On the Water Race Officer Peter Proctor was faced with a problem. It was low tide and there was insufficient navigable water between the starting mark (Z) and the shore. As an experienced sailor once said, ‘it looks like water, but it isn’t’. Peter’s pragmatic solution was to designate the starting line as being between the Z and Y marks. An unintended consequence was to introduce severe bias, the Y end was the only place to be and it was hard to fetch the mark from the pre-start side. Teal was the one to be there, followed by Catriona. Thalia was extremely unlucky, being forced to tack on to port in order to cross the line she found herself in the way of the starboard tack, right of way Zephyrus. As she took her penalty turns, there was a local lull in the wind. She never recovered.
Teal and Catriona see themselves as competitors for first place in this points series, so that they were racing each other and ignoring the rest. Hermes and Halcyone took advantage. As the first two took each other far too far across to the Clynder shore and in to lighter air, Hermes and Halcyone went where the wind was blowing and were first to B, the windward mark. Halcyone not by a large margin. Next, a run downwind back across the loch. Lack of slickness with the spinnaker on Halcyone allowed Catriona past. Teal was more polished and maintained her lead over Catriona to the mark. The next leg was upwind again, to C, off Clynder. Teal was able to open the gap here. Halcyone again benefited from the ‘match racing’, Hermes was out of sight by now.
Approaching the leeward mark from C, to begin another round, Teal was a little early dropping her spinnaker. That put Catriona close enough to achieve an inside overlap at the mark and to take the place. Halcyone had lost out with the spinnaker and was now fourth.
In the battle of tacking and covering upwind to B again, Teal got her place back just before the mark. The next leg, a reach up the Clynder shore, was a bit fine for spinnakers. That did not stop the two pugilists. Teal had more trouble keeping hers full and avoiding broaches, so that she elected to drop. That cost her the place once more. Hermes, who did not have to overtax her spinnaker, finished 3 1/2 minutes in front of the second placed boat.
1 Hermes, 2 Catriona, 3 Teal, 4 Halcyone, 5 Zephyrus, 6 Thalia.