Guest report from Teal
A difficult evening for the Race Office (RO) with wind from the east (and shifty and variable!). The RO eventually selected course L3 with a downwind start from Y to D that should have allowed some beating on legs back. Most boats seemed wary of beating in to Y given the shifts and the risk of headers, and opted to run in from closer to the shore. With the exception of Hermes who came in on the beat and hit Y bang on time. The others approach higher and more downwind, Teal and Halcyone leading. Teal was the best of the bunch as she approach the line with Halcyone just below and behind. Hermes sailed on before bearing away above Teal.
So Hermes and Teal leading – depending on the wind shifts – with Hermes higher but behind and Halcyone challenging. Thalia following and finding good wind and going strongly, climbed up on Halcyone and Hermes to attempt to pass. Catriona a long way back after a poor start – but now with good wind – attempted to go low and attempt to undercut the fleet and looked dangerous for a while but the wind eased and started to benefit the higher boats and her challenge faded again somewhat.
At this point the Gareloch and its wind had a change of plan and, perhaps influenced by a large black cloud behind the peninsula, dropped and then swung through 180 degrees to head the fleet and turn the leg in to a beat to D! Kites had to be dropped. Catriona closer to the Clynder shore – and theoretically higher – again looked good but in practice the boats further out in the loch had better wind. Teal leading. As they headed back on starboard towards the Clynder shore Catriona had to duck Hermes. Hermes tacked to cover but had to then tack for Teal. At this point Teal decided to loosely cover Catriona rather than Hermes and Hermes managed to find some better wind to get in to the lead. Catriona tacked and headed back to the Clynder shore where she found a large hole and never really figured in contention again. The approach to D was characterised by light variable wind, occasional streaks and strong ebb tide taking boats approaching D sideways down the loch. Hermes round first with a good lead, then Teal, then Thalia. Now to G across the loch.
Hermes did not manage to get her spinnaker up quickly, whereas Teal did, and used it to make the most of the wind and catch up. Thalia also following strongly. At this point – with the leading 3 boats in the middle of the loch and the pack back around the D mark – the Gareloch and wind again had other ideas! Which was for the wind to AGAIN swing 180 degrees, now directly from the G mark. Just as Hermes raised her spinnaker. Teal struggling in the now very light air to keep clear of Hermes ahead and to leeward, decided to foot off for speed and then – spotting wind up the loch and figuring that the tide meant the need to head up the loch – tacked and crossed behind Hermes. Hermes eventually tacked but when Teal tacked back she easily crossed Hermes. Teal tacked well in front of Thalia on the starboard lay-line to G and still well ahead of Hermes who was now going well approaching on the port lay line.
The boats behind were however not having such fun back at D which was the epicentre of a large calm windless hole. The RO had spotted this and, using a mobile assistant RO on a RIB, decided to shorten the course at the G mark so that boats back at D could potentially be rescued. So Teal crossed first followed by Hermes and then Thalia. A Gareloch classic?
1 Teal 2 Hermes 3 Thalia 4 Zoe 5 Halcyone 6 Catriona 7 Athene 8 Thia 9 Ceres