The Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association’s increasingly busy annual programme is notable for the way several leading crews take in recruits from both sides of St George’s Channel, and September’s Afloat.ie Sailors of the Month (Offshore) reflect this.
Vicky Cox and Peter Dunlop, with their enthusiastically campaigned “multi-national” J/109 Mojito, feel as much at home in the National YC in Dun Laoghaire (where they are members) as they do back at Mojito’s base of Pwllheli in North Wales.
And their annual programme is one with which any offshore enthusiast on either side of the Irish Sea can readily identify, yet few could emulate their consistent success. Mojito is always in the frame. She was beaten only by the all-conquering JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI (Paul O’Higgins) in the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race in June, and when the leaders in the Rolex Fastnet Race were tallied as they rounded the rock itself in August, Mojito was not only the leading J/109, but she was a very remarkable 9th overall in the entire 312-strong IRC fleet.
Admittedly like sister-ship Jedi (which features in another of our September awards), she found that the Fastnet Rock to Plymouth stage of the Fastnet Race favoured slightly larger boats. But the crew of Mojito returned to the Irish Sea with their zest for competition undimmed, and took on the challenge of the final September race of the ISORA programme. It had been assumed by others that the additional challenge of fitting in a Fastnet campaign would rule them out of the ISORA title, but they somehow managed that as well, albeit by a whisker. An extraordinary year.