Guest report from Paul Blackburn, skipper of Ceres
Should I take a jacket? – the glorious weather of late seemed threatened but we still had 9 motivated Garelochs who had no trouble reaching the start line in the robust 10 knot breeze. Zephyrus again lay beautiful on her mooring and remained so. There were a few brightly coloured swimmers taking their chances with the 2 massive seals that had chosen the Blairvadach platform to bask.
Race Officer Shane Rankin had some tough decisions to make – with the wind shifting between North West and West. He decided on L8 and then adjusted to L7, which was noticed by most of the Garelochs…..
There was plenty of water at the Flag-Y start-line with Ceres being almost pushed over by the more experienced Teal with 10 seconds to go. 7 boats opted to continue along the Shandon shoreline en route to C with only Ceres and Teal taking the starboard dart over the loch. However it became evident that a couple of very experienced boats, namely Thia and Hermes had not completely noticed the course change and were having a 2 boat unofficial race in the direction of D (L8). Ceres had played it well and was just pipped to the mark by Catriona on starboard who was aided again by puppy power (6 month old Rosie the spaniel). The boats rounded in reasonably quick succession with Luna and Athene not too far behind. For the first spinnaker leg there was a fairly constant breeze that brought G in quickly with Ceres and Catriona both trying to keep their spinnaker up for the longest. Ceres managed the mark first but found their spinnaker lines significantly fankled which meant the beat over to D was then spent unwrapping, blaming, and losing places.
The D mark was made first by Teal – who came speeding in while the others who had gone in shore earlier contended with the tide which was making it as hard as possible to make the mark – then Thalia, Catriona and Dione. Dione touched the mark and dutifully did her turn which, although it didn’t affect the order, did lose her ground to the front-runners. Luna and Athene also gained some speed and found D not long after.
For last spinnaker leg back to the finish line Teal lead from Thalia and Catriona. Catriona got past Thalia with a gybe and luff. But then Teal, Catriona and Thalia raced into a hole, with Dione following. The wind now almost disappeared – at least in the hole – and then first became a very light easterly before eventually settling back as a northerly! Ceres crept around the windward side (guided by the fuller sails towards the Shandon shore on Thia who was now spectating) and just managed to keep her spinnaker full enough to make up 3 places to follow Thalia through the line followed by Teal.
No jacket was needed after all.
Results: 1 Thalia, 2 Ceres, 3 Teal, 4 Catriona, 5 Dione, 6 Luna, 7 Athene.
Thia and Hermes DNF.