 hrs) of the classic Liverpool YC Midnight Race to Douglas Ise of Man. This is the seventh race in the ISORA 2018 series.

After finishing the race in Douglas, the crews will then prepare for a return race on Sunday morning from Douglas to a gate finish in the middle of the Irish Sea (this is race eight in the series).

Rockabill Howth Yacht 3920Rockabill VI (Paul O'Higgins) will race in tonight's Midnight Race Seven of the ISORA series Photo: Afloat.ie

Both races can be seen live on the ISORA YB Trackers here. Sailing Instructions are downloadable below.

The season is hotting up in the 53 boat ISORA fleet following the two coastal races last weekend. 

The next two races are this weekend as follows:

Race 7 - Liverpool to Douglas IOM - Midnight Race Friday Night 8th June

The race starts at 19.30 BST Friday 8th June

Course to be decided later today – either Course 1 or Course 2.

The finish line in Douglas is from a light at the pier end to the extremity of the Bay Head on the other side of the bay.

Race 8 - Douglas IOM to Finish Gate (Mid Irish Sea) Sunday 10th June

This is the “Mid Sea Race” and will start at 08.45 BST Sunday 10th June from a line at Douglas head lighthouse and end at a gate in the middle of the Irish Sea. This is made possible with the use of a virtual finish line using the ISORA YB Trackers.

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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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