Two dogs were unable to compete. Harris, by far the most able crew member on Thalia and currently the most experienced dog, has a damaged cruciate ligament. A sporting injury which often afflicts footballers. Mika has sailed on Catriona in previous races but is unwell. We wish them both a speedy recovery.
The key canine contribution is a 5 second time advantage for every inch (nose to tail) of dog.
Six boats raced, only four of them with dogs in the crew. Taking up Harris’s baton of senior dog was Sammy, a King Charles Spaniel sailing on Athene. Not the longest dog but undeniably competent. Zephyrus, competing for the first time in many years, had Brodie. One of those very personable crosses incorporating some poodle. His face made cheeky by characteristic tight curls, he never showed a trace of nervousness on the run up to his first dog race. His hair does not fall out, either. Catriona showed her usual dominance with Jude, a German Shepherd who took the longest dog title from Iris’s Canna by just 10 seconds. Canna made a few light hearted remarks to Jude, who was not amused.
Race officer Luke Dicken took Tim Henderson’s Blue Iris to Clynder to give us a true beat to A, off the club. The starting line was biased towards the committee boat end. Unavoidable on account of depth of water. Iris got it just right, catching Catriona by being on right of way starboard tack. Catriona was obliged to tack early and bear away down the line to avoid being a premature starter. Athene, Miriam Sutter on the helm, and the rest were timely at the line, but at the unfavoured end.
Iris, in the lead, set off across the loch with Catriona some way below her. It was the usual thing of Iris sailing high, Catriona lower but faster. Catriona tacked when she felt the pressure reduce towards the Shandon shore. She was obliged to duck behind Iris, who unwisely stood on. By the time Iris realised the Shandon shore was not the place, Catriona had a comfortable lead. Iris let Zephyrus and Thalia pass. Those two had stayed in the stronger wind, further out.
Downwind to Clynder, there were some strong gusts. Catriona was away on the second round before the worst of them. Athene not so fortunate. Her jib halyard parted with a bang. Sammy was not impressed, he no doubt made some pointed remarks regarding the maintenance of running rigging. Some of the heeling on Iris was too much for Canna, who requested they retire. As did the crew on Ceres.
Upwind again, Thalia stayed to the right of Zephyrus which turned out to be quicker. She moved up to second on the water. Brodie’s contribution was key, though. His nose was in front, Thalia having no dog. Athene was determined to overcome her difficulty but in the end, did not finish.
1 Jude (Catriona); 2 Brodie (Zephyrus); Sammy (Athene), Canna (Iris) DNF. Thalia and Ceres, No Dog.
In the evening was a fancy dress barbecue held by Tim and Elizabeth Henderson. The theme, Gatsby on the Gareloch, was chosen by Barbara McManus of Zephyrus. New to the class, she had been shocked by photographs of previous events with men dressed as women. She was keen to avoid further inappropriateness. In a reversal of the usual form, Gordon Mucklow won the fancy dress competition as Gatsby himself. The spats were the clincher. Leaving no doubt that she can cancan, Margaret Isaacs was second.