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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.
Download starters list below.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 6 – is the second race in the Global Display Coastal Series in Pwllheli and the course will be announced shortly.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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”.
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.
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.