A slightly adventurous passage race has become an annual event for the class. Seven Garelochs were well looked after by support boats Blue Iris, Full Circle, Kiri and St. Bridget.
We started in the Gareloch at nine, so as to make the most of the ebb tide before it turned at noon. Position in the race was all about finding favourable wind and tide. Large gaps appeared between boats and the order could change the next time they crossed tacks. Zephyrus soon showed ability to call it right by steering a course well away from the Rosneath shore. Others, notably Catriona, called it wrongly by taking a shorter line and suffering from light air in the lee of the shore. Thalia and Hermes had done well here but gave away part of their advantage in a luffing match.
At first, we all struggled in light air with a substantial chop in the water. Making forward progress was frustrating. Selecting the right area of the Clyde in which to sail became important. In general, those who favoured the Gourock shore did better than those drawn to Kilcreggan and Cove. Thalia, who had been on terms with Zephyrus and way ahead of the rest, lost a big lead in this way.
Past the Cloch, wind built so that water broke over the foredecks as we punched through the waves.
Race Officer Tim Henderson had selected navigation marks off Wemyss Point and Knock Castle to be left to starboard so as to corral the fleet and allow him to shorten. It is ironic that Thalia, who made a point of buying a new chart so as to be confident of finding these marks, missed the first of them. Zoe transgressed in this way, too.
Off Knock Castle, the wind left us so that Tim finished us. It was remarkable, after the large gaps which had developed, that the fleet closed here so that conversations could be held between boats.
We enjoyed our dinner in Largs Sailing Club, when Francoise Proctor presented the McGruer Trophy to Iain Macfarlane, crew of Zephyrus. Catriona and Athene collected prizes for second and third places.