Tue 14th June

Report from Teal.

The forecast was not good: light air and dying away. But on the moorings there was some breeze. And what there was reasonably consistent with puffs coming through too. So six Garelochs headed to the starting area where Thia was ashore doing Race Officer (RO) duty. They wisely selected a short special ‘S’ course (a simple, and usually shorter, upwind-downwind, ‘sausage’ course) to B off Silvers. A biased start line unavoidable with the fixed starting marks. And not much room either with a very low tide right down at the 0m chart datum.

Catriona looked like she was early but read it perfectly and lead over in pole position followed by Teal. Ceres started ok just under Teal. Luna did not just above Teal and was squeezed out above the starting mark. Teal tacked off right towards Clynder to clear her air. Catriona tacked to cover and gained ahead in clear air. Ceres following. The others – Thalia, Hermes and Luna – kept going left towards the moorings. Teal tacked again to try and break Catriona’s cover – heading S towards the Rhu channel. Catriona tacked again to maintain cover. The wind now picked up.

It was now clear – at least to Teal, looking R to Catriona and L to the others – that the right side of the course was heavily favoured. Possibly the effect of a large dark brooding cloud above and behind the Rosneath peninsula** spilling out wind? Catriona to the right pulled ahead of Teal and Ceres. And all of them pulled well ahead of the others who had gone left towards the moorings. The wind had perhaps also veered from SW to W…? The forecast certainly mentioned it.

So it was a surprise when, after an uneventful downwind leg back to Z, rather than heading towards the good wind, Catriona tacked L quite quickly and headed towards the moorings! Teal did not but rounded and headed towards Clynder and the still brooding cloud. And clear wind on the water. The wind picked up and kept veering. And Teal didn’t have to go far before she tacked, in good wind, already on the (lifted) lay-line to B. And easily crossed poor Catriona by many boat-lengths. The veering wind meant the sails even had to be eased.

Teal rounded with Catriona following and not giving up easily. Both hoisted spinnakers but the continuing veering wind-shift meant that by the finish sails were being sheeted practically close-hauled. Teal held on, Catriona followed, with Ceres finishing a solid third.

Further back those who hadn’t – with hindsight – gone the right way were nonetheless having some good close racing. The final leg was tight and involved luffing. Only Hermes didn’t raise a kite. But given the wind shift it perhaps didn’t  matter. Thalia prospered near the end and took fourth.

1 Teal, 2 Catriona, 3 Ceres, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes, 6 Luna

(**Linguistic-geographical pedantic/educational aside – I am forced to use a tautology there since a Ros(s) is a peninsula/promontory (eg. the Ross of Mull that meets Iona)! It doesn’t help when settlements – Rosneath – take on the name of wider geographical areas/features, ie. the peninsula/promontory so there is ambiguity. Perhaps the Ross of Neath vs Rosneath?).