17th November 2012.
The ISORA series in 2012 consisted of 10 races in total - 5 offshore races and 5 day races. Four day races took lace from Dun Laoghaire while two day races took place from Pwllheli. The races included the usual ports of Dun Laoghaire, Holyhead, Pwllheli, Wicklow and Howth. For the first time in some years we had a start from Conwy. ISORA worked with the NYC, Royal Alfred Yacht Club, Pwllheli Sailing Club, Holyhead Sailing Club, Conwy Sailing Club, Howth Yacht Club and Wicklow Sailing Club. I would like to thank all the these clubs for the facilities they freely provide to ISORA, without them, we would have no racing or social life.
Despite a general levelling off in numbers of entries for races, the Night Race in July had a record 22 starters on the line and all finished. There is a definite increase in interest in the long day races by the normal “Bay” racers. Some of our regular boats did not race this year due to damage. Our offshore Champion for 2011, “Raging Bull” was badly damaged soon after launching in April. I am glad to advise that “Raging Bull” will be back next season. “Quite Correct” was damaged in the last race of 2010 and only returned for the last race this year.
Most of the boats taking part are still mainly from the Irish side but the numbers of boats from Wales are increasing. Holyhead was represented by “Pipe Dreamer” this season while the Isle of Man was represented by “Polished Manx” and “Ocean Tango”. I feel that the continuing success of the Lyver Race could attract more boats from North Wales / Anglesey / Liverpool area next year. Again, we had a significant decline in the numbers of two-handed boats taking part. This was particularly disappointing as I had hoped that that type of racing was a growing strongly. I also feel that the creation of the Silver Fleet class helped attract more boats.
After many years of pushing I am pleased to advise you that the organisers of the Dun Laoghaire Regatta in July next year will be providing a Coastal Series of races – similar to our day races, as part of the main event. I feel that this will attract those boats that prefer the longer racing legs and want to fly a spinnaker. I have great hopes that this will coax even more boats to go offshore. I have been given preliminary the NoR for this event and have distributed them around today. I hope all ISORA boats will support this new event during the DL Regatta.
The series ended with the traditional “James Eadie” race from Pwllheli to Dun Loaghaire. An “end of season” late night party took place in the NYC after the race, and proved to be very successful.
The results in 2012 has been dominated by the “J Boats” – “Sgrech” from Pwllheli, “Joker 2” and “Jedi” from Dun Laoghaire and also by the “First Boats” – “Adelie” and two-handed “Lula Belle”. “Sgrech” is our ISORA Offshore Champion for 2012 taking the coveted “Wolf head Trophy” followed by “Joker 2” and “Jedi”. The Silver Fleet has been very successful this year. “Lancastrian” is the overall winner for this fleet.
For the first time in many years an ISORA race was sponsored. The race from Pwllheli to Wicklow in June was generously sponsored by Michael Martyn of “lynx metmAsts” who also kindly donated an additional trophy for the winner. The winner of this race was the two-handed “Lula Belle” and the trophy was presented to Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive. I am happy to announce that I have negotiated sponsorship for the entire series next season. The series will be known as the “ISORA lynx metmAsts Offshore Series 2013”. This sponsorship will provide additional funds and facilities to allow us to promote ISORA even stronger. We hope to have a feature article in the Afloat annual at Christmas.
The highlight of the year is the annual ISORA prize giving dinner in the NYC tonight. We are honoured that the Commodore of the Royal Dee Yacht Club, Mr. Derek Mathews, will be attending as guest and will present the champion boat with the “Wolf’s Head Trophy”. This trophy belongs to the Royal Dee whose emblem is the “Wolf’s Head”. Also attending with be the Commodore of the Royal Alfred Yacht Club, Barry MacNeaney and Commodore of the NYC, Paul Barrington. This is a unique event as the Royal Dee and the Royal Alfred are one of the oldest yacht clubs in these waters, possibly in the world.
The high point scoring system is proving very effective and it is intended to keep using this system for the Series. I have to thank Stephen Tudor for the huge work he puts into producing the very detailed overall and class results after each race.
Problems with boats getting crew, was a significant factor in some of the boats not taking part. My role as “Universal Crew Boss” had very limited affect this season as there were relatively few new crew applying for places and those “rookies” from last season are all hardened “salts” with permanent places on boats. I am going to experiment again using “Dropbox” to maintain a live resister of available crew next season.
Our long-standing and successful relationship with the Royal Alfred Yacht Club with whom we take part in the day races from Dun Laoghaire, continues to be a very fruitful relationship and I am anxious to continue to develop it. For next year there are already discussions taking place with Liverpool YC and the Royal Dee YC about the "Lyver Race", and the National Yacht Club about the "Dingle Skellig Hotal Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race".
I have just collected the full ISORA trophy inventory that has been refurbished and brought back to its former glory. These trophies will be on display in the dining room later. This is a unique collection of trophies and it is ISORA’s greatest asset and attraction.
The ISORA website is looking good and the content is building up. It was used as the main information source this season and I hope this will continue. I would like to thank our WebMaster, Mark Southee, who looks after the technical aspects of the site for no cost. I really appreciate his assistance and generosity. I would also like to thank Vicky Howells who looks after the ISORA Facebook page.
Next year, the main offshore events are the “Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race” and the “Fastnet Race”. These events have always helped to attract additional boats and new boats to offshore racing. I hope ISORA can again capitalise on this next season with boats seeking pre-race offshore experience.
Unfortunately this year we did not get a chance to use the “virtual” marks (GPS Coordinates) in the middle of the Irish Sea to give better courses. We managed to have a beat in every race and sail our normal course. I hope next season that we can test out this innovative approach to offshore marks.
Regarding the finances, we are maintaining our funds and are generally working on the funds provided each year by the entries that year. However, the sponsorship obtained this season from “lynx metmAsts” covered the cost of the refurbishment work to the trophies. I can assure you that ISORA is being run at no cost to the members as all work is done on a voluntary basis. All entries collected largely goes back to the members in the form of prizes.
I would like to thank the National Yacht Club for their continued support for ISORA. Their assistance over the last six years has been a critical part of the revival of ISORA.
Last but not least I would like to thank our Vice Chairman, Gerry Williams, Hon Secretary – Stephen Tudor and the Hon Treasurer – Vincent Farrell for all their assistance and advice during the last year.