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ISORA Offshore Series Race 6: Dun Laoghaire Offshore

by Mark Thompson 28 May 19:09 BST 20-21 July 2018

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.

The build up up to the race gave the race committee the usual course setting conundrums with light winds forecast, and tides to consider. The forecast seemed to consistently indicate a light SW wind building to a stronger 10 - 12kt westerly as the day progressed

After much deliberation, a course was agreed as follows:
Start (DL Pier Mark)
Muglins (S) and keeping the ISORA Dublin Bay Virtual mark to port (this mark is to keep the course away from the TSS)
West Codling (p)
South Codling (p)
East Codling (p)
Kish Lighthouse (p)
ISORA Dublin Bay VM (s)
Finish (DL Pier heads)

A distance of 43 miles, with hopefully 2 hours of south going tide to help the fleet on its way.

17 boats came to the line, in 4-5 kts of SE breeze, giving a beat down to West Codling. With two distinct groups at either end of the line, with Mojito choosing the pin and Jackknife the committee boat, the south going tide making it a challenge to stay above before the gun, at least two boats got recalled. Once away the fleet made steady progress past Muglins, taking advantage of the weak tide, with three tactical choices splitting the fleet - go into Bray head and remain inshore to stay out of the tide when it changed, and hopefully benefit from the wind veering, go offshore towards the banks, where there can be less tide but more wind, but risking getting headed with the wind shift, or stay close to the rhumb line.

After a debate on Jac Y Do, we felt inshore was risky with potentially less wind, and the boat feeling "sticky" in the light airs, so we decided to take the least distance option. As the tide changed, we encountered the usual lack of apparent wind and stalled off Greystones, for what seemed an eternity in the company of Joe Conway (Elandra). Looking at YB, it appeared that the brave group of four boats lead by Andrew Halls Jackknife made very good progress inshore, with the offshore group not getting anymore significant wind.

Fighting the tide and with the wind building a little, we finally started to make better progress towards West Codling, with the wind veering towards the SW, and were encouraged by the sight of the offshore group not to far ahead. Once around South Codling, it was a relief to hoist the A2 for a great ride to East Codling, with just a couple of gybes (and of course a mandatory forestay wrap and sheet change).

Gybing round Codling East and a shy kite reach to Kish. We were starting to see 12-15 kts of wind now, but decided to hold the A2 as long as we could, probably benefitting from about an extra 3/4 knot compared with the jib. Watching "More Mischief" bravely carrying his A2, we were pleased to have a wide transom! Ultimately the time came to drop the kite for the last mile to Kish and tack towards the virtual mark.

With the wind now building now to 13-18kts at times, it was a three tack sail into the sunset, and the welcoming Peir heads of Dun Laoghaire Marina and the finish.

Always a case of "what ifs" and the conditions not initially suiting the wider transom boats, it was a very fine tactical race by Andrew Hall (Jackknife) taking line honours, Mojito taking the class 1 and overall win, skippered today by Anthony Doyle, and Windjammer taking class 2 and second overall.

A tough race, but with a great welcome in the National Yacht Club for the usual ISORA post-race party.

Race management by Grainne Ryan with Anita Begley as Safety officer. Jackknife continues to lead the series from Windjammer. The next race is the D2D race on June 12th.

www.isora.org

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