Those of us who had been sailing in the Mudhook YC Regatta the day before were perhaps less easily fooled by the warm summery day on shore. Afloat the breeze was stiff. And the gusts were stiffer. But a grand summer day on the Gareloch. Champagne sailing. Again.
Teal volunteered to be race officer and suggested H6. A long course and why not in glorious wind. But while she was sailing across the loch Dione also volunteered and suggested the same course, so Teal happily acquiesced.
The fixed line was biased and the Z mark was the place to be for the beat up to B off Silvers. Much jostling. Catriona led in but was early and tacked to circle. Teal following was wary of a superbly positioned Halcyone who could close her out. Teal wiggled to get behind Halcyone who – wary of being hooked – dropped. All started well with Teal ahead but lower and Catriona’s manoeuvring bring her to the pin and behind but high. Zephryus in the mix too. Dione perhaps a little distracted by her RO duties?
Teal tacked to head to Rosneath – ducking Catriona – and Catriona tacked to cover. The fleet mostly following. When Teal tacked to starboard to head towards the Rhu channel she had done enough to force Catriona to tack too. Zephyrus was charging across close behind. Teal sailed Catriona past the layline – rounding an annoyingly placed boat which was fishing and got in the way of the action for some of the fleet!
Down to F on a long run – the furthest N on the Shandon shore. Teal and Catriona both launched kites. No stronger than yesterday but perhaps a little fresh for some of the fleet. Charles Darley on Catriona demonstrating once again his skill and experience by doing so single-handed. They perhaps didn’t do much to begin with (at hull speed?!) but as the wind eased on the far shore they helped Catriona pull clear of Zephyrus.
Up to C. Teal covering Catriona. Not easy for anyone in some incredibly shifty gusts (both strength and direction) which tested skill and patience. Then to Y on a fine reach. Not much opportunity to pass – provided you defended your wind. Ceres has recently been going very well as new owner and skipper Paul Blackburn settles in. But he learnt a lesson there as Dione got an overlap. We have all been there.
Back to B. Teal covering Catriona. Catriona sailed a brilliant tack across to Rosneath – concentrating on every shift and gust (and without the temptation of the leading boat to watch the boat you are covering?!). Teal spotted the trap of a tack onto starboard by Catriona and chose her moment to go herself. Sailing an inside line she squeezed up to the lay line to deny Catriona wind and an overlap. An aggressive last-ditch charge from Catriona to try and get inside the mark (without having an overlap at the zone) saw her skipper sportingly accept that penalty turns were necessary. And that meant Teal was clear to head to C and back to the finish.
Zephyrus continued her strong day to take 3rd. Then Dione 4th. Behind, Halcyone also sailed a brilliant beat (also single- handed) to pass Ceres. Ceres finishing 6th but taking encouragement from having been 4th at times and being in the mix with strong boats (and finishing within minutes of them).
1 Teal, 2 Catriona, 3 Zephyrus, 4 Dione, 5 Halcyone, 6 Ceres, 7 Luna