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Conor Fogerty is making great westerly progress this morning following a windshift last night in the closing stages of the OSTAR Transtlantic Race.

The Howth Yacht Club sailor is vying for overall honours after a storm ravaged crossing. He has 722 mailes to sail is the Gipsy Moth division leader, is second in line honours and second in Ostar division.

Fogerty on board a Jeanneau Sunfast 3600 departed Portsmouth 17 days ago.

Fogerty reports his major concern is that the auto pilot keeps cutting out on him but then restarts and functions as normal.

His shore team say he is 'on full sail and spending most of his time trimming'. He is expecting a bit more wind over the next day and then after that, he may see a little downwind sailing.

Main competitor Vento is sailing well again and at this rate should finish late this evening  to take line honours. From that moment on, BAM will be racing the clock for first on corrected time.

Track Fogerty's closing stages in this race here

Published in Solo Sailing

It started in 1993 as a gentler (it was hoped) biennial alternative to the Round Ireland Race, with the 275-mile Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race being the brainchild of Martin Crotty and Peter Cullen of the National Yacht Club writes W M Nixon.

They’d been forced to run back to the shelter of Dingle – a port they didn’t know at all until then – after their mainsail on the Sigma 41 Koala had disintegrated during a ferocious beat northward off the Clare coast during the 1992 Round Ireland Race. In Dingle, they found the perfect port-town for recovery, and a warm welcome which got them thinking it would make the ideal venue for a cruiser-racer event starting at their own club in Dun Laoghaire.

They didn’t let the grass grow under their feet, with the first Dingle Race staged in June 1993. But the thinking behind it was that this was primarily a convenient way to get comfortable performance-cruisers to the sacred cruising territories of southwest Ireland as rapidly as possible, adding to the entertainment by turning the long haul to West Kerry into a bit of sport.

national yacht club2The National Yacht Club’s special corner in Dun Laoghaire harbour provides an ideal setting for the pre-race buzz before the fleet sails out, bound for Dingle

Certainly there has always been a significant contingent of cruising-oriented performance sailors in the fleet. But right from the off, the event’s attraction as a serious race was obviously the reason for many of the competitors’ presence, and the first winner was Richard Burrows’ Sigma 36 Black Pepper with a crew including such noted talents as Robert Dix and Peter Wilson.

Moonduster racing2When Denis Doyle’s Moonduster first did the biennial Dingle Race in 1994, it became a pillar of the Irish sailing programme

Then for 1994’s edition, Denis Doyle appeared from Cork to race the mighty Moonduster to Dingle, and it was clear the event had arrived. Since then, like all Irish sailing it has had its ups and with the rise and fall and rise again of the Irish economy. But there’s no doubting that 2015’s staging showed an event regaining full health. It put out a fleet of 30 with line honours being taken by the Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partner (Adrian Lee, RStGYC) ahead of the Fast 40+ Antix (Anthony O’Leary, Royal Cork YC,) while the corrected time battle was won by the Shanahan family’s J/109 Ruth (NYC) by just 20 minutes from sister-ship Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox, Pwllheli SC).

Having brought his race back to full health, Martin Crotty signalled his hopes of standing down from the central organisational role. But before doing so, he made sure he’d the ideal person to succeed him in the person of leading NYC clubmate Adam Winkelmann. For 2017, Winkelmann has taken an already great event and given it turbo power on the sponsorship side by making it the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race. It’s now recognised by ISORA (who are providing the trackers), it is being appraised this time round for inclusion in future RORC programmes, and with 45 very varied boats down to start the race next Wednesday evening (June 14th, 1900hrs) off the Dun Laoghaire pierheads, the dash to Dingle has entered the big time with a 50% increase in participants.

adam winkelmann12Given a strong brand to manage with the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, Adam Winkelmann has seen entries in the Volvo-sponsored event increase by 50% for 2017’s edition. Photo: Michael Chester

As for the fleet, the only significant absentees from 2015 are the two former contenders for line honours, Lee Overlay Partners and Antix. There are many new boats in the mix, and the winners on corrected time are in there too, notably overall winner Ruth and runner-up Mojito.

There is also a significant two-handed division with eleven boats entered, while the fleet is further spiced up by the presence of three Mini Transat 650s which will be racing to Dingle as an event within the event. At the other extremity, the Dingle race even has its first gaff-rigged entry, Darryl Hughes’s 43ft 1937 Tyrrell of Arklow-built Maybird. She’s able to race thanks to there being a division for Progressive ECHO. And before you dismiss her chances, bear it in mind that at the end of the long leg from the start to the Arklow Buoy in the recent ISORA Dun Laoghaire-Arklow Race, Maybird was leading the fleet on ECHO CT at the turn. So they’ll be hoping for a lot of reaching to ease their progress along the coast, and their main hope is to be in Dingle by Saturday (June 17th) in time for the Dingle Race’s very special prize-giving.

Maybird ISORA 2As part of the celebrations for her 80th birthday, the 1937-built classic Maybird will be racing to Dingle, the first gaff-rigged entry in the event’s 24-year history Photo: Afloat.ie

Overall, the sensible money would have to be on the J/109s, but although Ruth is in the entry lists and is very much the defending champion, she and her crew have been quiet enough in the 2017 season so far, while overall after five ISORA races the fleet leader is Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox’s Mojito, which must make her favourite for the new Volvo Trophy for the overall winner.

But hold hard. The Entry List also includes Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabil VI. She may rate higher than the J/109s (she’s 1.051 to the 1.015 of Ruth), but experience shows that in a variety of conditions, Rockabill VI can overcome that disadvantage, and a 275 miles race along a hugely varied (and rather magnificent) coastline will almost inevitably serve up a wide variety of conditions.

Mojito yacht isoraThe J/109 Mojito, runner-up in the Dingle Race of 2015, is currently topping the ISORA points table as she lines up to race to Dingle again

In the current spell of hyper-unsettled weather, there’s a lot of guessing in telling what that wide variety of conditions might be some four days hence, but all predictions seem to agree in having the words southwest and west in their wind direction forecasts, so at this juncture we’ll just leave it at that and focus up again nearer the time.

Meanwhile, the fleet has enough able boats to deal with all and any conditions, a welcome re-appearance in the Dublin Bay area being the Douglas brothers from Carrickfergus with their J/133 Jacana, which in her day has been the top Irish performer in the Fastnet Race as well as having Round Ireland credentials.

But if it’s Round Ireland and Fastnet Race credentials you seek, few can match Ian Hickey’s veteran Granada 38 Cavatina from Cork, which on an IRC Rating of 0.930 can just keep plodding along at best possible speed, and suddenly she emerges as overall winner.

cavatina racing7Ian Hickey’s veteran Granada 38 Cavatina from Royal Cork – a “serial Round Ireland winner” – will always have to be factored into the calculations for the Volvo Dun Laoghaire-Dingle race

Other proven craft which are always there ready to pounce include George Sisk’s Farr 42 WOW, Chris and Patanne Power Smith’s J122 Aurelia (RStGYC), and Andrew Algeo’s J/109 Juggerknot, while the interesting Sailing School side of things is represented both by Fastnet Race class winner Ronan O Siochru with Irish Offshore Sailing’s Jeanneau 37 Desert Star, and Kenneth Rumball of Irish National Sailing School with the J/109 Jedi.

The three Mini 650s are Gildas Bechet’s Dingo 1 from Malahide, and two from the west – Yannick Lemonnier and Dan Mill with Port of Galway Green (they’re racing for Aran Sailing Club), and Port of Galway Black (Marcus Ryan & Louis Mulloy of Mayo SC).

dingo1 mini8The Mini 650 Dingo I from Malahide will be one of three Minis racing to Dingle as a separate class

Yannick lemonnier Dan millsDan Mill (right) and Yannick Lemonnier will race together on the Mini 650 Port of Galway Green

With all due respects to the other competitors, most observers will find a special fascination in the two-handed division, which is as motley a selection of boats and people as you could find in any Irish sailing event.

Yet it has real credibility in that it includes former winners of the two handed class in the Round Ireland – that’s father and son crew of Derek and Conor Dillon from Foynes YC with the Dehler 34 Big Deal, which won in the circuit in 2014. And also taking part are the winners of the admittedly then smaller two-handed division in the 2015 Dingle Race, Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles of Howth. In 2015, they raced the Elan 340 Blue Eyes to Dingle with success, this time round they’ve their recently-acquired J/109 Indian, which made an impressive debut by winning the ISORA Dun Laoghaire-Arklow Race three weeks ago.

blue eyes10The Elan 340 Blue Eyes (left) getting clear after the start of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race 2015, in which she won the two-Handed Division for Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles. This year they’re racing two-handed again, but in the newly-acquired J/109 Indian. Photo: W M Nixon

But for a real track record in racing two-handed in Irish waters, no-one can match Eamonn Crosbie (RIYC/NYC) who has entered this division in the D2D with his impressive Ron Holland-designed Discovery 55 Pamela. Eamonn Crosbie sailed the first round Ireland race ever, a three-stage two-handed event, from Ballyholme in 1975 with the late Jim Poole in a Ruffian 23. Later, he went on to win the Round Ireland overall in a fully-crewed Ker 32. But now his boat style has changed completely, and he should find some comfort in racing a 55-footer to Dingle, as she’s the biggest boat in the race.

discovery 55 crosby.11Profile drawing of the Discovery 55 by Ron Holland. This will be the largest yacht in the Dingle Race, skippered in the two-handed division by Eamonn Crosbie

The second-biggest in terms of overall length is also in the two-handed division, this is Stephen O’Flaherty’s Sprit 54 Soufriere, which may seem a lot of boat to race two-up, but he and his shipmate David Cagney have already achieved a podium place racing Soufriere in the two-handed event at Howth, so they know what they’re taking on.

At other times and events, the two of them are on the crew strength of Stephen Quinn’s successful J/97 Lambay Rules, but for the race to Dingle the little J boat will also be going two-handed, with Stephen Quinn sailing with Dave Cotter in what will inevitably be a uniquely mis-matched needle contest with Soufriere, as Lambay Rules rates 0.971 to the 1.120 of Soufriere

spirit54 soufriere12Stephen O’Flaherty’s Spirit 54 Soufriere is usually very fully crewed, but she’s racing in the two-handed division to Dingle next Wednesday. Photo: W M Nixon

Such personal contests and many others will be found as the fleet makes its way southward from Dublin Bay next Wednesday evening along a fascinating course which has just about everything. It’s a marvellous event, and while the prize giving at the conclusion in Benner’s Hotel in the heart of Dingle will be epic, the pre-race atmosphere at the National YC on Wednesday afternoon and evening will be something very special too.

The location of the hospitable club in its own attractive corner of Dun Laoghaire’s mighty harbour lends itself well to building up the pre-race buzz, but you definitely have to be there to fully appreciate it.

Full entry list here:

Class Boat Name Boat Manufacturer - Model Sail Number IRC TCF Skipper Sailing Club

2-handed AJ Wanderlust Jeanneau 45.2 Sun Odyssey IOM 8931 R 0.990 Charlene Howard Douglas Bay Yacht Club

2-handed Big Deal Dehler 34 IRL3492 0.922 Derek Dillon Foynes Yacht Club

2-handed Indian J109 1543 1.011 Colm Buckley Howth Yacht Club

2-handed Lambay Rules J 97 IRL 9970 0.971 Stephen Quinn Howth Yacht Club

2-handed LOBSTER Two Ton Dubois IRL 7077 1.101 Gary Horgan Kinsale Yacht Club

2-handed Pamela Discovery 55 IRL5503 1.082 Eamon Crosbie RIYC/NYC

2-handed Prima Luce Beneteau First 35 IRL 3504 1.017 Sean Lemass, and Patrick Burke National Yacht Club, and Royal Irish Yacht Club

2-handed Soufriere Spirit 54 IRL 1974 1.120 Stephen O'Flaherty Howth

Cruiser ACT Two DuFour 425 IRL4250 1.004 Tom Michael David Roche O'Leary Andrews RIYC

Cruiser Birmayne Bruce Roberts IRL 756 0.000 Justin McKenna RSGYC

Cruiser Fulmar Fever Westerly Fulmar FR 14 0.869 Robert Marchant W.H.S.C.

Cruiser Golden Fleece Sigma 41 IRL51215 0.800 Barry Cunningham RIYC

Cruiser Harriet Marwood Farrow & Chambers, Collins 40 Tandem Keel GBR3556L 0.984 Bryan Mullarkey Holyhead Sailing Club

Cruiser Lady Rowena Sadler IRL34218 0.905 David Bolger Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Cruiser Maybird Shepherd design built by Jack Terrell in 1937 GBR 644R 0.910 Darryl Hughes Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club

Cruiser Oystercatcher Dufour IRL 1177 0.932 Brian Hett Greystones

Cruiser Pipedreamer VI Dufour 40 GBR 2271L 1.020 Paul Sutton Holyhead Sailing Club

Cruiser Thisbe Nicholson 32 IRL 1530 0.849 Jim Schofield Poolbeg Boat Club

Mini 6.50 Gemo Mini 650 Dingo 1 FR 699 1.000 Gildas BECHET Malahide Marina

Mini 6.50 Port of Galway Black Mini 6.50/ Proto 303 1.000 Marcus Ryan Louis Mulloy Mayo Sailing Clu

Mini 6.50 Port of Galway Green Mini Transat 6.5 Proto IRL78 1.000 Yannick Lemonnier / Dan Mill Aran Sailing Club

Racing aquelina J-112E IRL 1507 1.054 Sheila/James Tyrrell arklow sailing clab

Racing Aurelia J Boats IRL35950 1.077 Chris & Patanne Power Smith RSGYC RORC

Racing Cavatina Granada 38 IRL3861 0.930 Ian Hickey Royal Cork YC

Racing Elandra SIgma 33 IRL 4536 0.914 Joe Conway RIYC

Racing EOS X 362 SPORT IRL 6695 1.018 CIAN MC CARTHY KINSALE YACHT CLUB

Racing IOS Desert Star Jeanneau irl 1397 0.970 Ronan O Siochru Royal St. George Yacht Club

Racing Jedi J109 IRL 8088 1.008 Kenneth Rumball Irish National Sailing Club

Racing Juggerknot J/109 IRL 3660 1.016 Andrew Algeo RIYC / Baltimore SC

Racing Kalamar Beneteau 31.7 IRL3171 0.948 Roberto Sastre NYC

Racing Lively Lady Beneteau First 44.7 IRL1644 1.105 Derek Martin RIYC

Racing Lula Belle Beneteau 36.7 IRL 3607 0.991 Liam Coyne Wicklow

Racing Mojito J/109 GBR0947R 1.010 Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox Pwllheli SC

Racing Platinum Blonde Beneteau 35 First IRL 3516 1.019 Pau Egan RSGYC

Racing Red Alert Jeanneau---JOD35 IRL6036 1.001 Rupert Barry Greystone Sailing Club

Racing Rockabill VI JPK 10.80IRL IRL 10800 1.051 Paul O'Higgins RIYC

Racing Ruth J/109 IRL 1383 1.015 Shanahan Family National Yacht Club

Racing Sgrech J109 GBR9319R 1.011 Stephen Tudor Pwllheli Sailing Club - Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club

Racing Spirit of Jacana J133 IRL1335 1.103 Alan, Bruce and James Douglas Carrickfergus Sailing Club

Racing Springer Sigma 33 (Marine Projects) IRL 4464 0.914 Ian Bowring RStGYC

Racing Thalia Sigma 400 IRL733 1.035 Mick Flynn NYC

Racing Wakey Wakey J109 GBR5909R 1.014 Roger Smith Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club

Racing White Tiger Beneteau First 44.7 IRL4470 1.112 Tony O'Brien Kinsale Yacht Club

Racing Windshift Sunfast 37 37737 0.985 Brendan Coghlan Royal St George

Racing WOW Austral Yachts IRL4208 1.123 George Sisk RIYC

Click for all the latest Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race News

Published in W M Nixon

On Saturday, 3rd June, due to a clash of events, the Howth YC’s Lambay Races and the Poolbeg Y&BC’s Regatta, both of which ISORA committed to incorporate, a new race format evolved writes Peter Ryan. The way to take part in both events was developed by ISORA. The ISORA fleet would have their start as part of the HYC Lambay Race and complete that course. The fleet would then sail through that finish line and continue on the Poolbeg Y&BC to a second finish at Poolbeg Lighthouse.

This was made manageable by the use of the YB trackers recording the first finish at “Stack” mark off Ireland’s Eye. The ISORA / Poolbeg Y&BC Race was sponsored by Dublin Port.

Howth Race Officer David Lovegrove started the fleet of 25 boats with an downwind leg from “Viceroy” mark towards Lambay Island. The weather forecast was for 5-15 Knots SE and this weather arrived at the start area.

The full course for the race was:

Start at “Viceroy”
Taylor’s Buoy (S)
Lambay Island (S)
“Portmarknok” (P)
“Stack” (S) – Finish of Lambay Race
North Burford (S)
Finish off Poolbeg Lighthouse
25 miles approx

Conditions start to get fickle as the fleet rounded Lambay Island. Andrew Hall’s “Jacknife” led the fleet followed by George Sisk’s “WOW” and Paul O’Higgins “Rockabill VI”. Four J109’s were also bunched behind these leaders, Vicky Cox’s “Mojito”, Liam Shanahan’s “Ruth”, Kenneth Rumball’s Irish National Sailing School “Jedi” and Roger Smith’s “Wakey Wakey”. There was significant and constant variation in wind conditions across the course varying from 5 to 15 knots. The leg to Portmarnock was a beat. The varying conditions spread the fleet widely and places were won and lost from tack to tack.

Jedi J109 ISORAThe Kenneth Rumball skippered Irish National Sailing School entry “Jedi” leads on ECHO handicap. Photo: Afloat.ie

As the fleet approached “Portmarnock” some confusion arose with advice from the Race Committee that the mark was “missing” and they were replacing it with a RIB flying an M flag. When the fleet arrived at the location, the RIB had stood down and the mark had been replaced. Fortunately for most of the fleet, this did not lead to any difficulties.

The last leg of the Lambay course was led by “WOW” who took line honours. “Mojito” took IRC Overall and Grant Kinsman’s “Thalia” took ECHO Overall. A Prize giving by Howth YC is to be arranged.

The fleet then continued towards Poolbeg in even flukier conditions. On this leg, the front boats were experiencing very light condition while those boats at the back of the fleet had good wind which had now verred west. This bunched the fleet as it rounded North Burford for the beat to the finish at Poolbeg.

The Overall winner of the IRC Section of the Poolbeg Y&BC Regatta and the ISORA race was “Rockabill VI” with five J Boats taking the next places – “Mojito”, “Jedi”, “Ruth”, Chirs Power’s “Aurelia” and “Wakey Wakey”. Derek Dillon’s “Big Deal” from Foynes YC took Class 2.

In ECHO, two Sigmas took first and second place with Grant Kinsman’s Sigma 400 “Thalia” beating Joe Conway’s Sigma 33 “Elandra”, ahead of “Jedi” and “Big Deal”.

Most of the finishing boats made their way down the river to Poolbeg Y&BC where a great “Beach Party” was arranged. A BBQ and music ensured that the party went on well in to the night. A prize giving for the IRC and ECHO winners and placing took place with Commodore Roger Smith making the presentations.

After 5 races “Mojito” is leading the IRC Section of the ISORA Averycrest Offshore Series with “Jedi” and “Aurelia” close behind. In ECHO, “Jedi”, “Elandra” and Paul Hampson’s “MoJo” from Liverpool are top of the series. A lot will be decided by the start of july with the D2D Race, Lyver Race and the Adrian Lee & Partners “Lighthouse Race” as part of the VDLR. Full results are here.

The next race in the ISORA schedule is the D2D race on the 14th June. A fleet of 45 boats are expected to line up for this race and a great social itinerary is arrange for those boats arriving in Dingle.

Published in ISORA
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Solo sailor Conor Fogerty of Howth Yacht Club attended this morning's OSTAR skippers race briefing. John Forde, in Plymouth with Ireland's Team BAM!, updates on preparations for Monday's Transatlantic race start. 

Bam arrived safely in Plymouth to take her place amongst the fleet of solo and two handed sailors in this year's OSTAR.

Ten different nationalities are represented from as far apart as Australia and America to the usual European strongholds , one from Poland and Bulgaria and Howths own Fogerty on the intrepid Sunfast 3600 Bam.

An interesting delivery saw Bam slip her lines early Wednesday morning after a lateish send off from friends and family in Howth.

A flat calm Irish Sea shrouded in fog saw Bam on bare poles head for Tuskar and then South east to the turn. The wind filled and a sun soaked Thursday afternoon saw 30 knots of breeze on a nice angle of 55 apparent.

It also provided the crew with the opportunity to photograph the skipper against the backdrop of the disused Cornish tin mine shafts and Lands End.

However the breeze backed as we turned the corner and a lumpy sea accompaning saw a demanding last leg, A temporary glitch in the Auto pilot meant the two watches were stretched from 3 hours on to fully on for the last 12 hours from the Lizard Rock up the coast to Plymouth Harbour.

As Conor said a small taste of what awaits him on this 3,000 mile up wind race.

OSTAR Fogerty ConorThe Irish Jeanneau Sunfast BAM! is prepared for the Transatlantic crossing in Plymouth. Photo: John Forde

With the excitement now building amongst the skippers gathered , a round of briefings , drinks receptions and tales from past participants has begun in earnest. The Half Crown Club will meet this Saturday afternoon to commemorate the original race run in 1960 and the bet placed between the first corinthian competitors. Also this weekend sees the 50th anniversary of Sir Francis Chichester Clarke's global circumnavigation in 1967. The Gypsy Moth IV now held in trust and run by a lively female crew lies on the marina beside Bam with a series of talks and viewings of the famous old lady organised this weekend.

So now as a Skippers Briefing takes place and last minute jobs and tweaks are carried out, a more familiar south westerly has filled in bringing rain after glorious sunshine to the hosting club of the Royal Western.

The Starting gun goes at 12.00 hours on Monday the 29th of this Bank Holiday weekend.

Interested parties can track the race and hopefully Conor's successful passage on the Yellow Brick tracker.

We wish Captain Fogerty a speedy, safe and a hoped for successful Atlantic crossing and finish in Newport Rhode Island in approximately three weeks time.

Published in Howth YC
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Saturday's fourth ISORA race of the season starts from Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin and finishes in Arklow, County Wicklow. The 60–mile race will be the first ISORA visit to Arklow for many years and Arklow Sailing Club, as previously reported by Afloat.ie, is preparing a warm welcome for the offshore fleet with over 32–boats expected for the 8am start off Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The 'Sailing Instructions and Supplementary Information for Race 4' are attached below. 

The ISORA fleet has grown to 50 boats for the 2017 season with fixtures on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Published in ISORA

It’s been a studious, laborious night for the 20 competitors still out on the offshore race track in the Normandy Channel Race. The SW’ly wind is right on the nose as they continue to battle towards Fastnet Rock after rounding the Tuskar mark yesterday afternoon. Twice the distance, three times the effort it is often said. Indeed, the Class 40s are embroiled in a series of tedious tacks upwind in a bid to make even minimal headway, with a heavy price to pay in terms of physical effort and strategic cogitation, with every sail manœuvre requiring a serious amount of stacking, which consists of shifting any movable weight in the boat to the other tack, from heavy sail bags to personal belongings. However, a sailor has a sense of humour and also knows a thing or two about philosophising, as evidenced by this short message from Halvard Mabire (Campagne de France) last night: “The work on deck is quite a laugh, but the shifting of gear down below is no joke, especially whilst the floor is constantly jumping around and moving. It’s easy to keep hitting yourself against the walls and bulkheads and taking a bath is out of the question, otherwise you’re at risk of setting the tongues wagging on the dock (because it’s common knowledge that nobody believes you if you say you’ve walked into a door to explain a black eye...)”.

After a quick exit from the English Channel and an ultra fast climb up to Tuskar, the race pace has dropped off considerably and the ability to make headway has greatly reduced. A firm leader, Imerys (Phil Sharp - Pablo Santurde), which has consolidated its lead overnight, (over 13 miles) has only covered 89 miles in the space of 24 hours in reality, or an average speed of less than 4 knots. The British-Spanish pairing is just 20 miles or so from the famous rock this morning, which it is likely to round late morning, before linking onto a rapid negotiation of the Irish Sea, beam onto what is set to be a W’ly wind. As is often the case, beating tends to reshuffle the cards and behind Imerys the battle for the top spots is fierce. Gambling hard, V and B (Sorel-Carpentier) has sacrificed her second place to hunt down a little more pressure a long way South, and with it a decent wind angle that will enable her to drive straight down towards Fastnet and hopefully be in with a chance of getting the better of Serenis Consulting (Galfione- Troussel).

With the passage shortly after 02:00 GMT this morning of Team SPM (Bry-Day), all the protagonists have now rounded the Tuskar mark and are making for Fastnet.

Published in Offshore

County Cork's Justin Slattery onboard Lloyd Thornburg's Phaedo3 swept past Diamond Head Lighthouse buoy at 4:32:18am local time in Hawaii today, to shave an hour off the previous record Transpacific record. The total elapsed time was 3 days, 16 hours 52 minutes and 03 seconds (all times are still to be ratified by the WSSRC).

As Lloyd stepped onto the dock he said.... “ An unbelievable trip! Can't believe we actually broke the record! This was the most difficult sail of my life. Everything went our way and the team put out a super human effort in order to keep the boat moving at nearly 30 knots through the entire trip. We are all excited for a well deserved rest and some sight seeing in Hawaii..."

As Afloat.ie reported previously, crew on board for the record–breaking run were: Lloyd Thornburg, Brian Thompson, Fletcher Kennedy, Justin Slattery, Pete Cumming, Henry Bomby and David Swete.

Published in Offshore
Tagged under

In a weekend that saw the only Irish JPK10.80, Rockabill VI, win the biggest ISORA race for many years, Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret's sister ship Dream Pearls has won the Royal Ocean Racing Club's De Guingand Bowl Race. In second place was Noel Racine's JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew and third overall was the British Two Handed team of Ian Hoddle and Ollie Wyatt, racing Sunfast 3600 Game On.

Line Honours for the De Guingand Bowl Race went to Piet Vroon's Dutch Ker 51 Tonnerre de Breskens, 36 minutes ahead of their nearest rival, Daniel Hardy's Ker 46 Lady Mariposa. After IRC time correction Lady Mariposa was the winner the big boat class, IRC Zero.

“A very competitive race for us and we are delighted to win the first race of our campaign for the Rolex Fastnet Race” commented Dream Pearls' Christian Maby. “We were happy with our speed and we made some very good decisions with sail selection, especially using our Code Zero on the leg back to St. Catherine's Point. If there was one part of the race that we made significant gains it was there. When we finished, we could see boats around us in IRC Two, so we knew we had done well, but to win is fantastic for the team, and this will give us good hope for the season.”

IRC Three was the biggest class with 27 yachts competing; Dream Pearls took the class win, as well as the overall with Game On second and Thomas Kneen's JPK 10.80 Sunrise in third.

Ian Hoddle's Game On had a terrific race, winning the 20-strong IRC Two Handed Class and placing third overall. However Game On was pushed all the way. In IRC Two Handed Nigel De Quervain Colley's Fastrak XI was only two minutes behind and Ed Fishwick's Redshift Reloaded less than three minutes, after IRC time correction.

“Having been beaten by Bellino and Redshift in the Cervantes Trophy, we were keen to strike back immediately” commented Ian Hoddle. “We nailed a more aggressive start, which paid off as we were in the leading pack on the kite-leg down to the forts. The intensity of competition in the Two Handed fleet is such that a good start can make all the difference. North Head was the low point of our race; a broken jib shackle delayed our kite hoist and the time to fix it and a foul tide punished us. At this point the competition had all positioned themselves for the maximum tide running out of Portland. We continued across to Swanage to see if the anticipated lift provided gains; and it worked to a tee. We made the East Shingles Buoy without a tack and even got the Code Zero aloft! Both Ollie and I had certainly left nothing on the table and by 2am we were exhausted!! Ollie and I last raced together back in 2011. I have never seen someone with so much energy - he literally never stops working around the boat - like a machine :)”

Congratulations to Angus Bates' J/133 Assarain IV, winner of IRC One, Nick & Suzi Jones' First 44.7 Lisa, winner of IRC Two, and Antoine Magre's Palanad II, winner of the Class40 Division. The next race in the 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship will be the Myth of Malham. Mirroring the start of the Rolex Fastnet course, the 256 nautical mile race around the Eddytstone Lighthouse, will be the first weighted race of the championship, with a points factor of 1.2.

Published in RORC

Paul O’Higgins JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI has won overall in a fast ISORA Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire Race today writes W M Nixon. After the 0800hr start, a blistering pace was set in a rising southwest to south wind which obligingly backed when the fleet were making their way from the M2 buoy at mid-Channel to leave the South Burford Buoy to starboard before streaking in to Dublin Bay to finish around 1600hrs, a good hour ahead of the most optimistic predictions.

Corrected times at the finish were very close, and a superb performance was put in by the two-handed crew of the Sunfast 3600 Bam!. Owner Conor Fogerty sailed with Robert Slator and such determination that Rockabill was only 2 minutes and 24 seconds ahead. Four minutes later on CT came the J/109 Mojito (Peter Dunlop), and seven minutes after that came sister-ship Sgrech (Stephen Tudor).

Rockabill VI yacht isoraPaul O’Higgins JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI has won overall in a fast ISORA Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire Race. Photo: Afloat.ie

A remarkable performance was put in by the big new Hanse 445 Pleione of Dee (Derek Matthews), which brings luxurious cruising style to Irish Sea offshore racing. She came across the Channel like a rocket, and placed 5th overall on IRC and first overall on ECHO, beating Brendan Couglan’s second-placed Jeanneau Sunfast 337 Windshift by three minutes.

Peter Ryan, ISORA Chairman adds: 
The first offshore race of the ISORA Avery Crest Offshore Championship 2017 took place on the 13th May. 32 boats from the entry list of 36 came to the start line in Holyhead.
The weather forecast was predicting southerly winds increasing fresh to strong later in the day. For the first offshore of the season, and to minimise the exposure of the fleet to the later conditions, the course was chosen to be from the start at Holyhead, taking the M2 weather buoy to port, South Burford to starboard and then to the finish. A distance of 59 miles.
The start at 08.00 was provided by Dawn Russell of Holyhead Sailing Club using the Pier lighthouse and the Clipperra buoy. Despite a huge natural bias on the line for the lighthouse end, boats appeared to be happy spread along the start line in the gusting winds.

Aurelia J122 yacht isoraChris Power Smith' Aurelia J122 was seventh on IRC Photo: Afloat.ie
Not only was wind going to be the issue for the fleet but a very strong north going tide at the start would push the fleet northwards, turning what should have been a tight spinnaker leg to M2 into a loose fetch. The fleet headed towards M2, some allowing the tide to push them north while others sailed tighter and remained on the rhumb line. Conditions for the first leg were averaging 20knots SSW.
Andrew Hall’s “Jackknife” lead the fleet to the M2, located half way across the Irish Sea. At rounding the mark, the fleet was well bunched, encouraging crews to maintain speed in the blustery conditions.
The leg to South Burford was a tight fetch. It was hoped that the turning tide would push the fleet southwards allowing boats to free up in the increasing winds and sea state. This did not happen until much later in the race – a favourable tide turns quickly, the unfavourable tide never appears to turn?
Conditions as the fleet approached South Burford had deteriorated. The winds had increased to 27 knots southerly will greater gusts. The sea state were particularly bad close to the Burford Bank with winds against tide. Once in Dublin Bay, calm was restored and the final 4 mile reach to the finish was a relief. Despite the wind backing to SE close to the finish, none of the battered crews attempted to launch spinnakers.
The finish line was between the pier heads in Dun Laoghaire and the constant procession of boats kept the Finishers, Grainne Ryan, Kathryn Meghen and Anita Begley busy. The trackers were also used to provide finish time and these worked well, providing instant provisional results on the YB Tracking app and ISORA website.

Harriet Marwood yacht isoraThe flared bow of Bryan Mullarkey's Collins TC, Harriet Marwood, is clear from this head–on photograph. The British entry was tenth on IRC Photo: Afloat.ie
“Jackknife” maintained the lead and took line honours after 7 hours and 34 minutes racing, just over one minute ahead of Neil Eatough’s “Forthy Shades”. Paul O’Higgins “Rockabill VI” took IRC Overall and Class 0, breaking the “J Boats monopoly” of the recent results. IRC Class 1 was won by Peter Dunlop’s “Mojito” pursued relentlessly through the race by Stephen Tudor’s “Sgrech” who took 2nd place IRC Class 1. IRC Class 2 and Silver Class was won by Charlene Howard’s “AJ Wanderlust”. The newly adopted “ISORA Progressive ECHO” worked fantastically well giving Derek Matthews “Pleione of Dee” ECHO Overall and Class 0. Of the 32 starters, 31 boats finished with Brian Hett’s “Oystercatcher” retiring soon after the start with gear trouble.
After the exhausting race many of the visiting boats tied up at the National Yacht Club and the usual “apres sail” commenced.
Despite not ideal conditions, the general opinion of the race was “tough but rewarding”.

JEDI INSS yacht isoraJEDI, the INSS J109 finished eighth under skipper Kenny Rumball. Photo: Afloat.ie

Mojito yacht isoraJ/109 Mojito (Peter Dunlop) above was seven minutes ahead of sister-ship Sgrech (Stephen Tudor) (below) on corrected time. Photos: Afloat.ie

Sgrech yacht isora

BAM yacht isoraBam skipper Conor Fogerty sailed double-handed with Robert Slator and such determination that Rockabill was only 2 minutes and 24 seconds ahead Photo: Afloat.ie

Another Adventure yacht isoraDaragh Cafferkey's Greystones Sailing Club entry Another Adventure finished 16th on IRC

Platinum Blonde yacht isoraPaul Egan's Platinum Blonde, a First 35, finished 17th on IRC

Results are here

Published in ISORA
Tagged under

After the accelerating build-up to Olympic Medal success throughout the summer of 2016, there was hope in some sections of the Irish sailing community that the mood of 2017 might be different in pace. Tokyo 2020 still seemed very far away to everyone except the most dedicated Olympians. There appeared to be a feeling that 2017 should be the year for everyone else, and particularly for those who yearned for a less competitive enjoyment of boats and sailing. W M Nixon takes stock.

Once upon a time, we had seasons. Sailing wasn’t 12 months of the year, let alone 24/7. On the contrary, there were the rare old times of Opening Days and Closing Days (we’re talking annual sailing programmes here, not pubs), and Launching Suppers and Hauling Up Suppers and whatever, and not a sail to be seen at Christmas except for the rare oddball whose very rarity underlined the unusual nature of such a sight in the dead of winter.

But now we have wetsuits, and the effectively year-round programme at many sailing centres – in my own club at Howth, for instance, it has been continuous since April 1974 thanks to that Autumn’s introduction of the Frostbite series for the then new-fangled Lasers. And if you’re not actually out sailing yourself, there’s the means of keeping up with those who are, a classic case being the following of the tracker for this past week’s 500-mile Mini-en-Mai race by Tom Dolan, which had certain goggle-eyed adherents clicking-in at ungodly hours of the night to see how our man was doing.

It was a race being sailed at a flat-out pace and a level of concentration - despite a sleep-deprived physical and mental state – beyond the comprehension of most of the rest of us. Good luck to those who feel drawn to it personally, and can do it. But today, there’s an ISORA race from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire under way that is catering for all levels of involvement and commitment, and it has attracted a worthwhile starting line-up of 31 boats, encouraged by the welcoming efforts of ISORA Commodore Peter Ryan and his team.

holyhead harbour2Holyhead Harbour as sailing people know it – not as a utilitarian ferry port, but as a pleasant corner called Porth-y-Fellyn where there’s a sailing club, marina and boatyard

The word on the waterfront is that hyper-racers – people who expect three or four windward/leeward races per day at an intensely-run regatta – tend to dismiss this growing contemporary trend back towards classic Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association courses as sailing for people who can’t hack it in the frequent cut-and-thrust of artificial courses. But that’s to take a “one size fits all” attitude to sailing. If there’s one indisputable feature about our sometimes very odd sport, it’s the variety of the people involved in it – and that’s before you even consider the different type of boats.

On top of that, not only are there people who can get all their sailing enjoyment without needing to race at all, but there are grades of dedication in competition in sailing. This was particularly apparent a couple of years ago down at Dromineer on Lough Derg, when classes of Dragons, Flying Fifteens and Squibs descended on the place for the annual end-of-season Freshwater Challenge in October.

squibs dromineer3
Top Squibs from all over Ireland gearing themselves up for two days of intensive racing at Dromineer. But it emerged that for many of the local fleet, they weren’t into this sort of thing at all. Photo: Gareth Craig

There was an impressive fleet of top Squibs from all over Ireland out racing like fury on the lake. But there was also a substantial number of local Squibs that stayed in their berths. And it emerged that they hadn’t even entered the event in the first place. It seems that the Dromineer Squibs had been bought by people who saw them as handy and surprisingly comfortable little boats in which you could take the children, or more likely the grandchildren, out for a fun sail. And maybe you and a friend could do the occasional gentle summer’s evening club race for a bit of sociability. But the idea of committing to a frantic weekend of top competition was anathema.

Now while we’re not suggesting that the 31 boats which will be starting this morning in the ISORA Holyhead to Howth Race include a significant sector which are anti-competition, nevertheless there’s a distinctly relaxed atmosphere in some of the fleet in the knowledge that their abilities will be recognized by the use of Progressive ECHO handicap in tandem with the ruthless calculations of IRC.

The Number-Cruncher-in-Chief, Denis Kiely of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association, set to during the winter in his lair in Kinsale and ran the figures from all last year’s ISORA racing through his mincer to come up with an ECHO handicap (which is performance based) for boats of all kinds, and these figures were available to get things going this year.

inss cruiser racers4The Irish National Sailing School’s keelboat fleet includes (left to right) the Reflex 38 Lynx, the Elan Beaufort, and the J/109 Jedi which is doing today’s cross-channel race.
Thus we find that a boat like the Kenneth Rumball-skippered J/109 Jedi from the Irish National Sailing School in Dun Laoghaire is racing today on an IRC of 1.010 while her ECHO is 1.075, but against that the majestic Nicholson 58 Rebellion (John Hughes) has an IRC of 1.056, but her ECHO is only 0.999.

With Progressive ECHO, it’s a flexible figure which encourages regular participation, for if you’ve had a bad day at the races, next time out you’ll find your Progressive ECHO has progressed even further southwards.

It all seems too gentle to be worth even thinking about by those whose every thought is competitive. But for those who enjoy settling down for a long haul at sea, with the opportunity to test boat and crew in the gentlest possible manner against other craft, it all has a certain appeal.

ISORA Race3 Entrants5The fleet in today’s race shows interesting comparisons between IRC and Progressive ECHO handicaps. Some have not made the line, including the veteran ketch Maybird, but a late addition not listed is the Sunfast 3600 Bam (Conor Fogerty)
And it will be interesting on several levels, for not only have we boats of a definite cruiser-orientation whose crews are going along because ISORA has gone out of its way to offer the alternative of a developing handicap system which might reward their efforts, but up at the sharp end of the fleet there’ll be some very interesting performance comparisons to be made between hot boats as they race in what looks likely to be quite brisk conditions.

forty shades6Given a chance, she’ll fly – Neal Eatough’s Forty Shades is an M-Tec Open 40.

The expectation is of a fresh to strong sou’westerly which mercifully will back during the day to free the fleet up to lay the course to Dublin Bay, in fact it might free them so much that one of the more interesting newcomers, Neal Eatough’s Open 40 M-Tec Forty Shades, could be across in half a day.

Another boat which will revel in a freeing breeze is Conor Fogerty’s Sunfast 3600 Bam – the Howth skipper is doing it two-handed with clubmate Robert Slator, and he sees the forecast weather pattern as providing them with a real chance.

sunfast3600 bam7Conor Fogerty’s successful Sunfast 3600 Bam! – a class winner in the RORC Caribbean 600 2016 – is a late entry, and he’ll be doing the race two-handed with Robert Slator

Inevitably the smart money will be on Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI, but with no less than six J/109s in the mix, there’ll always be at least one potent representative of this hot class ready to pounce if there’s the slightest let-up in the pace on the JPK 10.80.

One of these J/109s is of course Stephen Tudor’s defending ISORA Overall Champion Sgrech from Pwllheli, a boat which is the very personification of ISORA’s cross-channel community, as her regular crew includes ISORA Commodore Peter Ryan, who is also a former Commodore of the National YC.

Rockabill VI JPK10808Paul O'Higgins JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI is one of the favourites for IRC success. Photo Afloat.ie

As anyone who has ever sailed on one of the Pwllheli boats will know, there’s always a smattering of Welsh spoken among the crew. Aboard Sgrech, says Peter, they speak little else except when they want to curse and swear, when they’ll tell you – with solemn faces – that there are no swear words in Welsh.

“Somehow we understand each other,” says Peter, “but Welsh is so different – not just from English, but from Irish too – that you could sail regularly with them for 45 years and still know very little of this strange tongue that they talk away in all the time”.

Perhaps it’s the underlying camaraderie of the sea which enables the communicational oddity which is Sgrech to be so effective, but then too, the shared enthusiasm of Stephen Tudor and Peter Ryan is infectious, and sometimes it spreads to the entire fleet.

j109 sgrech9Sgrech at full chat. When you’re sailing like this and something goes wrong, then you really do know if there are no swear words in Welsh....

Thus the Commodore of ISORA expected a bit of a party in Holyhead Sailing Club last night notwithstanding the prospect of a windward slug first thing this morning (start was at 0800hrs today, there’s a tracker) and equally, with everyone energised by the day’s freeing wind (DV), he confidently anticipates an even more boisterous gathering in the National tonight.

national yacht club10Welcome home. The National Yacht Club will be the venue for tonight’s post-race party.

The ghost of the great John Illingworth, who did so much for the development of offshore racing in the 1940s, ’50s ’60s and ’70s, would approve, as he thought an offshore race without a good party beforehand and an even better one afterwards was not really a proper offshore race at all. That said, Illingworth’s most famous boat, Myth of Malham, was notorious for her paucity of cleats. When a newcomer to the crew demanded to know where he should cleat the headsails, an old hand told him they didn’t cleat the headsail sheets in the masthead cutter rig, as they trimmed the sails all the time....

myth of malham11Myth of Malham. John Illingworth’s double Fastnet Race overall winner was renowned for her shortage of cleats.

In today’s cross-channel dash, I’ve no doubt there’ll be many boats where sheets are cleated while crews settle down to enjoy the satisfaction of the boat trimmed reasonably well and making progress without the prospect of having to make a lot of irritating tacks before the finish. It’s different strokes for different folks.

Earlier this week I found myself studying a boat which is about as different from what your average ISORA racer expects in a boat as is humanly possible. This is Ian Lipinski’s 8.65 metres Griffon which took overall line honours in the 500-mile Mini-en-Mai at La Trinite at 0508hrs Irish time yesterday morning.

mini griffon12It would be a day’s work for a crew of five to race her- yet Ian Lipinski sails his odd-looking and demanding Proto, the 8.65 metres Griffon, single-handed and he wins too.

Griffon is the current pace-setter in the Proto section (prototypes in other words), and she’s a veritable floating laboratory for every development imaginable, including being at the forefront in the testing of foils. Obviously she’s also showing an aversion to that traditional notion of sweetly hollow waterlines forward, as exemplified by the schooner America. And if you dismiss her forward hull shape as being like a Dutch barge, next time you’re near an International Dragon, take a look at her forward waterlines – you might be surprised.

But the thing that really strikes me about Griffon is the number of tasks that the lone skipper has to perform all on his own to keep this machine at optimum performance. The sailplan alone is a 24/7 challenge, and rig optimization is part of it. Add in two daggerboards whose deployment offers multiple choices. Then you must never forget the ideal positioning of the canting keel in ever-changing circumstances. All that done, you still have to sail and navigate the boat. And if on top of all that you can find time to fire off visual and verbal communications with shore and sponsors, joy is unconfined....

Contrast that with the mood that might prevail aboard one of the heftier and more luxurious contenders in today’s Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire. The boat is nicely in trim, and it’s up to the helmsman to keep her there, and if it’s the autohelm as is now permitted, so be it. Alert as ever, the crew noticed a useful backing of the wind a while back, and sheets were adjusted accordingly and then cleated home. My word, but we’re racing keenly. And can that clock really be right? If so, it’s time for Nooners...

Published in W M Nixon
Page 9 of 30

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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