Please select your home edition
Edition
Wessex Resins 2019 - Pro-Set - 728x90
Product Feature
NeilPryde Sailing Raceline Drysuit
NeilPryde Sailing Raceline Drysuit

ISORA Race 10: Global Displays Welsh Coastal Series Night Race

by Mark Thompson 22 Jul 2018 09:00 BST 20-21 July 2018
ISORA Race 10: Global Displays Welsh Coastal Series Night Race track from Pwllheli to St Tudwals Islands © YB Tracking

With an entry list depleted due to regular entrants racing at Cork Week, three boats came to the line for a 25 mile race sponsored by Global and Exposure Lights. 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 follows:

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 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 DĂșn Laoghaire to Howth next Saturday the 28th July. Further information and results at www.isora.org

The track of the race can be viewed on the YB Tracker app.

Related Articles

ISORA Race 16 - James Eadie Race
Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire 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". Posted on 9 Sep
ISORA Global Displays Coastal Series at Pwllheli
Using the zephyrs over the late August Bank Holiday weekend The first race of the weekend, the Global Displays Day race, was a 30nm coastal race taking in Pwllheli Sailing Club (PSC) Mark 10 off Penychain, the Causeway buoy and the Tudwal islands before heading back to the finish via the Tom Buoy. Posted on 27 Aug
ISORA Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli
With a great spinnaker run, and some impressive boat speeds Saturday dawned brightly, and a fleet of 15 gathered off the Dun Laoghaire harbour entrance, ready for the 75 mile race to Pwllheli, with the up to date forecast promising a little more wind, particularly on the Welsh side. Posted on 28 Jul
ISORA Dun Laoghaire Offshore
17 boats came to the line for a 43 mile race Race 6 was originally planned as an offshore race from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire, but had to be re-planned to start and finish in Dun Laoghaire, due to ongoing infrastructure issues at Holyhead, following last year's devastating damage to the marina. Posted on 28 May
ISORA Pwllheli Coastal Race
Global Displays Welsh Coastal Series During the build up to the race, a changeable forecast showed winds potentially less than 5 kts and as much as 12 kts in Cardigan Bay, giving the race committee a challenge to set a course. Posted on 19 May
ISORA Offshore Championship race 1
Rockabill takes first blood as 2019 series begins The first offshore race of the ISORA Offshore Championship 2019 took place on the 4th May with a starting time of 08.00. 19 boats from the entry list of 20 came to the start line in Dun Laoghaire. Posted on 6 May
ISORA Race 15 James Eadie Race
Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire The 2018 ISORA Offshore Championship was decided in a nail biting finish to the last race on Saturday. Posted on 10 Sep 2018
ISORA Global Displays Welsh Coastal Race
Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association Race 14 Race 14 would decide the Global Displays Welsh Coastal Series. With 23 boat competing in Ireland for the Viking Marine Coastal Series, and 7 in Pwllheli, both coastal series have been well supported this year. Posted on 26 Aug 2018
ISORA Dun Laoghaire to Howth Race
60 mile rollercoaster ride The eleventh race in the ISORA Offshore Series took place on the 28th July with an 08.00 start from Dun Laoghaire. 20 boats were due on the start line for the race but poor forecasts and a problem with adequate crew, resulted in two boats withdrawing. Posted on 29 Jul 2018
Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association race 9
A night race from Dun Laoghaire 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". Posted on 14 Jul 2018