ISORA News Items all in date order.
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
Did you know as part of the Spinlock IRC Welsh Nationals Championship (11-13th August) they are providing racing not only for IRC classes but also for Small Keel Boats and Cruiser Boats:
Cruiser Class, racing for cruising type boats, with free NHC handicaps supplied by race management. The class will sail just one 2-3 hour race per day, starting and finishing off the PSC club line, away from the IRC fleets.
It's a fantastic opportunity for cruisers wishing to sample some racing in an easy format with Race Officer Robin Evans setting courses which will provide some reaching legs and take in some local landmarks!
With a special entry fee of just £50 it represents an excellent way to be part of this fantastic championships and get some great racing.
Small Keelboat fleet (under 8m) will race off the PSC start and finish line and it is planned to hold 2 races a day using courses from the PSC race card or as modified by Race Officer Robin Evans. (Similar to the Pwllheli Challenge)
Scored under IRC and NHC and racing around the PSC marks should provide a great racing challenge for this fleet and spectacle for shoreside supporters.
If the fleet numbers dictate entrants may be provided with a choice of joining the cruiser or IRC fleets
The course is as advised:
Holyhead TSS (P)
Kish light (S)
South Burford (S)
Finish between pier heads Dun Laoghaire.
These are the cords of the TSS area. It will be accurately monitored by the trackers for infringements.
Holyhead TSS coordinates:
We understand that M2 is at position
If buoy is not in that approx. position treat the above position as a virtual waypoint.
The Lyver Race, after the postponement from the 30th June, took place on Friday 21st July. The race is also an ISORA, RORC and a qualifier for the Fastnet Race. While 32 boats had entered the race for the original date, only 13 boats came to the start line in Holyhead last Friday.
The weather forecast for the race was for light to moderate southerly winds to back to westerly during the night and early morning. There was also strong tides.
The race start was provided by Liverpool Yacht Club committee boat at the Clipera buoy outside Holyhead Harbour. The course was as follows: Start - TSS Area (P) – M2 (S) – Rockabill (P) – Kish Light (S) – South Burford (S) and Finish between the pier heads in Dun Laoghaire – 100 miles.
The area of the TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme) was identified by a series of coordinates and all boats were to keep out of this area.
The downwind start saw “Rockabill VI” and “Jackknife” making a clean start and leading the fleet north in a light easterly breeze. Immediately behind these were the three J109’s “Sgrech”, Mojito” and Jedi”. These boats continued to match race for the entire 100 miles.
Stuart was a great supporter of ISORA for years competing in his yacht "Grenade". He was an ISORA Champion being a winner of the prestigious Wolf's Head Trophy in 1992.
His funeral is in Chester on Wednesday 26th July 2017 at St Mary’s Church, Dodleston at 1.15pm.
Our condolences are conveyed to his family.
Due to exceptional weather forecast on the two days prior to the race, preventing boats form making the delivery to Holyhead, the organising committee of the Lyver Race have decided to postpone the race until Friday 21st July at 20.00.
Several other factors have arisen that also influenced the decision to postpone. The recent difficult D2D Race, where over half the fleet retired, had resulted in many of the boats who had entered the Lyver Race, withdrawing. It had been expected that 38 boats would have taken part in the race but the list of starters had dwindled to 22 and that number was expected to significantly reduce again due to the delivery difficulties.
One of the main concerns of participants doing the Lyver Race was the requirement to qualify for the Fastnet Race – 100 mile race with a night passage. To accommodate this, the new date for the race will allow those boats to still qualify for the Fastnet Race and still allow adequate time to make their passage to Cowes.
Peter Ryan, Chairman of ISORA, stated that as the Lyver Race was part of the RDYC Irish Sea Offshore Championship, the rescheduled race will remain part of that event. While it had been planned that the Irish Sea Offshore Championship would have been awarded at the end of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta, this will now occur on the 22nd July after the postponed Lyver Race and as part of that prize giving.
After a Tuesday overnight delivery to Dun Laogharie, in which a seal on the port light window failed, a good part of Wednesday morning pre-D2D race was filled with repairs to ensure water would not gush into the boat whenever we were on a starboard tack. Big thanks to master window dresser Stu. More unwelcome excitement when in familiarizing with the inner forestay Ian was unable to remove the elongated shackle for repositioning the stay to the foredeck. Quick work with a hacksaw minutes before departing for the start line nearly gave this skipper heart palpitations.
On Saturday, 3rd June, due to a clash of events, the Howth YC’s Lambay Races and the Poolbeg Y&BC’s Regatta, both of which ISORA committed to incorporate, a new race format evolved. The way to take part in both events was developed by ISORA. The ISORA fleet would have their start as part of the HYC Lambay Race and complete that course. The fleet would then sail through that finish line and continue on the Poolbeg Y&BC to a second finish at Poolbeg Lighthouse.
This was made manageable by the use of the YB trackers recording the first finish at “Stack” mark off Ireland’s Eye. The ISORA / Poolbeg Y&BC Race was sponsored by Dublin Port.
Howth Race Officer David Lovegrove started the fleet of 25 boats with an downwind leg from “Viceroy” mark towards Lambay Island. The weather forecast was for 5-15 Knots SE and this weather arrived at the start area.
The full course for the race was:
Start at “Viceroy”
Taylor’s Buoy (S)
Lambay Island (S)
“Stack” (S) – Finish of Lambay Race
North Burford (S)
Finish off Poolbeg Lighthouse
25 miles approx
Race 4 in ISORA’s Averycrest Offshore Series 2017 took place on Saturday 27th May. From the original entry list of 36 boats, 28 confirmed starting. However 6 boats pulled out at the last minute.
For the week leading up to the race, the weather forecasts were predicting southerly winds. There was also extremely strong tides that day.
As the day of the race approached the different sources of weather forecast varied widely. Some were predicting northerly winds, some southerly and other westerly. In wind strength, the forecasts varied for 0 to 25 knots!! Rain and no rain was also forecast. The feeling was that there was going to be light conditions at the start anyway and the fleet would be punished by the exceptional tide while trying to make their way south.
This uncertain weather with the strong tides was a major factor in the reason why some boats pulled out.
Due to the conditions forecast the course was:
Start at Dun Laoghaire
South Arklow (S)
Finish in Arklow
The start was provided by at DBSC Pier mark by Larry Power and Barry MacNeaney. Just prior to the race the weather readings from the Dublin Bay Buoy was 2-3 knots South West. In preparation of this start scenario, where the entire fleet would be push back from the line at the start and not able to cross it, The Sailing Committee decided to invoke the “ISORA starting protocol”. In this protocol the committee boat would stand down at 10 minutes after the start signal and after that, any boats that have not crossed the start line would leave the pin end to (P).
Obviously the “Wind Gods” favour ISORA and Offshore Racing as they provided 5 knots westerly immediately before the start that was sufficient to propel the fleet under spinnaker towards the Muglins. However, even the Wind Gods can change their mind and the wind dropped soon after the start.
This drop in wind scattered the fleet, with some boats heading in towards land to get out of the foul tide while others hunted out to sea in search of zephyrs. It took over one and a half hours for the first boat to complete the 1.5miles to the Muglins.
It was Andrew Halls’s “Jackknife” and Chris Power-Smith’s “Aurelia” who appeared to dominate the position at the Muglins. Paul O’Higgins “Rockabill VI” who had taken the land side appeared to be stall against the land only to accelerate across Dalkey Sound and nudge in behind the leading boats.
At this stage the wind started to build to 5-7 Knots Northerly and just enough to allow most of the fleet to make progress south against the tide.
For such a huge tide, the tidal currents did not appear to be generally exceptional? As the fleet approached Wicklow Head the wind disappeared completely. Fortunately the tide had now started to ebb and was helping the fleet south. Despite no wind, the locally strong tides around Wicklow Head pushed the fleet south past the head at nearly 5.0 knots!!! Adding to the challenge of the race, torrential rain fell on the fleet around Wicklow.
The next decision after passing Wicklow Head was what side of the Arklow Bank would boats go? The decision was mostly easily made as boats “found” themselves one side or the other in the slack winds.
The next twist came at the Arklow Bank when suddenly the wind appeared from the West and increased rapidly to 20-24 knots. The boats that had found themselves in at the shore were now reaching fast towards South Arklow while those outside the Arklow Bank were beating for the mark.
Again at the South Arklow buoy, the enormity of the south going tide was obvious as boats “crabbed” around the mark trying to avoid hitting it!!
The final 10 mile leg to the finish in Arklow was a fetch in the strong westerly winds. As the first boats finished, the tide had turned again assisting those boats towards the back of the fleet.
“Jackknife” took line honours will Colm Buckley’s J109 “Indian”, who had no YB tracker fitted, took IRC Overall and Class 1. Two more J109’s, Peter Dunlop’s “Mojito” and Roger Smith’s “Wakey Wakey” took 2nd and 3rd place IRC Overall and Class 1. Paul O’Higgings “Rockabill VI” took IRC Class 0 while Joe Conway’s “Elandra” took Class 2.
The new “ISORA Progressive ECHO” proved to work well with Brian Hett’s “Oystercatcher” taking ECHO Overall and Class 1 while “Elandra” took 2nd ECHO Overall and Class 2 and Grant Kinsman’s “Thalia” took ECHO 3rd Overall and Class 0.
The ISORA fleet had not been to Arklow before but they were met with a huge welcome from Mark Fallon, Commodore of Arklow Sailing Club and all the members there. The large numbers of tired sailors who made their way to the very comfortable Clubhouse were reward with a complimentary BBQ and some live music. All this ensured that another great ISORA Apres Sail took place.
The next race in the Series will be a unique event in that the ISORA Day race will incorporate two other events and have two finishes. Howth YC will provide a start to the ISORA fleet and send them around their Lambay Race course and provide a finish to the Lambay Race off Howth. The fleet will pass though that finish line and proceed to the ISORA race finish line, provided by Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club, that will be located at the mouth of the Dublin Port channel. They are taking part in the Dublin Port Riverfest being organised by Dublin Port. Berthing facilities will be available for competing yachts so they can take part in this festival along the river. Separate entry will be required for the HYC Lambay Race and this can be made online. HYC will be awarding prizes for this part of the race.
Peter Ryan, Stephen and Thomas Tudor and Andrew Rosewarne “enjoying” the torrential rain on “Sgrech”
Stephen Tudor with Mark Fallon Commodore of ASC announcing the race results.
The first offshore race of the ISORA Avery Crest Offshore Championship 2017 took place on the 13th May. 32 boats from the entry list of 36 came to the start line in Holyhead.
The weather forecast was predicting southerly winds increasing fresh to strong later in the day. For the first offshore of the season, and to minimise the exposure of the fleet to the later conditions, the course was chosen to be from the start at Holyhead, taking the M2 weather buoy to port, South Burford to starboard and then to the finish. A distance of 59 miles.
The start at 08.00 was provided by Dawn Russell of Holyhead Sailing Club using the Pier lighthouse and the Clipperra buoy. Despite a huge natural bias on the line for the lighthouse end, boats appeared to be happy spread along the start line in the gusting winds.
Not only was wind going to be the issue for the fleet but a very strong north going tide at the start would push the fleet northwards, turning what should have been a tight spinnaker leg to M2 into a loose fetch. The fleet headed towards M2, some allowing the tide to push them north while others sailed tighter and remained on the rhumb line. Conditions for the first leg were averaging 20knots SSW.
36 boats have entered the first ISORA Offshore race to take place next Saturday. The race will be approximately 60miles depending on the weather, starting in Holyhead and finishing in Dun Laoghaire.
Check out the Provisional Competitor list here This list shows all 2017 competitors with IRC and ECHO ratings.
The fleet is a great cross section, from classic to high tech and from small to large, demonstrating the range of boats that are interested in racing offshore. The newly adopted “ISORA Progressive ECHO” will ensure a greater spread of prizes for the race with prizes for six classes and trophy for Overall as well as the famous “Race Winners Jacket”.
The gathering of such a large numbers of boats and their crew in Holyhead on the Friday evening and again hopefully at the NYC on Saturday evening will generate a great social atmosphere.
At this time there are 34 boats entered for Race 4 on the 27th May. This offshore race is unique as it will start and finish on the Irish side – starting in Dun Laoghaire and finishing in a new port for ISORA, Arklow. We are looking forward to a great reception from Arklow Sailing Club.
By Vicky Ciox (Mojito)
ISORA race 2 was the Pwllheli Castle Race, the first of a three race coastal series within the full ISORA series, and sponsored by Global displays.
The sister race to the Irish side's 'Dun Laoghaire to Wicklow' race also saw light winds and a fair weather forecast. On the pontoons the fleet saw an encouraging 12 kts on the instruments but heading out to the start line at Gimlet rock confirmed that the NW-NNW was going to make things interesting. With winds coming over the hills, flat seas were created but also very light, gusty and shifty conditions.