“Rockabill VI” takes James Eadie Race and ISORA Overall Offshore Championship 2019.
The 2019 ISORA Offshore Championship was decided in a tight contest between three boats – Paul O’Higgins “Rockabill VI”, Chris Power Smith’s “Aurelia” and Andrew Hall’s “Jackknife”. All any of those boats had to do to win the 63 boat, ISORA Offshore Series 2019, was to beat the other two boats in the last race.
The race was the annual James Eadie Race from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire, a distance of 80 miles. There were 23 entries for the race but only 14 managed to get the Pwllehli for the start. The starters included a new to ISORA boat from Arklow Sailing Club, John Conlon’s “Humdinger”.
The forecast for the race was moderate North-Westerly winds veering North-Easterly and eventually going very light. The weather for the race was as forecast.
Due to the light forecast in the evening, it was decided by the race committee to select a direct course. The course was:
Start at Pwllheli Bridge – PS2 (Racing buoy) (S) – ISORA Dublin (Virtual Mark) (P) – Finish between the pier heads in Dun Laoghaire. The course was approximately 82 miles.
The race started at 07.30. The starter on the Pwllheli Bridge was Robin Evans. The north- westerly wind provided a tight reach from the start line and “Jackknife” and “Rockabill” were fast off the start line and reaching west along the beach towards PS2. After rounding PS2, the fleet headed south west towards St Tudwal’s Islands under spinnaker.
At this stage the format for the race was being set. The three contenders for the Wolf’s Head, “Jackknife”, “Aurelia” and “Rockabill VI” split from the fleet and were racing together in close contact. This was to last for the entire race.
Rounding the headland at St Tudwals the leg west to Bardsey Sound was a fetch but with a foul tide against the fleet, the route to and through Bardsey Sound had to be selected carefully.
Exiting Bardsey Sound the tide was ebbing south. The wind at this stage was still north-westerly providing a 60 mile beat to the finish but this soon changed as the wind veered to the North, liftin the fleet closer to the rhumb line.
It soon became apparent that the forecast was proving correct and the fleet would be close fetching toward Dun Laoghaire. This eliminate most of the tactical options, so boat speed was the main concern.
“Jackknife” led the fleet into Dublin Bay and was the first boat to succumb to the failing winds. This allowed the following boats for close the gap. At one stage, it was looking like a small boat race as all the lead boats slowed and the smaller boats compacted the fleet.
The last 7 miles were tricky for the leaders due to the light fickle winds in Dublin Bay. “Jackknife” managed to inch across the finish line under spinnaker to take Line Honours but only managed a 4th Overall. “Aurelia”, followed closely by “Rockabill VI” and Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox’s “Mojito”, managed to cross the line in the failing breeze. Unfortunately, at that stage the tide was stating to ebb south, stopping the remainder of the fleet as they entered the bay. All of the remaining fleet struggled to cross the line, with some boats retiring late in the evening.
After this challenging and frustrating race, “Rockabill VI” managed to stay close enough to the other two contenders to win the race Overall and the James Eadie trophy and to take the ISORA Offshore Championship 2019. They also won Class 0.
Grzegorz Kalinacki’s “More Mischeif” won the Sliver class to take the Overall ISORA Silver Class 2019 Championship.
“Mojito” took Class 1 with Mark Thompson’s “Jac Y Do” taking Class 2. Full results, as well as the YB tracking of the race can be found on the website: www.isora.org
The traditional end-of-season party took place at the National Yacht Club after the race, where crew from all boats gathered to exchange stories and socialise together. The party extended early into the morning with Charlene Howard’s “AJ Wanderlust” crossing the finish just after 02.00. Finish time were recorded automatically using the YB trackers fitted to every boat.
Prior to the race, on Friday evening, a pre-race get-together took place in Plas Heli (Pwllheli Sailing Club)
This race ended the ISORA Offshore 2019 Series and the following boat are the Series and Class Winners:
Overall ISORA Offshore Champion – Paul O’Higgins “Rockabill VI”
Overall ISORA Offshore Sliver Class Champion - Grzegorz Kalinacki’s “More Mischief”
Overall ISORA Offshore Class 0 - Paul O’Higgins “Rockabill VI”
Overall ISORA Offshore Class 1 – Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox “Mojito”
Overall ISORA Offshore Class 2 – Lindsey Casey “Windjammer”
Viking Marine Irish Coastal Series 2019 - Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox “Mojito”
Global Display UK Coastal Series 2019 – Andrew Hall “Jackknife”
Prizes for the season will be presented at the Annual ISORA Dinner to be held in the NYC on 9th November. That afternoon the ISORA AGM takes place where the race schedule for 2020 is discussed and agreed.
The results are available here and the full report wil be published here shortly.