Report from Shane Rankin (Halcyone).
Earlier that afternoon had been wet and windless in Helensburgh. On the Gareloch the sun shone, a light breeze blew from the south.
There was a good chance of a decent race, the abrupt ending was unexpected.
Race Officer Paul Blackburn set course L4, from Blarvadach to the A mark amongst the moorings, across to the C mark at Clynder and back to the start.
It was a small fleet of five boats and two guests helming Catriona, Lucy Forester, and Reay McKay on Thia.
The pin end was favoured at the start, and congested, even with only five boats. Catriona and Circe were early for the gun. Catriona sailed along the line to avoid crossing too early. Circe eased her sails to slow down, stalled, got squeezed by Luna to leeward and covered by Halcyone to windward.
Catriona and Halcyone stood on inshore, the wind was lighter but there was some lift. The others tacked off for clear air.
Beating towards A Thia made good ground and Circe had got her momentum back. Halcyone was caught on port tack between them and had to tack away. Circe and Thia followed Catriona closely round the mark for the long reach to C. Catriona and Circe dualled across the loch. Circe flew her spinnaker for a while with little benefit. Halcyone chased Thia, established an overlap before C, and rounded in third. Thia made a wide rounding in the hope of maintaining momentum and squeezing Halcyone on the next leg. Luna kept coming, losing a little ground at times, gaining at others.
At the end of the first lap Catriona led Circe, Halcyone, Thia and Luna. There was time and enough wind for another lap. At A Thia had caught Halcyone. By C Halcyone had overtaken again.
Crossing back to the finish line at Blaivadach, a Police launch bore down on the leading boats Catriona and Circe and asked if they hadn’t noticed the Frigate Northumberland waiting to come down from Faslane. I guess we hadn’t, it wasn’t in front of us and we were racing. After brief negotiations the boats stopped and made way for the Frigate. The race was abandoned and the positions at the end of the first lap were taken as the results. A good race despite the abrupt end.
1 Catriona, 2 Circe, 3 Halcyone, 4 Thia, 5 Luna (RO Ceres)