Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Offshore

The Royal Ocean Racing Club organised two races over the May Bank Holiday weekend. 58 boats entered, including a 91nm race for IRC Two Handed, the first overnight race of the year. Giovanni Belgrano’s Classic Whooper won the race for crewed IRC boats. Mike Yates’ J/109 Jago, racing with Eivind Boymo-Malm, was the winner for IRC Two-handed. 

Giovanni Belgrano’s Classic Whooper Photo: Rick TomlinsonGiovanni Belgrano’s Classic Whooper Photo: Rick Tomlinson

A race of approximately 24nm was set for the IRC Crewed boats, essentially a windward leg from the Squadron Line to Bembridge Ledge Buoy with a reciprocal downwind leg back. David Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala took line honours in just over four hours. However, the breeze built during the latter part of the race, giving an advantage to the smaller boats. Whooper won the race after time correction by a big margin. The smallest boat in the race, Ross Bowdler’s J/80 Justify, was second. The Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 British Soldier, skippered by Henry Foster, was third.

“it was an awesome tactical race against all the forecast odds!” explained Whooper’s Giovanni Belgrano. “The wind speed ranged from 5 knots at the start to 20 knots in a rain squall. We had to use every trick we know to win the race. Going inshore on the return leg was the biggest gain. Whooper weighs about the same as Tala, but we only draw one metre, so we could go right over Ryde Sands.”

“A big thank you to the RORC for the race,” commented J/80 Justify’s Ross Bowdler. “It is so cool to race against the big boats and get a great result. Congratulations to Whooper, they sailed an impeccable race.”

Congratulations should also go to Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader. With all three races completed, Dawn Treader is the overall winner of the RORC Spring Series for IRC Crewed boats. Second is Rob Bottomley’s MAT12 Sailplane 3 skippered by Nick Jones. Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood was third overall.

Mike Yates’ J/109 Jago, racing with Eivind Boymo-Malm Photo: Rick TomlinsonMike Yates’ J/109 Jago, racing with Eivind Boymo-Malm Photo: Rick Tomlinson

29 teams racing in IRC Two-Handed were set a separate 91 nautical mile course with crews racing through the night for the first time this year. Starting from the Squadron Line the fleet raced upwind to the east. After exiting The Solent, the fleet were off the breeze for a spinnaker run along the South Coast of the Isle of Wight. After passing The Needles, a broad reach into Poole Bay was followed by a harden up to finish at North Head.

Mike Yates’ J/109 Jago, racing with Eivind Boymo-Malm, was the winner for IRC Two-handed. Sun Fast 3200 Mzungu, sailed by Sam White and Sam North was second by just 12 seconds in a race lasting almost 17 hours. Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada, racing with Jeremy Waitt, was third.

“It was a very complex race, with many sail changes and tactical decisions from beginning to end,” commented Jago’s Mike Yates. “A big cloud at the Nab Tower caused a split in the fleet and we just managed to hold our kite. Our jib top was very effective on the southside of the island and the decision to go offshore at St Catherine's worked well with a breeze filling in from the southwest. We also just made several tidal gates in the latter part of the race. We are delighted to win and all credit to Elvind, two-handed racing is heavily reliant on teamwork, so he deserves just as much credit.”

“ A great race, with lots of opportunities for people to get back ‘into it’ if they had been unfortunate enough to find a hole, as there were a lot around.” commented Mzungu’s Sam White.

Racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club goes inshore for the Vice Admiral’s Cup Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd May. Offshore racing is scheduled to resume on Saturday, May 29th with the Myth of Malham Race. The 230nm race around the Eddystone Lighthouse is expected to have a substantial RORC fleet, as the start mirrors the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Results here

Published in RORC
Tagged under

After a year and a half of disruptions to offshore racing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Royal Ocean Racing Club has confirmed an overnight race for Two-Handed teams starting on May 1st.

The combined entry list for May 1st has a fleet of 48 yachts, including all the top Two-Handed boats from the inshore RORC Spring Series. The three-race series came to a dramatic conclusion on April 17th. James Harayda racing Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo with Dee Caffari, was just one second ahead of Kelvin Rawlings, racing Sun Fast 3300 Aries with Stuart Childerley.

The result in the last race gave Gentoo victory in the series by a single point from Aries. Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino racing with Deb Fish was third.

Dee Caffari shares her thoughts about the takeaways from the RORC Spring Series and the return to offshore action in the vid below.

“The Spring Series had a super-competitive fleet which just literally proved that every second counts,” commented Dee Caffari. “We have had the chance to blow the cobwebs off in The Solent, and on May 1st we will finally stretch our legs offshore. The next race is about preparation and also boat speed rather than the manoeuvres. We have seen how challenging this fleet is, so I am assuming we will all be testing each other to the max.”

For crewed entries, the RORC Spring Series will come to a conclusion this weekend. Two teams are tied for first place going into the deciding race. Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader and RORC Commodore James Neville, racing HH42 Ino XXX, have equal points. Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood is just two points behind the leaders, whilst Rob Bottomley’s MAT 12 Sailplane 3 is five points off pole-position.

“Safety always comes first, it is just too early to run an overnight race for fully crewed teams, however when the club offered to run an offshore race for Two-Handed teams, the response was an overwhelming – Yes Please!” commented RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone. “Details of the course for IRC Two-Handed will be determined by the weather, but our intention is to set an overnight race, taking the Two-Handed fleet out of the Solent. For crewed teams racing under IRC, the final race of the Spring Series will be inshore with a target time of 6-8 hours.”

The RORC fleet are scheduled to start racing from the Squadron Line Cowes from 10:00 BST on Saturday 1st May.

Published in RORC
Tagged under

The Royal Ocean Racing Club has launched an updated Crew Match portal that aims to simplify the process of matching boat owners and crew wherever they race in the world.

The RORC Crew Match website has been upgraded to work with modern communication systems and is easy to use and anyone can register, whether a RORC member or not.

“Finding crewing opportunities can often be quite difficult if you are new to the sport or new to a particular sailing area. For boat owners finding experienced crew can often be trial and error through recommendation and often a time consuming and unsatisfactory exercise for both parties,” said RORC Commodore James Neville. “RORC Crew Match will simplify the process allowing crew to post their experience and owners to advertise crewing positions they are looking to fill and hopefully lead to more boats out on the water competing. It’s a one-stop-shop to find available crew and boats to race.”

Sailors are encouraged to log their details on the website posting their previous experience and their availability for a particular location and can view crewing opportunities being advertised before making the initial contact that will lead to being part of a committed race team.

For more go here

Published in RORC
Tagged under

The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Spring Series continued on Saturday 10th of April with the second race of the series.

The RORC Race Team set an inshore race in the Solent, approximately 38 nautical miles for the IRC fleet, and 32 nautical miles for IRC Two Handed. A north-easterly wind of 10-13 knots provided sub-planing conditions. Tactics and boat handling were the keys to performance. Class winners were Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader and James Harayda’s Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo.

Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader the winner of the IRC Class. Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood was second. RORC Commodore James Neville, racing HH42 Ino XXX took line honours for the class and after IRC time correction was third by just 13 seconds.

“We are delighted especially as this is our first RORC win,” commented Dawn Treader’s Ed Bell. “It was a great race with a good course, which suited us very well. Dawn Treader is a crew that has been racing together in the Contessa class including our kids, plus some friends who have offshore miles. I got the boat with a view to do the Fastnet, and at the moment we are trying to build our offshore experience. It is difficult to celebrate in the current circumstances, but I will definitely be having a drink with my wife this evening!”

James Harayda & Dee Caffari Sun Fast 3300 GentooJames Harayda & Dee Caffari Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo. Photo: Paul Wyeth

In the IRC Two-Handed Class, James Harayda racing Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo, with Dee Caffari, was first across the line and won IRC Two-Handed by 53 seconds. Kelvin Rawlings racing Sun Fast 3300 Aries with Stuart Childerley was second. Rob Craigie racing Sun Fast 3600 Bellino with Deb Fish was third.

“It’s great to back racing and the Two-Handed Class is getting more and more competitive,” commented Gentoo’s James Harayda. ”There is a really good atmosphere in the class, it was especially nice to get congratulated by Kelvin and Stuart after a really good tussle with Aries.

We had so much downtime over the winter so it’s great to be busy competing. It was close race the whole way, almost one design racing and that really does push you. Great fun and really exciting.” 

IRC Two Handed Coach

The Royal Ocean Racing Club provided Olympic coach Hugh Styles to assist the IRC Two-Handed class. “The main aim of today’s coaching was to look at rig settings and sail trim,” commented Hugh Styles. “At this early stage in the season, teams are a little rusty, that is understandable. Understanding mast tune and sail trim techniques is a good way to start the development that can continue through the year. We will have a Zoom debrief to analyse today’s racing for all of the class.”

Olympic coach Hugh StylesOlympic coach Hugh Styles assisted the IRC Two-Handed class

The RORC Spring Series comes to a conclusion with Race 3, scheduled to start on Saturday, 1st May. The Notice of Race requires that all crew shall comply with current Covid-19 guidelines, and with respect to social distancing at all times.

Full Results here

Published in RORC
Tagged under

On Sunday, August 29th 1971, a group of offshore devotees who had campaigned the previous day's annual cross-channel Abersoch-Howth Race for the James C Eadie Cup gathered in the bar of Howth Yacht Club and gave some purpose to their noontime drinks by progressing a discussion about expanding the North-West Offshore Association – the governing body for the race they'd just completed – into becoming the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA).

Offshore racing in the area was nothing new, with Dublin Bay's Royal Alfred YC – founded 1870 – noted in the 19th Century for its cross-channel events to Holyhead, and more recently for overnight races which honed 24-hour seagoing skills in the club's Corinthian crews. Before that, the pioneering Dublin Bay to Cork Harbour Race of 1860 – repeated in 1861 and 1862 – had shown what could be done if there were sufficient levels of enthusiasm. And some recent research has suggested there may even have been a Round Ireland Race from Dublin Bay in 1831 or thereabouts, but there's much more work to be done before anyone can be sure whether or not that truly ground-breaking event actually took place.

Historic snapshot of the frontline yachts of the late 1880s – the start of a Royal Alfred YC cross-channel race to Holyhead in 1888Historic snapshot of the frontline yachts of the late 1880s – the start of a Royal Alfred YC cross-channel race to Holyhead in 1888

Meanwhile, there's quite enough to be going along with on what we know about the early days, with the Liverpool area's 1838-founded Royal Dee Yacht Club, and the 1844-founded Royal Mersey YC, running races and cruises-in-company for their super-wealthy members' large yachts, events which reflected links to both Dublin Bay and the Clyde, while the more modest Liverpool Bay YC established the Midnight Race to the Isle of Man in 1907.

That special event was taken over in 1925 by Tranmere Sailing Club on the south shore of the Mersey in Birkenhead, underlining the greater uncertainties of life after World War I of 1914-18. But TSC and more recently Liverpool YC have kept it going, staging the hundredth on 5th July 2019 with the winner being the Dublin Bay J/122 Aurelia (Chris & Patann Power Smith, RStGYC).

The J/122 Aurelia from Dun Laoghaire (seen here starting the Round Ireland race) maintained long-established cross-channel links by winning the 100th Isle of Man Race from Liverpool in 2019The J/122 Aurelia from Dun Laoghaire (seen here starting the Round Ireland race) maintained long-established cross-channel links by winning the 100th Isle of Man Race from Liverpool in 2019. Photo: Afloat.ie

Back in the 1950s this race, together with others which were staged in response to the fact that each August the focus of Liverpool saltwater sailing moved from the Mersey to North West Wales and Anglesey, had resulted in the formation after World War II of the Mersey & North Wales Joint Offshore Co-ordinating Committee.

The uniquely and splendidly complicated title surely deserves some sort of prize for accurately reflecting the challenges its committee were trying to achieve, something further exacerbated by the fact that further south around Tremadoc Bay to the east of the Lleyn, the sailing enthusiasts of Birmingham and other large English conurbations were seeking their brief period of summer sport from Abersoch, Pwllheli and Portmadoc. Thus it required the wisdom of Solomon to balance the brief programme such that each key offshore and passage race staged in the waters between Conwy and Pwllheli could achieve optimum turnouts for MNWJOCC-supported events.

Things had been a bit more simple, geographically speaking, on the Irish side even if the politics were now complex, but after the Irish Cruising Club had come into being in 1929, it took on the tradition of an offshore Whitsun Race in the Irish Sea, so much so that by the 1960s the ICC – along with the Royal Alfred YC - was playing quite an active role in Irish offshore racing generally.

In 1963, the Irish Cruising Club effectively illustrated the growing complexity of the area's offshore programme by attempting to set it in order, though it should be remembered that some of these events only attracted a handful of starters. Highlight of the season was the RORC/RStGYC Morecambe Bay Race of 220 miles on August 23rd, which also involved the NWOA. Sailed in heavy weather with a real southwest to west gale in the midst of it, the heroic overall winner was the Dublin Bay 24 Fenestra skippered by Arthur Odbert (Royal Irish YC)In 1963, the Irish Cruising Club effectively illustrated the growing complexity of the area's offshore programme by attempting to set it in order, though it should be remembered that some of these events only attracted a handful of starters. The highlight of the season was the RORC/RStGYC Morecambe Bay Race of 220 miles on August 23rd, which also involved the NWOA. Sailed in heavy weather with a real southwest to west gale in the midst of it, the heroic overall winner was the Dublin Bay 24 Fenestra skippered by Arthur Odbert (Royal Irish YC)

The M&NWJOCC for its part continued to see racing numbers expand, and it had felt confident enough to re-style itself the North West Offshore Association in 1962. And then with growing numbers from Ireland involved, and a strengthening association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (which co-sponsored a main event with the NWOA in the Irish Sea-Cork area), any land-centric title began to seem inappropriate, and the idea of going head-on for the straightforward, self-explanatory and rather catchy Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association had obvious appeal by the end of the successful 1971 season.

The most immediate attraction of ISORA was that its acronym could be pronounced as an easily-remembered and distinctive neologism - not really an option with NWOA, and definitely not with M&NWJOCC. And the main mover in quietly promoting this move to a new stage was Dickie Richardson, who was the very personification of Liverpool sailing.

While he'd moved his sailing base to Holyhead SC (near which he and his wife Elspeth were getting much entertainment from converting a former Methodist chapel into a summer base for their exuberant family) he was the essence of best Merseyside, a consultant anaesthetist who was, of course, a member of the Royal Mersey, but felt much more at home next door in Tranmere Sailing Club with fellow boat bodgers, discussing technical boat matters in a ferocious cloud of pipe tobacco smoke.

Dick Richardson in 1972 aboard his boat of the time, the Hustler 30 Skulmartin, which he'd completed himself from a bare hull. Photo: W M NixonDick Richardson in 1972 aboard his boat of the time, the Hustler 30 Skulmartin, which he'd completed himself from a bare hull. Photo: W M Nixon

Not that he was a bodger himself – he made a very competent job of finishing several cruisers from bare hulls, with the boats taking up all of his front garden in a west Liverpool suburb. We got some of the flavour of this great man in our 2015 appreciation of him after his death at the age of 89 but that obit should have been titled "Sir John Richardson 1926-2015".

You see, during much of the time J. C. "Dickie" Richardson was playing a key role in Irish Sea offshore racing, one of his sidelines was chairing a committee to expedite the commissioning of a new hospital in Liverpool. As with all such projects, it had been running so desperately late that the directors took on board the suggestion that if they just had the nerve to appoint one of their own consultants, the no-nonsense Dr Richardson, as the chair of a special commissioning committee, then the hospital would be up and running within the foreseeable future.

They accepted the advice, Dickie and his hand-picked committee then worked their heads off, and the much-admired hospital was functioning within a reasonable time - so much so that all his colleagues and friends assumed he'd be getting a knighthood in the next New Year's Honours List as a very well-earned thank-you. Not a bit of it. For it emerged that in order to get the job done, Dickie had eventually been so utterly blunt (or brutally rude as some shy types claimed) to every civil servant and politician with whom he'd had to deal that there was absolutely no way he was going to get a gong.

So this then was the man who, around one o'clock on Sunday, August 29th fifty years ago, was persuading us that it was high time the NWOA became ISORA. And beyond that, the sky was the limit, as he saw the re-shaped Association's remit extending northward to the Clyde and southwest to Cork.

But where he might have sometimes been tough in his dealings with hospital contractors and managers, in Howth YC among fellow sailors fifty years ago, with us sharing the space with the likes of Hal Sisk of Dun Laoghaire, Bill Cuffe-Smith of Howth, Ronnie Wayte of Skerries who'd just taken second in class in the '71 Fastnet with the Hustler 35 Setanta, and Alan Stead from Holyhead, in HYC that Sunday it was a matter of quiet persuasion, leading to agreement to hold a more formal inaugural meeting in the winter, an event which went so well that in the Spring of 1972 the new Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association published its first comprehensive programme, listing full sailing instruction for events which ran from May until September, taking in all the main offshore races between the Clyde and St George's Channel round to Dunmore East.

Some of the ISORA fleet in Howth after a cross-channel race in 1980, with the fleet including (at centre) Dai Mouse III (now Sunstone) and the McGruer yawl Frenesi, as well as the first Round Ireland Race winner Force Tension (Johnny Morris) on right. Despite the primitive facilities at most ports, more than a hundred boats regularly entered the ISORA Championship each season. Photo: W M NixonSome of the ISORA fleet in Howth after a cross-channel race in 1980, with the fleet including (at centre) Dai Mouse III (now Sunstone) and the McGruer yawl Frenesi, as well as the first Round Ireland Race winner Force Tension (Johnny Morris) on right. Despite the primitive facilities at most ports, more than a hundred boats regularly entered the ISORA Championship each season. Photo: W M Nixon

The Association was based on a minimal but effective structure, with Dickie Richardson (who was also Commodore of Holyhead SC) as Chairman, his close friend and fellow medic Alan Stead as Honorary Treasurer, and Liverpool sailor Frank Drabble as Honorary Secretary. In those early years, the offshore brigade were happy enough to leave the basic "clerical" work to a Holyhead nucleus, as the Committee was based on largely autonomous local representatives, including Sandy Taggart in the Clyde, Jim Blaikie in Belfast Lough, John Ellis in Lancashire, Peter May and George Peake in the Isle of Man, and Hal Sisk in Dublin.

In its first full season of 1972, the programme attracted 102 boats from 20 clubs taking part in a total of 11 races, and there was also a "short regatta week" of inshore and coastal races, the Captain's Cup, at Holyhead, a precursor of subsequent big fleet biennial ISORA Weeks which were to run for several decades.

There were many reasons why the modestly-launched ISORA programme was such as success, and one of the more extreme yet plausible was The Troubles. With life ashore being blighted by unrest and atrocities, being at sea and then meeting with fellow-competitors afterwards at an enclosed venue provided security which facilitated hassle-free socializing among people from every nation around the Irish Sea.

Certainly the three-day absence - which participation in an ISORA race implied - put you in something of a cocoon, and as the programme became part of sailing's basic structure, there were those for whom it was essential to mental well-being. A classic case was Alan Lawless of Malahide, who raced the Shamrock Half Tonner Jonathan Livingston Vulture. Through the week he ran a demanding television sales and servicing organisation, but for seven weekends of the summer, he would simply disappear for his necessary ISORA medicine of a cross-channel offshore race against a fleet of like-minded souls.

Liam Shanahan's Dehler db2s Lightning (NYC) was an ISORA star in the 1980sLiam Shanahan's Dehler db2s Lightning (NYC) was an ISORA star in the 1980s

That said, those who sailed regularly in ISORA found that each season was slightly different, as the many areas involved – when they saw what could be done - became much keener to take possession of what they regarded as their part of the widespread ISORA programme. For the overall results from 1972 had revealed how widely the net had been spread, and how effectively the International Offshore Rule was providing effective handicaps.

The largest fleet was in Class A, and here the overall winner was Dick and Billy Brown's 35ft Ruffian from Strangford Lough, which they'd designed and built themselves in 1970-71. After a successful early season in the northern events, they came south for the concluding Holyhead-Rockabill-Dun Laoghaire Race, and showed the St George's Channel fleet a clean pair of heels to clinch the class title.

Class B was also finalised in that last race by HYC's Bill Cuffe-Smith with his new deep-keel Mark 2 Arpege Leemara, which he campaigned with efficient determination. Being an Aer Lingus Jumbo Jet captain, he had traditional first call on any unused airline meals left over at the end of each Transatlantic flight, and it's said that he once arrived home at his house above Howth Harbour with 37 ready-to-go airline dinners, which duly went aboard Leemara in several allocations, for as one of his crew observed, as long as they were winning they were perfectly happy to rotate through the airline ready meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner…..

Winners Enclosure. At the conclusion of the final race of the inaugural ISORA season in 1972 from Holyhead-Rockabill-Dun Laoghaire, the berth at the East Pier near the National YC found (left to right) Class B winner and overall champion Leemara (Bill Cuffe Smith, HYC), Class A winner and overall champion Ruffian (Dick & Billy Brown, RUYC), and Class C wnner and third overall Casquet (Paddy Donegan, SSC)Winners Enclosure. At the conclusion of the final race of the inaugural ISORA season in 1972 from Holyhead-Rockabill-Dun Laoghaire, the berth at the East Pier near the National YC found (left to right) Class B winner and overall champion Leemara (Bill Cuffe Smith, HYC), Class A winner and overall champion Ruffian (Dick & Billy Brown, RUYC), and Class C winner and third overall Casquet (Paddy Donegan, SSC). Photo: W M Nixon

Class C in that closing race was won by Paddy Donegan's lovely Robb-designed CB yawl Casquet from Skerries, but in the season-long series, Casquet had to be content with third, as the winner was Bert Whitehead's up-dated own-built Dee 25 Timbobbin from Holyhead.

This was all in the olden days, when waterside berthing facilities were primitive, and many events which we see now as pillars of the annual programme had yet to be introduced. Thus ISORA in its early days had the field largely clear to itself, but the administrative pressures were rising. Yet here again they were lucky, as in Jean Scott they found an administrative genius for secretarial duties who took it all in her stride such that through the 1970s the annual championship usually had a well-managed entry of more than a hundred boats.

By 1974 a biennial ISORA Week added to the complexity, and in 1976 it went to Crosshaven, where for the first time the fleet experienced the benefit of marina facilities. But the entry net was now spread so wide that some sections of the fleet were speaking forms of English that the rest of us scarcely comprehended, while many of the North Wales sailors comfortably slipped into Welsh when it suited them to exclude others from their conversation.

Then too, the Cork men quite reasonably wondered why they were going to so much trouble to host a race week for a crowd including many strangers from the Irish Sea when they should have been staging a proper Cork Week with their own unmistakable stamp upon it, and that's how things became thereafter.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the rather over-extended ISORA empire, the annual Scottish Series centred on Loch Fyne was becoming a mighty force in its own right, so clearly the sensible thing was for ISORA to stick to the knitting, concentrate on its core programme at the south end of the Irish Sea and the northern part of St George's Channel, and that's more or less what they've been doing ever since.

This highly-focused approach produced great racing in high-strength doses, and over the years the build-up of racing memories involving many boats and crews and owner-skippers of enormous character in such a crazy narrative that it's difficult to escape the conclusion that it would be impossible to make a book out of it. The story is simply too complex, and the cast of thousands too numerous and varied. Perhaps the only way to manage it is simply to tabulate each season's results with basic notes about weather conditions, and analyse the way that boat types have developed over the years.

The Club Shamrock Emircedes (Michael Horgan & Peter Ryan NYC) was a regular participant in ISORA Racing, and also raced round Ireland and in the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race. For many years the Ron Holland-designed Shamrock in all its variations was a backbone of ISORA racing, and in 1984 Neville Maguire of Howth clinched the ISORA title with his Club Shamrock Demelza in the same weekend as his son Gordon won the All Ireland Windsurfing Championship.The Club Shamrock Emircedes (Michael Horgan & Peter Ryan NYC) was a regular participant in ISORA Racing, and also raced round Ireland and in the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race. For many years the Ron Holland-designed Shamrock in all its variations was a backbone of ISORA racing, and in 1984 Neville Maguire of Howth clinched the ISORA title with his Club Shamrock Demelza in the same weekend as his son Gordon won the All Ireland Windsurfing Championship.

And so too have the socio-economic conditions in which ISORA has existed in its fifty years. From a time in which waterfront facilities were so primitive that the only comfortable place in a harbour was aboard your own boat, we have graduated to a situation where totally-sheltered pontoon berthing is the norm, providing easy access to clubs and nearby restaurants which vie with each other in the standard of their "hospitality product".

We have also moved in from a time when it was thought normal for offshore sailing enthusiasts – both male and female – to disappear in pursuit of their strangely uncomfortable sport in preference to putting in quality family time ashore in a variety of user-friendly and sociable pursuits.

Thus as the world rolled on and moved into a new millennium in 2000, while there were those for whom the ISORA programme was the basis of their summers sailing, there was a definite trend among a growing majority to concentrate on fewer and bigger and inevitably highly-publicised events which were more in keeping with the noisy spirit of the age, rather than the essentially private pleasure which is ISORA racing.

Numbers were declining so markedly that by 2007 it was decided to hold a gala winding-up dinner in the Autumn for the old association in the National Yacht Club, where one of the many things to be decided would be the re-allocation of ISORA's many prizes. But Divine Providence decided otherwise. A mighty storm blew up, and the ferries were unable to sail from Holyhead to bring across the Welsh and English elements of the funeral party. The dinner went ahead regardless with the Irish section in top form, and happily the event failed completely in its objective.

Far from winding-up ISORA, the gathering decided to revive it in a turbo-powered and more concentrated form, with the National Yacht Club seeking a three-year agreement from the rest of the membership for the NYC to run ISORA for the benefit of all.

Peter Ryan's has contributed greatly to the significant contemporary relevance of ISORAPeter Ryan's has contributed greatly to the significant contemporary relevance of ISORA

Since then, success in this bizarre outcome of event has been thanks to many, but mainly to two people - the NYC's Peter Ryan, who started his ISORA career with Liam Shanahan on the all-conquering Dehler dbs Lightning in the 1980s and then went on to race the Club Shamrock Emircedes with his father-in-law Michael Horgan, and Stephen Tudor of Pwllheli, whose family's offshore sailing probably goes well back to beyond the time of a young Henry Tudor who eventually became Henry VIII.

They've created an effective, leaner, fitter ISORA which has proven its underlying strength as sailing has tried to accommodate the pandemic and the on-off nature of lockdowns. Peter Ryan is currently the ISORA Chairman, and in this time of stress, he and Stephen between them cover most of the administration with a nimbleness of movement which is denied to sailing organisations with a significant shoreside structural element.

Stephen Tudor also plays a key role in ISORA todayStephen Tudor also plays a key role in ISORA today

For if you've the means of electronic positioning on the starting line markers, and race trackers on the boats, even a coastal race can take place completely independently of the shore providing you're dealing with qualified crews and compliant boats.

Yet it's something that involves escaping from the rigidity of thinking. Thus ISORA may have announced the possible parameters of a 2021 programme starting in late April, but those seriously interested know that it all may change from week to week, or even day to day.

Through the ins-and-outs of 2020's truncated sailing programme, ISORA steered a skilled path which resulted in a championship that was acknowledged as being well worthwhile. So much so, in fact, that at the end of the year we made Peter Ryan the Afloat.ie "Sailor of the Month" for December in an adjudication which was as much as token of hope that the best will be made of 2021 - whatever it may bring – as it was an expression of thanks for what he and ISORA had managed to achieve in 2020.

The supportive and congratulatory greetings which this adjudication inspired were very impressive indeed - positively heart-warming, in fact. So as the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association faces into its Golden Jubilee season, we know that, however difficult the outlook becomes, ISORA will make the best of it with as little fuss as possible.

RORC Commodore Michael Boyd and 2017 ISORA Champion Vicky Cox (J/109 Mojito, Pwllheli SC) at the ISORA Prize Dinners in the National YC 2017. In November 2007 a dinner was held in the NYC, ostensibly to wind up ISORA. The diners decided otherwise. Ten years later, this ISORA awards dinner attracted an attendance of 240.RORC Commodore Michael Boyd and 2017 ISORA Champion Vicky Cox (J/109 Mojito, Pwllheli SC) at the ISORA Prize Dinners in the National YC 2017. In November 2007 a dinner was held in the NYC, ostensibly to wind up ISORA. The diners decided otherwise. Ten years later, this ISORA awards dinner attracted an attendance of 240.

Published in W M Nixon
Tagged under

The 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race will see a collaboration between two eminent yacht clubs; The Royal Ocean Racing Club and Yacht Club de France, as they team up for the next edition of the 3,000 nm (5,500km) race from Lanzarote, Canary Islands to the Caribbean.

With an interest in expanding their programme of races, the Paris-based Yacht Club de France were keen to seek an alliance with the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the International Maxi Association to promote the already established RORC Transatlantic Race to its members and affiliated clubs. Modern IRC boats, as well as classic yachts will be invited to participate in the 8th edition of the annual race which has attracted previous entries from around the world to date.

“With the still-growing popularity of offshore racing in France and amongst our membership, we are very happy to join together with one of the most active and renowned offshore racing clubs in the world – the Royal Ocean Racing Club. We will be honoured to present a trophy on behalf of our historic club and help promote the RORC Transatlantic Race to our members and through our 32 associated clubs in France,” explains President of Yacht Club de France, Philippe Heral.

The dramatic volcanic mountains of Lanzarote make an impressive backdrop as the RORC Transatlantic Race fleet head for GrenadaThe dramatic volcanic mountains of Lanzarote make an impressive backdrop as the RORC Transatlantic Race fleet head for Grenada Photo: James Mitchell

The longest offshore race in the RORC’s Season’s Points Championship, which consists of over 20 events, the RORC Transatlantic Race was originally set up as a feeder race for the popular RORC Caribbean 600, to allow RORC members and Maxi boat owners the opportunity to race across the Atlantic before competing in the Caribbean regatta season.

“We very much look forward to working alongside our colleagues at the Yacht Club de France, which is one of the oldest yacht clubs in France (1867), to promote the race to its members and associations, and open the event to a wider audience,” commented RORC Commodore James Neville. "This is not the first time we have worked together as the RORC has used the Yacht Club de France’s prestigious Paris headquarters for the organisation of dinners for RORC members based in France."

Since the inaugural race in 2014, the RORC Transatlantic Race has been run in association with The International Maxi Association who award an impressive silver trophy to the Line Honours winner each year and the 2022 race will continue this custom.

Teasing Machine arriving in the sunny Caribbean after the Atlantic crossing in the RORC Transatlantic Race Photo: Arthur Daniel

IMA Secretary General, Andrew McIrvine said: “Since Charlie Barr first raced across the Atlantic back in the early 1900s in his three-masted schooner, its lure has drawn dozens of sailors who have a shared dream. Whether a passionate owner of a Maxi yacht, a modern IRC or classic yacht, or an experienced or novice crew, those who have competed in the RORC Transatlantic Race have fulfilled their ambition and we are delighted to be working alongside RORC and Yacht Club de France to help achieve this.”

The RORC Transatlantic Race will start on 8th January 2022 from Lanzarote and hosted by Calero Marinas in the Canary Islands.

Published in Offshore
Tagged under

Meet Yannick and Sean Lemonnier, Galway Bay's father-son shorthanded offshore sailing duo. Yannick is the owner of Quantum Sails Ireland and is preparing for the 2021 Mini Transat Race.

He has been sharing his passion with Sean for years and the two have spent some unforgettable moments together on the water.

As regular Afloat readers will recall, the duo – with a hat-trick under their belts – are the reigning champions in the Cong-Galway Race, Ireland’s oldest and Europe’s longest inland yacht race. 

Learn more about their favourite offshore adventures in the Quantum vid below.

Published in Quantum Sails

Johannes Schwarz’s Volvo 70 Green Dragon crossed the finish line of the 7th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race at 04:53 UTC in an elapsed time of 9 days, 18 hours, 53 mins and 40 secs. Green Dragon wins the IMA Trophy and takes Monohull Line Honours for the RORC Transatlantic Race.

Olivier Magre’s Class40 Palanad 3 was less than five hours behind, completing the 2735-mile race in a phenomenal elapsed time of 10 days, 1 hour, 43 mins and 18 secs. For the moment, Palanad 3 have scored the best corrected time under IRC for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy.

Green Dragon becomes the seventh boat to win the International Maxi Association’s IMA Trophy. Whilst this year’s race is a different route, Green Dragon is the first monohull to complete the RORC Transatlantic Race in under 10 days. The Secretary-General of the IMA, Andrew McIrvine commented: “Congratulations and best wishes from the IMA to Johannes and the Green Dragon team. We are sorry not to able to greet you, as we would have in more usual times, but we hope you enjoyed the race.”

“It is an honour to win the IMA Trophy, as so many famous boats have done, but to finish the race in such a fast time is incredible. Although we finished in Antigua and not Grenada, the route we took was to the south, so there is not much difference in the miles we have raced,” commented Green Dragon’s Johannes Schwarz.

Celebrations on board Johannes Schwarz’s Volvo 70 Green Dragon after winning the IMA Trophy and Monohull Line Honours in the RORC Transatlantic RaceCelebrations on board Johannes Schwarz’s Volvo 70 Green Dragon after winning the IMA Trophy and Monohull Line Honours in the RORC Transatlantic. Race. Green Dragon crew: Kees Bos, Alexis Duvernoy, Jonathan Florent, Florian Guezennec, Jens Lindner, Angel Lingorski, Jorge Lorenzo Roman, Elena Malakhatka, Peter Marchal, August Ruckman, Johannes Schwarz (Skipper), Anton Tajiev, Ada Westerinen.

“In the early part of the race we didn’t push too hard because we are a mixed pro-am crew and there were strong winds on the reach from Lanzarote to Tenerife,” explained Schwarz. “Later in the race we deployed the big kite and the conditions were just so fantastic. It was really special and very emotional for all the crew - we went faster and faster. I have to say that we are deeply impressed by the performance of the Class40s, they were so incredible! When we arrived in Antigua, it was not possible for the RORC team to meet us due to the curfew, but as if by magic, there was a cooler of cold beer on the dock!”

Green Dragon crew: Kees Bos, Alexis Duvernoy, Jonathan Florent, Florian Guezennec, Jens Lindner, Angel Lingorski, Jorge Lorenzo Roman, Elena Malakhatka, Peter Marchal, August Ruckman, Johannes Schwarz (Skipper), Anton Tajiev, Ada Westerinen.

Published in RORC
Tagged under

 (1200 UTC Sunday 17 January) Johannes Schwarz’s Volvo 70 Green Dragon is leading the RORC Transatlantic Race for Monohull Line Honours and is approximately 500 miles from Antigua

The race reaches an exciting stage on the ninth day with the leading boats closing in on the finish line in Antigua. Oren Nataf’s Multi50 Trimaran Rayon Vert, skippered by Alex Pella was under 400 miles from the finish and expected to take Multihull Line Honours on Monday 18th January.

Olivier Magre’s Class40 Palanad 3 was just 60 miles behind Green Dragon and is expected to finish the 2,735 nautical mile race in just over 10 days - lightning-quick for a 40-footer. “The boat is going fast!” commented Palanad 3’s Luke Berry. “The only problem we have is the seaweed. We clean the rudder after a gybe, but have also resorted to taking the kite down and trying to sail backwards! All is good, so we mustn’t complain.”

Half of the time, racing in the 2,735-mile RORC Transatlantic Race is conducted at night. Whilst moonlight can guide the way, it becomes much more difficult to see, let alone adapt to a sudden change in conditions. For this race, in messages sent back to the RORC Race Team, competitors have reported significant squall activity, especially at night.

Antoine Carpentier’s Class40 Redman looks unlikely to catch their sistership Palanad 3 in the race to the finish. In his recent blog, Carpentier describes the frustration at night on Day 8. “Last night was not good for us (Saturday 16 Jan.). A local cloud formed sucking the wind from 20 knots down to just six knots and shifting 90 degrees. In torrential rain we put in a series of gybes to get out of the position; there was no sleep for the Redman crew. When we looked at the race sched. updates and saw our friends on Palanad 3 had not lost any speed, we were green with envy. How to stay motivated? All our efforts to get the boat to move as quickly as possible will have been in vain if we give up.”

Class40 Redman also reports problems with Sargassum seaweed during the RORC Transatlantic Race © Antoine Carpentier Sailing Sebastien Saulnier’s Sun Fast 3300 Moshimoshi gybed on to starboard on Saturday evening. In the last 48 hours, Moshimoshi has turned a 16-mile deficit into a 40-mile lead on Benedikt Clauberg’s First 47.7 Kali.

Benedikt Clauberg commented via satellite about encountering a squall in darkness, which has dramatically affected their performance: “At night without the moon it is so dark that we don’t see even one boat length in front of us, watching only the compass and wind instruments. If the clouds arrive it becomes more than black and the wind can pick up very quick. After surfing at up to 13kts we got hit hard by a strong gust with rain and ripped our spinnaker. With everyone clipped on we got it down and went into cruising mode for the rest of the night. Today the sun is back but we are now in ‘Schmetterling’ mode as we say in Swiss, or wing-on-wing. Otherwise, all is good on board. The crew had a salty shower and are having fun and we see birds and flying fish. Dinner is a Porcini Risotto with a tomato mozzarella salad caprese. We hope you all are fine and no bad news on the other side.”

News from Tim and Mayumi Knight, racing Pogo 12.50 Kai is that they have been racing conservatively due to a gear problem. However, the latest news from Tim is: “Much of our problem has been sorted out and we are back sailing less cautiously with a target speed of 7-8 knots. Kai was approaching halfway in the race and 1,560 miles from the finish.

Published in RORC
Tagged under

Royal Cork Yacht Club 2020 winner Nieulargo will set its sights offshore again in 2021 as the family-based Grand Soleil 40 aims for both of next year's big offshore fixtures on the Irish coast; next June's Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race and August's Fastnet Race over the new course to Cherbourg.

As regular Afloat readers know, Nieulargo took victory in Kinsale's Fastnet Race in August 2020 and then went on to win the big offshore race of the 2020 season the same month when the RCYC yacht scooped the inaugural SCORA Fastnet 450 Race.

Nieulargo, a 2018 RCYC Yacht of the Year,  is campaigned inshore and offshore by husband and wife duo Denis Murphy and Annamarie Fegan and their daughters Mia and Molly.

Annamarie Fegan is presented with the KYC Fastnet Trophy by Rear Commodore Tony Scannell after Nieulargo won Kinsale's Fastnet Race in August 2020 Annamarie Fegan is presented with the KYC Fastnet Trophy by Rear Commodore Tony Scannell after Nieulargo won Kinsale's Fastnet Race in August 2020

The double offshore victories were a satisfying end to 2020 for the Crosshaven crew after what looked at one point this summer that there would be no offshore racing at all following the cancellation of Wicklow's Round Ireland Race.

News of Nieulargo's 2021 season plans came with this week's RCYC announcement that co-skipper Fegan is to run the shore-side events of Cork Week 2022.

Overall winner Nieulargo at the start of the Fastnet 450 Race on Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatOverall winner Nieulargo at the start of the Fastnet 450 Race on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

Published in Royal Cork YC
Tagged under
Page 2 of 37

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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating