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Ovington Boats 2014

ISORA Offshore Series Race 11: Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli

by Mark Thompson 28 Jul 21:53 BST

The build-up to race 11 showed a consistent NW wind in the mid Irish Sea, with potentially less in both Dublin and Cardigan Bays. The general consensus of the sailing committee, was to start as published and route direct to the finish line at Pwllheli, with the only mark of the course the ISORA bay mark to keep clear of Dublin Port.

The talk in the bar the night before however was the tidal gate at Bardsey, and its impact on the race - with a potential in light airs for the class two boats to take advantage of a parked fleet, or in stronger winds to allow the faster boats to get through before the tide turned.

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.

Barry MacNeaney and Larry Power of the National Yacht Club started the fleet from the pier mark, with the fleet getting away cleanly in a 10 kts North Westerly breeze, with spinnakers hoisted on the line on Starboard Gybe

J125 Jackknife taking an early lead, chose to remain on starboard and go south of the rhumb line, with most of the fleet gybing onto port shortly after passing Muglins. Leaving Dublin bay the wind built as promised averaging 12-17kts allowing a fast crossing, with the fleet bunching in class order! The south going tide was with the fleet for 5 hours, allowing most of the fleet to sail just south of the rhumb line, and soak further down when able, to mitigate the later tide turn. The fleet enjoyed a great spinnaker run, with some impressive boat speeds, and frankly champagne sailing!

Approaching the Welsh side, the north going tide didn't trouble the fleet too much, particularly as the wind veered a little to the north as the tide changed, which was very helpful in being able to lay the sound without gybing. A few boats went close to the North coast of the Llyn Peninsula, and reported some big windshifts and turbulent water. Jackknife managed to get to Bardsey Sound just at the end of slack water and blasted through with speeds of 10-12ts over the ground, with Aurelia arriving as the tide turned. The rest of the fleet lead by Rockabill and Mojito got to Bardsey a little later and had to sail though against 4-5 kts of tide, but with the wind holding at 15 kts were able to maintain good boat speed. The sound was reasonably calm considering wind over tide, but a few boat experienced the overfalls and disturbed water south of the tripods!

The whole fleet got through Bardsey against the tide without any major problems.

Once through Bardsey a straight forward sail to Pwllheli with a few wind holes for the back markers to negotiate, in a generally dying northerly breeze, with a fetch from St Tudwals to the Plas Heli finish line under white sails, manned by ISORA finishers Brian Metcalf and Robin Evans. The last boat finished at 21:20, and all enjoyed a "boisterous" apr├ęs sail in Plas Heli, with Richard Tudor (Jackknife) and Pete Ashworth (Zig Zag) celebrating a special birthday milestone this weekend. Congratulations to Andrew Hall J125 "Jackknife" who took line honours, class O and overall, Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox J109 "Mojito" who won class 1 and Lindsay Casey and Denis Power J97 "Windjammer" who won class 2 giving the J109's a great race.

"Jackknife" leads the ISORA overall from "Rockabill VI" with coastal races on both sides of the Irish sea in August, before the high point scoring "James Eadie" race from Pwllheli to Dun Laoghaire in September.

Race management by Peter Ryan at the Dun Laoghaire end, with Jo Thompson and Awel Tudor managing the trackers in Pwllheli. Thanks also to safety officer Anita Begley.

The next races are the Exposure Lights night races on August 16th.

www.isora.org

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