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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
The automated Pwllheli Bridge start system got the fleet away for a fetch in 7-8kts of southerly breeze down to CHPSC club mark number 1 before hardening up for the beat to Causeway. It was not clear which tack would be the favourable one, and with the wind straight up the rhumb line, J111 “Sgrech” and XP33 “Darling XX” elected to stay predominantly east of the the line, with “Jackknife” staying to to the West. With a forecast of the wind veering as the night progressed - it was unclear which strategy would pay off, with little tidal issues to impact. There was much debate on board as to which was the “paying tack” and I forget now if we ever came to a conclusion!. After a long beat with patches of lighter airs, J125 “Jackknife” rounded Causeway first, with the two other boats not to far behind, though J111 “Sgrech” got stuck for a while in a difficult patch with light winds and chop slowing the boat down dramatically.
Round Causeway and a great spinnaker run in the pitch black to St Tudwals, which certainly improved spirits, and just one gybe, and was (according to one crew member) “Champagne Sailing” he clearly hadn’t noticed the rain, which didn’t really abate for the whole race, lack of moonlight and stars making helming in the dark very difficult. The concentration and communication with the trimmers key. Approaching the west of the St Tudwals Islands, the next phase of the race would begin, starting with a well timed gybe in the sound between the west island and the mainland, which would need to give an angle to clear the east island. The issue however would be sailing into the wind shadow of the two islands, so the game plan was to time the gybe, then approaching the wind shadow, gybe again into Abersoch Bay, until free of the islands and then gybe back out into the bay. Just as we were about to execute this excellent plan, and gybe into the bay, the wind just shut down, and we were dead in the water. After a few minutes of confusion the wind gently picked up, just enough to give us sufficient boat speed to gybe. It became clear that the promised wind shift was starting, but the great surprise was it swung round very quickly, and built to 9kts or so, requiring us to get the jib out, drop the kite and beat to the finish. Whilst not the tidiest drop, we got the kite away and hardened up.
This final phase required several tacks to lay the finish and again required great concentration by the Helmsman, having to largely steer by feel and reference to instruments, with nothing of use to see outside the boat. Tell tails stuck stuck to the sails, making it tricky to trim as well. Jackknife took line honours, class 0 and the overall win, with Darling XX a fine 1st in class 1. Thanks to Brian Metcalf for acting as finisher.
After racing the competitors enjoyed a relaxed “apres sail” in Plas Heli discussing the challenges that the race posed. I think although it was a wet and dark, frustrating at times evening, everyone enjoyed it, and grateful that we maintained a decent breeze most of the night, when the forecast showed area of the bay having very little.
The next ISORA race is race 11, an offshore race from Dún Laoghaire to Howth next Saturday the 28th July. Further information and results available here
The track of the race can be viewed on the YB Tracker app
Our Thanks to The Night Race Sponsor Exposure Lights and the Coastal Series Sponsor Global Displays
Friday Night 20th July - Global Display Coastal Night Race - Race Weighting 1.0
This is Race No.3 in the Global Display Coastal Series and Sponsored by Exposure Lights
The Course has been published as follows:
Start (As defined in the SIs)
PSC 1 (p)
Causway Buoy (s)
St Tudwal's Islands (s)
Finish (As defined in the SIs)
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.
The weather forecast was forecasting light winds for the evening – SE 10k at the start dropping and veering around midnight before continuing the veer and increasing again to 10-15k W. The tides on the day were spring tides. The traditional course for this race was to head south to North India buoy but the weather forecast was indicating no wind at Bray Head. For this reason, the decision was taken to go north with the flooding spring tide and to round Lambay Island – 33 miles.
To avoid shipping traffic entering and exiting Dublin Port, ISORA have agreed with Dublin Port to always exit and enter Dublin Bay by going south of South Burford. The Course was:
Start outside Dun Laoghaire Harbour at DBSC racing mark “Pier” – South Burford (P) – leaving North Burford (P) – Taylors Rock (S) – Lambay Island (S) – leaving North Burford (S) – South Burford (S) and the finish line between the pier heads in Dun Laoghaire harbour.
The tide at the start was strongly flooding north. The first leg was a tight fetch east out to South Burford with some boats being pushed too north by the tide, and having to tack for the mark. First around the mark was a tight bunch consisting of “Lively Lady”, “Aurelia”, “Tsunami” and “Rockabill VI” with “Jackknife” having to tack before rounding.
The next leg to Taylors Road buoy, a cardinal mark immediately north west of Lambay Island, was a dead run. On this leg the J109’s particularly “Ruth” and “Wakey Wakey” made strong progress and joined the leading bunch at Taylors Rock and Lambay Island.
Rounding the island the winds increased and remained in SE giving a full beat back towards North and South Burford. The change in the tide at 00.44 did not suit the lead boats as they had to plug the last of the flooding tide as they beat south towards the Burfords. As the later boats rounded Lambay the turning ebb tide helped them in this leg south. This tidal situation tended to keep the fleet bunched.
Rounding the South Burford, the leg to the finish was a very tight reach that suit those boats with Asymmetrical spinnakers. Just as the boats arrived at Dun Laoghaire harbour there was very little wind in that localised area around the finish. The now strongly ebbing tide was against the approaching boats and made the finish trickier with the last boats being becalmed for a time within sight of the line.
The finish line was between the Pier heads. The finish times were being logged automatically by the YB trackers. This meant that finishers were not required to sit a night shift at the end of the pier.
“Jackknife” took line honours while J109 “Ruth” took IRC Overall and Class 1. “Aurelia” took Class 0 while “Windjammer” took Class 2. “First of September” took Silver Class. Full results are on the ISORA website www.isora.org
The next race is the second Exposure Lights sponsored night race from Pwllheli on the 20th July.
Saturday 28th July =- Offshore and Qualifying Race
Dun Laoghaire to Howth this amends the Notice of Race (9th July 2018)
Race details to be confirmed - Weighting 1.2
The SIs will be published here shortly .....