Pwllheli to Wicklow ISORA 2011

On Friday morning Barry, Mick, Mary and Cathy set off from Dun Laoghaire to bring Dinah to Pwllheli early in the morning. Barry and Mick would race the next day on Dinah, and the two girls would race against us on ‘Jedi’. After an easy downwind day the breeze started to pipe up as we approached the welsh coast. With the prospect of a big swell in the building breeze we decided to cut through Bardsey Sound, an area renowned for impressive waves on the calmest of days! With lots of wide grins on board we hurtled through the sound in the big surf that Dinah so loves to play in. We arrived in Pwllheli nice and early in the evening and had a great night in the sailing club there.

We were up early again the next morning to sort out breakfast, last minute weather forecasts, and prepare the boat for the race. It was a wet, windy morning and we opted for two reefs in the main for the start.

We got a good enough start and had great height and speed in the first half hour, but cutting inside one of the islands we were slightly underpowered for a few minutes against the fully crewed boats who had already switched up to bigger sails. Soon after clearing the channel we were able to shake out the reefs and match the fully crewed boats again, but they had pulled out a good lead by that stage. From there it was a long close hauled drag race across the irish Sea from Bardsey to North India Bouy off Wicklow. We rounded 1.3 miles behind ‘Lula Belle’ and ‘Mojito’ with only a few miles to go against the tide to Wicklow.
We made an unusual call heading South against the tide rather than heading to shore after the other two looking for tide relief, but we were both convinced that there was more pressure out to sea and it would pay better than the tide relief along the shore. It was the right call as we managed to pull back to 0.8 miles behind ‘Lula Belle’, and only 0.4 miles behind ‘Mojito’. It wasnt enough though and our result really didn’t reflect the hard work put in all day. As we’ve seen again and again Dinah needs some downwind legs in order to sail to her handicap and this was another completely upwind race. Surely we’ll get to put a spinnaker up sometime this season?

It was a great fun weekend though. Wicklow Sailing Club put on a BBQ for us on arrival and the view from the roof of the club at sunset was as good as ever. Barry and Mick brought Dinah back to Dun Laoghaire early on Sunday where she’ll be prepared for the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race in two weeks time. The season is really hotting up now with something big happening almost every second week until the end of September! Fingers crossed we get some downwind sailing in the most important races…