I know that offshore racing is one of the last things on your mind at Christmas, a time for celebrations, family gatherings and festivities.
Between celebrations, please take a moment to look at our 2019 racing program so that you can start planning your 2019 campaign, whether you want to target one of the two Coastal Series, just the classics Midnight Race from Liverpool to Douglas or the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle, The Offshore Championship as part of the VDLR, offshore racing as qualifiers for the Fastnet Race, as deliveries to VDLR and the Spinlock IRC Welsh National Championship (part of the RC35 Celtic Cup) or all races for a chance at the ISORA Offshore Champion Title for the prestigious Wolfs Head trophy.
Offshore racing in the Irish Sea has increased in popularity and I am sure that we will see this continue in 2019 and I hope that you will be part of the ISORA challenge.
I also hope that Father Christmas will remember your new sailing kit so that you will be ready!
Hon. Sec ISORA
At the ISORA AGM on Saturday 10th November it was decided that the fleet would have 16 races in 2019 which would include a race finish in Holyhead.
The fleet will also visit Liverpool and Douglas - the 100th year celebration for the LYC Classic 'Minight Race' with an onward race from Isle of Man to Dun Laoghaire in readiness for the VDLR a few days later.
There is a race to Dingle - ,another classic and additionally a feeder race from Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli for the Spinlock IRC Welsh National Championship.
The last race of the series is the tough race from Pwlheli to Dun Laoghaire which will be follwed by a past race gathering and celebration of the season end!
The 2018 ISORA Annual Dinner & Awards Prize Giving Dinner Booking form is available here -
Saturday 10th November 2018 - Confirmation of Bookings & Pre-Payment
Price: €75pp - Fill in the form and pay on-line and please indicate your boat name.
Report on Race 15 James Eadie Race – Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire - by Chairman Peter Ryan
The 2018 ISORA Offshore Championship was decided in a nail biting finish to the last race on Saturday. Reigning ISORA Offshore Champion, “Mojito” (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox), had lead the series for much of the season but Chris Power-Smith’s “Aurelia” just had to win the last race to snatch the coveted Wolf’s Head trophy back from “Mojito”.
The race was the annual James Eadie Race from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire, a distance of 80 miles. There were 27 entries for the race but only 15 were confirmed starters. Of these only 13 managed to get the Pwllehli for the start.
The forecast for the race was strong South-West winds backing to South later in the day. The forecast also indicated no winds in Dublin Bay for the finish. As well as the strong winds at the start, driving rain made the exit from Pwllheli challenging. The strong winds had whipped up big seas on the beat from the start to Bardsey, with mountainous overfalls at St Tudwals islands.
“Aurelia” took an early lead followed by Andrew Hall’s “Jackknife” with “Mojito” close behind. By the time the fleet had slipped through Bardsey Sound three distinct groupings were starting to form. “Aurelia” and “Jackknife” were out in front, “Mojito” and Brendan Coughlan’s “YoYo” formed the next group. The remainder of the fleet was led by Stephen Tudor’s “Sgrech J111”, Cris Miles “North Star” and Derek Matthew’s “Pleione of Dee”. Grant Kinsman “Thalia” and “Plieone of Dee” were sailing two handed.
ISORA Team Racing
The Victoria Cup - Irish Sea Cup
The Victoria Cup was presented to ISORA by the The Royal Mersey Yacht Club for the best Club team in the ISORA series.
At a later date the Irish Sea Cup was awarded in place of the Victoria Cup.
With the growing interest in ISORA it was agreed in the 2013 AGM that the team racing would be reintroduced with the aim of generating a team approach to the ISORA series and to encourage more competitors to offshore racing.
There have been various rules for the team racing in the past and the following is a modern variant to achive the objectives set out above.
Each Club must have three competitors to qualify
The scores are taken from the Overall Results Table applying the Clubs best three results overall. The club with the highest points wins!
Although the Club Race Points Table will be updated after each race it is the total at the end of the series that counts for the Trophy.
Competitors from clubs who do not have three boats participating in the ISORA race series will qualify for the 'Barbarians Team'.
The Barbarian team will be:
- drawn from the overall results table
- from clubs who do not qualify as a club team
- the best results in the overall table
The results for 2018 are available here and summarised in the table below
Aurelia won the last race in the Viking Marine Coastal Series and also the series with an impresive two firsts, a second and third in the four race series.
Wakey Wakey took second place and Rocksabill VI was third in the series.
The full results are available here
There is a great race report with photos in AFLOAT.ie
Race 14 was the final race of the Welsh coastal series, which would decide the Global Displays Welsh Coastal Series. With 23 boat competing in Ireland for the Viking Marine Coastal Series, and 7 in Pwllheli, both coastal series have been well supported this year.
Leading up to race day, the forecast showed light north westerly winds, with a potential to reduce through the day and back. After much discussion, the race committee set a 29 mile course from Pwllheli to the Westend mark, round St Tudwals Islands, Porthmadog Fairway and back to the finish via a turning mark at the south of the Westend.
With a steady 12-15kt breeze, the fleet got away cleanly for a fetch down to the west end before the reach down to St Tudwals. “Jackknife” lead the charge with “Sgrech J111” close behind. Round the first mark “Sgrech” elected to hoist an A5 which enabled a more direct course to the sound. Most of the fleet flew running A sails, but struggled to stay high enough to make the sound and had to revert to white sails close to the the islands. Once round St Tudwals West, a glorious 9 mile spinnaker run to Porthmadog, with just a few gusts to contend with, and crew working hard to stay high enough to lay the mark. It was great to be sailing in such fantastic conditions, with stunning views of Snowdonia and the Gwynedd coastline. This was very welcome after the previous three very wet and windy ISORA races, and a breezy IRC Nationals.
Cork 1720 “Mojito Bach” approaching the finish. photo by M Thompson
The 12th race in the ISORA Offshore Series took place on Saturday the 11th of August, with 11 of the 13 entered boats coming to the start for an 08.00 gun. Many of the regular competitors were elsewhere engaged, with this month’s busy event calendar. Bam and AJ Wanderlust are taking part in the Round Britain and Ireland Race. Others that did and did not take part were still suffering from the August “crew blues”.
The forecast was for moderate South Easterly winds steadily building throughout the day and veering to strong Southerly. It was decided that the course would be direct to Pwllheli with Bardsey Island not a mark of the course. The fleet was set on it’s way to windward from Pier Mark at Dun Laoghaire by race officers Larry Power and Barry MacNeaney of the National Yacht Club.
The first leg toward Bardsey was a beat against strong north going spring tides. The tide was due to change south at midday.
“Jacknife” and “Aurelia” lead the fleet out of the bay taking the middle course followed by “Mojito” and “Wakey Wakey”. “Mojo” and “YoYo” took
Report on Race 11 – Dun Laoghaire to Howth Offshore - Rollercoaster Ride.
Video from Windjammer -
The 11th race in the ISORA Offshore Series took place on the 28th July with an 08.00 start from Dun Laoghaire. 20 boats were due on the start line for the race but poor weather forecasts and a problem with adequate crewing levels for the race, resulted in two boats withdrawing.
The 60 mile course was from the normal start at Dun Laoghaire – South Burford (P) – M2 Weather Buoy (P) – Rockabill (P) – Rowan Rocks (S) and to a virtual finish line set up just west of Rowan Rocks. M2 Weather buoy is located in the middle of the Irish Sea east of Lambay Island.
The weather started to deteriorate before the race when 20 Knots of wind built rapidly while boats were still in the marina. The weather forecasts for the race area varied widely. While Met Eireann were forecasting SW 7-8 for the general sea area north of Howth, other more site specific weather forecasts were talking about SW 25 knots veering W and decreasing 15 knots. Unfortunately for the fleet, MET Eireann was more accurate.
With an entry list depleted due to regular entrants racing at Cork Week, three boats came to the line for a 25 mile race. The course had proved tricky to set, with changing forecasts and a big wind shift predicted as a weak occluded front passed through, promising a damp evening but prospect for some wind during our period of racing.
With some concerns about light winds to the SE and potential for the wind to build from the North later in the night, a course was set as follow:
Pwllheli Bridge start - PSC1 - Causeway- St Tudwals Islands- Plas Heli Finish Line
Race 9 of the ISORA Offshore Series 2018 took place from Dun Laoghaire on the 13th July 2018. The race was a Night Race with an 20.00 start. The race was sponsored by marine lighting specialist suppliers “Exposure Lights” and was also part of the ISORA “Viking Marine” Irish Coastal Series.
Despite the fact that the recent gruelling Round Ireland race finish was only a week away, many of the stars of that race came to the line to take part in the Night Race – “Aurelia”, “YoYo”, “Rockabill VI”, “Wakey Wakey”, “Windjammer”, “Samatom” and “Red Alert”.
Of the 20 entries, 17 boats came to the start line at DBSC “Pier” mark and were sent on their way by RAYC’s Barry MacNeaney and Grainne Ryan.
Report on ISORA Race 8 – Mid Sea Race – Douglas to Mid Irish Sea finish gate – Sunday 10th June
Taking place soon after the Midnight Race that finished on Saturday afternoon, the crews of most of the boats had just enough time to take part in the generous hospitality of Douglas Yacht Club’s BBQ and reception before preparing the “Mid Sea Race” starting at 08.45 on Sunday morning.
The start line was set by Commodore of Douglas Yacht Club, Darren Barnes and extended from the Douglas Gead lighthouse eastwards for approximately 0.3 miles. The course was set for 48 miles, due to a very light forecast, direct to a virtual finish gate consisting of two waypoints in the middle of the Irish Sea close to the M2 Buoy. The YB trackers would automatically take the remote finish time of boats as they pass through the virtual gate. A technique pioneered by ISORA in conjunction with YB Tracking. Sixteen boats came to the start and could proceed to their respective home ports after the race finish on both sides of the Irish Sea.
The race started in 5-6 knots. First to break away in the light airs was “YoYo” closely followed by, “Jackknife”, “Jetstream”, “Lively Lady”, “Espresso Martini” and “Ruth”. Just behind were “Platinum Blonde”, “Jedi” and “Mojito”. The three lead boats continued to build a lead but the airs were very fickle. Some boats went further out to sea looking for breeze on the left, whilst “Jackknife” pulled ahead on the right where more breeze was forecast during the morning.
Progress of all boats was slow in the patchy intermittent wind which was only 3 knots by 11.00. By midday there was not much improvement but “Espresso Martini”, on the left side of the fleet, had stretched out a lead over “Jackknife” on the right and “Aurelia” in the middle. “Jetstream”, “YoYo” and “Ruth” were now close behind. The boats behind, that had gybed out right early towards the expected new wind, seemed to lose out and fall behind. By 13.00, the wind had filled in to 10 knots and had shifted into the North with a noticeable drop in temperature as the cold front arrived. “Jackknife” and “Espresso Martini” stretched ahead on opposite sides of the course with “Aurelia”, “Ruth” and “Jetstream” leading the chasing pack in the middle.
Report on 99th Liverpool Yacht Club “Midnight Race” run in conjunction with ISORA.
(Written by Chris Power Smith “Aurelia”)
The Midnight Race from Liverpool to Douglas, Isle of Man, was being run for the 99th time on Friday 8th June. This is an evening race with the start at 19.30 provided by Commodore of Liverpool Yacht Club, Paul Pratt. The race was also Race 7 of the ISORA Offshore Series.
The race was the first part of a weekend qualifying series for boats taking part in the Round Ireland. The qualifying consisted of the delivery to Liverpool, the “Midnight Race” on the Friday evening and the “Mid Sea Race” to take place on the Sunday.
22 boats came to the start line on the Mersey close to Albert Dock. Due to the very light winds the course selected was essentially dome the river to the seas and direct to Douglas. All boats taking part were fitted with YB trackers.
At the start the wind was from SSE 2 to 3 knots and the tide had just started to ebb. All boats hoisted kites and made a spectacular sight on the river Mersey. The right side of the channel was preferred for the stronger tide but there seemed to be more wind on the left. As it turned out, there was no obvious advantage. In just over an hour the boats made nearly 4 miles with the wind between 2 to 5 knots to pass New Brighton to port. Crews were kept busy with very frequent gibes to stay within the narrow channel as all channel marks were marks of the course.
Race 6 was the second race of the Global Displays Welsh Coastal Series, and planned as a race to Porthdinllaen or the fall back course Aberdaron and return, depending on weather conditions. In the build up to the race it was clear there would be very light winds and strong tides to the west, so the race committee selected the fall back option of Aberdaron, with the course set as PSC2(p) - Gwylan Islands(p) - PSC8(s) a distance of 27 miles.
A smaller than usual Fleet came to the line, depleted by boats that had delivered to Liverpool for race 7, and got underway in a steady 5kt south south east breeze. A gentle fetch down to the first mark before tightening up for a beat towards the Tudwals, with the wind slowly veering to the south as forecast. Sgrech J111 and 1720 Mojito Bach, sailed by Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox, lead the fleet with Jackknife taking a much lower course for speed, looking like a plan to go round the Tudwals. The wind stayed reasonably constant and allowed the fleet to get past the Tudwals inshore, past Ceriad and towards Hells Mouth and then fly code zeros’s taking advantage of a steady 1kt of West going tide.
The 4th race in the ISORA 2018 series was raced on Saturday 26th May from Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli, the first cross channel race this year.
The 22-boat fleet gathered at the start line in time for the start at 0800hrs and race officers Larry Power and Barry McNeaney set the fleet off, on time, into the last of the north going tide. The course set by the Sailing Committee was a direct line to the finish in Pwllheli, which always provides complex tactical decisions for the navigators and tacticians.
Jackknife led the fleet from the start with Rockabill VI chasing hard on her heel. Aurelia took a line to the south of the rumb line whilst Ruth and Mojito were the most northerly boats of the fleet - enjoying a match race across the Irish Sea.
The northerly wind was too shy for spinnakers but did allow boats to fly their code zero sails, although many changed back to jibs as the wind built and the south going tide kicked in after 1000hrs.
Conditions were set for a fast crossing, but would the fleet get through Bardsey Sound before the tide turned?