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Sailing offshore? The National Yacht Club is staging an 'Introduction to Offshore Racing' evening next Saturday 7th April 2011 at 19.30 and a line up of speakers inlcudes Maurice 'Prof' O’Connell on winning the 2009 Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race. Mick Liddy on how to prepare for offshore sailing. Former National Yacht Club commodore Peter Ryan will give tips on ISORA racing in the Irish Sea.

Whether you are a Round Ireland expert or an offshore newbie the Dun Laoghaire club stresses it is an informal night but a 'unique one' both for offshore sailing fans and those who might be considering going offshore for the first time this season.

 

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Published in ISORA
THE third ocean sprint of the VELUX 5 OCEANS came to the most incredibly thrilling climax today with Polish ocean racer Zbigniew 'Gutek' Gutkowski beating British rival Chris Stanmore-Major to second place by just 40 seconds. It is the closest ever finish in solo ocean racing history.

After nearly four weeks at sea and more than 6,700 miles of racing through the Southern Ocean and the South Atlantic from New Zealand to Uruguay, the fight for second place came down to a nail-biting drag race to the finish line.

As a flotilla of boats took to the waters off Punta del Este to witness the finale and welcome in the skippers they were greeted by two unmistakable shapes on the horizon – Operon Racing and Spartan neck and neck, separated by less than a mile. With around a mile to the finish line it was CSM who had the slight advantage but after taking a course too close to the shore he was forced to gybe twice to lay the line, allowing Gutek to capitalise.

In an amazing photo finish it was Gutek who emerged the victor, sneaking in front of CSM right at the last moment to clinch second place by less than a minute. Gutek crossed the finish line at 4.40pm local time (1840 UTC) after 25 days, 17 hours and ten minutes. Forty seconds later, CSM crossed.

And in an exhilarating conclusion to the leg, Canadian Derek Hatfield blasted across the line just over an hour later after 25 days, 18 hours and 22 minutes. Following Brad Van Liew's win on Tuesday afternoon, all four boats arrived in just over 48 hours of each other.

"It was a fight to the end and I won," Gutek said after stepping on to the dockside to rapturous applause from the waiting crowds. "This second place is the best of all of them, much better than in Wellington and Cape Town. I am really proud."

Moments later it was CSM's turn to join his fellow skippers on dry land. "This sprint has proven I have a fast boat and I have taken the handbrake off now and I think we have a good chance for the next leg," he said. "We have lost out on second place and that's a great pity, I wish we were parked one boat closer to Brad, but I think we have made our point – we know what we're doing now and we can go fast."

"Never in a 6,000-mile leg have I seen a finish this close," Derek added. "It was incredible. All I can say is wow, what a race. It was so close, I loved it."

Ocean sprint three has by no means been easy going for any of the VELUX 5 OCEANS skippers. In the middle of the Southern Ocean, thousands of miles from anywhere, CSM's mainsail ripped and he was forced to spend 30 hours stitching it in horrendous weather conditions. He also had to contend with rips in one of his foresails as well as a major water leak onboard Spartan.

Gutek faced a nervous rounding of the mighty Cape Horn when keel problems developed onboard Operon Racing. After a composite part on the yacht's keel pins broke, the keel started to move several millimetres, making a dull knocking sound. Gutek was forced to fully cant the keel for the remainder of the race, affecting his performance.

Onboard Active House Derek was dealing with an engine oil leak which meant he could only charge his batteries when on port tack. After holding on to second place until just two days from Punta del Este, it was low power to his wind instruments that was Derek's eventual downfall.

"The results of this leg really bode well for the future of the Eco 60 class," Derek concluded. "Here we have recycled older boats that are so competitive and level – it makes for great racing."

Ocean sprint four will see the fleet sprint 5,800 nautical miles to Charleston, starting on March 27.

FINAL POSITIONS:

1st  Brad Van Liew - 23 days, 17 hours and 46 minutes
2nd Zbigniew Gutkowski - 25 days, 17 hours and 10 minutes
3rd Chris Stanmore-Major - 25 days, 17 hours and 10 minutes 40 seconds
4th Derek Hatfield - 25 days, 18 hours and 22 minutes.

SKIPPER QUOTES:

Gutek: "The end to my sprint three story is amazing. This second is the best of all of them, much better than in Wellington and Cape Town. I am really proud. For the last 48 hours I worked so hard to get every last bit of speed out of my boat. Six miles from the finish I was leading Chris, and then more wind came and he went past me. I hoisted my gennaker and we were neck and neck. It was a fight to the end and I won."

CSM: "It's been a very interesting day. This morning I got a position update saying Gutek was only one mile behind me. I was hoping that the tack I was about to do would put me ahead of him but I saw him about 11am pass in front of me about a mile ahead. He is sailing that boat out of his skin. I just couldn't catch him going upwind. Then the wind clocked round so we were on a reach and that's what Spartan does best. Suddenly we were doing 13 or 14 knots and we chased Gutek down pretty quickly. Coming into Punta I had about a fix-boat lead on him and everything was looking really good. Then, coming towards the line I got too close to a patch of rocks which was an error on my part. I had been on deck concentrating on the sailing. I had to put two gybes in to get to the finish line and that allowed Gutek to pass me in the dying moments.  I ended up finishing 40 seconds behind him rather than 40 seconds ahead, but that's racing, that's what it's all about. This sprint has proven I have a fast boat and I have taken the handbrake off now and I think we have a good chance for the next leg. We have lost out on second place and that's a great pity, I wish we were parked one boat closer to Brad, but I think we have made our point – we know what we're doing now and we can go fast."

Derek: "All I can say is 'wow, what a race'. It was so close, I loved it. It was a lot of work but not as much effort as sprint two. It was a good leg, a fun leg. We had a really fast passage to Cape Horn and then an amazing rounding of the Horn within a mile of the coast. The second part from Cape Horn, the last 1,000 miles, was the most difficult part. Not that long ago I was in second place but all I can say is in the last few days the wheels really fell off. Because of the oil leak in my engine my power got so low that my wind instruments wouldn't work. In the dark I was going back and forth trying to get upwind, and that's when Gutek got away. It was mine to lose. The results of this leg really bode well for the future of the Eco 60 class – here we have recycled older boats that are so competitive and so level. It makes for great racing. Never in a 6,000-mile leg have I seen a finish this close, it was incredible."

Published in Offshore

Irish solo sailing fans may be interested in the annual Solo Racing Festival at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble on Saturday 12th March.

Given the Figaro race is coming to Dun Laoghaire in August a talk on the Artemis Academy with John Thorn (Figaro 2) will be of particular interest.

Owen Clarke's designer Merfyn Owen, who lives in Hamble will be attending as well as colleagues from their brokerage partners Boatshed Performance.

So whether your interest be solo sailing or short-handed sailing in general they will be there to answer questions on design, construction, as well as sale/purchase and charter of offshore performance yachts.

The Race Fair is  an open house from 10.00 for race organisers to meet and greet potential skippers from; Global Ocean/Class 40, Mocra, UK mini group, RORC, SORC, Biscay Challenge, AZAB. Floating boat show, 8 boats including the OC class 40, 2 minis, A35, J105, Figaro 2, Sunfast 3200.

There is a Book Signing, Alex Bennett signing copies of High Seas High Stakes and showing Fuji DVD Mike Golding is opening the talks at 11,00.

Followed by:

Winning Mind Set with Ian Brown, sports psychologist
Global Ocean race with Oliver Dewar
Two Star/Ostar with John Lewis, RWYC
30m trimaran design with Nigel Irens (Idec, Sodebo)
Artemis Academy first term report with John Thorn (Figaro 2)
Route du Rhum with Marco Nannini, (class 40)
all in the spendid riverside setting of the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble.

More HERE.

Published in Solo Sailing

The possibility of an Open 40 entry plus a new white sail division are just some of the developments for the tenth Dingle Skellig Hotel Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race. Over 50 (SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS BY MICHAEL CHESTER) gathered at the National YC in Dun Laoghaire last night to hear local TD and the Minister for Sport, Tourism and Culture Mary Hanafin give a ringing endorsement for the unique 320-mile offshore race when it sets sail on June 11th. A notice of race and entry form is available for download below.

The last race attracted 39 entries and a course record was set by Michael Cotter's Whisper. This year organisers Martin Crotty and Brian Barry along with Dingle Harbour master Brian Farrell are confident that they will break the 40 boat barrier. They may well be right as the event has been specifically timed to bring Dublin boats to the south coast for ten days of racing at the ICRA Nationals in Cork Harbour and the Sovereigns Cup the following week in Kinsale.

The event is also benefitting from inclusion in this year's ISORA calendar.

Present last night were represntatives from the major Bay clubs, including Breda Dillon from Howth YC and Fintan Cains of ICRA. Peter Ryan of ISORA, who is also the National YC commodore spoke about plans to develop off shore sailing and the club's plans to welcome the international Figaro offshore fleet in August.

Solo sailor Mick Lidddy who is making a bid for an Irish entry into the race was also in attendance.

SCROLL DOWN FOR LAUNCH PHOTOS BY MICHAEL CHESTER

Afloat coverage of the 2009 Race is HERE

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle
31st December 2010

Foxall Recalls Barcelona Race

In February 2008 Caherddaniel sailor Damian Foxall with Frenchman Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA) crossed the finish line of the first ever Barcelona World RACE as winners onboard Paprec-Virbac 2. Now the Barcelona Race organisers have released an eve of race interview with Foxall.

The pair set an inaugural course record of 92 days, 9 hours, 49 minutes and 49 seconds over the round the world route, although the first edition of the race began earlier in the year – on November 11, 2007.

Foxall is currently immersed in another round-the-world project, as part of the Groupama team preparing for their entry in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race – his fourth participation in the race. With less than 24 hours to go until the start of the second edition, they asked him to cast his mind back to the Barcelona World RACE start:

What feelings do you have looking back at this pre-start period of the Barcelona World RACE?

"Like any oceanic race it's an accumulation of a huge amount of effort in terms of just getting the project to the startline. The race is quite often just the end part of what is quite a long process by the skippers to realise the boat's potential, along with the shore team and the designer and the sail designers. And to a certain extent for a lot of them they'll have had the resources and time to put a bit of the writing on the wall already, in other words to arrive with the very best boat and the very best possible team they can.

"Of course what happens over the next three months might end up telling a different story but most of the guys will hope they already have done what they can to have the best boat and the best possible outcome in the race."

What is your assessment of the fleet, who are your favourites to win?

"I think Jean Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron on Virbac-Paprec 3 are of course going to be one of the favourites, they've got various successes with the Transat Jacques Vabre together, and each have more and more. I certainly hope for the best and wish good things for them.

"It's actually quite an impressive line up with Michel Desjoyeaux and Foncia, and I'm sure that will be one of the main boats Jean-Pierre and Loick have to contend with. I think Groupe Bel will have a very, very good team as well, though they're possibly less well known to the general public outside of France.

"I'm not sure what stage Alex Thomson is at, but I think that was a very good pairing with Andrew Meikeljohn. I've sailed a lot with Andy and I'm sure whatever happens they would have had a good time.

"Jean-Pierre and I had been working towards doing it again when other projects came up, and I'm pretty sure if it wasn't for the Volvo Ocean Race I'd be there this time. So I'll be rooting for my home team and hope their new boat proves fast and reliable. I know they're both more than capable of delivering the goods."

Were there any favourite moments of the race for you when you'll be thinking about the skippers in this edition?

"The halfway mark is quite an experience. By that stage there's a certain amount of writing on the wall and you're hopefully well into your stride. Halfway round the world you've settled into a rhythm and you know what your boat is capable of, you know what the other boats are capable of and so I think it's a fairly significant moment. When you go through the Cook Strait and you look east into the Southern Ocean and you're halfway round the world that's quite a memorable mark of the course I guess.

"Obviously Cape Horn is a classic. But I think the biggest memory for me was coming back, the last stage into Barcelona and the contrast from three months at sea and coming back to modern life makes quite an impression, and especially so for us, winning the first edition. It's a great landmark for all of us to come back in."

Is there anything you took from the race you'd pass on to the skippers heading out tomorrow?

"It's a huge challenge and most of the skippers who are there have either been there before or have similar experience to myself so I'm not sure I'd pass on anything that the guys don't already know.

"But it's a long way, it's three months at sea, and unlike the Vendée Globe you're going to sea with somebody else, and it's not like the Volvo where you've got a larger group of people. You're going to sea with one other person and that's probably the most important aspect in terms of the race.

"On the one hand it's the biggest attribute you've got, your buddy, your co-skipper. And it's really important to make that relationship work well and to understand what they need, and to maintain a single objective in common that you both agree on and to basically cross the line having achieved that goal. For some it might be winning, for some it might be just finishing the race, but that common objective is probably the single most important thing that the skippers need to agree on before the start."

Published in Offshore
Tagged under
Proposals for ten potential conservation zones in the Irish Sea are earmarked in a second report released from the Irish Sea Conservation Zones project.

The area include the inshore waters of Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria and offshore waters of the Isle of Man, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. One of the zones is a 187 square km stretch of deep water between Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

In order to gain a greater understanding of the proposed zones, the report commissioned a Regional Stakeholder Group which drew from a diverse range of interests in the Irish Sea. Among the stakeholders included were the Royal Yachting Association, the fishing community and ports authorities. The review identified the size, shape and locations of the proposed 10 ten new Marine Conservation Zones. For the first time, the zones included inshore water of the Irish Sea project area as well as offshore.

"This is a real milestone for the project, with potential Marine Conservation Zones identified in both inshore and offshore waters", said Greg Whitfield, project manager at Irish Sea Conservation Zones.

"It is now really important that people take a look at the potential zones and give us their feedback on them. The better the information we have, the better the Marine Conservation Zones that are recommended by the regional stakeholder group will be."

Each of the marine conservation zones are designed to protect nationally important marine wildlife, habitats and geology. In addition they are designed to have the least impact possible on people's activities, but some restrictions will apply as the zones must meet guidelines for protecting species and habitats.

Members of the public are being invited to participate and will be considered as the second project continues to refine its proposals. The report is only a snapshot of the work so far. It does not contain concrete recommendations for the locations of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) in the Irish Sea, and the potential zones shown in the report are described as tentative and liable to change.

The Irish Sea Conservation Zone project will be releasing a third report before the Regional Stakeholder Group finalises its recommendations. The reports are delivered to the Science Advisory Panel. The independent body is comprised of expert scientists whose main role is to evaluate the potential of MCZs against ecological criteria.

The third progress report will be made available in February 2011. Its final recommendations will then be presented to the UK government in June. Following that a formal public consultation on the proposed MCZs are to take place in late 2011 and early 2012.

For information on the Second Progress Report including feedback forms can be downloaded from HERE or by calling 00 44 (0)1925 813 200

Published in Marine Science

With just 24 hours to go to the announcement of sailing's boat of the year award at tomorrow's Cork harbour ICRA conference the consistent poll topper from Afloat's online survey shows ISORA offshore champion Raging Bull as a clear favourite with 1175 votes. Second is Marinerscove on 873 and Errislannan third on 256 votes. Polling began just over a month ago and 2,600 votes have been cast. See the poll on the left hand column of the home page. There's still time to cast your vote to try and influence ICRA judges!

 

 

Published in ICRA

ISORA has published its race schedule for 2011 and to win the overall series next year boats must complete 4 of the 6 "qualifying". Points for the overall series will then be taken from the Best 5 results from ALL the races completed.

The offshore body has also changed the scoring of each race to the High Score system and it will apply weightings for those qualifying races depending on the complexity of the race. The aim is to better reward the winner and participants of longer races with bigger fleets.

To provide opportunities for those boats who have not been winning to win prizes and trophies, it was also agreed at last weeks agm to create a "Silver" fleet in both Class 1 and Class 2. The selection of boats to enter the "Silver" fleet for 2011 will be based on their performance in 2010. The success of these new classes will depend on maintaining the number of boats entering and racing at least at last years numbers.

The NOR and Entry forms for ISORA 2011 will be published later this month.

The Race Programme is attached for download below.

 

Published in ISORA

Irish Sea Offshore sailing Chief Peter Ryan has circulated the Notice and Agenda for next Saturday's ISORA AGM at the National Yacht Club and told Ireland's biggest band of offshore crews to wear dinner jackets so they can vote on next year's sailing, watch Ireland play South Africa and attend the formal ISORA prize giving dinner all at the same waterfront venue.

The AGM takes place at 14.00 at the NYC. The rugby match is on at 17.30 and Ryan says if sailors are interested they can dress up in your tux and watch the match.

Immediately after the match at 19.45, the pre-dinner drinks reception will be held in the JB Room of the Dun Laoghaire club with complimentary sparkling wine and classical music by the Neptune Trio.

Dinner will be at 20.30 sharp to enable the prize giving to take place at 22.00 and finish of ceremonies by 23.00 latest. After this sailors can relax or dance the night away at the ISORA disco.

AGM papers are attached for download.

Published in ISORA
Top Irish offshore sailor Damian Foxall, now sailing with team Groupama in the next Volvo Ocean Race is on this weeks podcast from the VOR team. He's talking about the Route de Rhum. Find him HERE
Published in Offshore
Page 31 of 33

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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