ISORA News Items all in date order.
September 8-10, 2017 – Final ISORA race of the 2017 season. A late Thursday night departure with Jen Kneale. As we request permission to exit the harbour, the Manannan ferry hails on VHF and advises to expect 25 knot winds and lumpy seas. We decide to poke our nose out and see for ourselves, as we can always run back to the shelter of Douglas. AJ Wanderlust sets sail, and enjoys a fast beam reach romp toward Holyhead. It starts off as a very dark night, but soon the clouds clear a little to reveal a brilliant full moon and stars. The seas grow as we approach the tides off Skerries and Holyhead, but AJ Wanderlust flies along, entering the harbour at 6 am. A couple hours sleep and the rigger arrives at 8 am to inspect AJ Wanderlust’s rig and mast. Inspection complete at 10 am, and just after 11:30 am we set sail for Pwllheli, Wales.
We motor out to the Stacks off Holy Island, the tide is with us and the wind is on the nose. AJ Wanderlust bounds up and down in the big waves, a prelude to what will be in tomorrow’s ISORA race. Around the Stacks and the seas moderate. Engine off and sails up, we enjoy a sunny sail toward Pwllheli. The tide is with us and makes for a fast passage. In route, more sailboats begin to appear on AIS. They are ISORA boats, also in passage to the race. It is nice to have the company nearby. An earlier than expected arrival put us in Pwllheli at 8 pm, time enough to enjoy a couple beers at the Plas Heli Sailing Club. And then off to bed for a proper sleep.
J Boats dominated the last race of the Avery Crest ISORA Offshore Series 2017 that took place on Saturday 9th September. The race was an 80 mile course from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire.
What made this race so significant was that it was to decide the ISORA Offshore 2017 Championship. The currant Champion, Stephen Tudor in J109 “Sgrech” from Pwllheli was competing against fellow Pwllheli sailors Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox in J109 “Mojito. Also in the race was Kenneth Rumball’s INNS J109 “Jedi”, Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles J109, “Indian” form Howth and Chris Power Smith’s J122 “Aurelia” from Dun Laoghaire. Andrew Hall’s J125 “Jackknife” was also racing
Prior to the race, Tudor’s “Sgrech” would win the Championship and retain the coveted “Wolf’s Head” if they beat “Mojito” or even if they were within one place behind “Mojito” in the results, irrespective of the placings. This tight situation led to a build-up of apprehension before the race.
The weather conditions for the race were not ideal with strong north westerly winds forecast providing a long beat for the fleet. Also the fact that there were spring tides on the day just made conditions worse.The course for the race was from the Start at Pwllheli to round a local racing mark PSC2 before heading through St Tudwal’s Sound, Bardsey Sound and a long 60 mile beat to Kish Lighthouse before the final fetch across Dublin Bay to the finish between the pier heads in Dun Laoghaire.
Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association Race 11
Race 11 was the rescheduled Pwllheli night race, always a popular race for the UK based fleet, and the final race of the Global Displays Welsh Coastal Series.
Once again in the build up to the race, forecast light winds dropping to 1-2 kts by midnight left the race committee with great difficulties setting a course. With many of the lit marks not appropriate for the wind direction, a decision was taken to use a "virtual mark" as part of the course.
This is one of the advantages of using Yellow Brick trackers and one of many innovative race management decisions ISORA has made over the years.
With breeze most likely to be found to the SW a course was set for a 20:15 start: PSC start/PSC2/Carreg Y Trai/52 44N 004 31W/Carreg Y Trai/Plas heli Finish
The fleet assembled for the 20:15 start for a gentle fetch down to the west end mark into a glorious sunset, with many electing to fly an A3 even at a fairly tight angle to save a sail change at the mark. Mojito used a code zero and peel to A3 around the first mark with a text book demonstration, getting ahead of Sgrech. Meanwhile Jackknife got away in the 5-6 kt breeze toward Carreg y Trai and darkness came very quickly.
The wind held for the leg up to the virtual mark, but with the wind starting to veer a little sail choices were difficult with many boats changing between Jibs and A sails. A clear gap opened up, between the leading J's and the pack at the rear of the fleet, but with decent speeds being maintained, we elected to retain the A3 for the whole of the leg up to the virtual mark, and with thoughts of making it back for last orders, and a fast race, we broke out the wine gums! this signalled a sudden drop in the wind and with the direction fluctuating widely we were buried ..again. This affected the group of four boats at the rear, and certainly dampened the high spirits.! With the next leg a reciprocal, we knew it would also have an impact on the leading pack, so hopefully not a disaster. Luckily the wind although reduced steadied, and we were able to make reasonable progress up to the mark, and hoped to see the sail choices of the leading boats as they passed in the moonlight. With Jackknife Sgrech and Mojito all using different sails, we learnt nothing!
Round the virtual mark, steady progress with three sail changes back down to Carreg y trai with the breeze steady from the North at 3-4kts. With careful trimming, minimal movement and a bit of tide, we were able to maintain a steady 2-3 kts on the flat oily sea, and noticed the leading pack were parked 1/2 a mile or so from the finish, and we were closing the gap! Queue spirits back up! So decision time....it looked like the wind was slowly veering, so we elected sacrifice a little boat speed to keep pushing North of the Rhumb line, and try and use the weak flood and lay the finish in one tack, hoping the wind would not veer too much. Hearing nothing on the radio we continued to close the gap at a steady rate with one eye on the ais! Constant trimming and hard work by the crew kept the boat moving at a reasonable VMG. We heard Sgrech finish at 01:30 but nothing from Jackknife and Mojito. As we crept into the home straight we got a massive and sudden wind shift requiring a 45 degree heading change ....doh! hearing Jackknife and Mojito finish gave us the encouragement that although shifted, there was still some breeze at the finish. One tack and we crossed the long Plas Heli line in the company of XP33 Darling xx and got the finish signalled by ISORA vice chairman Jerry Williams and Gwen Williams. Another great race with Line honours and overall win by Sgrech, who now leads the series overall table from Mojito by 3 points.
The fleet all finished within an hour or so, and a great Aprês sail was held in Plas Heli, with race sponsors Tudor estate agents buying a huge round for the whole fleet. Great discussions were had, lots of "refreshing beverages" consumed, with the ever competitive "Mojito" crew last to leave at 10:30am, much to the amusement of the dinghy sailors arriving for Saturday racing! Special mention to Charlene Howard and crew on "AJ Wanderlust" coming al the way from the IOM for the race, and to race sponsor Stephen Tudor, and Global Displays Welsh coastal series sponsor Richard Cook for their valuable contributions.
The next race is the series ending "James Eadie" race to Dùn Laoghaire, with places up for grabs in all classes, and a great match race in prospect between Mojito and Sgrech for the Wolfs head. Results and information at www.isora.org
Race 13 is race 2 of the Global Displays Welsh Coastal series and also part of the ISORA overall series. In the build up to this race, the forecast for light winds, seemingly decreasing as the day got nearer, caused the race committee great difficulties setting a course, with light winds and forecast direction widely fluctuating! The Irish fleet in Race 12, sailing the Dun Laoghaire to Greystones race faced the same issues. A further complication was the desire for all competitors to make it back in time for the Clwb Hwlio Pwllheli Sailing Club summer BBQ.
A smaller than normal fleet came to the line after a fair few withdrawals, possibly due to the forecast but also due to "fixture congestion" and with a reasonable 4-5 kts breeze from the SW filling in, the fleet started from the PSC line on a 15 mile course to PSC2 EURWYN PSC5 and finishing at the Plas Heli line.
A steady beat down to number 2 against the tide caused no issues before a reach to Eurwyn Buoy.
What has been ideal night sailing conditions for this race in past seasons was certainly not ideal last Friday night, 18th August, for ISORA’s Night Race. Weather forecasts all agreed on what faced the fleet of 18 boats that came to the start line. Four other boats had earlier pulled out. All forecasts were promising westerly winds of 25 knots and gusting. This was to remain before moderating by early morning.
Due to the conditions the Sailing Committee decided not to use the traditional turning mark on the course, North Arklow, but instead use an inshore course, keeping the fleet away from the banks. The course was: Start at Dun Laoghaire – North Burford (S) – Killiney Outfall (P) – Breeches Buoy (P) – South Burford (S) – Finish between the pier heads in Dun Laoghaire – 36 miles.
The race started in the 25 knots of westerly wind, sending the fleet fast broad reaching towards North Burford. Some of the boats attempted to hoist spinnakers but no great advantage was gained due to handling difficulties as the westerly winds gusted up to 32 knots. Daragh Cafferkey’s “Another Adventure” was first to round followed by Chris Power-Smith’s “Aurelia”.
The next leg was a loose fetch / tight reach down to Killiney Bay. The fleet had split at this stage. “Aurelia” had passed “Another Adventure” to round that mark first. Close behind the leaders was Kenneth Rumball’s “Jedi” and Roger Smith’s “Wakey Wakey” and Vincent Farrell’s “Tsunami”.
The next long leg south to Breeches was another broad reach but this time those boats who ventured to hoist spinnakers broke away from the fleet, despite the many broaches. Rounding Breeches Buoy, “Aurelia” still was maintaining its lead just ahead of “Another Adventure”.
The following leg was a fetch north to South Burford. “Aurelia” had by this time extended its lead from “Another Adventure” followed by “Jedi”, Colm Buckley’s “Indian”, “Tsunami” and Paul Egan’s “Platinum Blonde”.
The last leg to the finish was a beat. “Aurelia” continued to extend his lead and took Line Honours, IRC Overall and IRC Class 0. “Jedi” just pipped “Another Adventure” by 26 seconds to take 2nd IRC Overall and IRC Class 1. Derek Dillon’s “Big Deal” took IRC Class 2.
In ECHO, Jim Schofield’s “Thisbe” took Overall and Class 2. “Aurelia” took Class 0 while “Jedi” took Class 1. Full results can be found on the ISORA website www.isora.org
The next race takes place next Saturday 26th August, a day race from Dun Laoghaire to Greystones. This is one feeder race to the Greystones Regatta to take place the following day. A fleet of 25 boats from a list of 33 entries are expected to make their way to the start line.
The Overall Avery Crest Offshore Championship is hotting up with “Mojito” slightly ahead of the current Champion “Sgrech” and followed closely by “Jedi” and “Aurelia”. With a large fleet expected for the last offshore from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire on the 9th September, it is possible for any one of those boats to snatch the coveted “Wolf’s Head” trophy.
The AveryCrest ISORA 2017 Series Results have been updated to include the re-scheduled Night Race in Pwllheli on 1st September - see here
Mojito, the IRC series leaders are being chased by Sgrech, Jedi, Aurelia, Jackknife and Rockabill VI - and the series is setting up for another dramatic conclusion!
The next races is the final race in the Series - The popular Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire Race on Saturday 9th September.
Many of our ISORA boats are competing in the Fastnet Race, including overall ISORA leader Mojito and runner up Jedi. Also listed as Fast net competitors are regular ISORA boats Thalia, Platinum Blond, Piperdreamer VI, Wakes Wakey, Windshift, Harriet Marwood, AJ Wanderlust, Kerrageous, Mojo, Desert Star and Big Deal
We wish all ISORA boats well in this Classic Offshore Race and I am sure that many of you will follow their exploits on the Race Tracker.
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.