The Gareloch Championship 2021 (Sat 14th – Sun 15th Aug)

The Championship is always a highlight of the sailing calendar.  Intense sailing and social events leave even the hardy feeling tired.  We began with a lift off party on Friday evening, held by Carol Rowe.  Superb hors-d’œuvre, Cremant de Loire and live music on the piano.  Those who like to win tried not to over indulge, with limited success.

Race Officer John Campbell, aboard Donald Ross’s Northern Wind, was able to make best use of the breeze on Saturday.  It was good wind but there were flat spots and variability.  It seemed like one of those days when you had to grind away.  Take no fliers, sit in the occasional dead patches and allow for headers towards the Clynder shore so as to limit damage.  Catriona, Halcyone and Dione made the best job of that.  Equal on points after 2 races in the morning.  Catriona crept ahead in the afternoon but the other two had no bad scores and were in contention as we savoured the barbecue hosted by Barrie Choules and John Campbell or more accurately Arlene and Claire respectively.  Hounds Rio and Rosie were pleased to be there but the humans were not giving up their food easily.

The highlight of Sunday morning was Thalia’s crew falling into the loch.  It certainly wasn’t the wind.  We ghosted to a starting area just north of the moorings and began to think we might not get a race.  John Campbell started us as some ripples appeared on the water with a course up and down the Shandon shore.  It was a matter of finding currents of air, which turned out to be better away from the shore but in more (adverse) ebb tide.  The first two or three rounded the windward mark in relatively clear air after which a peloton approached the mark with inevitable congestion and discussion of mark room.  Dione, who had been close to Catriona for most of the leg, came a cropper here.

Off wind back to a finish, with a shortened course, there was insufficient wind to fill spinnakers.  A few tried but to no avail.  Catriona had got clear to take the race and series.  Halcyone second pulled ahead of Dione in the championship.  Hermes a strong fourth.

Lunch and prize giving at the Club, the first such event after the easing of restrictions, very pleasantly reminded us what it was like a couple of years ago.  The Race Officer announced the results as follows:

1 Catriona, 2 Halcyone, 3 Dione, 4 Hermes, 5 Thalia, 6 Teal, 7 Zephyrus, 8 Ceres, 9 Athene, 10 Luna.