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ISORA Pwllheli to Liverpool Race, Lyver Trophy next up, followed by Pwllheli for a Pop-up Regatta

by Victoria Cox 22 Jun 17:09 BST
Mojito at North Stack during the ISORA Pwllheli to Liverpool Race © Charlotte Greenhalgh

As regular winners of the ISORA offshore team trophy, it's no surprise that Pwllheli Sailing Club are again the focus of many of the Irish Sea Offshore races this year. And with cross channel Covid restrictions still in place this year, Pwllheli is definitely the set to both host and receive many of the offshore races and put on plenty of entertainment in the form of pop-up regattas and race series for visiting boats.

After a relatively gentle start to the offshore series in the form of coastal races, the calendar and racing field opened up. First on the 29th May from Pwllhwli to Holyhead and then, on a glorious morning on the 12th June, with light winds a race from Pwllheli to Liverpool.

The fleet got off to a clean start, heading west out of Pwllheli, rounding PSC mark 1 inshore before heading out along the coast. In the beautiful backdrop of Tremadog bay, the leading boat, Peter Dunlop and Victoria Cox's Mojito, was escorted by dolphins as they headed towards the St Tudwall sound. Mark and Jo Thompson's Jac-y-Do followed a similar course through the sound, whereas Paul Kitteringham's Finally, headed out and around the outside of the St. Tudwall islands. By chosing the slightly longer route, Finally allowed Jac-y-Do to get ahead of them on the water.

Mojito were well ahead of the fleet by the time they reached Bardsey but an exploding bottle screw at the shrouds forced them to switch to the other tack and sail back on themselves downwind to limit pressure on the mast while they got a jury rig in place. They eventually rejoined the race 20 minutes later by which time both Jac-y-Do and Finally had passed them and left the sound and Andrew Hall's Jackknife, starting later on the class 0 start, where almost upon them.

Out of Bardsey, Jac-y-Do, sailing 2-handed, chose to head further offshore away from the headland. Finally stayed more inshore but struggled with boat speed in the overfalls at the tripods, which allowed Mojito to catch up and overtake.

At the midway point between Bardsey and Holyhead, Jackknife, Mojito and Jac-y-Do were all level with each other on the water. Jac-y-Do furthest offshore and Mojito furthest inshore, choosing a course that gave them the option of heading right inshore at Holyhead when the tide changed. The inshore passage was soon spotted by spectators using the YellowBrick app and they headed to the South Stack lighthouse at Holyhead to get some stunning photos of the fleet - Mojito in the foreground and both Jackknife and Jac-y-Do in the distance further out to sea.

Playing the tides allowed Mojito to regain their position ahead of Jac-y-Do that they lost at Bardsey and also allowed them to hold their ground just behind Jackknife on the water. That was the standing at the finish line, however Jackknife misread the sailing instructions and sailed around the finish line for a DNF result. Mojito took 1st overall, Jac-y-Do took second and Finally third.

The fleet are now strategically positioned in Liverpool, ready for the Lyver Trophy, the next ISORA UK race, on Friday evening 2nd July. The bi-annual race, run as a joint initiative between Liverpool Yacht Club and the Royal Dee Yacht club, has more recently also been run alongside ISORA as the feeder race to the Dun Laoghaire regatta. However, with the sad cancellation of the Dun Laoghaire regatta this year and current covid restrictions on cross channel races, it seems fitting that the race should return to its original destination - Pwllheli.

Founded in 1997 by Gordon Dewar from Liverpool Yacht Club, the aim was to provide a Fastnet qualifying race for boats based in ports around the North West, including Liverpool, Blackpool, Isle of Man, Fleetwood, Pwllheli, Holyhead and the Irish ports. The first race in 1997 started in Liverpool and ended in Pwllheli. The 2001 race again finished in Pwllheli but the course from Liverpool took the fleet out to the Dublin coast before returning to the Welsh port. This year, the Lyver trophy will run from Liverpool, around Holyhead and the Skerries, navigating the Llyn peninsula and Bardsey, round to the picturesque setting of Pwllheli and the Tremadog Bay.

Pwllheli Sailing Club are extremely pleased to be able to welcome the Lyver Trophy boats again, so it seems only fitting that Pwllheli Sailing Club organise a pop-up regatta to fill the 8th to 11th July dates left by the Dun Laoghaire regatta cancellation. With many boats having already booked these holiday dates in July, the Tremadog Bay Pop up regatta hosted by Pwllheli Sailing Club is the ideal way to fill them.

More information about the Tremadog Bay Pop-Up Regatta can be found at pwllhelisailingclub.co.uk

Lyver Trophy details can be found at www.lyc.org.uk and ISORA races and results results can be found at www.isora.org

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