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One of the many "little miracles" which kept Irish sailing alive and active during the continually-changing official restrictions in the summer of 2020 was the flexible and effective administration of the Irish side of the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association's annual programme by ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan of the National YC.

But in order to succeed in this, he needed the support of the skippers and crews who enjoy what ISORA has on offer, yet in a normal year would be able to plan their programme well in advance.

This wasn't possible in 2020, but thanks to a generous spirit among those involved, the Irish boats in ISORA had a very good season in the circumstances. Once again it came down to the outcome of the last race in September, and once again the final race overall winner, and new 2020 champion, was Paul O'Higgins (Royal Irish YC) with the JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI.

Published in Sailor of the Month

A win in Saturday's ten-boat James Eadie final race of the 2020 ISORA IRC Series gave overall victory to Royal Irish Yacht Club crew Rockabill VI. The last coastal race win sealed the COVID-hit season after eight races sailed with five to count.

Scroll down for photo slideshow.

The Class 0 JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI finished on 500.9 points, some 33 points ahead of second overall the class one J99, Juggerknot, skippered by Andrew Algeo, also of the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Third place overall went to the Class 0 J/122 Aurelia sailed by Chris Power-Smith from the Royal St.George Yacht Club.

In the absence of the Overall Championship, The Wolf’s Head, there are now two offshore champions. As government regulations prevented any traditional cross channel offshore races, two separate series were run on each side of the Irish Sea. A total of 16 races were run, 8 on each side. As there was no mixing of the fleet, the Wolf’s Head trophy for the overall ISORA champion was withdrawn.

On the UK side, Peter Dunlop’s “Mojito” took the ISORA UK / Welsh Offshore Championship 2020.

Class 1 was won by Andrew Algeo’s “Juggerknot2” and Class 2 was won by Grzegorz Kalinecki’s “More Mischief”.

2nd IRC Class 1 Juggerknot 2 IRL 3990 J99 Royal Irish Yacht Club Andrew Alego 2nd - IRC Class 1 Juggerknot 2 IRL 3990 J99 Royal Irish Yacht Club Andrew Alego 

3rd IRC Class 0 Aurelia IRL 35950 J122 Royal St George Yacht Club Chris & Patanne Power Smith3rd - IRC Class 0 Aurelia IRL 35950 J122 Royal St George Yacht Club Chris & Patanne Power Smith

4th IRC Class 0 Hot Cookie GBR7536R Sunfast 3600 National Yacht Club John O'Gorman4th - IRC Class 0 Hot Cookie GBR7536R Sunfast 3600 National Yacht Club John O'Gorman

5th IRC Class 2 More Mischief IRL 966 First 310 ISA Grzegorz Kalinecki5th IRC Class 2 More Mischief IRL 966 First 310 ISA Grzegorz Kalinecki 

James Eadie Final ISORA Race at Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo slideshow

Published in ISORA
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Today's last race of the four-race Viking Marine sponsored ISORA Coastal Series was the only one to have started with any breeze above ten knots, providing a suitable send-off for the 12-boat fleet finale.

Overall leader Rockabill VI (Paul O'Higgins) from the Royal Irish Yacht Club sealed the series with a final race win against competition from Chris Power Smith's J122 Aurelia of the Royal St. George Yacht Club, who finished second overall and John O'Gorman's  Sunfast 3600 Hot Cookie from the National Yacht Club who ended the series in third.

A good turnout for the final race of the coastal series and the penultimate ISORA race of 2020A good turnout for the final race of the coastal series and the penultimate ISORA race of 2020

The increasing appetite for offshore racing was reflected in the fact that many of today's fleet (including second and third places overall) were racing to Cork a week ago in the inaugural Fastnet 450 Race but had still managed to position back to the Bay for today's final round with a prompt 10 am start provided by National Yacht Club Race Officers Barry MacNeaney and Larry Power.

Andrew Alego's Juggerknot II (weather boat) and Paul O'Higgins' Rockabill VIAndrew Alego's Juggerknot II (leeward boat) and Paul O'Higgins' Rockabill VI arrive at the reaching start line of race four of the ISORA coastal series with seconds to go Photo: Afloat

Juggerknot II wins the inside berth and is quick to hoist. John O'Gorman's Hot Cookie is at the Committee Boat RIB(Above and below) With a gybe on to port, Juggerknot II is first to hoist. John O'Gorman's Hot Cookie is a boat length behind at the Committee Boat Juggerknot II hoists spinnaker

Of course, today's modest 35-mile coastal course was nothing compared that arduous 270-miler last weekend but nevertheless today's five-hour run along the Wicklow coast presented its fair share of tactical decisions too.

After the usual start off the Dun Laoghaire Harbour outfall buoy, the fleet sailed to a virtual mark before heading for the North Kish cardinal mark and then a long reach to the Breaches Buoy before the beat back up the coast to the Muglins at the Southern Tip of Dublin Bay and a finish at the Harbour Mouth at Dun Laoghaire.

There were some strong north westerly gusts shortly after the startThere were some strong north-westerly gusts shortly after the start

In IRC overall today, the result mirrored the overalls for the series with Rockabill winning from Aurelia and Hot Cookie. In IRC Zero,  Keith and Rodney Martin's Lively Lady was third.

In IRC One, Hot Cookie won from Juggerknot 2 (Andrew Alego). Simon Knowles J109 Indian was third.

In IRC Two, Black Velvet (Leslie Parnell) won from More Mischief (Grzegorz Kalinecki). Wardance (Sean Hawkshaw) was third.

The results are here

Hot Cookie (yellow spinnaker) and Juggerknot II on the way to the first virtual markLively Lady (Rodney and Keith Martin) was third in IRC Zero

Lively Lady (Rodney and Keith Martin) was third in IRC ZeroLively Lady (Rodney and Keith Martin) was third in IRC Zero Vincent Farrell's First 40.7 Tsunami from the National Yacht Club	Vincent Farrell's First 40.7 Tsunami from the National Yacht Club

 Grzegorz Kalinecki's First 310 More MischiefGrzegorz Kalinecki's First 310 More Mischief

Andrew Algeo's Juggerknot II - racing fully crewed for the first time in the Coastal SeriesAndrew Algeo's Juggerknot II - racing fully crewed for the first time in the Coastal Series

Published in ISORA
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ISORA has cancelled its traditional end of season climax, the James Eadie Race from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire set for 5th September. The decision comes as a result of the worsening COVID situation.

Instead, ISORA will stage separate races on either side of the Irish Sea. The Welsh will race from Pwllheli to Holyhead.

The final race of 2020 for Dublin offshore sailors will be held off Dun Laoghaire Harbour starting and finishing in the south Dublin Bay port.

The last race is weighted 1.3 so it will be significant in determining the overall positions for the Irish and UK/ Welsh ISORA offshore championships.

Published in ISORA
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Despite all the setbacks of season, there is a busy climax for ISORA's 2020 offshore racers with two more races following quickly in the wake of last weekend's inaugural Fastnet 450 Race.

The Royal St. George line honours winner, Aurelia, will be back on her home Dublin Bay race track this Saturday for the final race of the ISORA Viking Marine Coastal Series 2020. 

Chris Power Smith's J122 is among a number of ISORA boats that completed last week's 270-mile Dublin to Cork offshore that return to the fray for the 35-mile Dun Laoghaire Coastal Race.

Lying first overall is Paul O'Higgins' Rockabill VI, second is Power Smith's Aurelia and third is the Skerries-based J109 Mojito campaign. 

The Archambault A31 A Plus is an ISORA Race winner Photo: AfloatThe Archambault A31 A Plus is an ISORA Race winner Photo: Afloat

According to ISORA chief Peter Ryan, also racing will be the Archambault 31 A Plus, the J99 Juggerknot 2, the J109 Indian, the X-45 Samatom, the Sunfast 3600 Hot Cookie and possibly her sistership YoYo too. 

Andrew Algeo's Juggerknot 2 at the Fastnet 450 Race start on Dublin Bay. Photo: AfloatAndrew Algeo's Juggerknot 2 at the Fastnet 450 Race start on Dublin Bay. Photo: Afloat

Unfortunately, it looks like the season has ended for Greystones competitor Red Alert that was dismasted racing to Cork Harbour.

This Saturday's final race has an overall 0.9 weighting.

National Yacht Club Race Officer Larry Power will start the last race of the coastal series at 10 am.

Samatom from Howth Yacht Club is an ISORA regularSamatom from Howth Yacht Club is an ISORA regular Photo: Afloat

Published in ISORA
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ISORA Champion Rockabill VI was the overall winner of Friday's 40-mile night race. Although short on entries, the seven boat fleet was made up of the leading contenders for this year's Irish ISORA overall prize.

It was the defending champion, Paul O'Higgins of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, in the JPK 10.80 who won out however in the first-ever ISORA race to use virtual marks entirely.

2020 Race Six ISORA Night Race overall results on IRCISORA Night Race overall results

Dublin Bay Cruisers One sailor Darius Kry captured the start of the race by drone at Dun Laoghaire Harbour and his footage is below.

Six of the seven starters last night are signed up for next Saturday's inaugural 270-mile Fastnet 450 Race from Dublin to Cork.

Published in Dublin Bay
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It's not the biggest ISORA fleet but all seven boats in contention are on the starting list for tonight's race that could yet decide the Irish championship.

Tonight's course will use 100% virtual marks – another first for ISORA. Race finish times will be recorded by the onboard trackers that provide instant results. (see tracker below)

The night race will also stand to those boats who are competing in the inaugural Fastnet 450 Race from dun Laoghaire to Cork next Saturday.

Race six's ISORA starters in tonight's 40-mile night race on Dublin BayRace six's ISORA starters in tonight's 40-mile night race on Dublin Bay

The Irish ISORA championship includes the Irish coastal and offshore and will be the defacto top award in 2020 after the cancellation of the cross-channel Wolf's Head Trophy due to COVID-19.

Overall, the coastal results don’t tend to count as weightings are applied to the offshore races. Tonight's fixture is weighted 1.1. The last race on the 5th September is 1.3!

Tonight's 40-mile course is as follows:

  • STARTING LINE at Dun Laoghaire
  • ISORA Dublin Virtual Mark (P) N53 17.110 W6 00.100
  • Virtual Mark (P) N53 27.99 W04 40.00
  • ISORA Dublin Virtual Mark (P) N53 17.110 W6 00.100
  • FINISH LINE at Dun Laoghaire

In the meantime, there are ISORA coastal races being run in Pwllheli as part of the Welsh IRC Nationals.

Live Dublin Bay webcam here and Race Tracker below

Published in ISORA
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When John Harington's IMX 38 Excession made the Dun Laoghaire Harbour startline on Saturday morning, he became the first Northern Ireland yacht to compete in ISORA racing in many years, 

The enthusiastic Royal Ulster Yacht Club crew from Bangor on Belfast Lough sailed down for the 8 am Dublin Bay start, completed the 70-mile race, turned on the finish line, refuelled and headed straight back to RUYC to complete a race there later on Sunday! The crew were rewarded for their efforts with a third in ISORA's IRC Class One.

ISORA Chief Peter Ryan and the whole Dublin fleet gave the Belfast crew a warm welcome into the Bay. The hope now is that the Northern Ireland crew will consider future offshore races on the Irish Sea. 'They are a great bunch of guys and I hope they and more from RUYC will be active participants in ISORA", Ryan told Afloat.

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For the second week running, a smaller class two boat has won one of ISORA’s long offshore races in tricky light winds off the Dublin coast.

After a 15-hour marathon, the Grzegorz Kalinecki skippered First 310 More Mischief sailed into Dun Laoghaire Harbour to finish last night in darkness as the Class Two and overall IRC winner two in the 15-boat fleet.

Provisional results via ISORA's Yellowbrick tracker put two-class boats in the top three overall after the long race in light northerly breezes that took the fleet from Dublin Bay to North Dublin before a long reach to County Wicklow. The full course at 8 am was from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to a virtual mark to Bennett Bank to Rockabill to East Kish to Breeches, Muglins and a finish in dusk or total darkness at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. a total of 7o nautical miles.

With just seconds to the start, the ISORA Rockabill VI and the Sunfast 3600 YoYo look for the advantage at the Committe boat end of the start line (Above and below) With just seconds to the start of ISORA's Race 5a off Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Rockabill VI and the Sunfast 3600 YoYo look for the advantage at the Committee boat end of the start line

Rockabill VI at the ISORA start

JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI

ISORA Race start

ISORA Race Start at Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Kalinecki's 30-footer took some big scalps including the reigning champion Rockabill VI (Paul O’Higgins) that again made an impressive start to yesterday’s fifth race of the season and was the Class Zero winner. Last weekend in a fifty miler, Rockabill VI also showed impressive form only to be beaten by the A31 A Plus when the wind died and smaller boats caught up over the race four-course, as Afloat reported here.

Gently does it! Even a loudly spoken sentence seems to threaten the collapse of spinnakers in the light north wind. J109 Indian (Red) leads Samaton (Pink) and White Mischief (Black) Gently does it! Even a loudly spoken sentence seems to threaten the collapse of spinnakers in the light north wind. J109 Indian (Red) leads Samaton (Pink) and White Mischief (Black)

Shortly after the start, the 15-boat fleet head for the first virtual mark on the 70-mile course Photo: AfloatShortly after the start, the 15-boat fleet head for the first virtual mark on the 70-mile course Photo: Afloat

The overall winner, the Grzegorz Kalinecki skippered First 310 More Mischief (black spinnaker) makes her way out of Dublin BayThe overall winner, the Grzegorz Kalinecki skippered First 310 More Mischief (black spinnaker) makes her way out of Dublin Bay  Photo: Afloat

The Line Honours winner in an elapsed time of 13h 33m 6s was Chris Power Smith’s Aurelia from the Royal St. George Yacht Club. Third on class Zero was early season performer, George Sisk’s XP44, WOW.

George Sisk's WOW and John O'Gorman's Hot CookieGeorge Sisk's WOW and John O'Gorman's Hot Cookie Photo: Afloat

Sailing fully crewed as opposed to two-handed for the first time this season, Andrew Algeo’s J 99 Juggerknot II was second overall and the IRC One winner. Second in Class One was the Simon Knowles skippered Howth J109, Indian. Third in class was a new arrival in ISORA racing, the John Harrington skippered IMX 38 Excession.

Andrew Algeo's Juggerknot II from the Royal Irish Yacht Club was second overall and sailing fully crewed for Race 5Andrew Algeo's Juggerknot II from the Royal Irish Yacht Club was second overall and sailing fully crewed for Race 5

Second to Kalinecki’s More Mischief in Class Two was Desert Star, the Ronan O’Siochru Irish Offshore Sailing School’s Sunfast 37 that also finished third overall, in another coup for class Two. Third in Class Two was Steve Hayes’ First 34.7, Magic Touch.

Line hnouors winner Chris Power Smith's J122 Aurelia, included ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan (second from right) on the crew for Race five Photo: AfloatLine honours winner Chris Power Smith's J122 Aurelia, included ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan (second from right) on the crew for Race five Photo: Afloat

This is the first race of the 2020 season since news broke that racing for ISORA's overall Wolf’s Head Trophy would be scrapped this season following the abandonment of cross channel racing.

Ronan O’Siochru Irish Offshore Sailing School’s Sunfast 37 Photo: AfloatRonan O’Siochru Irish Offshore Sailing School’s Sunfast 37 Photo: Afloat

A new offshore race has been announced, the Fastnet 450 from Dublin to Cork on August 22nd, the same date as the cancelled Round Ireland Race. The new fixture is attracting some strong entries including some ISORA regulars including Algeo's J/99 and the Kalinecki Polish-based crew too.

Published in ISORA
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Saturday's ISORA long offshore race from Dun Laoghaire to Dun Laoghaire is expected to be 80 miles in length but with light winds forecast the expected 16-boat Dublin Bay fleet will not know the course until shortly before the 8 am start time.

Winds are forecast to be northerly and only five knots in strength presenting the race committee with a challenge to set a course off the Dublin coast.

It won't be the only light air challenge this season either with last Saturday's 50-mile racing turning inside out and allowing smaller boats to take the lead. It was a scenario that allowed ISORA debutante A Plus to take a race win in the 11-boat fleet that included ISORA champion Rockabill VI of the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

ISORA Race 5a Race Tracker

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