Saturday 21st June – Passage Race to Rothesay

Eric Boinard, who has restored Zephyrus to magnificence, has been reading wonderful old reports of yacht races in the Glasgow Herald by their correspondent George Findlay. He was taken by stories of races to Rothesay and suggested we should do that again to celebrate the 90th anniversary. There were ten Garelochs at the starting line (between Race Officer Tim Henderson’s Blue Iris and a fixed buoy) on Saturday morning.

Wind was light and patchy to begin with. Some were seduced into Rhu bay and suffered a loss of momentum. Thalia more than most. Judging things to get round the point at Rosneath is always tricky. Close in to the caravan park there is usually less wind, but then wind is good to the Green Isle buoy. Teal and Juno did well here. Iris and Catriona were further out. Zoe was far too close to the Helensburgh shore and lost out.

Soon after the Green Isle, Catriona ducked behind Teal and was leading thereafter. Juno’s Fraser Noble has raced in these waters before. He knew wind would be best on the Greenock shore. Those of us who went with him prospered.

Iris, always one to watch, was in fourth some of the time. Shortly after the Cloch, she cemented herself into second.

Ian Nicolson, who’s Rival 34, St Foy, was one of the support boats told us of 6 metres breaking their masts in the curious gusts off the Bullwood on the Dunoon shore. It is thought that wind from the East Kyle meets wind on the Clyde just here. We could all see the point. There were gusts to dip the lee deck and lulls which had us looking at the racing flag to assess direction.

Approaching Toward, Iris went very high into the shallow bay there. Catriona, inexperienced in these waters, did not cover thinking Iris would have to bear away to clear the point. As Catriona was headed, Iris was an immediate threat. Catriona’s tack to try and get above was not the best and Iris passed to leeward.

The finish, on the Rothesay shore between St. Foy and an Admiralty mooring buoy, was further up the Kyle than we were expecting. In her search for it, Iris tacked away early. By now the others had arrived. Juno and Teal were close behind Catriona. Circe and Zoe a little further out. There was fluky, strong wind on the shore north of Rothesay which made The Gareloch look like an amateur. Juno got into it and raced past Catriona who was only five boat lengths away. No suggestion of breeze extended to the unfortunate Iris.

1 Juno, 2 Catriona, 3 Teal, 4 Circe, 5 Zoe by one second from 6 Iris, 7 Thalia, 8 Zephyrus, 9 Athene. Hermes had been lured too close to the shore east of Rothesay by a line of moorings which falsely implied a depth of water. DNF.