Record year for Irish offshore sailing

Opinions sought on class structure for 2017 in advance of November agm

Wicklow yacht Another Adventure (Darragh Cafferky) from Greystones is one of 54 boats that competed in the Irish Sea Offshore (ISORA) series. Photograph: David O’Brien

Wicklow yacht Another Adventure (Darragh Cafferky) from Greystones is one of 54 boats that competed in the Irish Sea Offshore (ISORA) series. Photograph: David O’Brien

 

As a band of Irish Sea sailors prepare for a 630-mile marathon in the Mediterranean tomorrow, at home offshore aficionados have surveyed crews after a record year for the sport.

June’s Round Ireland race showed the first signs of a lift for offshore racers with a fleet of 63 off Wicklow, up from 35 boats for the 2014 race, and this month the Irish Sea Offshore Sailing Association (ISORA) confirmed the increase when it reported 54 boats raced its 10-race 2016 series.

ISORA now aims to capitalise on the expansion in an online survey before next month’s agm and prizegiving.

ISORA chief Peter Ryan says “We’re aware of the need for a forum for suggestions and opinions, bearing in mind that the owners and competitors are from all corners of the Irish Sea.”

Of importance to its handicap racing is the fact ISORA races with IRC numbers ranging from 1.152 to 0.831 – the equivalent of 16 minutes in an hour – or almost seven hours in a 24-hour race.

Despite this, ISORA is expected to deliver fair racing where each competitor has a real chance of winning. “We now need to know if the class structure is correct and relevant for 2017,” says Ryan.

Survey results, as well as how best to maintain the momentum in offshore, will be discussed at the National Yacht Club-based agm in Dún Laoghaire on November 12th.

Sole Irish entry

BamConor FogertyBamKenny RumballLiam CoyneBrian Flahive

At last week’s National Marine Gallantry and Meritorious Service Awards, Castletownbere RNLI received a Marine Ministerial Letter of Appreciation, for its ability to “locate and save a life in challenging weather conditions”.

The award followed an operation last August some 50 miles off the southwest coast. A lone yachtsman in his sixties had run into difficulties in severe weather en route from the Azores. Conditions were described as gusting Force 8/9 winds with a 30ft-swell.

On Wednesday, the lifeboat service again came to the rescue of yachtsmen in distress, this time off the north west coast. A Canadian yacht with two onboard was aground at St Johns Point on Donegal Bay. The 45ft sloop hit a reef, making it difficult for the Coast Guard’s inshore boat and the RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat to get close. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter from Sligo airlifted the two sailors to safety.

A fleet of 25 GP14 dinghies took to Blessington Sailing Club water for the Hot Toddy under race officer Fred Ternan last weekend. Colman Grimes and David Lapin from Skerries were overall winners.

Howth wide open

Dave CullenCheckmateDemelza
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