Tue 14th May

The “Alternative” Race Report – a newbie’s perspective! Guest report from Keith Mitchell on Catriona

I had been invited along to try out Gareloch racing, as a fair to middling dinghy sailor and occasional race crew on Liverpool Bay Falcons on the upper reaches of the Mersey – but with limited keelboat experience. My anticipated easing into the class with a quietish ride with the ladies on Hermes rapidly transformed into a baptism of fire as I found myself teamed up with Charles and Fergus on Catriona, with high expectations of a winning performance. To overcome my inexperience in spinnaker handling, we agreed I would helm the downwind legs while Charles flew the kite.

Conditions were a fluky easterly with some very exciting gusts, drizzly to biblical downpour with low visibility. The race itself passed as a bit of a blur, ranging from very pleasant sailing to abject terror (flashbacks of heeling past the point of no return resulting in a turtled Wayfarer in a squall off Rosneath 18 months ago…) however Charles was a very patient teacher, quick to correct the error of my ways in words of few syllables… From what I can remember we spent most of the race trading places with Dione and Arke, but ultimately came in what felt like a very respectable third position, which I am sure with a bit more experience under my belt I could have helped improve upon.

Overall, an excellent evening’s sailing and introduction to the Gareloch One Design, with a great bunch of people with whom I look forward to repeating the experience whenever I am back home on the Clyde.

1 Dione, 2 Arke, 3 Catriona, 4 Circe, 5 Thia, 6 Ceres, 7 Hermes