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Planning to do this year's Round Ireland Yacht Race? You could do a lot worse than listen in to how Galway's Aodhan Fitzgerald put together a team of friends to win the 2008 race. Also on are navigation tips from tactician Brian Mathews. There is little over a fortnight to the race start in Wicklow. Notice of race here. Get your crew together now for the 16th circumnavigation!

More on the Round Ireland Yacht Race:

Round Ireland Yacht Race 2010 Review

Round Ireland Yacht Race, Ireland's top offshore fixture

A Round up of 80 stories on the 2010 Round Ireland Yacht Race
Published in Round Ireland

Just three weeks before the Round Ireland sailing race kicks off in Wicklow ISORA is preparing to race there in June 5th's race from Pwllheli in North Wales. When most regattas and events this season have struggled to raise entries the ISORA season has been marked with a dramatic rise, taking the offshore fleet to over 20 boats. Entry list and more details for he fourth race (inlcuding eve of race BBQ steaks in Wales) are on the ISORA thread on the Afloat forum here

Published in ISORA

From an entry list of 30 sailing boats, 19 boats came to the line in Holyhead for the 3rd ISORA race – 75 miles to Dun Laoghaire. The fleet, that was missing many of their “regulars” had four newcomers to ISORA - “Mojito”, Peter Dunlop, “Poppy of St. Helier”, John Roberts (another John Roberts), “Intuiition” and “One Life”, both of Sailing West Sailing School.

There were two significant predicted factors affecting the race – the extremely strong Spring Tides and a wind shift from northwest to southwest during the race. As forecast the wind was 12knots northwest at the start and immediately the fleet split into two halves. The main fleet headed south plugging the north going tide while a small bunch headed north using the strong tide.

The wind followed its forecast and backed south-west although the north part of the fleet were lifted onto Rockabill, the wind was stronger for the south fleet who arrived under spinnaker.

Despite this the entire fleet, closely bunched met again at Rockabill. “Tsunami”, Vincent Farrell, who was part of the north fleet, round first, followed closely by “Raging Bull” Matt Davis and “Intuition”, Sailing West Sailing School, both of whom were part of the south fleet. The strong tide had just turned to go north as the fleet rounded and made their way to Kish.

The wind, that had been very fickle at Rockabill increased to 20 knots shortly after the leaders rounded Rockabill and it was a beat to Kish. The wind had not finished its gyrations and the fleet experienced a huge wind shift off Lambay. This shift enabled those who had gone towards the coast to crack off and reach to Kish while those who stayed out fetched to the mark.

Despite this the leader order of rounding the Kish was the same as rounding of Rockabill. The new wind direction produced a beat from Kish to the finish with the wind reducing to 7 knots at the finish. The first boat to cross the finish line was “Tsunami”, who only managed to take 2nd in Class 1. It was followed closely by Matt Davis’s “Raging Bull” who won Class 1. “Intuition”,

Sailing West Sailing School, crossed the line 3rd to take 3rd in Class 1. Class 2 was won by “Poppy” followed by “Mojito” and “Just Enough”, Stephen Tudor.

Class 2 boats dominated the overall results with the same boats winning the overall positions.

As newcomers to ISORA, “Poppy” and “Mojito” have really made a huge impact in their inaugural race and ISORA's hope is their presence can be repeated on the ISORA start line in the future. The next race is next weekend 5th June from Pwllheli to Wicklow. It is another 75- mile race. 

Published in ISORA

After two successful outings for the ISORA sailing fleet, now at 20 boats, next weekend's fixture starts on the far side of the Irish Sea at Holyhead. Commodore Peter Ryan has posted the entries for the race back to Dun Laoghaire (click here). He is encouraging skippers to make the delivery trip over to Wales in time for Saturday.

Published in ISORA

Matt Davis sailing Raging Bull (a Sigma 400) took first place overall  in the second race of the ISORA series sailed in blustery conditions on Saturday. ISORA newcomer Ken Grant and “Tigh Soluis” took second overall and first in Class two. “Galileo” took third Overall and second in Class 1. “Tsunami” took third in Class one while “Legally Blonde” took second Class two and “Lula Belle” took third in class two.

From an entry list of 26 boats, 20 boats came to the line in Dun Laoghaire for the 2nd ISORA race and the first in conjunction with the Royal Alfred Yacht Club and their Lee Overlay Offshore Series. The fleet had two newcomers to ISORA- “Rollercoaster” and “Tigh Solus”.

The wind remained constant for the entire race North- East, 20-25 knots. The tide also was ideal with a south going tide for the leg to Arklow North, turning as the fleet rounded to go north to Dun Laoghaire. The wind and tide gave a fast invigorating race. Even the sun shone. It was perfect offshore conditions.

With a beam reach to the Muglins and a reach down to North Arklow the fleet kept very tight. There was even crowding for some boats rounding North Arklow. The close proximity of the boats kept all the crew driving their boats for the duration of the race.

The leg to the Muglins, before turning into Dublin Bay for the finish at the Harbour lighthouses, was a long leg- short leg beat. Due to the north-easterly that had been blowing for some days the seas were rough and extreme care had to be taken to steer the boats around the breakers.

The first boat to cross the finish line was “Galileo”, Tennyson, Lemass and Kelliher. It was followed closely by Matt Davis’s fast Sigma 400 “Raging Bull” with “Tsunami”, Vincent Farrell close behind. The entire fleet finished the 50 mile course within two hours of “Galileo”.

The next race is next weekend 15th May from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire. It is a 75 mile race. This is also the feeder race to the ICRA Championships being run in the Royal St. George Yacht Club. Results attached.





Published in ISORA

ISORA has released the 25–boat entry list for what's forecast to be a breezy start to tomorrow's second ISORA race from Dun Laoghaire to Arklow and back. Any boats visiting Dun Laoghaire are welcome to use the facilities of the National YC, says ISORA and NYC Commodore Peter Ryan. The race briefing will be held at Dun Laoghaire marina tomorrow morning at 0845.

Published in ISORA

A new sailing trophy will be awarded to the winning yacht in a new offshore race from Cork Harbour to Dublin as part of the build up to the Irish Cruiser Racer Nationals to be held on Dublin Bay from May 21-23.

The feeder Race will take place from Royal Cork in Crosshaven on  Friday 14th May. Commodore's Cup team boats will use the passage as part of their offshore practice.The Race also can be used as a qualifier for next month's Round Ireland Race and it will also accomodate double handed entries.

111 boats have already entered the Liebherr Nationals from 21st to 23rd May in the Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. Event organisation is in full swing to ensure a quality event  both aflaot and ashore, says ICRA Commodore Barry Rose.

Entry forms and sailing Instructions will be available at the Royal Cork Yacht Club. Interested boats are requested to inform ICRA of their intention to compete. The ICRA perpetual offshore trophy will presented to the winning yacht.

Published in ICRA
Tagged under


After a record turnout for its first race of the season to Holyhead a week ago ISORA Commodore Peter Ryan has appealed for a similar effort for next weekends race from Dun Laoghaire to Arklow and back. This ISORA race will be run with the Lee Overlay/Royal Alfred Yacht Club 2010 Offshore Series race using the same start, course and finish. Boats may enter both series. Boats entered in the ISORA series only shall not be scored in the Lee Overlay/RAYC series nor are eligible for prizes in that series.



09.55   Warning signal - Class flags (Numerals 1 & 2) hoisted

09.56   Preparatory Signal - Blue Peter hoisted

09.59 Blue Peter down

10.00   Start – Class flags down


The start may be broadcast on VHF Channel 72.



The start line shall be located in Scotsman’s Bay in the vicinity of DBSC ‘Pier’ mark between the mast of a committee boat flying the RAYC burgee and a start mark at the port end. A boat shall not start later than 15 minutes after her Starting signal. Prior to the start of each race boats are requested to obtain acknowledgement from the Race Committee.




2. Muglins to starboard

3. Arklow North to Port

4. Muglins to port



The Course will be confirmed at a briefing at 08.45 at the Marina offices and afloat to the competitors on channel 72 before the start.



The race may be shortened at a mark and will be signalled by calling the fleet on Ch 72. If the fleet doesn’t finish a race or shortened race, the race committee may take the result from the mark at which one third or more of the fleet round from the direction last mark.


Published in ISORA
Tagged under

A change in the finishing time of the winning sailing yacht in the first race of the 2010 ISORA series has led to a reissue tonight of Saturday's race results but the placings still stand. Double-handed entry, Katanca, an Elan 31 sailed by Barry O'Connor and Paul O'Riain from the Royal Irish YC stay on top in the 20-boat fleet. The revised results are attached.

Published in ISORA
Tagged under
A record number of starters came to the start line at the East Mark in Scotsman's Bay on Saturday. 22 boats started from an entry list of 23 boats. This has not been seen in ISORA for many years. The fleet had several newcomers to ISORA- "Team Windmill", "English Mick", "Mistral of St. Helier" "GFT Adventurer", "Finnigans Wake", "Dinah", "Obsession", "Katanca" and "Madam Wen".

For the first time the overall race included "no spinnaker" and "short-handed" boats. The IRC rating allows this and ensures that every entry is competing for the coveted "Wolf's Head Trophy". The large fleet was divided in two classes with the break at rating 1.025 producing nearly an even divide of the fleet.

All week the weather forecast for the race was predicting ideal conditions. On the morning of the race there was not a breath of wind in the marina and there were mutterings from some boats about shortening the race. Fortunately, as the race was a qualifier for the Round Ireland Race, it had to remain at 75 miles length. By the time the large fleet gathered at the start there was 18k of wind. The forecast for 15-20k southerly winds was correct as the 22- boat fleet powered out of Scotsman's Bay towards the Kish Lighthouse. Rounding the Kish the fleet went onto a full beat down the 15 miles to the North India buoy. The wind
remained while the fleet rounded the North India but started to go light soon after. The leg to Holyhead was a very tight reach and those boats that chose to fly spinnakers lost out very soon after.

The approach to Holyhead was at its usual trickiest. The wind dropped and the light variable winds and the strong tides made it critical that the right approach was taken. "Tsunami", Vincent Farrell, made all the right decision in staying east of the rhumb line while crossing the Irish Sea and being south of Holyhead on the approach to the finish with a flooding tide. "Tsunami" took line honours while the tide changed against the remainder of the fleet. Barry O'Connor, sailing short handed in "Katanca" took 1st Overall and 1st Class2. Matt David in his Sigma 400 "Raging Bull" took first place in Class 1 and 2nd
overall. Of the 22 starters, only 3 retired but two of those, Neil Eathough, "Lancastrian" and single-handed Ciaran Hughes "Temper Tantrum", continued to Holyhead for the après race.

The finisher for the race was Rear Commodore of Holyhead Sailing Club, Geoff Garrod. For those boats who went ashore in Holyhead, Sailing Secretary and Past Commodore, Dawn Russell had arranged a great party. The hospitality shown in Holyhead was worth the frustration of the closing stages of the race and ISORA look forward to its next visit there on the 15th May for the ISORA and feeder race to the ICRA Championships in Dun Laoghaire.

The next race is a combined ISORA / RAYC Day race on the 8th May down to the North Arklow buoy and back to Dun Laoghaire. I ask those ISORA boats taking part in this race to also enter the Royal Alfred / Lee Overlay Series. This series is sponsored by Adrian Lee of Lee Overlay and the entry fee is very nominal.

Details on .



Published in ISORA
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Page 31 of 32

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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