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A J109 is back at the top of the ISORA scoreboard after a 60–mile offshore race on Saturday from Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli. It brings to four the total of races so far this season and puts Welsh yacht Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Victoria Cox), the 2017 champion, into the lead, some three points ahead of Chris Power–Smith's Aurelia from the Royal St. George Yacht Club.

Saturday's 22-boat cross channel race was won by Class 2 entry Desert Star, a Jeanneau Sunfast 37 entry from the Royal St George Yacht Club skippered by Rónán O Siochru. 

Second was Mojito of Pwllheli Sailing Club with Royal Irish Yacht Club's Rockabill VI I(Paul O'Higgins) third.

Race four results here. Overall results here.

The 22-boat fleet gathered at the start line in time for the start at 0800hrs and race officers Larry Power and Barry McNeaney set the fleet off, on time, into the last of the north going tide. The course set by the Sailing Committee was a direct line to the finish in Pwllheli, which always provides complex tactical decisions for the navigators and tacticians.

Jackknife led the fleet from the start with Rockabill VI chasing hard on her heel. Aurelia took a line to the south of the rhumb line whilst Ruth and Mojito were the most northerly boats of the fleet - enjoying a match race across the Irish Sea.

The northerly wind was too shy for spinnakers but did allow boats to fly their code zero sails, although many changed back to jibs as the wind built and the south going tide kicked in after 1000hrs.

Conditions were set for a fast crossing, but would the fleet get through Bardsey Sound before the tide turned?

Jackknife made it through the sound with the last of the south going tide followed by Rockabill VI and then Aurelia but their advantage was short-lived due to a patch of no wind! Next through, almost together, were YoYo and Sgrech and then Samatom who had to fight against the first of the north going tide but sailing into more wind. Next, and together, were Ruth and Mojito with Mojito attempting the inside Carreg Ddu passage to avoid the foul tide but risking the wind shadow from the land.

The rest of the fleet had to contend with the increasing foul tide in the sound but to sail into more wind in Aberdaron Bay. Many of the crews commented on the warmth of the wind coming across the land and the flat sea sailing conditions.

The next tactical call was inside or outside Tudwal Islands; the leading boats opted to fight the stronger current by staying south and the next pack opted for less tide but accepting the possibility of less wind inside the Abersoch bay.

On the beat from Tudwal’s Islands to Pwllheli the wind over land became very shifty and big gains, and losses, were made on each wind shift and the clever tacticians also spotted the increasing wind from the northeast which continued to build as the boats finished.

The wind increased from 10 knots to 20 knots but sailing conditions were superb with the flat sheltered waters.

The competitors then finished in rapid succession which kept the ISORA finishers, Robin and Brian on their toes! They were based in the control tower at the Welsh National Sailing Academy and Event Centre which provided an excellent view of the boats as they crossed the finishing line.

DesertStarISORA Race winner Desert Star

First to finish was Jackknife followed by Rockabill VI and then Aurelia.

The Race Overall Winner, and Class 2 winner, was Desert Star who is now perfectly set up for their Round Ireland Challenge.

ISORA 2017 Champions, Mojito, sailed a great race to take second place and 1st in Class 1. Rockabill VI showed her form and great pace being 3rd Overall and 1st in Class 0.

After completing the race, the fleet made its way to the Academy’s pontoons and a warm welcome awaited the crews in the Club room. The race officers greeted all boats across the finish line and stood down after the last competitors, Lady Rowena and Adante, arrived just before midnight. They had the worst of the tide in Bardsey Sound but were delighted to have completed the course and for an opportunity to share their experiences in the bar with refreshments!

The next two races are next weekend 2nd June; one in Ireland and one in Wales.

Race 5 – is the second race in the Viking Marine Coastal Series and part of the Howth YC Wave Regatta and the Lambay Race. 

Race 6 – is the second race in the Global Display Coastal Series in Pwllheli and the course will be announced shortly.

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There will be many in the 23–boat offshore race fleet that would prefer to forget the long drawn out finish of ISORA's Race three on Saturday.

The 14-5 hour Dun Laoghaire to Dun Laoghaire race (full report here) came to a slow close at the harbour mouth with leaders Sgrech II and Rockabill II carrying the breeze all the way to the line as captured below by Sam Hall in this unique aerial perspective.

The race was won by Chris Power Smth's Aurelia from the Royal St. George Yacht Club, read his account here.

Check out the vid below.

The next ISORA race from Dun Laoghaire is on May 26th with a change of finish from Holyhead to Pwllheli in North Wales.

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The Dun Laoghaire to Dun Laoghaire race three in the ISORA Offshore Series 2018 featured 'Champagne Sailing' for “Aurelia” writes ISORA's Peter Ryan. 

The first offshore race of the ISORA Offshore Championship 2018 took place on the 12th May with a starting time of 08.00. 23 boats from the entry list of 27 came to the start line in Dun Laoghaire.

The original starting port for this race was Holyhead. However, due to the disastrous consequences of the recent storm where their marina was destroyed, it was reluctantly agreed that the start should be changed. Being the first offshore, and typically only 50 miles, there were no other options but to start and finish in Dun Laoghaire.

Unfortunately, the position in Holyhead has also affected the next race on the 26th that was scheduled to be from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead. The finishing port for this race was to have facilitated those boats heading over for the Race 6, Midnight race in Liverpool. It was intended that some boats would remain in Holyhead after the next race and deliver from there to Liverpool.

ISORA light air startA light air start to ISORA Race three

The weather forecast for Race 3 was predicting no wind forecast until 11.00 and then south-easterly winds increasing to 10-15 knots after that. The winds were then forecast to drop later that evening. This is exactly what the weather did.

With the forecast in mind the course for the race was agreed as follows: Start – Rockabill (S) – East Kisk (S) – Muglins (P) – Finish at the Pier Heads – approximately 50 miles.

The start at 08.00 was provided by Grainne Ryan and Jo Thompson at DBSC’s Pier Mark. The fickle breeze at the start area was not kind to all boats and while some boats moved north off the line towards Rockabill, others were left behind.

Yo yo 0870The Sunfast 3600 Yo Yo was one of the lead boats off the line Photo:

“Sgrech J111” Stephen Tudor, “Jackknife” Andrew Hall, “Indian” Colm Buckley and “YoYo” Brendan Coughlan, were the lead boats to break from the line. However at Howth Head, “Indian” and “YoYo” stalled and “Aurelia” Chris Power Smith and Mojito” Peter Dunlop, joined the other two boats heading toward Rockabill. At this stage the wind was filling in from the south east at 10knots and the fleet were under spinnaker. “Aurelia” took the unique passage between Lambay and the coast while the remainder of the fleet stayed offshore of Lambay. This appeared to have paid royally as they approached Rockabill behind “Jackknife” and “Sgrech J111”.

Rockabill lighthousePassing Rockabill lighthouse in calm conditions

The leg to east Kish was a beat in south easterly 12-15 knots. The main tussle at the front of the fleet was between the two equally rated boats “Aurelia” and “Sgrech J111” with “Aurelia” just tacking in front of “Sgrech J111” at East Kish. After that, it was a soldier’s race with a reach to the finish.

“Jackknife” took line honours with “Aurelia” and then “Sgrech J111”. At this stage the wind was dropping and slowing the remainder of the wide spread fleet.

“Aurelia” just did enough to take IRC Overall and Class 0. Read skipper Chris Power Smith's own report here) with “Sgrech J111) taking 2nd Overall and 2nd Class 0. “Jackknife” took 3rd place Overall and 3rd Class 0. “Mojito” took Class 1 while “Windjammer” Lindsay Casey, took Class 2. “First of September” Jerry Whiston, took Silver Class.

ISORA close racingClose racing

The fleet were also racing under ECHO but technical problems prevented the results being issued at the time of this report. These will follow.

The race was very successful for the boats from Pwllheli with the three boats, “Sgrech J111”, “Jackknife” and “Mojito” taking 2nd, 3rd and 4th in IRC Overall. Another factor is that the first seven boats, with the exception of “Rockabill VI”, were J-Boats!

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

Despite the sometimes frustrating wind conditions, the sun shone all day. After the race many of the visiting boats tied up at the National Yacht Club and the usual “apres sail” commenced.

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The fourth ISORA offshore race of the season will race from Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli and not Holyhead as originally scheduled on Saturday, 26th May.

Skippers have already received the change of course after extensive discussions with Holyhead Sailing Club who are still dealing with the aftermath of the loss of the marina in Storm Emma.

ISORA Chair Peter Ryan told 'After deliberations by the sailing committee, it has been agreed that the least bad option we have is to change the finish to Pwllheli'. 

'Please be assured, this decision was not taken likely' he added.

The devastation in Holyhead has had a significant impact on the ISORA 2018 schedule. The consequence for the committee now is not only to choose the course for each race but to choose a start and finish point too.

As previously reported, Welsh Government funding will boost the Holyhead Marina clean-up so the hope is the normal racing calendar there can resume quickly.

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In the build up to next month's all–important Round Ireland Race, yesterdays' ISORA race from Dun Laoghaire was an important tune–up. Chris Power–Smith's J122 Aurelia crew showed the depth of their ambition by outwitting some of the ISORA big guns over a tricky course – Start (Dun Laoghaire); Rockabill (S); East Kish (S); Muglins (P); Finish (Dun Laoghaire) – that lasted over 12 hours. caught up with Chris after post race celebrations at the National Yacht Club and he gave us this background to his own sailing and how he and his Royal St. George Yacht Club crew came out on top yesterday evening to lead the ISORA Championships overall.

Aurelia is my sixth J Boat. Having started with a J24 and then through, a J92, J92S, two J109s, Jetstream and the very successfully campaigned Rollercoaster in which we won two Dublin Bay Championships and two out of three of the first ISORAs we tried. I am a self–taught sailor who took up sailing at age 34. I was also fooled into thinking it might be easy to win ISORA races. In fact it is a very very competitive fleet, with hard won races, and some of the races can be very grueling. Winkie Nixon didn’t mention me in the recent history of J109s but I had the second one in Ireland after George Sisk had sold his one and bought the J133. I think the fact that I, as a relative novice, was so successful in mine spurred others to buy into the fleet. Rollercoaster had a full new set of Norths and I think this was a big help to the sailmaker in launching their sails onto the bay.

"I needed a new challenge outside of bay racing & offshore fitted the bill"

Deciding I needed a new challenge outside of bay racing, offshore fitted the bill, I decided to buy a bigger boat and moved up to the 40 footer. I have found the J122 to be a very fast, competitive and comfortable boat. I have really enjoyed the offshore racing and my first long race was D2D 3 years ago when we came third. I also took part in the last round Ireland and it was a big personal achievement for me to skipper the boat with a fully corinthian crew.

Aurelia 1572Aurelia is the 2017 Class Zero ISORA champion Photo:

We won the ISORA series in Class Zero last year and came third overall the previous year.

Yesterday, we got smothered at the start off Dun Laoghaire Harbour and made our way painfully slowly over to the Baily Lighthouse on the north shore of Dublin Bay. The other boats that got clean starts went out of the bay and got more breeze. We were neck and neck with Rockabill VI (Paul O'Higgins) and Jedi (Kenneth Rumball) at the Baily, but managed to break away with our A1 up. We then decided to go inside Lambay to take advantage of the lower current gradient in the ebbing southerly flowing tide and where we expected more breeze, closer to the clouds on the shore. We were the only boat to go inside the Island and it was a hard battle to persuade all on board that this was the way to go, with constant discussion until the point of no return.

"We got smothered at the start and made our way painfully slowly over to the Baily"

When we converged at Rockabill VI, Jacknife, who rounded first and Sgrech second were over two miles ahead. We dropped the A1 and hoisted the J1 for the long one sided beat 22 miles to East Kish. We had to put in a couple of tacks to get around the Easter tip of Lambay. We slowly ground Sgrech down, and as the wind got up to around 12 to 14 knots we peeled to the J2. We tacked and dueled with them all the way down in choppy wind against tide conditions, eventually crossing ahead close to East Kish and tacking ahead of them to make the mark.

This year I decided to rate the boat higher on IRC in anticipation of the Round Ireland Race. We extended the bow sprit from 6.1m to 6.42 and we bought a new larger 155 square metre North Sails kite moving up from the old one of 143 square meters. We chose gold to match the name of the boat Aurelia, which means "golden one”.

"We hoisted the kite as we rounded the mark, with Sgrech close behind"

Prof O’Connell of North Sails Ireland came along for his first ever ISORA yesterday to show us the ropes and check out the cut and fit of the new sail. All the way down the beat, we were really worried that it was going to be too tight back to the finish in the harbour mouth to fly our beautiful gold brand new kite. But the wind continued to veer southerly and the true wind angle opened up to 115 to 120 in about 14 knots. We hoisted the kite as we rounded the mark, with Sgrech close behind. Sgrech, former J109 owner and ISORA multiple champion Stephen Tudor's new J111, rates exactly the same as us 1.083, so this was a one design style race to be first over the line. We stayed high and bore off just before the harbour to make the entrance. Sgrech went lower, anticipating a dying wind. We then came up to pass through the harbour finish with the kite up at 19.04. A real thrill for us and spectacular sight for the pier walkers. Sgrech finished only three minutes behind us after 11 hours of racing. Jacknife got line honours and we worried that she might have pipped us on handicap, but she came third overall to Sgrech second overall.

J122 Aurelia 0800The J122 Aurelia is Chris Power–Smith's sixth J-boat, He's also has campaigned two J24's, a J92 and two J109s Photo:

We were really delighted with the new North Sails kite and while we also have to carry the rating penalty upwind, we saw a huge performance increase on the last leg yesterday. We had no problem carrying the extra sail area at a tight angle and she accelerated superbly as we bore away.

Aurelia SpinnakerAurelia has a full inventory of North Sails and yesterday the crew were flying a new North Sails A2 asymmetric yesterday which Prof O'Connell trimmed on the leg home from East Kish to Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Combined with the last race’s second place, we are now leading the championship overall.

J122 aurelia 1(Above and below) Aurelia crosses the in–harbour finish line at the 2017 Dun Laoghaire Regatta in front of the Royal St. George Yacht Club. The J122 now leads the 2018 ISORA championships as skipper Chris Power–Smth prepares for next month's big one, the all important Round Ireland Race from Wicklow. Photo:

Aurelia 1631

Aurelia's winning crew yesterday consisted of: owners: Chris and Patanne Power Smith (RSGYC, RORC); Chris Power Smith: Skipper; Aileen Kelleher, just back from Caribbean 600 on J122 Noisey Oyster; Bernard McGranaghan (just back from Caribbean 600 on J122 Noisey Oyster, he chartered her); Francois Penn Ditto; Ger Walshe; Lynda McCracken; Niall Smythe; John McManus; Michael Keatinge and Prof O’Connell North Sails Representative

Overall ISORA results here

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Frank Whelan's Grand Soleil 44 Eleuthera goes into Saturday's first ISORA qualifying race of 60–miles as the overall series leader but the Greystones Sailing Club entry is only narrowly ahead of second placed Royal St. George's Chris & Patanne Power Smith's, J/122 Aurelia. The overall results after two races are here

This weekend's race to Holyhead has been amended due to the loss of the North Wales marina. Instead, a 30–boat fleet will race an offshore course that begins and ends off Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The first warning signal will be at 0755 off Dun Laoghaire's East Pier.

ISORA's 2017 champion Mojito, the J109, from Pwllheli Sailing Club, skippered by Peter Dunlop & Victoria Cox has already arrived at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire in anticiptation of Saturday's amended race.

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Exposure Lights are sponsors of the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA) Coastal Night Races for 2018.

Both races take competitors over a 35 mile course through the night. One race is based in Dun Loaghaire while the other is based in Pwllheli, Wales. Both events take place in July 2018 and are part of the Global Communication and Viking Marine Coastal Series. Thirty two competitors from Ireland and Wales lined up for the first joint day race of the series.

Competitors will benefit from a sponsorship package aimed at enhancing the event and includes generous Exposure Lights vouchers for the top three podium winners in both the IRC and ECHO classes.

The races will be tracked using the latest GPS technology with the Yellow Brick tracker system. This allows the race to be followed by supporters on land and sea.

Tom Harrop, Brand Manager at Exposure Lights comments, “We are very pleased to announce our new partnership with ISORA. The Exposure Lights Coastal Night Races are a great opportunity for all the competitors to experience the benefits of our lights within their own race campaigns. Exposure’s compact, ultra-lightweight, powerful LED spotlights, safety lights and head torches are designed for the rigours of endurance offshore sailing, with red LED options to preserve night vision too.”

Peter Ryan ISORA Chairman adds, “ISORA was set up to promote and encourage offshore sailing in the Irish Sea. We are thrilled that through this partnership our competitors will have the opportunity to use the same products and technologies that are used and recommended by Volvo Ocean Race, Vendee and Figaro sailors alike. Exposure’s high precision engineering is bringing new ways to make night sailing and personal safety more effective and affordable for all offshore sailors.”

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Frank Whelan's Eleuthera, the Grand Soleil 44 yacht that broke the dominance of the J109s to win the first ISORA race of the season yesterday, is the former famous Dutch yacht 'Holmatro' with a race winning pedigree. 

The Greystones crew emerged as winners in impressive style over Chris Power Smith's Dun Laoghaire–based J/122 after a three hour Viking Marine sponsored coastal race off Dublin Bay. More details here.

A true winner fifteen years ago, the 2003–Italian built Judel Vrolijk design was a Cowes Week 2003 winner, a Rolex Fastnet Race 2003 class winner, an Antwerp Race winner 2003 and a Gotland Rund Sweden race winner too.

"The Judel Vrolijk design was a Cowes Week 2003 winner, a Rolex Fastnet 2003 class winner, an Antwerp Race winner 2003 and a Gotland Round Sweden race winner too"

Eleuthera's crew is largely made up of Greystones Harbour sailors. Paddy Barnwell runs the boat and crew, comprising young dinghy racers from the ranks of the RS 200 and RS400 fleets. The main core crew are: Frank Whelan (skipper), Barnwell, Gary Hick, Conor Clery, Kevin O'Rourke, Killian Fitzgerald, Andrew Smith, Matt Sherlock, Gavin Laverty and Shane Hughes (North Sails Ireland).

Eleuthera Grand soleil 44 0798Eleuthera's crew is largely made up of Greystones dinghy sailors under skipper Frank Whelan and crew boss Paddy Barnwell. Photo:

Noted Dublin Bay tactican Marty O'Leary, who was aboard yesterday for the ISORA win, says the boat plans to do all the ISORA coastal races, as well as Cork Week, Calves Week, the ICRA nationals in Galway and the Taste of Greystones Regatta at her home port at the end of the season.

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Frank Whelan's well sailed Eleuthera, a Grand Soleil 44, was the winner of ISORA's Viking Marine Coastal Series first race in ideal sailing conditions on Dublin Bay this afternoon. 

An exotic mix of new and nearly new entries into the 2018 Dublin offshore fleet included the race winner Eleuthera (named after an Island in the Bahamas, there is more on the race winner here) but also a 1976 World Champion vintage Half–Tonner, a brand new SunFast 3600, as well as a heap of ultra competitive J109s and an all conquering JPK10.80, all adding to the excitement of the much–anticipated first race.

ISORA coastal race start Eleuthera 0800IRC Class Zero 2017 Champion, the J122 Aurelia, skippered by Chris & Patanne Power Smith, of the Royal St George Yacht Club was second overall 

The colourful 25–boat ISORA fleet departing Dublin Bay in ideal westerly winds – and sunshine – made sure it was a very auspicious start to the offshore sailing year. 

"An exotic mix of new and nearly new entries into the 2018 Dublin offshore fleet included the race winner, Eleuthera"

After weeks of gloom, following Storm Emma's path of destruction, finally there was a tonic for Dun Laoghaire Harbour sailors and spectators alike as spinnakers filled Scotsman's Bay to mark the arrival of summer and the first offshore race of the year.

ISORA coastal race start Muglins 0957Race officers Larry Power and Barry MacNeaney prepare for the off as a bumper fleet make for the ISORA line off Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Photo:

ISORA fleet SandycoveStill well bunched as the ISORA fleet passes Sandycove on the way to the Muglins Rock. Photo: BJ Marine/Facebook

The 21.5 mile course for race one of the Viking Marine Coastal Series was as follows: Start at DBSC Pier mark, Muglins (S), Bray Outfall (P), Kish Lighthouse (P), North Burford (P) and Finish - at Dun Laoghaire Pier Heads.

It didn't take long for the front runners to find their form. In truth, last week's practice race had ironed out some of the wrinkles so there was not time lost in setting kites off the line in a 10–15-knot west to south west breeze with some strong gusts thrown in for good measure. An ebb tide meant a fast departure across Scotsman's Bay leaving the Muglins to starboard.

See our photos below as the fleet headed south with leaders back in Dun Laoghaire for a 1.30pm finish.

In all, an excellent start for the ISORA season with a good turnout in Pwllheli for the Welsh coastal race, running concurrently, bringing a total of 32–boats in ISORA competition this weekend. Next stop is the 60–mile race from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire on May 12th. 

ISORA coastal race start Muglins 0957At the pin end of the line it was the J109 Jigamaree (red spinnaker) skippered by Ronan Harris of the Royal Irish Yacht club that got the best start with club mates Keith and Rodney Martin preferring to white sail Lively Lady of the line. Paul O'Higgins' JPK!0.80 is behind them with blue and lemon kite with the overall winner Frank Whelan's Eleuthera obscured. To leeward of the bunch is Andrew Algeo's Juggerknot, also of the Royal Irish. Photo:

ISORA coastal race start Muglins 0957Above and below: There was some strong gusts shortly after the start leading to some early boat handling issues Photos:

ISORA coastal race start Muglins 0957

ISORA coastal race start Muglins 0957Above and below: The fleet races south with DBSC Yacht of the Year, the J97 WindJammer going strong under red spinnaker. Photo:

ISORA coastal race start Muglins 0957

ISORA coastal race start Muglins 0957The IRC Class one First 35, Platinum Blonde skippered by Paul Egan of the Royal St George Yacht Club was fifth overall. In a high speed dash, she raced out of the bay neck and neck (below) with the JPK10.80 Rockabill (Paul O'Higgins) Photo:

ISORA coastal race start Muglins 0957

ISORA coastal race start Muglins 0957Royal Irish Yacht Club IRC Class 0 entry Rockabill VI finished sixth overall. Photo:

Jigamaree ronan harris 0622The J109 Jigamaree skippered by Ronan Harris of the Royal Irish Yacht club was fourth overall. Photo:

ISORA coastal race start Muglins 0957All in a day's sailing – Daragh Gafferky's IRC Class 1 entry AnotherAdventure, an Archambault A35, sailed up from Greystones Marina for the 10am start. After her 12 mile delivery, she completed the 21–mile ISORA course by 2pm and then headed back home to Wicklow. Photo:

ISORA coastal race start Muglins 0957(Above and below) Inspite of a cracking lead on the first leg to the Muglins and into Killney Bay, Roger Smith's Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club entry, Wakey Wakey, that won last weekend's warm–up race, finished third overall Photo:

ISORA coastal race start Muglins 0957Above and below The Martin Brother's Lively Lady was second boat to the Muglins Rock Photo:

ISORA coastal race start Muglins 0957

ISORA coastal race start Muglins 0957(Above and below) New Jeanneau 3600 entry Yoyo (Brendan Coghlan of the Royal St. George YC) was 14th overallISORA coastal race start Muglins 0957

For full results click here 

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The ISORA 2018 offshore sailing series starts this weekend on both sides of the Irish Sea with Racing on Saturday in Pwllheli and Race two in Dun Laoghaire this Sunday.

The fixture is part of ISORA's 'Viking Marine Coastal Series'. Weather permitting the course will be no longer than 40 miles long and will be chosen so that the last boat may complete the course shortly after 17.00. 

'The fixture is part of ISORA's Viking Marine Coastal Series'

First gun is off Dun Laoghaire at 0955 on Sunday. 

Pre–Season Race

Ten boats took advantage of the pre-season race in Dun Laoghaire last weekend sponsored by Jack Ryan at Beggars Bush.

Wakey Wakey won class one and overall, with Silver Shamrock 1st in Class 2, 1st in the Silver (restricted) Class and YoYo first in Class 0. You can read more about YoYo here.

Read about how ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan save Irish Sea Racing here in a recent piece by W M Nixon.

The results for the pre-season Race are available here.

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Page 4 of 27

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.


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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