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ISORA Logo VectorISORA 2015 Race 8 – Lee Overlay Partners Lighthouse Race

Prologue:

-          Bless me Father for I have sinned, it’s been an enormously long time since my last confession.

-          Well my child, you must have committed a real first class mortaller if you have come into this confessional after such a long time.

-          Indeed and I have Father. I’m ashamed of myself so I am. I can’t look at myself in the mirror such is my disgust and self-loathing.

-          Good Lord, what was it my child. One of the deadly seven no doubt. Which of them was it – wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy or gluttony? Or was it all of them?

-          If only Father. No, it’s much worse than that.

-          Well whatever it is you are safe within this church and the sanctity of God’s house. You know that I have the power to grant you absolution once you confess this terrible burden you are bearing. So, out with it my child.

-          God help me Father but I have committed the most odious, wicked, heinous of acts. You see Father, I did the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta last week.

-          Sure that’s no sin my child. You did the Offshore series. Didn’t I see you myself on Friday heading out on that big Hanse 445, Pleione of Dee, with the venerable Derek Matthews? And a wild day’s offshore racing it was too, was it not?

-          Indeed and it was Father, but no, my sinning happened on the final day. You see, I got confused. I signed up with my good friend Kuba for what I thought was the final day of the Offshore series on Polished Manx. And so help me God but I was tricked so I was and I ended up racing around the cans and may God forgive me but I actually enjoyed it.

-          RACING AROUND THE CANS. Oh sweet Jesus, Mary and Holy Saint Joseph!

-          I know, I know! That’s it for me Father. I’ve betrayed my friends in ISORA and everything we stand for in Offshore racing. Sure everyone knows #Real Boats Race Offshore and that racing around the cans is for So Co Du wannabes.

-          AND YOU ENJOYED IT TOO? Sure that’s worse than the actual taking part!

-          Who are you telling Father? Now you know why I’m in here confessing after all these years. I’m doomed so I am – doomed. Confined to burn in the raging fires of hell for eternity. Even yourself in your God given state of grace couldn’t possibly have the power to forgive such a sinner as a committed Offshore devotee who defects to the dark side of round the cans racing. What is to become of me?

-          Look my child, your sin is actually one of repetition, and repetition in very tough conditions. The great Vince Lombardi once proclaimed that teams do not go physically flat – they go mentally stale. That’s what has happened to you. So we need to fix that.

-          And for my penance?

-          Right so, let me think for a moment. I need to come up with a penance that fits the crime. Let me see now. The Lord is very disappointed in you, you heathen and you enjoying your racing around the cans. But as you are well aware, the Lord works in mysterious ways. He feels, therefore, that you must not be too severely punished. You need both reinvigoration and atonement. Hmm, I’ve got it. Isn’t there an Offshore race coming up this weekend and isn’t the forecast bloody awful again?

-          There is, there is Father. The ISORA lighthouse race and it looks like it will be a bit raw, a bit hardcore yet again.

-          Right so, the good Lord decries that sort of carry on with your racing around the cans. So you can forget your three our Fathers and all that mullarkey. No, your penance will be to do the upcoming ISORA lighthouse race and no doubt the man above will make sure that despite the forecast it won’t be full on this time, not blowing a stink and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with that race. That’ll entice you back!

-          And that’s it Father? Good man yourself, I didn’t think you’d understand.

-          Indeed and that’s not it. Oh no, you terrible sinner. There’s more.

-          More? And what would that be Father?

-          Well my son, we need to nip this round the cans enjoyment in the bud. So the good Lord also insists that you go racing Water Wags around the Harbour of a mid-week evening. That’ll bloody sort you and your sinful desires to race round the cans for once and for all. One hundred and twenty five year old Water Wags – that’ll be like a vasectomy to your round the can desires. Now get out of this confessional before I start thinking up something worse than Water Wags.

-          Ah Jaysus Father, sure there couldn’t possibly be anything worse than the Wags!

Penance:

A week after the completion of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, and as the Seagulls (birds who follow boats) shag off back to the leafy suburbs of South County Dublin, normal service is resumed in the Irish Sea with the eighth instalment of the ISORA series – the Lee Overlay Partners Lighthouse Race. Four lighthouses to be rounded. Bailey to Port (Bailey to Starboard would certainly be interesting!), Rockabill to Starboard, Kish to Starboard and finish through the piers in Dun Laoghaire. Marching down the marina with Eminem’s “Without Me” jumping around my head:

Guess who’s back, back again,

Shady’s back, tell a friend,

Guess who’s back, guess who’s back, guess who’s back………….

I really should be thinking more of the Byrne family motto – certavi et vici – I have fought and conquered, but after our drama on the Lyver race from Holyhead a couple of weeks ago it’s fair to say that while I definitely fought, I most certainly have not conquered. One battered, bruised but patched up kite just back from Mr. Watsons loft is proof of that! Effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction? Now there’s a truism for us on board Yahtzee after the Lyver debacle.

A beautiful morning and contrary to all forecasts – looks like the Parish Priest has lived up to his word. Dry, warm, no Musto Offshore MPX’s required today. Unlike the previous days howler which prevented some boats from attempting the delivery passage to Dun Laoghaire. A 45 mile course. Flat sea. Downwind start. Kites up as 14 competitors cross the line. A broad reach to Bailey before hardening up to a reach towards Rockabill. Main body of fleet just ahead – we’re in good company. Lee Overlay well out in front as usual. Did I count 12 up on her today? Just the 12 – easy to get a full compliment of crew on the big sexy boys! In a great tussle with our Silver Fleet competitors Albireo and Windshift. Decision time at Lambay – inside or outside. We follow most of the fleet outside. Doesn’t appear to be much advantage to those that stay inside. Increase in wind and strong gusts coming off the island leads to some interesting roundups. With the old adage of “to finish first, first one has to finish” going through our minds as well as memories of the forestay wrap still vivid, we take the cautious decision to drop the kite about three miles from Rockabill. Of course now that we have done that the wind drops slightly. Leave it down, put it back up? Prevarication. We leave it down. Chickens or lazy?

Round Rockabill and the wind backs as forecast to make it a beat rather than a preferred fetch to Kish. Tide turning now so slop builds up with wind against tide. Manageable though and still not cold or wet. Ye Gods! Ease past Albireo and put more distance on Windshift too. Judge ebb perfectly with just one tack to get past Kish. Desert Star and Dux have been sailing blinders and are now right behind us. Quick reach from Kish in ever increasing wind to finish in Dun Laoghaire. Six hours of pure champagne sailing reminds us all of how ISORA can be. Best race of the year is the consensus at the NYC apres sail. Brilliant day on the water. Thank you God – my faith has been restored in Offshore! Results come in. Four and a half minutes separating first and third in Silver Fleet. We’re third. Should have put the kite back up. Another round of coulda, shoulda, woulda.

Epilogue:

How come we in ISORA don’t have seagulls? Are we the Millwall of yachties (no one likes us, we don’t care). My twelve year old daughter has Tegan and Sara’s “Where does the good go” playing on a loop whenever she is in my car:

Look me in the eye and tell me you don’t find me attractive,

Look me in the heart and tell me you won’t go,

Look me in the eye and promise no loves like our love,

Look me in the heart and unbreak broken, it won’t happen,

Kind of sums up ISORA, no?

Now, anybody know anyone looking for a crew in a Water Wag?

Go Offshore! Real Boats Race Offshore!