Sunday 15th May
Another stiff breeze blowing down the Gareloch, which makes big(ish) waves. There were four skippers in the car park, but Hermes had light weather crew and thought better of it. Catriona, Thalia and Iris started. Catriona’s skipper was on the water race officer (we cannot spare a helm in the Sunday series). Being the only one with the correct time (why is it that when you want to communicate with other boats, they sail away in apposite directions) and having control over the gun, Catriona made a good start for once. She held a good lead at the end of the first round, a beat up the loch, reach to C, off Clynder, run to A, off the club and beat back to the start. Iris second, Thalia third. No one had had the nerve to set a spinnaker.
The bar talk afterwards was that Iris left her main sheet cleated tight in when she tacked, was blown over and took some water. Anyway, Catriona looked good until Iris crossed her on the first beat of the second round. Iris had taken advantage of the smaller sea nearer the shore, which Catriona had done on the first round. Some people never learn.
The reach to C changed nothing, on the run to A, Catriona set a spinny and caught Iris. She could not get the inside overlap, however, but rounded well and was looking good on the final beat. Tacking to avoid a moored boat, she threw it away by having a jib sheet fanckle. Readers around the Gareloch will have heard Catriona’s skipper’s comments. 1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Thalia.
Tuesday 17th May
For the past few races, now, the wind has been from the north. Blowing straight down the Gareloch, if its strong there is little shelter and the waves are big. The strength had reduced a bit on Tuesday evening and spinnakers could be set with gay abandon.
The course was the same as the past few races, a beat up the Shandon shore, reach to C, off Clynder, run to A, off the club and beat back to the starting area. Four Garelochs came to the start, Thalia was absent because her skipper was Race Officer. Hermes was on the pace at the start, as were Teal and Iris. Catriona tried a port start at the pin end of the biassed line and was caught by both Teal and Iris. No change there then. Drawing on previous experience, Catriona was careful to keep inshore on the beat so as to take advantage of the flatter water and, perhaps, a lift along the shore. She followed Hermes round the weather mark in last place. Teal had sailed the best beat. It seemed there were patches of light air not easy to see on the water. Having avoided most of them, she rounded a few lengths in front of Iris.
The reach to C saw Catriona pass Hermes under the spinny and get close to Iris. Gordon’s daughter Tor was on the helm with The Convenor himself on the foredeck. Never a good sign on Iris. Catriona rounded just behind but established a comfortable overlap to windward ready for rounding the A mark. As it happened, the overlap was not needed because Catriona pulled out a couple of lengths. Teal still in front, though. Teal did not get the best of the wind on the next beat, perhaps staying too far inshore. Catriona crossed her to start the second round. There was no further change of place, the two in front concentrating a bit harder on wind pattern and cover. 1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Iris, 4 Hermes.
Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous.
3 Sonars started, 1 Sea Fever (owned by Jock Flemming and David Witton), 2 Carpe Diem (Colin Burnet at the helm), Half a Laugh retired.
Sunday 22nd May
A superb sailing day, good breeze, sun, warmth. Why would you sail anywhere else in the world? There is the Monaco Grand Prix, I suppose, but there are only so many beautiful people you can look at at once.
The Convenor was away helping boats through the Crinan Canal and had pinched Catriona’s crew, Luke Dicken, to sail Iris. That meant both Iris and Catriona were single handed. Thalia and Hermes had the benefit of crew.
The race was started on the water from Hermes, with a beat to B, off Silvers. Catriona squeezed out Iris at the pin end of the biased line and that effectively decided first place. Catriona stretched her lead by being the only one to set a spinnaker (on every offwind leg). Luke used Iris’s boat speed to good advantage when the others caught him in a lull at the C mark.
Roger Kinns, at the helm of Thalia, was handicapped by Naval Officer crew Martin Cook. I thought I caught a glimpse of an umbrella on Thalia, but saw no wheelbarrow. Incidentally, I understand that if your Naval Officer is under 30 years old (not the case with Martin) you don’t need a skateboard, either.
In the end, it was Catriona 1, Iris 2, Hermes 3 and Thalia 4.
Tuesday 24th May
There is a certain amount of luck to racing in the Gareloch. Everyone knows that but they only believe it when they are unlucky. This report was written live and may contain bad language.
A night of light wind, with the start just on the bottom of the ebb. Iris had watched the pipers and thought the shore end was favoured for the beat to A, off the club. Cationa (who was mean to Hermes and luffed her on the line) Thalia and Hermes started at the pin. It looked good outside to start with but Iris tacked out and crossed well in front.
The run to G, up the Shandon shore, was spent trying to keep a spinnaker full with no wind. Iris had lost none of her lead and tacked out into the better, wind would be an exaggeration, it was an Anglia rather than a Zephyr, lets call it air as she headed back to the starting area. Catriona hardened up to go in as did Thalia. Hermes gave up. The shore paid Catriona to start with because whilst there was less ‘air’, there was less flood tide. Wanting to cover Iris, Catriona got ahead and went out. Iris was chasing a band of disturbed water on the Clynder shore. There seemed to be wind in it for the Pipers, who started 5 mins earlier, but not for poor Iris. A battle of nerves was on. Close cover was impossible because the ‘air’ was fickle. There were big headers and lifts in very small areas. It looked close as the two boats came together, Catriona just caught Iris on Starboard after getting a big lift which immediately followed a big header. It ended up with Iris heading in to no wind and no tide and Catriona going out into the tide where there did seem to be ripples. The ripples paid but progress over the ground was painfully slow. Eventually, Iris followed her out, well behind.
It seemed the end game was Catriona and Iris out in the loch with Catriona benefiting from a few puffs coming up from the narrows and Thalia well in front going for the line because she had stuck with the Shandon shore all along. Catriona tacked for the pin in a good streak of wind and was in with a chance of getting the win because Thalia had parked. No one had been watching the time, which had run out. Broadley finish at the G mark. Iris 1, Catriona 2, Thalia 3.
Sunday 29th May
Four Garelochs came to the start, Catriona, Iris, Hermes and (for her first race of the season, Zoe). Zoe maintained the tradition of dogs sailing on Garelochs with Ziggy. A sort of thin black and white collie. Sarah, thought to be a corgie collie cross, sailed in Catriona for many years.
In a good breeze from the west, The Convenor, Race Officer aboard Iris, sent us to D, between Rahane and Clynder. A Good Beat with the flood tide. Catriona started at the pin, the others started inshore. The pin paid with the best of the flood and Catriona was comfortably round D first. Broad reach to G, on the Shandon shore, gybe at the mark for Y, at the start, harden up for A off the club. Iris made no impression and Zoe dropped back for lack of a spinnaker. Nifty spinnaker drops all round for the beat back to D.
Catriona stretched her lead until Iris, who had followed to the Clynder shore, found a good lift up the beach after Catriona had got well out into the loch. Zoe, meanwhile, had stayed as long as possible on the Shandon shore and had closed the gap considerably. Iris had enough of a lead not to be caught on the final run. Zoe set a kite to stay in touch. Ziggy’s thoughts not recorded.
Iris 1, Catriona 2, Zoe 3, Hermes 4.
Tuesday 31st May
Race officer Tim Henderson had reason to curse the fickle Gareloch winds. He had set a course up and down the Shandon shore, but a big shift at the start meant that there was no good beat.
The race belonged to Hermes. She got great pleasure from squeezing Catriona into the starting mark and was on top of Iris for the fetch to A, off the club. Iris tacked out to get clear and, but for Catriona’s 360, would have been third with Thalia last having been unable to so much as poke her nose in at the start.
Hermes led for the Downwind leg but Iris got the inside overlap at the mark. Hermes had been well out in the loch, so that when she turned for the mark, she established an outside overlap with Catriona as well and lost her lead. The order was now Iris, Catriona, Hermes, Thalia. With no beat and the offwind leg a reach, there was no opportunity for it to change.
1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Hermes, 4 Thalia.
Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous, 3 Kelpie.
Sat 4th and Sun 5th June – Visit of Howth 17 Footers
The Garelochs entertained the Howth 17 footers from Howth Yacht Club, near Dublin. Their team included Peter Courtney, who had played havoc with us last time we were in Howth.
The wind on Saturday was unkind to all of us. Three races were scheduled. With only the merest transient breath in the morning, it was decided we should be towed out to watch the Red Arrows. No sooner had we got underway than a decent wind got up. It lasted all through lunch and was still there for the start of the first race in the afternoon.
Gordon Mucklow squeezed out Courtney at the start and Charles Darley, just behind, made him queue up. Very satisfactory. The sausage course from Committee vessel Douglas Young’s Eorsa (moored in the usual starting area off Blairvaddach) was a beat to B and a run back. Most of the fleet went for the narrows. Peter Courtney tacked early to clear his wind, Charles tacked to cover and the Gareloch team were comfortably in front at B. First, second and fourth with Courtney fifth. The narrows was the way to go.
The run turned into a reach as the wind shifted and died. RO Denis Jackson changed the weather mark to C, off Clynder but no sooner was the first boat through than it became clear this was a reach as well. In dying air, The Garelochs finished 1,2,3.
We all waited for another breath, then called it a day. Just as we reached the moorings, a steady wind got up.
Plans were changed so that a second team race was scheduled for the Sunday morning. Now Charles Darley had been invited to a birthday party for his wife, The Inimitable Claire. It was to have been on the Saturday but was shifted to Sunday (after about a week of long, awkward silences) to allow for the Saturday team racing. Charles thought about racing on the Sunday. The rest of his life spent living alone was worth it for a race against the Howth 17s but the prospect of having to iron shirts frightened him so he left it to the others to dot the i and cross the t of the Gareloch series win.
The only consolation for Charles is that Peter Courtney used his boat Catriona to such devastating effect in the Sunday race to give Howth a 1, 2, 3 and the series win. Gordon is asked, by copy of this e.mail, to provide the details. Simon’s link has pics. The Howth Yacht club website, www.hyc.ie , has some good photos of 17s.
Tuesday 7th June
First, the weekend. The Convenor is too embarrassed to record Sunday’s catastrophic events. He was put on the spot on Tuesday evening. This is what he said.
Peter Courtney chased our own Peter Proctor, in Iris, away from the line and it was a couple of minutes or so after the gun before Iris started.
Gordon, in Thalia, got a decent start and was first at the weather mark. The downwind leg was close to a dead run. To defend his wind from two Howth boats, he kept luffing, which took him away from the mark, so that the two Howth boats got an inside overlap. They slowed him on the next beat so that arch assassin Courtney was able to catch and keep him back, so giving Howth the 1, 2, 3.
As for the Tuesday, five Garelochs came to the start, race officer Jean Mackay had to leave Zoe on the mooring. For the beat to B, off Silvers, the starting line had a bit of pin end bias, resulting in the usual crowding. Catriona and Teal opted to start a bit further along in clear(ish) air and with boatspeed. It paid. This is usually Iris’s trick but Tory Mucklow was on the helm and she is used to dinghies.
The precursor to an evening of interesting wind was Iris and Thalia getting a superb lift which failed to grace Teal and Catriona. Thalia, now in dirty wind, tacked away and lost out. Catriona tacked and was a couple of boatlengths behind Iris.
Iris tacked late for B, out in the narrows, but big headers meant she did not lay it. Catriona crossed behind, saw what was happening, tacked much later and still did not lay it. The upshot was Catriona came into the mark on port to leave it to starboard. Iris came in ahead on starboard, tacked in the two boatlength circle and was obliged to give room inside to Catriona. Teal close behind.
The next leg was offwind to G, off Shandon. Catriona, or rather her skipper, had a mental aberration and went for C, off Clynder. Curiously, it paid because the wind headed going into G, so starting high was a help. Notwithstanding one of those Gareloch winds which brings up the opposition from behind, Catriona was first away from the rapidly deepening hole which was G. Teal kept some momentum round the mark and trampled over Iris. She tacked to clear her air but just fell deeper into the hole. This let Thalia and Hermes sneak up as well.
Catriona caught the wind out in the loch best, with Teal next and the rest stuck at G. The big lead paid at C, which was fast becoming another hole. Catriona over half a leg ahead of Teal at the finish and Teal the same in front of Iris. For a brief moment, there was the satisfying thought that Thalia had put Iris into fourth place, but one cannot be greedy.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Iris, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes. Catriona’s crew were obliged to eat with the Pipers (who have plastic cutlery) because there were no other Garelochs in the clubhouse.
Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Kelpie, 3 Pompous.
Sonars, 1 Sea Fever, Carpe Diem DNF. The Sonars got a second round so they suffered badly from the dying wind.
Saturday 10th to 12th June – Cove Regatta
It is the Cove Regatta this weekend. 4 Garelochs there on Saturday, sadly none today, Sunday.
Iris ran aground at the start of the first race. Zoe got away well. Catriona was over early. She went back until she must have been clear but still the flag did not come down.
It seemed Reay Mackay, in Zoe, was not to be caught but Catriona had a good lead over the now re-floated Iris. At the leeward mark, Catriona followed the Loch Longs inshore, out of the tide. Iris tacked out. No tide, but no wind either it turned out. Not for the first time, Catriona was kicking herself for not covering the opposition. Iris got ahead of Zoe too. Approaching the line, it was Iris first, Zoe second, Catriona third and Hermes fourth. Never has silence been so golden as when Iris and Zoe crossed the line. Both were over early, Catriona got the gun with Hermes second. Running aground is one thing, but running aground when over the line prematurely calls for all the skill of The Convenor.
All Garelochs had taken transits for the second start. The Pipers and Loch Longs had not learned, however, both classes having general recalls. This was serious for the Garelochs because we went off first and had no one to show us the course.
Catriona got away well, failed to cover Iris again and had to let her in just in front at the weather mark. Iris kept the inside overlap all down the reach but dropped back under spinnaker on the run to the Knockderry mark, which was hard to distinguish from nearby moorings. Catriona kept the lead to take an emphatic (and, if I might say, well deserved) win on the day.
Iris 2, Zoe 3, Hermes DNF.
Tuesday 14th June
Only 3 Garelochs at the start. A dismal turnout, surpassed only by the Pipers and Sonars, who were absent altogether. It was a miserable wet night, cold for the time of year and with little wind. Whatever you say about plastic, it is supposed to be waterproof.
Race officer David du Boulay sent us on a beat to A, off the club, then a run to G, off the Shandon shore. Hermes looked strong inshore at the start but fell into a deep hole. Catriona covered Iris, with Denis Jackson at the helm. At the A mark, it was Catriona 1, Iris 2, Hermes 3 and so it remained.
There was hot coffee on Catriona, but it was still a cold wet night.
Tuesday 21st June
The lad and I went to Le Mans over the weekend for the 24 hr race. Forgive me if you are not into cars. Using that as an excuse, let me quote a bit of journalism from the Light Car and Cycle Car magazine of the 1920s. Talking of the Austin 7, they said:-
The front wheel brakes are not startlingly sudden and tremendously powerful in action.
Not quite up to the standard of Thalia retired after spinnaker trouble but it must be up there.
Anyway, this evening’s race was crucial to Catriona. She had to win to keep alive her hopes of the primary points series. She tried to chase Iris away from the line but was not good enough and was scraped off on a moored boat. Iris then got the best start at the favoured shore end. Catriona was lee bowed by Thalia, with Hermes (Mike Lidwell on the helm) about to trample over her. She tacked to clear her air and elected to stay on the Shandon shore for a while. It did no harm and she was looking strong against Iris for a while. The Gareloch wind had become fickle and Iris crossed ahead (not too for though) as Catriona headed for the Clynder shore on the beat to D, between Clynder and Rahane. There was wind inshore, a good lift, too, and Catriona made the mark in front of Iris in now light air. But for a small hole, it would have been well in front. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Catriona allowed herself to be carried onto the mark by the tide. The 360 let Iris away on the run and Thalia catch up. Hermes not far behind either. Better spinnaker handling by Catriona’s crew got her clear of Thalia. As a result of wind shifts, every leg of the 2 round course from then on was either a spinnaker reach or a fetch so there was no chance of regaining first.
1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes.
Les bateaux plastique (its the Le Mans influence, deux bieres s’il vous plait Monsieur) 1 Kelpie (Louise Burnet on the helm), 2 Suilven et, conduir par le inimitable Andrew Nicholson, Le Pompous.
Sunday 26th June – Yvonne Armstrong Regatta
The Gareloch class ran the annual Yvonne Armstrong regatta for under 21s on Sunday 26th June.
Cove sailing club always supports the event. The trophy, a David Spy model of a Gareloch, is almost a permanent fixture at Cove. This year, they fielded two teams and brought along several supporters. Also competing were an RNCYC team and a Hermitage Academy team.
There were 3 races, one in the morning and, following a boat change, two in the afternoon.
The morning race was in very light air. Race officer Gordon Mucklow was concerned about running into the time limit but a zephyr came through in time for one round of a short course. The RNCYC team in Catriona had made a slow start but were well placed for the new wind and finished first.
The two afternoon races were sailed in a good 3+ breeze. There was needle between Cove 1 and Cove 2. In the past, the second team had beaten the first. Some aggressive luffing on the run to the finish from Cove 1, in Catriona, pushed Cove 2, in Iris, into second place. There was revenge in the third race, with a Cove 2 win and RNCYC in Zoe second, having benefited from staying out in the strong flood tide on the beat.
Overall, Cove 1 won with 6 pts. Cove 2 and RNCYC each had 7 pts, Cove 2 taking the second place on account of their last race win. Hermitage had 10 pts.
Thanks to Douglas Young for committee vessel Eorsa and to Don Maclean for operating the safety boat.
Tuesday 28th June
No Sonars, no Pipers, no wind. No competence to Catriona’s start, either. Iris, with Denis Jackson at the helm, got away best with Hermes (Mike Lidwell on the helm) second.
It took an hour to get to C, off Clynder. In dirty wind from Hermes, Catriona was not stemming the tide. Having finally rounded C, Catriona tacked out to get a wind filling in from the Shandon shore. She nearly caught Hermes at B but it was not enough. Iris was long gone.
Sat 2nd & 3rd July – Club Regatta inc. McGruer Classic
The weather forecast for Saturday, I understand, was bad. It turned out to be a superb day. Garelochs raced in Class 4, for classic yachts with spinnakers. Handicap, of course. The three Garelochs, Catriona, Iris and Zoe were up against a Piper, Suilven, a Folkboat, a Scottish Islander and, great friend of the class, Douglas Young’s Eorsa.
Three races on the east patch. In the first, Catriona got the best start, stretched the lead (particularly with the spinnaker) and was the first Gareloch home. Suilven, who had not set a kite, was only just in front on the water so it looked good on handicap.
In the second, the wind had died and the ebb tide was fierce. The Garelochs, strangers as we are to the east patch, struggled to understand the tide. Catriona opted for the pin end, where it seemed she was able to make the line against the ebb. The others opted for the committee boat end. A freshening of the wind just before the off had complicated things and it seemed the committee boat end was favoured. Catriona’s skipper cursed another poor start and saw no point in tacking to join the others so that she could be covered. Approaching the weather mark on port, it was beginning to look close between Catriona and Iris, Iris in front, though. Catriona had the benefit of watching Suilven fail to lay against a fierce tide. She stood on and had the satisfaction of watching Iris fail to make it and having to take another bite. A substantial lead had opened by the leeward mark and Catriona felt smug as she watched from a distance as Iris stood out into the river into what was thought to be worse tide. A big surprise, then, as Iris crossed in front. A lead she kept for the rest of the race.
The third and final decider. By the time of the class 4 start, there was a strong committee boat bias. Catriona was a bit early and had to reach along the line so that after the gun, Iris was comfortably to weather. Zoe was looking threatening, too, but fell into a lee bow position and dropped back. Iris tacked to weather of the sugar boat, Catriona stood on well to leeward. When we saw each other again, on opposite tacks, Catriona looked good, but she was headed. It became clear she would not cross Iris so she tacked and seemed to be laying the mark. Lots of concentration. As it turned out, neither boat laid the mark. Iris rounded a little in front. Catriona managed to sneak past to windward under the spinnaker with the wind on the beam. Not quite sure how that happened.
Catriona won class 4 on handicap, with Iris second and Suilven third.
The trophy for the handicap race is a pretty silver dish, a Royal Clyde Yacht Club steersman’s prize from 19th June 1937. It incorporates a silver Coronation coin featuring King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, dated 12th May 1937. A lot has changed since those days, but not racing in small yachts.
Tuesday 5th July
So little wind that the race officer postponed. The hints of suggestions of zephyrs were transient.
Quite by accident, Catriona got a good start, with Iris and Luna just ahead and to leeward, Teal, Thalia and Hermes behind. As the scum on the water (the Gareloch has been particularly scruffy over the last few weeks) inched past, Catriona seemed to be maintaining her position. The Gareloch leaders were getting dirty wind from the Pipers, who started 5 mins earlier, so that the back of the fleet tended to catch. There was then a shift in the ‘wind’ direction. With no change in direction, we went from beating on starboard to fine reaching on port. Those who were first became last, except that Iris did well, being towards the front of the group on the left, she kept her wind clear. Not clear enough, though, to stop Teal and then Luna sailing past.
Catriona, meanwhile, was battling Thalia and Hermes, who kept passing from behind. All but Hermes set spinnakers. It did for Thalia and it didnt help Catriona. At the C mark, it was Teal, Luna, Iris, Hermes, Catriona, Thalia.
A fine reach against the tide from C, off Clynder, to B off Silvers. The water now had ripples in places, so there was progress. Catriona passed Hermes, who stood out a bit into the tide, and got close to Iris. From B back to the start, the dead calm returned. Not a good night for Mirriam Sutter, who crewed on Catriona, her first time in a Gareloch.
The Sonars finished, 272, Sea Fever, Prelude.,br> The Pipers and Garelochs took a Broadley finish at B. Pompous, Kelpie.
In the Garelochs, Teal, Luna (just in the water), Iris, Catriona, Hermes, Thalia.
Sunday 10th July
Five boats started, two of them, Luna and Catriona, single handed.
Beat to G up the Shandon shore. Catriona made a half decent start but in an effort to cover, lost it to Iris. Both were surprised when Thalia got to G first. Iris managed to sneak inside but Catriona was behind Thalia on the reach to C, off Clynder. She set a spinnaker, which turned out to be a grave error. It did not get her past Thalia and the gybe at C was so disastrous it would distress yachtsmen to be given the full details. The only consolation was that spinnaker handling on Thalia also fell short, so that at A, the leeward mark, Catriona was second. Meanwhile, Luna was looking particularly strong, having avoided all spinnaker troubles by leaving it in the bucket. She headed out into the loch and had a substantial lead by G on the second round. Catriona got in front of Iris, but failed to cover properly. This unforced error cost a place at G.
It was close again at A. Luna, in the lead, tacked out. Iris thought she could lay the mark and stood on. Catriona followed Luna to try and get clear air. Catriona looked good for a while, but she was headed as Iris was lifted which gave Iris the win. In the absence of a race officer on shore, it was too close to call between Luna and Catriona. Thalia was fourth, Hermes fifth.
Tuesday 12th July
An evening of good, steady breeze. We completed 3 rounds of a long course.
The Convenor was away. There had been talk of Denis Jackson on the helm but competition is so fierce that Simon Jackson was brought in.
The Starting line had so much bias that it was barely possible to lay the pin on starboard. The fleet, therefore, started on port at the pin. Catriona was looking good to squeeze out Iris but suffered a minor gear failure (the boom came out of the gooseneck) and started second. Hermes got the better of Thalia.
Iris maintained her lead on the beat and reach to C with Catriona close behind. On the run to A, there was considerable luffing. On more than one occasion, the two were alongside. Iris, however, was able to induce a broach from Catriona. This gave her enough lead to be safe. The lead stayed about the same for the next 2 rounds. Thalia, meanwhile, was able to sneak past Hermes.
1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes. Pipers, 1 Kelpie, 2 Suilven, 3 Pompous. A lone Sonar appeared at the start.
Saturday 16th July – Gareloch Worlds
All 7 boats which are afloat appeared at the first start. Race officer, Mike Henry, positioned the Committee boat, Tegwynt, off the A mark. The first leg a beat to D, between Clynder and Rahane. Luna and Catriona were early. In the going back, Iris (who was a bit late at the line) crept into a commanding position. Catriona battled with Thalia and Teal for a while. After breaking clear, she was never close enough to challenge Iris. When she tried going a different way, it increased Iris’s lead.
Luna settled into a strong third. Carol Rowe showed some form with Hermes. She was lying fourth when a minor spinnaker gear failure let her kite into the water and Teal and Thalia past.
For the afternoon race, Teal had lost her crew and stayed on the mooring. The course stayed the same. Zoe was a bit early at the start and would have liked to sail down more than Catriona and Luna, below, would allow. The three were well placed at the gun, but there were headers out in the loch. Iris, back at the Committee Boat was favoured by lifts which did not reach the others and crossed ahead when Catriona tacked. Iris points higher but Catriona goes faster. Catriona found a big header on the Shandon shore with Iris well behind and well to weather. She tacked, crossed easily and kept a good lead for the rest of the round. She hardened up at the end of the first round waiting to see what Iris would do. Iris tacked early and Catriona went to cover. Headers for Catriona all the way up the Shandon shore did not affect Iris so that it was very close when the two boats tacked. Catriona had good cover, though, and was soon right on top of Iris. There ensued a tacking duel. False tacks, double tacks, it was hard work. No one’s nerve failed and Catriona had enough of a lead at the weather mark to make the spinnaker legs to the finish safe.
Luke Dicken, in Luna, again cemented a strong third place. Carol Rowe had the bit between her teeth and kept Zoe at bay for fourth place. Thalia was hampered by spinnaker trouble this race, a broken pole end put the kite out of action and dropped her to last.
All to play for on Sunday. The Convenor and the Secretary will both moderate their alcohol consumption at the barbeque this evening.
Sunday 17th July – Gareloch Worlds
Both The Gareloch Convenor and the Secretary were abstemious at the Saturday evening Barbeque in anticipation of the next morning’s race. The tie breaker, the World Championship title depended on the result of just an hour and a half or so on the water.
Wind was less strong than Saturday. Race Officer Mike Henry put the Committee boat next to Z mark, in the usual starting area, and set a short course. A beat to B, off Silvers, a reach to C, off Clynder, gybe at C and reach back to the start.
Catriona tried to chase Iris away from the line and got the worst of it. Iris tacked, Catriona gybed and was immediately covered. This messing about had let Teal and Zoe get away first. Zoe with an outrageous barge but there was no one there to squeeze her out.
Catriona was well covered, lost concentration for a few moments after the poor start and was third, just behind Teal, at B. Hermes was strong in fourth at B. Smart spinnaker work soon promoted her to second and a wind filling from behind (but still as fine as you would want it with the kite) brought her up to Iris. It was not quite enough for the inside overlap at C but after the rounding, Catriona was all set to trample over the top of Iris. Gybing from a reach to a reach always carries risk. This time, the kite caught on the weather cross tree and the delay let Iris away. Teal, round in third, also had spinny trouble after the gybe.
It was close again at the leeward mark for the start of the next round, Iris having to defend to prevent the overlap. Catriona tacked out into the loch. Iris tacked to cover. The familiar story ensued of Iris pointing high and Catriona footing but with more speed. By the second time at B, Iris had a good lead. The gap closed on the spinnaker legs, but there was still three or four boat lengths in it at the end of the round. After a little over an hour’s racing, Mike Henry sent us round again, then had to dash over to B with Tegwynt to finish us there because the wind began to die.
Meanwhile, Iris had made an uncharacteristically poor rounding of the leeward mark and was being headed. Catriona made a better rounding and a favourable lift put her to windward, climbing better. Both boats being on starboard, there was now loose cover on Iris, because if she tacked, she would have to duck. After intense concentration from both skippers, when they reached the club moorings, Catriona was looking strong. Her crew, who had been despondent, emerged from packing the spinnaker and was delighted to see Iris well to leeward. In the tacking duel across the narrows, no quarter was given. Catriona keeping Iris in dirty wind. Both boats were grateful to the Royal Navy minesweeper, leaving the Gareloch, which slowed so as to let them have their fun.
The Gareloch Class was able to drink Champage from the 50th Anniversary Cup in celebration of the new World Champion, Charles Darley.
Gordon Mucklow in Iris was second overall (breaking a 5 year run of World Championship wins). Luke Dicken brought Luna in a strong third. A revitalised Carol Rowe and Hermes tied for fourth with Tim Henderson in Teal. Reay Mackay was sixth in Zoe and Roger Kinns won the Tourist Trophy silver rowlock with Thalia, who was the first ever winner of the cup.
Tuesday 19th July
After many evenings of steady wind, the fickleness of the Gareloch asserted itself again. There was wind, but its direction could vary by 90 degrees.
A strong pin end bias had most boats fine reaching along the line at the start. Luna and Catriona were early. Iris and the rest got off to a good start on the beat across the loch to C, off Clynder. Catriona went up the Shandon shore and looked good for a while but Iris crossed in front. Iris, with inexperience crew Mirriam Sutter set no spinnaker and was passed on the run back across the loch by Catriona and Teal. Another beat to D. Iris read it well, but Thalia got round first. Again, Iris lost a place to Catriona on the run. The leading 4 closed up again on the next beat and it was Thalia, Catriona, Iris, Teal at the mark. Each of these had been in the lead at some time. Thalia, with new found agression now that Peter Proctor has returned, luffed Catriona in a bit of very peculiar wind and forced the 720. That let Iris and Teal past. At least Thalia sailed into a hole and lost 3 places.
1 Iris, 2 Teal, 3 Catriona, 4 Thalia, 5 Luna, 6 Hermes.
Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous, 3 Kelpie.
Sunday 24th July
A superb afternoon in the Gareloch, why would anyone who had the chance not be out sailing. As it was, there was only Luna, Catriona and Iris. Pleasant as the day was, the wind was fickle.
The first leg was a fetch to A, off the club. A strong shore end bias to the line. No one made a good start, Iris was in at the shore, but early and had lost boat speed. Catriona was a bit late, caught in a wind shift, and started well out from the shore. Luna was behind.
Catriona got away with it, Iris never had the wind to trample over the top. At A, there was a choice of whether or not to gybe for the run to D, between Rahane and Clynder. Catriona and Luna stood on. Iris, who was round second gybed before hoisting and lost a bit more time and boatspeed. The Convenor was on his own foredeck. Never a good sign.
Catriona got away, Luna sailed into better wind by gybing later and at D, the ‘fleet’ was well spread, Catriona, Luna, Iris. Luna caught Catriona a little on the offwind leg of the second round as the wind going into D died, but no places changed.
1 Catriona, 2 Luna, 3 Iris.
Tuesday 26th July
Four Garelochs came to the start, Catriona was absent because her skipper was Race Officer.
In light but steady wind, the course had two beats across the loch, the first to B, off Silvers. Iris, predictably, was first at the weather mark. Hermes just beat Luna to second. The fleet was spread for the spinnaker leg to G, on the Shandon shore, but a wind strengthening from behind brought Hermes and Luna up to Iris. Hermes could not get the inside overlap, so they rounded in unchanged order for the beat to C, off Clynder. Hermes tacked to clear her air, which did not pay. Luna (who sailed out from below Iris) and Thalia went right across and found a good wind on the Clynder shore. Iris and Hermes did not. At C, Luna was leading by a margin from Thalia, Iris and Hermes. So it remained.
1 Luna, 2 Thalia, 3 Iris, 4 Hermes.
Apart, perhaps, from Iris being fourth, it is hard to imagine a better result for the Race Officer.
Pipers, 1 Pompous, 2 Suilven, 3 Kelpie.
Sunday 31st July
A fine afternoon of light air. A running start, pin end favoured, to G. Catriona got the best start but Iris went inshore and drew ahead. Catriona, however, had the inside overlap at G and thought that Iris was securely pinned to leeward for the beat to A, off the club. She did not keep close enough cover and a series of headers let Iris out from underneath into better wind away from the shore. By A, Iris had a substantial lead which she did not lose.
1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Luna, 4 Hermes.
Tuesday 2nd August
A wind with a little strength, 2-3, but blowing from the Clynder shore, so fluky.
The first leg was a beat up the Shandon shore to G. The pin end of the line was favoured and the fleet of five was able to reach along it without too much pushing. Thalia was a bit early and lost momentum at the crucial moment so as to avoid going the wrong side of the buoy. Catriona got it about right with Iris behind. Catriona covered her rival up the Shandon shore where first Luna, then Iris herself showed that it did not pay to go close in to the beach.
Catriona was first at the weather mark for the reach to C, off Clynder. Luna rounded in front of Iris with Thalia close in fourth. Those positions held until the fleet approached C on the second round. A hole had formed, there was a strong back eddy to the tide and there were patches of wind all arround. Catriona saw a Piper left of the mark, trying to beat against back eddy in no wind. She went well to the right but was worried by a patch of ripples out to the left which attracted the others. It would not have been the first time the leader was left in a hole whilst the fleet sailed past. As it was, the lead increased but Iris won the battle of nerves with Luna and reached C in second place.
Despite The Convenor’s best efforts during the spinnaker drop, using it first as an air brake, then a sea anchor, Luna was unable to retake her place.
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Luna, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes.
Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous, 3 Kelpie.
Sunday 7th August
The race officer set a long course, starting with a beat to E, off Rahane. The fleet split with Iris, Hermes and Zoe going up the Shandon shore. Luna and Catriona went across the loch to beat up the Clynder shore. Big mistake.
There was a large hole at E, not unusual. Nevertheless, Iris was round and away well before anyone else. Hermes in a strong second. Luna beat Catriona to it. A combination of barnacles and tacking too early put Zoe last.
Spinnaker to F, with a gybe for the final leg back to the start. Catriona was catching Luna but was single handed so the gybe would always be a problem. Luna got round first and pinned Catriona below her. Catriona was able to slow and take Luna’s counter. She won the subsequent luffing match to pinch third place. Iris and Hermes could not be caught, though.
1 Iris, 2 Hermes, 3 Catriona, 4 Luna, 5 Zoe.
Tuseday 9th August
A similar wind to Sunday, and the same course. Iris, Simon Jackson at the helm, got the best start. Catriona thought she had better stay with her. The pair forsook the favoured Shandon shore and went across the loch, wating for each other to tack. At Clynder, Catriona found a hole which did not help her cause. Hermes, meanwhile, had got it right and was leading the fleet going in to E. She was just pipped to the mark by Iris. Catriona was last round.
Luna had spinnaker trouble on the leg to F, which let Catriona in with an overlap at the mark. Hermes and Thalia just in front, Iris long gone. Four Garelochs settled line abreast running down the Shandon shore. Luna inside, Hermes, Thalia and Catriona outside. The outside spot was favoured for the start of the second round. Luna meanwhile got a favourable puff inside and drew ahead. The shortened course meant all bets were off, the line being very biassed with the inside end favoured. Luna took second easily. Thalia luffed up behind Catriona, which slowed Catriona but did not help Thalia on account of the bias. Hermes looked very strong in the inside slot. A late spinnaker collapse on Hermes gave third place to Catriona by the narrowest margin.
1 Iris, 2 Luna, 3 Catriona, 4 Hermes, 5 Thalia.
Pipers, who got the second round that at least one Gareloch so earnestly desired, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous.
Thursday 11th August – Crews Race
Four Garelochs came to the starting line, Luna, Catriona, Iris and Hermes. Race Officer Denis Jackson set a course starting with a beat up the Shandon shore. Luna and Catriona made good starts with Luna able to cross Catriona. Catriona got in front when Luna stood out too far into the loch. Iris and Hermes settled into third and fourth places. Iris stuck to the shore, out of the adverse tide but out of the wind as well. It did no good. Luna retook the lead when Catriona tacked on top but could not make it stick.
The second leg was a reach to C, off Clynder. Marginal for the spinnaker but Catriona set hers and made it pay. Luna responded but was unable to keep the kite full when she luffed as Catriona passed to weather. At C, a hole was forming so that it helped to be there early. Catriona was able to stretch her lead for the next offwind leg to A, off the club and was in a comfortable position for the beat back to the line.
1 Catriona, helmed by Mirriam Sutter (her first race at the tiller); 2 Luna, Eilidh Millar; 3 Iris, Douglas Young; Hermes, Jimmy Rowe DNF.
Sunday 14th August
In light changeable air, Race Officer Peter Proctor set a course beginning with a beat to C, off Clynder. By the time of the start, that had become a fetch.
Catriona was lined up for a good start in the light air, but Luna prevented her gybing, so she had to slot in at the back. Hermes tried to barge outragously, Thalia played hardball and demanded the 720.
The fine reach to C was very trying, constant wind shifts, holes and puffs. It seemed that all the other boats were favoured. Luna got round comfortably first and set off on another fetch to B, off Silvers. Iris second, Thalia sailed straight past Catriona from below.
Most tacked straight away at C, Catriona stood on inshore, out of the tide, and gained on Thalia but could not catch Iris. Gybe at B and spinnaker leg back to the start. The spinnaker leg favoured Catriona and by dint of a late drop, she was overlapped to weather of Iris for the fetch to C on the start of the second round. A bit of smart luffing by Iris forced her into a lee bow position and she dropped back. There was 10 of more boat lengths in it by the time the two had fought the wind shifts into C. Again Catriona kept a bit more inshore and this time found a puff which took her past Iris. Some fraught spinnaker work on this leg which sometimes was a broad reach and sometimes, when the boats sailed into a hole, head to wind. Catriona broke the overlap and was first round B. A poor gybe from Iris meant that she was no longer in contention for second place.
1 Luna, 2 Catriona, 3 Iris, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes.
Tuesday 16th August
A very fickle wind. The course started with a beat to B, off Silvers. Catriona was blocked by Luna, who was a bit early and sailed down. She did her turns, but that did not help Catriona. Iris was, by now, trampling over the top, Catriona’s luff went a bit too far (perhaps there was a wind shift) and she tacked into Iris. 720. The fleet tacked out at the pin leaving Catriona gyrating. Seeing no point in following, she stuck to the Shandon shore, benefiting from a back eddy to the strong flood tide. When she tacked it looked good against Iris. Iris and Catriona battled the big wind shifts, crossing tacks with each other. Finally Catriona tacked on top but failed to make it stick and fell back. Back to fourth place that is because Luna and Thalia had got round B well ahead.
Thalia got a favourable puff and passed Luna on the run to G, on the Shandon shore. Catriona caught Iris a bit.
Rounding G for the beat to C, off Clynder, Catriona again got a bit of favourable wing and climbed. Still fourth, though. Iris saw the leaders sailing into lighter air and tacked down the loch. Catriona sailed a bit further to get clear air to windward and tacked to cover. The others stood on. Another tacking duel, where Catriona managed to cross. An MOD Police launch came close to the blue boat and kindly altered course to keep clear but produced a lot of wash. Catriona tacked to get it on her counter, rather than punch through it but Iris crossed ahead when they next met. Thalia and Luna, meanwhile, had found lots of holes and lost their lead.
Catriona just failed to get the inside overlap to round C. Unaccountably, she got past on the reach to the finish.
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Luna, 4 Thalia.
Pipers, 1 Kelpie, 2 Pompous.
Thursday 18th August – Cadets Race
One of those nights of light, shifting wind when the Race Officer (Jean Mackay) has trouble choosing a course.
The first leg turned to a fetch to A, off the club. Catriona got the best start but Eilidh Millar in Luna sailed well to get out from below and reach the mark first. Some owners, having a fear of their own foredecks, had requested no spinnakers but they were over ruled. Spinnakers were set on the offwind leg to G, on the Shandon shore. A trying leg with constant variations in strength and direction. At the mark, Luna still led with Catriona, Thalia and Iris not far behind.
The beat back to the line was against the tide and in light air. Luna tacked out into good wind but strong adverse tide. It paid and she won by a margin. Catriona followed but did not go far enough out. Lured by less tide in at the shore, she lost wind. When she tacked out again, Thalia crossed. Iris stuck with the shore, which did not pay.
1 Luna, Eilidh Millar; 2 Thalia, John Darley; 3 Catriona, Lena Sutter (First time on the helm and seven years old. Profficient talker, though); 4 Iris, Christopher Henderson.
Sunday 21st August
The last Race of the series. Catriona needed not just to beat Iris, but to win, to take the series. Also joining in the fun were Luna and Hermes.
A start in light air with lots of holes to A, off the club. Catriona was able to get below Iris and luff her (to advantage) before the gun. Hermes was delighted to cross Iris shortly afterwards.
Catriona got round A first and maintained a good lead until the end of the round, when she was slowed on the run into the Y mark by lack of wind and Iris was brought up with a good puff from behind. Catriona kept her lead and was first at the beginning of the second run to Y. Iris, however, seemed to be in better wind a little to leeward and caught steadily over the leg; notwithstanding the best efforts of Catriona’s ace crew Pennie Latin. Catriona’s cause was not helped by confusion over whether or not she was finishing. There was a third round so the spinnaker drop and gybe was not the best. Fortunately, neither was Iris’s. Luna, meanwhile, had blown it by sailing towards the wrong mark. The time lost put her firmly into third.
The last round was a repeat of the second for the two contenders. This time, however, Catriona was lifted away from the finishing mark and Iris almost got past to leeward. A last minute spinnaker gybe, performed in some style by Pennie, kept the green boat at bay.
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Luna, 4 Hermes.
Tuesday 23rd August
A wet night which could have been miserable, but there was wind. It was changeable, the race officer had to set a new course just before the starting sequence, but that’s the Gareloch.
First, a beat to B, off Silvers. The pin end of the line was favoured. Catriona hit it about right, Luna was a second or so later further down the line. Iris was back a bit, tangled up with Thalia and Hermes.
Catriona naturally covered Iris on the beat with the result that Thalia led for some of it and Luna looked strong. Catriona was first at the mark, though, with Iris a few boat lengths behind and having to pinch up to lay it. Something of a hole at B, Catriona thought she took a long time to get set up on the run to F, off Shandon. In fact, she gained here.
Catriona was in clear air for the beat from F to C. Iris rounded second and went high. Luna was just behind. Iris’s very high course was not associated with boat speed. Catriona at first thought of tacking to cover but she was in good wind and carried on. Luna followed her doggedly. It turned out that was because her skipper had his glasses knocked off during the starting sequence and could not see the marks.
Iris can never be written off, and she had made ground by the time Catriona got to C. She was still third, though. Little opportunity to pass on the fine reach (in good wind) to the finish.
1 Catriona, 2 Luna, 3 Iris, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes.
Pipers, 1 Kelpie, 2 Suilven, 3 Pompous.
Sat 27th & 28th August
This was the third visit made by the Garelochs to The Freundeskreis Klassische Yachten in Germany. Similarly, they have made three visits to Scotland. The event was instigated by David Ryder-Turner and this year we raced for a trophy, presented by The Freundeskreis, bearing his name.
Your correspondent cannot understand why people are not falling over themselves to join the Gareloch class and take part in events like this.
Racing was on the Schlei, a fjord off the Baltic. The format was match racing in two dragons, a 5m and a Knarr and two Folkboats. There were starts at 5 minute intervals for the three classes. We swapped boats after each race. Each crew got to race in each boat. In all, 12 races on Saturday and 6 on Sunday morning.
As it turned out, one boat of each pair was the faster. Helming the fast boat was like being a striker in a penalty shoot out. You were expected to score. Helming the slow boat was like being the goalie, you were a hero if you saved a race.
On Saturday evening, it was all square at six races each. The possibility of a draw was real. It was decided to record times on Sunday so that a tie could be broken in favour of the team having the lowest aggregate time.
In the second group of races, their Enno Thyen won in the 5m against the favoured Knarr. He must have been very disappointed when our own Simon Jackson saved a penalty in the considerably slower Folkboat. Beautiful as it was, mahogany planking and nicely fitted out for cruising, it was no match for its fibreglass opposite number. When times were considered, it was Simon who saved the day again with a huge margin when he had the faster Folkboat. The Secretary and Convenor, who helmed the two Dragons, lost on time.
The David Ryder-Turner Memorial Trophy, a Viking ship in a bottle, resides in Rhu but it is only safe until next year when The Freundeskreis Klassische Yachten are invited to compete in Garelochs.
Tuesday 30th August
The last of the Tuesday evening races. Nearly the end of the season and it feels as if we have only just begun. The dining season does not compare with the sailing season.
All the Garelochs afloat turned out for this last secondary points race. The race officer (Howard Morrison) was forced to alter his choice of course because the Z mark, one of the starting marks, was out of position. Its as well he did, because the initial choice was a long course and the wind died during the race.
The fleet opted to start on port tack, reaching along the line. Catriona was firmly squeezed out by Iris and started near the back. Iris got the best start but seemed to die, Teal, Luna and Thalia were looking strong by the C mark, off Clynder. Catriona set a spinnaker on this leg and caught up but still rounded C in 5th place.
Catriona needed to finish in front of Iris, or for Iris to be no higher than third, to take the series. There were similar complicated calculations undertaken on Luna regarding second place in the series.
On the beat to B, in typical shifty Gareloch wind and against the tide, Iris (in third place) took a tack inshore. It did not work and both Catriona and Thalia got past by staying out. Catriona then tacked in to cover Iris and was favoured by the wind into B so that she got Thalia as well.
A broad reach to the finish. A lull in the wind made getting away from B a slow business. Smart spinnaker work from Mirriam Sutter allowed Catriona to pick up a place from Luna here. Iris did not prosper.
At the line it was Teal 1, Catriona 2, Luna 3, Thalia 4, Iris 5 (Catriona’s skipper smugly pointed out that the wind was unkind to Iris), Hermes 6, Zoe, who has mussels for sale, DNF.
Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous, 3 Kelpie.
On the moorings, The Convenor called for three cheers for Catriona. In the bar, we celebrated with smoked eel, goldfish (a sort of smoked sardine) and chilled aquavit. Presents from our trip to Germany. The hand of Sue Mucklow was clearly visible in the superb presentation. There was pumpernickel, rye bread and horseradish.
Saturday 3rd September – Dogs Race
The Gareloch class gathered on Saturday 3rd, complete with dogs, for the annual dog race. There is a time allowance of 5 seconds per inch length of dog. A suitable correction is applied for dogs having docked tails. No correction has yet been found to thwart those helms, such as Teal’s Tim Henderson, who bring along dogs of the stuffed cuddly toy variety. Various other handicaps and corrections were applied to complicate matters and make it hard for Catriona, Iris or Teal to win. Race Officer Mike Henry seemed to understand it all.
Iris was out of sorts, having failed to secure the services, as crew, of Sir Rufus de Long. A lurcher whose tail is almost long enough to reach across Rhu narrows. Instead, she had a labrador on board who was quite long, but carried a hefty weight penalty. Anyway, Iris cheated by using a huge ‘gennaker’ sail.
Of the race itself, the details are a blur. Thalia won, never looking as if she might be caught. Her dog Harris being endowed with a superb tail. Iris finished second, a full five minutes later on corrected time. Teal was third, Catriona (who had two short dogs) fourth and Hermes (another yacht carrying only a facsimile of a dog) fifth. Zoe had numerous pets below the water line as well as above, so that she did not finish.
At the prize giving Barbeque at Peter Proctor’s house, Peter himself was able to collect the first prize bottle of Champagne. The Convenor did not blush as he collected the prize for second. The digger trophy was awarded to Hermes.
Sunday 4th September – Ladies race
Six Garelochs gathered for the Ladies race, which had been postponed from a Thursday evening on account of high winds. Zoe was taken out of the water that morning and her menagerie scraped off.
Thalia (Fiona Du Boulay) got away well, as did Iris (Laura Jackson). They were the early leaders. The second leg, offwind to D, up the Clynder shore, saw a few places change. The leeward side of the fleet was no place to be and Catriona (Mirriam Sutter) got into the lead by going to windward. The mark rounding was her downfall, however. Iris, just behind, snuck round inside and Catriona overdid the luff and tacked onto port. The 720 penalty turn, in light air, set her well back.
Soon afterwards, Teal (Elizabeth Henderson) and Luna (Jean Mackay) had a windward/leeward contretemps with Teal taking the penalty.
The fleet was spread for the second round, so that things were more settled. Catriona caught a bit offwind and on the beat back to the finish got back into contention with Teal and Luna. Luna was sneaking past to weather and was caught by Catriona’s Luff. The third 720 of the race.
1 Thalia, Fiona Du Boulay; 2 Iris, Laura Jackson; 3 Teal; 4 Catriona; 5 Luna; 6 Hermes.
Thats all folks, see you next season!