Sailing: Liam Shanahan looking to extend offshore race lead

Irish Sea Offshore Racing has bumper weekend with Ruth five points ahead

Ian Nagle’s Jelly Baby (left) from Royal Cork was the winner of the Vice-Admiral’s Cup on the Solent. The J109 returns to home waters in June for the ICRA Nationals in Kinsale. Photo: Bob Bateman

Ian Nagle’s Jelly Baby (left) from Royal Cork was the winner of the Vice-Admiral’s Cup on the Solent. The J109 returns to home waters in June for the ICRA Nationals in Kinsale. Photo: Bob Bateman

 

As J109 designs continue to dominate Irish Sea Offshore Racing again this season, the overall leader and defending champion Ruth (Liam Shanahan) has claimed a five-point lead going into tonight’s fourth race.

The race has attracted a bumper fleet of over 20 for a double-header weekend that sees the focus of Irish sailing heading offshore this weekend.

The first race is race four in the ISORA series from Holyhead in north Wales to the Isle of Man tonight, followed on Sunday by race five’s 100-miler from the Manx port to Dun Laoghaire,with a 6.30am start.

Overall, Shanahan’s J109 from the National Yacht Club leads Adrian Lee’s Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners of the Royal St George YC by five points, with the Pwllheli-based J109, Mojito, a further point behind in third. J boats occupy four of the top six places.

Light winds

This year’s Avery Crest-sponsored series has the added attraction of satellite tracking that plots each competitors’ course, giving an extra dimension for race followers.

By Monday, a third of the 2015 ISORA calendar will have been completed but the biggest offshore races of the season will still lie ahead.

The NYC’s 270-mile Dun Laoghaire-to-Dingle race is the season highlight on June 17th. The D2D will leave at least part of the Irish Sea fleet conveniently based on the south coast for June 24th’s ICRA National Championships and the Sovereign’s Cup at Kinsale, where a Munster-campaigned J109 is also firing on all cylinders.

Second title

The cup is one of the Solent’s premier keelboat events. In recent years it has been chosen by the Royal Yachting Association as one of the selection events for the British teams in the Commodores’ Cup.

The Crosshaven campaign finished on 12 points with their nearest rival on 27, the win including five wins from nine races. It is the second such victory for Crosshaven crews following Anthony O’Leary’s Easter victory at the same venue.

O’Leary contests tomorrow’s RORC Myth of Malham 230-mile offshore from Cowes, a precursor to August’s Fastnet race climax. Jelly Baby will remain in the UK for the J Cup before returning for the ICRAs.

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