Sailing: New entries ensure exciting start to new ISORA season

Conor Fogerty’s Silver Shamrock to throw down gauntlet to favourite Wakey Wakey

 Roger Smith’s J109 Wakey Wakey was the winner of the pre-season ISORA race in Dun Laoghaire last weekend.

Roger Smith’s J109 Wakey Wakey was the winner of the pre-season ISORA race in Dun Laoghaire last weekend.

 

Poolbeg yacht Wakey Wakey starts as a favourite in Sunday’s first race of the ISORA season but the River Liffey-based J109 will be up against some new entries for Sunday’s first coastal race of 2018.

Roger Smith’s Wakey Wakey was declared overall winner in last weekend’s pre-season warm-up on Dublin Bay but at his heels, in third, was current Sailor of the Year Conor Fogerty at the helm of a new venture, the vintage Half Tonner Silver Shamrock.

The Howth Yacht Club helmsman has taken delivery of the Ron Holland-design that won the 1976 Half Ton World Championship skippered back then by Harold Cudmore.

Also new to the fleet this season is a sister ship to Fogerty’s OSTAR winning Sunfast 3600, BAM! Brendan Coghlan’s new Dublin Bay-based Jeanneau took to the water for her maiden race and finished fourth in practice.

ISORA, in fact, starts on both sides of the Irish Sea this weekend with racing in North Wales on Saturday and off Dun Laoghaire on Sunday.

Weather permitting, the Dun Laoghaire course, starting at 10am, for a 20-boat fleet, will be no longer than 40-miles long.

In France, one time ISORA competitor, Tom Dolan, faces the Atlantic Ocean for the second time in less than six months as he starts the Transat AG2R La Mondiale this weekend.

Dolan, 30, will face his first major test in the ultra-competitive Figaro Bénéteau class since stepping up from the Mini 6.50 fleet at the start of 2018.

The Transat AG2R La Mondiale will see Dolan race 3,800 miles from Concarneau in Brittany, France, to St Barts in the West Indies alongside team-mate and former Mini 6.50 rival, Tanguy Bouroullec.

The race comes just months after Dolan raced solo across the Atlantic in the 2017 Mini Transat in which he placed sixth overall in a fleet of 56.

Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) did not emerge unscathed from the winter storms and its starting hut on the back of the town’s West Pier will not now be in place for next week’s first races.

International standard

The umbrella organisation caters for all four of Dun Laoghaire’s waterfront yacht clubs and as such is one of the largest yacht racing organisers in Europe, with a total fleet of 320 boats in 22 different classes.

This season, however, thanks to Storm Emma, “there will be no keelboat racing for the first two Tuesdays and alternative arrangements are now in place for Saturday Committee Boat starts”, DBSC Commodore Chris Moore says.

Both Laser winners of Easter’s Youth Pathway championships on Dublin Bay will take their place at the Youth Sailing Worlds in the USA this Summer after making the required international standard. Jack Fahy and Nell Staunton both achieved qualification, subject to ratification, at the UK Laser Association Radial Qualifier at Pwllheli SC in North Wales last weekend.

Elsewhere, Minister for Transport Shane Ross has responded in writing to a parliamentary question, which asked the Minister to specify if any funding would be provided “to create a reserve to assist Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in outstanding liabilities as part of a final agreement of transfer”.

“All assets and liabilities” of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, will transfer to the local authority upon its pending dissolution – with no additional State funding available, the Minister confirmed.

“National Ports Policy recognised that the future of Dun Laoghaire port lies in marine leisure, marine tourism, cultural amenity and urban redevelopment,” Minister Ross wrote. “In addition, it clearly states that there is no Exchequer funding for any port company.”

Ireland’s largest sailing centre is in a state of flux as the County Council plots a new course for the granite harbour.

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