With many ISORA boat competing in the iconic Fastnet race, a smaller than normal fleet of 10 came to the start line in Dun Laoghaire, with useful points in all three classes up for grabs.
A downwind start under spinnaker in a 10kt south westerly which was forecast to reduce from the west during the day. There were many issues to contend with, a strong Irish Sea tide, and crucially the infamous Bardsey "tidal gate" which was in favour until 1530 or so and becoming slack until 16:30hrs. After that with a strong tide against wind, progress through Bardsey would be a challenge!
Andrew Hall's J125 "Jackknife" relished the conditions and had no issues making the Bardsey gate, and enjoyed a great run across hells mouth recording speeds of 10kts or so and took line honours in an elapsed time of 9 hrs 41 mins followed by J122 Aurelia.
Chasing hard behind and making the Bardsey gate with 20 mins to spare overall IRC winner, J109 Sgrech, who carried the sane spinnaker for the entire race, and only gybing three times. Stephen Tudor described the whole race like a game of chess, with so many variables at play! Indeed J109 "Just Jay" just a couple of miles behind Sgrech was forced to make several sail changes during the run to Bardsey, costing many minutes! Second overall was Howth based J109 "Indian" who enjoyed their first Pwllheli race immensely. Mid fleet finishers recorded elapsed times of 12 -14 hours and managed to dodge the worst of the ebbing tide.
At the rear of the fleet in Class 3 "Elandra" and "Oystercatcher" missed the gate and took some time against the strong tide to get clear of Aberdaron bay, indeed "Oystrcatcher" elected to go round south of Bardsey meeting up with "Elandra" off Hellsmouth, and both finally finished between midnight and 1am. A great performance by these two class 2 boats who got valuable points in this class, with Sigma33 "Elandra" now leading this hotly contested class.
All competitors were warmly welcomed to Plas Heli, the Welsh National Sailing Academy, busy hosting the Topper Nationals, and the "Pwllheli Sailing Club" bar, where a special ISORA "Sailors Stew" and jugs of beer were on hand for the weary crew. A great night was had by all and everyone connected with ISORA agreed it was another excellent Race.
This spices things up for the overall 'Wolfs Head' trophy and it looks once again it's going to be a match race during the James Eadie race in September, between Sgrech and the series leader Mojito
The results are available here
this race was also the feeder race to the Spinlock IRC Welsh National Championship wich starts on Friday