Report from Teal.
A Gareloch classic. Newer skippers might not have believed that the shifts were indeed going through 90 degrees at times.
Teal was RO and set a zigzag Gareloch course which in the lightish breeze would hopefully allow two good beats in the first lap. Starting to C off Clynder. The pin end out in the loch was favoured. Catriona went for it. Teal was a little slow with RO duties but just behind. In the end, both were slow and Halcyone made a brilliant cheeky start on port.
Catriona managed to play the shifts well – Gareloch experience showing (the loch rather the boat) – and emerged ahead of Halcyone. Teal tried to keep up with both Catriona and Halcyone but suffering a bit in their dirty air. The shifts became more random. And the strength varying too. Occasional holes of nothingness.
Circe also in the mix but Teal played the shifts better than her and was leading approaching the mark. At which point Circe conjured her own personal lane of superb wind and sailed straight past! Both could merely laugh. As Teal neared the mark and tacked to take the final port approach – as per Circe – the wind promptly did one of its shifts and moved from West to Northerly. The mark was now directly upwind! One of those days. It had been worse for Dione and Hermes who definitely hadn’t gone the right way.
Meanwhile Catriona was most of the way across the loch to G. Halcyone and now Circe following. Teal went high and set the kite quickly and gained a little but only really limiting the damage. All rounded the mark and started the beat to D. Practically all now laying it in a strengthening NWerly.
Down back to Z before a final lap with a beat to C. Which again could be fetched as the wind continued to swing NNW and further strengthen! Catriona in a good lead, followed by Halcyone and Circe. Teal just trying to hang on to their sterns in a now building sea. Teal couldn’t quite lay it and had some more tacking to reach the C mark. Again.
Catriona kept tight down the Clynder shore to the B mark off Silvers. Far enough ahead that her course didn’t matter too much. Halcyone and Circe followed that approach, while concentrating on each other. Their course did matter. Teal sensed an opportunity and gybed out to head out in to the loch – better wind and helping tide – while the spinnaker was being rigged. Then gybed back and launched the kite. And then swept rapidly past a slow Halcyone and Circe in much less wind inshore. Halcyone compounded things by luffing an overlapped Circe without realising that Circe was on starboard to her port. Turns dropped her to 4th. Catriona, then Teal, then Circe fought back up through the waves to the finish at Z. Halcyone followed. She perhaps deserved more from a mostly good race, but such is racing.
By the time we were all back on the moorings a solid 20+ knots of wind – with accompanying waves – was funnelling down the Gareloch. All were relieved when the mooring was secure and the sails dropped. The gentle breeze and occasional windlessness seemed a long time ago.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Circe, 4 Halcyone, 5 Dione, 6 Hermes