2007 Race Reports

Tuesday April 24th

The new season finds the Gareloch Class in good heart. We have three new owners since this time last year.
The first race of the season is always exciting after the anticipation of the winter and the evenings of preparation. Some of us have large sandpaper bills.
The Gareloch course card has been altered to include sausage courses and to improve the chances of a winward leg. Race Officer Andrew Nicholson chose a sausage to C, off Clynder. He was undone, however, by the Gareloch wind. Tacking was only needed at the finishing mark.
In the absence of Athene, Catriona, Iris and last year’s winner of this series, Teal, fancied their chances. Teal made a good start, Iris less so. Catriona, as those irritating school reports used to say, left room for improvement. She had boatspeed, though, and towards the end of the first leg (one which needed delicate spinnaker handling) she was second to Teal. Teal’s skipper was in cruising mode and left the mark on the wrong hand. His correction let Catriona through.
On a course without a beat, it was difficult to pass. Zoe damaged her cause by setting a spinny when the wind was too fine.

At the finish, after 2 rounds, the order was 1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Iris, 4 (and showing form at the start of the new season) Hermes, 5 Zoe, 6 Thalia.

It turned out that Teal had not properly re-rounded C. She unwound herself but then failed to round on the correct hand. Positions 3 to 6 all moved up one, Teal retired.

Sonars, 1 Nona , 2 Grouse, 3 Jamie.

Sunday April 29th

Often on these Sunday races we have to start and finish ourselves from the water. We cannot spare a helm to be onshore. Today we had the luxury of Race Officer Capt. Mike Henry.
On a blustery day, he set a course with a good run to D, north of Clynder, and a beat back. A longish course and we got three rounds.
The start was a reach to A, off the club, ready for the run to D. Iris, Catriona and Zoe were close at the start with Iris to windward, Zoe to leeward of the group. Catriona managed to keep her air clear enough to pull ahead and was first round A.
Spinnakers on the offwind leg needed nerve. The gusts were strong and they headed a bit so that there was a tendency to broach. Catriona and Iris both did, Zoe and Thalia wisely left their kites packed.
At D, Catriona still had the lead with Zoe second. The beat was trying for the light blue boat, though. Zoe went to one side, Iris the other, both got past. Iris took Zoe on the beat as well. Those two were close at the finish. Catriona tried hard but dropped back. She blamed bad luck with the changeable wind but worried that the reason was more fundamental.

1 Iris, 2 Zoe, 3 Catriona, 4 Thalia.

Tuesday 1st May

The same blustery, easterly wind we have had for a few days now. Race officer Roger Kinns, assisted by Francoise Proctor, read it well and set a course to D, north of Clynder, back across the loch to G, off Croy and thence to the start/finish line.
The Gareloch fleet had sharpened its starting since Sunday. Still not perfect, but not far to go.
On the broad reach to D, Iris, Zoe and Thalia were in a group and were bound to hinder each other. Teal and Catriona were to windward and back a little. Whoever got to D first would need a bit of favour from the fluky but strong wind. As it turned out, that boat was Catriona. Iris sailed the beat to G the best. Strong and shifting wind with lots of quiter areas. Her forte.
There followed one of those moments where your correspondent’s words cannot adequately describe the joy of the following fleet. Iris rounded G on the wrong hand and set off on a spinnaker leg towards E. The correct direction was an almost reciprocal course. Where the Gareloch Class Convenor, Iris’s skipper got his inspiration remains a mystery. His crew were quizzed for details of the moment he realised, but they were too loyal.
With Iris out of the picture (not even in the same album) Catriona led from Zoe and Teal.
In the strong wind, there were to be three rounds. Skippers and crew were still not match fit. There was angst and shouting at the end of downwind legs as spinnakers were dropped and the boats were set up for the beat. The result was :-

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Zoe, 4 Thalia, 5 Iris, Hermes DNF.

Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous.
Sonars,1 Nona, 2 Charlotte, 3 Jamie, 4 Grouse.

Sunday 6th May

Too much wind to race. One of the few occasions on which, the decision having been made, there was no reason to regret it. Fortunate, too, because our Secretary forgot to re-schedule the Sunday races following postponement of the trip to Howth. Strictly, there was no race anyway.

Tuesday 8th May

A good breeze in the Gareloch. As Ian Nicolson was overheard saying afterwards, ‘Its the reason you own a boat’.
Race officer Carol Rowe, of Hermes, set a course to D, north of Clynder. A true beat. There was unavoidable bias on the fixed starting line. The inshore end the place to be. The technique was to reach along the line on port and tack onto starboard at the last moment. Iris suckered Catriona into trying to pass to windward and was able to push her over the line. Recrossing from the premature start put Catriona back by a margin.
Catriona was able to pass Teal on the beat, but not Zoe or the leader Iris. Thalia was firmly last, having started late on account of halyard trouble.
The downwind legs saw no changes of place, not for the want of trying.
The wind had lightened and become fluky for the second beat to D. Iris and Zoe appeared comfortable in first and second places, Catriona and Teal battled for third. At the end of the leg, Catriona close behind Zoe and there followed a contretemps between them (subjct to protest) at the D mark.

The finishing order, but not the result, was 1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Zoe, 4 Teal, 5 Thalia.

Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous.

Sonars, 1 Nona, 2 Jamie, 3 Grouse.

Sunday 13th May

Five Garelochs turned out. Two of them were cruising. Teal’s helm said they were having a training session. Thats the way the afternoon developed for Catriona, as well.
It was a running start across the loch, so as to get a beat back. Good but shifty wind meant the first leg varied from being as fine as you would want it with the kite to by the lee. Catriona put in a couple of inexpert gybes (to clear her air from Iris, who was lurking behind). This gave the initiative to Iris. Catriona changed course to get to weather and on Iris’s wind. It worked well and despite a bit of luffing, Catriona was well placed for the inside slot at the mark. Having been taken high, she rashly gybed onto port to compensate, thinking Iris was doing the same. It was a premature move which left her at the mercy of Iris, who can make Genghis Khan look considerate.
The 720 set Catriona too far back to recover. She tried going a different way on the beats and occasionally became optimistic. To no avail. The failure of the spinnaker guy on the last offwing leg did no real harm.

1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Thalia, Hermes and Teal DNF.

Tuesday 15th May

An evening of shifting wind. It stayed though and no one was left stranded in a hole.

Race officer Jean Mackay changed the course early in the sequence to give a sausage course across the loch to the new H mark, off the middle of Clynder. Catriona got the better start. It was close. She was to windward of Teal and the gentle luffing put her very close to being over early. Iris had a good view from the back seats.
The first leg became a fetch so that there was no scope for overtaking. Jean made a judicious course change at the end of the first round. None of us could remember this happening before in the Gareloch but there was no confusion. The first leg of the new course was a beat to D, further north on the Clynder shore.
Catriona became nervous defending her position against both Teal (in second place) and Iris. Wherever she was, there always seemed to be a boat making better to windward. A few extra tacks were put in to maintain cover. She just managed to cross Iris at the layline for the mark and tacked on top to cement the advantage. Teal, meanwhile, had been undone by going too close to the Clynder shore. Curious wind.
There were no changes of place downwind. The spinnaker on Thalia kept Hermes at bay.

1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Teal, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes.

Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous.

Sonars, 1 Nona, 2, Grouse, 3 Jamie, 4 Charlotte.

Sunday 21st May

A superb afternoon of good breeze. An antidote to a miserable Saturday. It did rain a little, but no one’s enjoyment was spoiled.
On the water race officer Gordon Mucklow set a course which zig-zagged across the loch, going first to C, off Clynder. The usual vagueries of Gareloch wind made it a fetch rather than a beat.
In the pre-start manoeuvres, Iris and Catriona found themselves overlapped, running away from the pin on Starboard, Iris to windward. Iris gybed so as to point the right way whilst Catriona was still on Starboard. A repeat of what happened running down to a mark last Sunday, only this time it was Catriona on Starboard. More Florence Nightingale than Genghis Khan, she let Iris away with it. Sufficient damage had been done to the green boat’s start.
The order on the fetch to C was Catriona, Thalia, Iris, Hermes. Hermes in clear wind to leeward of the group, Iris covered by two boats. Catriona, free of interference, extended her lead. Iris was slicker with the spinnaker downwind and moved into second.

1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes.

Tuesday 22nd May

The final race of the primary points series. The Class was delighted to see Thia afloat and joining the racing. Now we are seven.
The wind had moderated from earlier in the day. Still enough to heel the boats but not to wet the lee deck.
Iris got the best of the start and set off across the loch on the beat to D, north of Clynder. Catriona followed to leeward and did not benefit from the streak of wind which promoted Iris. The others stuck to the Shandon shore. A wise move as it turned out.
As the fleet began to converge near D, Iris had the lead but Catriona found herself in fifth place, behind Thalia, Zoe and Hermes. After the usual trouble with lighter wind in at the mark, there were two spinnaker legs to the end of the round. For the next beat to D, Iris went up the middle of the loch. It seemed not to hurt her, although the lead was substantial. Catriona followed and lost hard won ground to Thalia and Zoe, who again stuck to the Shandon shore.
A large orifice had formed at D for the second rounding. Iris tacked in too early and had to beat against the tide in very light air. Each of the others saw what was happening and tacked later than the boat in front. Catriona made the fastest passage into the mark. She passed Thalia on the way in, who was justifiably irritated. Her lead had been substantial. Zoe rounded in second place (Iris hung onto first) but had lost boatspeed. Catriona squeezed past just after.
It was then a question of keeping the spinnaker full in light air. There were no further changes of place.

1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Zoe, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes, 6 Thia.

Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous.
Sonars, 1 Nona, 2 Grouse, 3 Jamie, 4 Charlotte

Garelochs v Howth 26/27th May

A Gareloch team travelled to Howth, near Dublin at the weekend for team racing in Howth 17s. We were encouraged to find that Peter Courtney, who had done so much damage in previous matches, was not to be sailing. Sadly, his shoes were filled by Roddy Cooper who was equally devastating.
I think we were the more aggressive. Particularly in the first race some Howth helms were surprised. It was to no avail, though. The home team could sail the boats faster.
Wind was variable for the planned six races. Only five were sailed in the end. To start with, it was a good breeze. Hard work for crews unused to 17s. They have a big jib and no purchase on the sheet. Both muscle and technique are needed.
There were several minutes when we were sitting to leeward trying not to rock the boats. The wind that filled in soon after was fresher and our crews struggled again. We took the second race to even the score. The home team had been spurred by our luffing and began doing it to us.
We had to win race 5 and when two home boats got away in front, we never looked like doing it.
Crews were given the helm on the way back in. Some took the opportunity to verbally lash their skippers, as had been done to them. On Bobolink, Denis Jackson handed over to Peter Proctor. Peter’s boat handling and navigation have been honed during thirty five years of Royal Navy training. The sand flats between Howth and Malahide should have presented no problem. Fortunately it was a rising tide and his wife, Françoise, is still speaking to him.
Superb hospitality, as ever, at the dinner on Saturday evening. Before the trophy was presented by our Convenor to Roddy Cooper, we read that Howth have now won it once more than us.

Too windy to race on Sunday, we went to the Guinness brewery instead.

Tuesday 29th May

Seven boats racing. Iris made one of the poorer starts, Catriona and Zoe did better. There were several early starters. It seemed they had all returned but Race Officer Tim Henderson still had the starting signal at the dip. That put the wind up Catriona who turned back. The last of the miscreants crossed back over the line shortly after. The misjudgement spoiled Catriona’s position, though.
At the windward mark, G, on the Shandon shore, Zoe led from Iris and Catriona. Iris did not make the best of the rounding and let Catriona through. Offwind across the Loch, Catriona passed Zoe as well. She then allowed herself to be blanketed by the two of them after the gybe at C. On the run to A, off the club, Iris and Catriona took each other high. Catriona prevailed but Zoe now had a comfortable lead and Hermes was in second. Hardening onto the wind at A, Iris tried to sneak inside but was luffed and dropped back thereafter.

1 Zoe, 2 Catriona, 3 Iris, 4 Hermes, 5 Thalia, 6 Teal, 7 Thia.

Pipers 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous.

Sonars 1 Jamie, 2 Nona, 3 Grouse, 4 Charlotte

Sunday 3rd June

The forecast was for rain and it was accurate. There was enough of a breeze, though to keep us interested. One of those afternoons when you would not have dreamt of going for a cruise but you turn out for the race and enjoy it.
On the water race officer Peter Proctor set a course zig zagging across the loch, starting with a beat to B, off Silvers. All four boats present mixed it a little before the start. Iris got the better of the spat with Catriona and started first. Catriona rudely squeezed out Hermes so as to avoid being trampled over.
Iris tacked out early and Catriona followed. The others stuck to the Rhu shore, which was not favoured.
Catriona did better reading the wind with tell tales stuck by the rain and had a comfortable lead at B. Wind for the run to G was trying but Iris made little impression.
What started as a fetch across the Loch to C turned out to have every point of sailing on it. Iris avoided most of the holes visited by Catriona and was just in front at the mark (which she avoided by a coat of paint). She got away on the last of a breeze and seemed half way across whilst Catriona was still on the now magnetic Clynder shore. Hermes and Thalia, having rounded, were similarly stuck.
There was a hole at the finish but Iris’s lead was so great that there was no hope for the light blue boat, who now had her sails filled nicely. Iris’s helm came to the rescue by going for the wrong finishing line. She was far enough into the hole on the shore for Catriona to cross and reach the correct line first.
Hermes won the fight with Thalia to break free of the Clynder shore.

1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Hermes, 4 Thalia.

Tuesday 5th June

There had been a good wind during the day but, as so often, it was light as the boats left the moorings. Filling in a little for the race, it was fickle. Perhaps the best was whilst we returned to the moorings.
The course was up and down the Shandon shore.
Catriona engaged in a spot of match race luffing with Iris before the start. A wind shift forced her onto port, so that a 720 was needed.
Zoe got away from the melee and was first at the windward mark. Catriona stayed inshore as the others tacked out and made up ground. There was another tussle with Iris at the windward mark. Iris benefitted again.
Catriona got back on terms with Iris offwind and held her to the wrong side of the leeward mark. She then found herself reaching in on port and tangling with all the starboard tackers who had just rounded. Iris did better once more.
For the rest of that round and most of the next, the order was firmly Zoe, Iris, Catriona. The wind was now dying. On the last beat Iris went well out into the loch. Zoe failed to cover and paid the price.

1 Iris, 2 Zoe, 3 Catriona, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes, 6 Thia, 7 Teal.

Pipers, 1 Pompous, 2 Mealista.
Sonars, 1 Grouse, 2 Nona, 3 Jamie.

Thursday 7th June – Ladies Race

The class mustered five ladies. We should struggle to find that many gentlemen.
With wind off the Shandon Rhu shore, race officer Peter Proctor selected a course to give a beat from C, off Clynder, to the finish. After a big wind shift, the beat turned out to be the first leg, to A off the club. It was still a good course, though.
Jennifer Darley in Catriona was in the right place, with boat speed, at the gun. She established a strong lead sailing into the loch. Mirriam Sutter in Teal followed, occasionally suffering disturbed air. Francoise Proctor (Thalia) kept to the Rhu shore, found favourable wind and was second at A. Jo Knox (Thia) was behind Carol Rowe (Hermes) at A but got by with some nifty spinnaker work. It was also spinnaker handling and tactics which got Teal past Thalia.
Thia and Hermes were in close competition, otherwise positions were stable until the last leg of the second (final) round. The wind had dropped and, in the way of the Gareloch, become fickle. Catriona found light air and was distressed to see Teal catching fast. By maintaining good cover, she kept her first place.

1 Jennifer Darley, Catriona; 2 Mirriam Sutter, Teal; 3 Francoise Proctor, Thalia; 4 Carol Rowe, Hermes; 5 Jo Knox, Thia.

Sunday 10th June

No wind all day so it was difficult to be enthusiastic. We ghosted to the starting area and decided the racing flags pointed away from the B mark, off Silvers. Race officer Rodger Kinns, on Thalia, set a triangular course to B, up the Clynder shore to C and back.
After the gun, it was ten minutes before anyone started. Iris had been in pole, about 10 boatlengths from the line with two minutes to go. That would have been about right, but she was worried about being early, put in a turn and started at the back. It was Catriona who started first and got a series of good puffs (by the standards of the day) on what was now a broad reach to B. Thalia, Iris and Hermes reached the rippled water a little later and it did them less good.
Off ‘wind’ to C, Hermes was delighted to get past Iris. She could not make it stick, though. Iris worked very hard to keep her sails full (there was not enough for spinnakers) and established an inside overlap on Thalia at the mark. Sufficient breeze filled in on the last leg to fill spinnakers. Thalia, lacking steerage way, was had by Hermes as well.

1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Hermes, 4 Thalia.

Tuesday 12th June

A wet night, but a good wind, so it was enjoyable.
Race Officer Douglas Forrester set a triangular course. A fetch to A, off the club, run to C, off Clynder and beat back. Two rounds.
The line had a strong shore end bias . You could not lay the shore end from the pin. Zoe was a little early and had to slow. Iris started too far from the shore. Catriona was just to leeward of Zoe, but with speed. Having got her nose in front she was first at A. Zoe and Iris indulged in a spot of luffing, which did Catriona no harm. It was enough of a wind, a little shifty too, to keep the spinnaker hands alert.
At C, Iris had not got her kite away in time, so that Zoe was through. Shortly afterwards, Iris lost her forestay. It was due to the skill of the skipper (Denis Jackson) and crew that she did not lose her mast.
The order was now, for the mostpart, set. On the second round, Thalia was not as sharp as she should have been hardening up at C. Hermes did not need asking twice.

1 Catriona, 2 Zoe, 3 Hermes, 4 Thalia, 5 Teal, 6 Thia. Iris DNF.

Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous, 3 Mealista.
Sonars, 1 Jamie, 2 Charlotte

Tuesday 19th June

A blustery evening. It had been blowing all day and Iris (her forestay re-attached) had been looking forward to the race. She goes well in such conditions.
Race Officer Peter Proctor selected a course with a beat back to the finish. First a fine reach to A, off the club, a broad reach to D, north of Clynder and the beat back.
Hermes was very early and had to turn back. Zoe was in pole at the start, but she too was early and took some time to realise. That left Catriona, who had had boatspeed at the gun, with Iris and Thalia to windward and just behind. After the Gybe at A, Iris took Catriona a little high in the hope of breaking through. The boats were at their maximum speed so that the de-tour did not lead to a change of place. It was too strong for spinnakers. Zoe, meanwhile, was well up in the following group.
Catriona hardened up for the beat back, Iris following, and went well to begin with. She failed to tack, cross and cover whilst she had the chance. When Iris took a big lift, she slipped back a place. Zoe, meanwhile, had tacked down the Loch earlier. It paid and she was in the lead at the start of the second round.
Catriona tried a spinnaker an the leg to D. It brought her up a little, but a strong gust threatened a dramatic broach. The kite was dropped a little untidily. No harm done, though.
Zoe was comfortably first for the start of the beat. Catriona, lee bowed by Iris, tacked early. Zoe later tacked down the middle to give loose cover. That left Iris alone near the Shandon shore. She made the most of it to take the win.

1 Iris, 2 Zoe, 3 Catriona, 4 Teal, 5 Thalia, 6 Hermes, Thia DNF.

Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous.
Sonars, 1 608, 2 Nona, 3 Grouse, Charlotte and Jamie DNF after spinnaker trouble.

Tuesday 26th June

An evening of good wind, if a little chilly. Ceres was sailing for the first time under her new owners, Neil and Margaret Isaacs. She treated the evening as a sea trial rather than a serious race.
Race Officer Gordon Mucklow set a course with a beat to D, north of Clynder. The bias on the line required a shore end start. None of the Garelochs achieved that. Catriona was furthest in, followed by Zoe, Teal and Thalia. Catriona kept close cover on Zoe, her nearest competitor in the points. At D, no places had changed.
Off wind, Zoe had spinnaker difficulty and Teal had her tail up. A bit of smart luffing by Zoe prevented the pass. For the beat on the second round, Zoe kept to the Shandon shore and was badly headed. Catriona (who had hardened up for a while before tacking) and Teal got a much better lift up the Loch. Zoe lost a place to Teal and was fortunate not to let Thalia through. She had stuck to the Shandon shore for far too long. Off wind on the final leg, the gaps increased as the wind died around the D mark.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Zoe, 4 Thalia, Ceres DNF.

Pipers, 1 Pompous, 2 Suilven, 3 Mealista.
Sonars, 1 Grouse, 2 Charlotte, 3 Nona, 4 Jamie.

30th June – RNCYC Regatta

Three races on the East Patch. Lots of Sonars, the event was part of the Scottish Sonar Championship.
There were five Garelochs and one Piper at our start, which was five minutes after the Sonars. That was useful because the Garelochs sail infrequently on the east patch and we don’t understand the nuances of wind and tide. The Sonars showed us the way.
Athene was racing for the first time this year, crewed by three generations of the Jackson family. Unfortunately, she went home after the first race. Perhaps it was all too much for the youngest crew member.
Race officer Douglas Forrester was meticulous (as always) in achieving square lines and true beats on the windward/leeward courses. The wind on the east patch is not as fickle as it is on the Gareloch. Nevertheless it did its best to stretch Douglas’s patience. By the time the Garelochs went (we were the third start of the sequence) there was a little bias on the line.
For the first race, the committee boat end was favoured. Catriona got it just right, Iris was mixed up with the Piper. Zoe hung back a little and got a clean start in good air. Catriona watched where the hot Sonars went and kept careful cover so as to be first at the windward mark. A lead that she kept. Iris was in a strong second place and chasing hard. She misread the sailing instructions, though, and failed to go through the line on the next beat. Thalia was led astray by Iris. Solid sailing by Denis Jackson brought Athene home second with Zoe third.
The line was adjusted for the second start but there was slight committee boat bias again when the Garelochs approached to start. Catriona was very lucky this time. She was to windward of Iris and the Piper, Mealista. Iris was a little too far down to squeeze her out and Mealista was generous. Catriona carelessly overstood the windward mark and Zoe was looking good. She dropped back in the disturbed air, though. Both boats rounded just behind the Piper, turned inside it and got past downwind.
Iris caught Zoe at the leeward mark but failed to get the inside overlap. They took each other high after rounding. In the chop and lighter air at that point, both slowed which did Catriona no harm. Iris tacked away and sailed the faster beat to take second.
Pin end bias for the third race. The weather forecast had said ‘rain’ and so it was. A temperature drop too. Those not fired by enthusiasm would have stopped enjoying it. Again, Catriona approached to start to windward of Iris. There was enough space for her to avoid being squeezed over. Zoe was on the line with boatspeed at the gun, but at the committee boat end. The order was established at that point.
It had become almost a fetch from the leeward mark. Iris thought she was catching Catriona (not a universally held view) and so expressed disappointment that we were finished after one round. Your correspondent was not sorry. It was a bit cold and wet by then.

1 Catriona, 2 Zoe, 3 Iris, 4 Thalia, 5 Athene.

Prizes were provided, most generously, by Henri LLoyd. A waterproof roll bag for first, a wash bag for second. Iris’s skipper was presented with a pair of those sailing gloves which crews find so useful when pulling sheets. He appreciated the gloves but not the message.

Tuesday 3rd July

Race officer Jim Findlay delayed a little for the wind to fill in and set a course zig zagging across the Loch. Starting with a beat to C, off Clynder.
The shore end was to windward of the pin, so that’s where Iris, Thalia and Catriona headed. Iris was a little early and was already sailing back down the line at the gun. Catriona crossed her. Thalia was over early.
Zoe, meanwhile, had started at the pin where the wind was better. She established an early lead from Catriona and Iris. The three began a tacking battle, trying to cover or break free. Eventually, Zoe went right and Catriona left with Iris dropping well back in lightening air. Thalia took a middle course and held third place.
Zoe and Catriona came together at C, Zoe leading. The rest nowhere. The leg to G, on the Shandon shore, started as a broad reach. It became increasingly difficult for the leaders to keep spinnakers full. They finished up beating towards the mark, two or three boat lengths away and just stemming the ebb tide. As the wind died further, they began to be carried away by the tide. Thalia arrived and was closer to the mark. To no avail. Zoe anchored, too late in retrospect, as the rest of the fleet were brought in on a band of wind from Clynder. The boats rounded G in reverse of the order in which they arrived.
At the start of the beat to D, north of Clynder, there was the problem of getting clear air. Zoe and Thalia went right, Catriona left and Iris took a middle course. On the approach to D, it seemed Iris was in front with Catriona on terms. Zoe and Thalia doing well to the right. Catriona avoided cover from Iris and stayed out as long as possible before the final tack in to D. Usually the best tactic in fluky wind off the Clynder shore. Not tonight.
Thalia narrowly missed an inside overlap on Iris. Zoe was close behind. Catriona found herself beating to D against the tide with little wind.
Off wind to the finish, Iris kept her lead. Zoe got past Thalia.

1 Iris, 2 Zoe, 3 Thalia, 4 Catriona, 5 Hermes, 6 Thia.

Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous, 3 Mealista
Sonars, 1 Grouse, 2 Charlotte, 3 Nona, 4 Jamie. Wombat DNF.

Ashore, Thalia said to Catriona ‘Don’t you sometimes hate Iris?’ ‘No’ said Catriona. ‘I hate her all the time.’

Sunday 8th July

A day of light and changeable wind. Satisfying for those at the front, who get it right (or are lucky), frustrating for those who don’t.
On the water race officer Gordon Mucklow set a long course, visiting most of the marks including those at the north end of the racing area. It was optimistic, but we all finished well within the time limit.
Iris and Catriona gave their crews the helm. Catriona started a bit late and set off across the Loch to Clynder in a streak of wind which was lighter than the others had found and which headed her badly. She tacked to join them and took her medicine. Luck then favoured her as she slotted into her own band of wind which took her nearly to C and in front of Iris. The air lightened as the leader approached G, on the Shandon shore. The Gareloch treated all equally, though. A beat to E, off Rahane, next. There were good and bad places to be. Thalia rounded E comfortably ahead of Iris. The water was glassy but there was wind. An irritated Iris got the place back offwind to F, by Shandon Church.
Catriona, beating away from F on port got a little close to Thalia, running in on starboard, and was obliged to do some turns. This gave great but short-lived encouragement to Iris. Catriona found some good pressure beating back across the Loch to D and kept her place.
Fluky wind to the finish was again the same for everyone.

1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes.

Tuesday 10th July

A strong and steady wind. The Garelochs are not happy if its any stronger.
Race Officer Luke Dicken set a long course, starting with a beat to E, off Rahane. A shore end start required, Iris got it just right followed by Zoe Teal and Catriona. On the first tack across the loch, Iris established a commanding lead which she was never to loose. She goes well in strong wind. Not for the first time, Catriona found herself to leeward of the fleet, headed and getting nowhere. She tacked to join the fray behind Iris, Zoe and Teal. At E, Iris was well clear, Catriona had passed Teal and was on terms with Zoe.
No places changed offwind to gybe mark F or on the run back to the line. Catriona, though, established an inside overlap on Zoe at the mark bounding the end of the first round and the beginning of the next. She held this to reach A, off the club, in second place. Iris had stretched her lead here by keeping the spinnaker but amused us with some spectacular broaching when it came to the drop.
Shortly after A, there was a collision between the second and third placed boats. No one hurt, which is always a relief when the wind is strong. Zoe did turns which let Teal into third. Zoe had her place back by the end of the beat, though. The order at the line was:-

1 Iris (to take the series), 2 Catriona, 3 Zoe, 4 Teal, 5 Hermes. Thalia suffered a broken shroud and retired.

Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Mealista, Pompous DNF.
Sonars, 1 Nona, 2 Grouse, 3 Charlotte.

Tuesday 17th July

A good steady breeze, blowing from the Clynder shore. Race officer Charles Darley set a course beginning with a beat to B, off Silvers, offwind to G on the Shandon Shore, beat to C at Clynder and reach back.
Iris was at the pin end of the line with boatspeed at the gun. She gained an early lead. Of much more interest was Ceres, racing for the first time with her new owners Neil and Margaret Isaacs, in a solid second place. She kept it on the beat to B, on the run to G (notwithstanding a fumble with the spinnaker) and on the beat to C.
Reaching back to the line, Iris’s spinnaker had collapsed and the boats still beating to C were moving slowly. As so often on evenings in the Gareloch, all wind died away. Teal, it seemed, had taken second place from Ceres. Iris was being carried the wrong side of the finishing mark by the ebb tide. Teal lost momentum. Ceres had positioned herself strategically to avoid being carried past the mark. Hermes caught a breath at the key moment.

1 Hermes, 2 (a superb and well deserved result) Ceres, 3 Iris, 4 Thia, 5 Teal.

No Pipers or Sonars.

Sunday 22nd July

No wind as we left the moorings. As is the way with the Gareloch, various zephyrs came in from different directions. What had seemed a good course looked as if it might end up with no beats and no spinnaker legs.
The wind died just before the start and Catriona, more by luck than judgement, got away first followed by Athene, Thalia, Hermes and Ceres. What was to have been a spinnaker leg to A became a fine reach. Catriona kept her place on the next reach to C, off Clynder, with Athene close. The leg back to the line started fine. The wind veered to allow spinnakers. Catriona found a small hole, Athene kept her momentum to pass to windward. Catriona fell back further when Athene found her own lift away from the line on what was now a beat to A.
By C they were close again and Catriona did to Athene what had been done to her. The wind conditions and very slick spinnaker handling allowed Athene to make the same move back.

1 Athene, 2 Catriona, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes. Ceres DNF

Tuesday 24th July

Race officer Fraser Noble did his best with the fickle Gareloch wind. The course was changed before the start to give a beat to C, off Clynder. It began as a fetch but veering wind made it a beat again.
The start would always be awkward because of the strong pin end bias. Iris was in front but lacked boatspeed and had to bear away a little. Athene, behind, was better placed. Catriona, behind Athene, was condemned to dirty wind. Iris played the shifts to establish an early lead.
The nature of the beat changed radically when a good wind came in from the right, putting those who had gone low to start with in the lead. Ceres was first at C.
The next leg was a reach to G, on the Shandon shore. The boats bunched and there was much confusion at the mark. Catriona, who had not had a happy beat, watched from the stalls and benefited from a clean rounding.
On the beat to D, it seemed that the right side paid, at least to start with. Iris suffered the embarrassment of being passed to windward by Catriona whilst Athene, to leeward, got the overlap at the mark.
The wind died on the way to the finish, which always makes those at the front nervous. This time, though, the Gareloch was even handed.

1 Catriona, 2 Athene, 3 Iris, 4 Teal, 5 Thalia, 6 Hermes, 7 Ceres, 8 Thia.

Pipers, 1 Pompous, 2 Mealista. No Sonars.

Gareloch Worlds – 28th to 29th July

The format of the event has changed a little. It used to be a three race series, now it is five. The plan was for two races on Saturday morning, one in the afternoon and two on sunday morning.
The first race started in a good blow. Race Officer Mike Henry positioned committee vessel Tegwynt off the A mark and sent us on a sausage course to D, off Clynder. Such was the Gareloch wind that it was barely possible to lay the pin from the committee boat end of the line. Iris and Zoe tried it to get a Starboard tack start. It cost them boatspeed. Catriona, Athene and others opted for a port tack start at the pin. There was much shouting of starboard from Iris but to no purpose. Catriona was well clear and got by far the best start.
It was Iris’s kind of wind, though. Blowing. She was soon out from under and steadily increased her lead. Catriona, well back, was a firm second until the second time to the windward mark, when Zoe did well up the Clynder shore and got close.
Further back, Teal took two places by observing spinnaker trouble on other boats (in the now strong wind) and not hoisting hers.

1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Zoe, 4 Athene, 5 Thalia, 6 Teal, 7 Thia, 8 Ceres, Hermes DNF.

By now, it was gusting very strongly indeed. We opted for an early lunch and to postpone the second race.
A good decision. The wind had moderated for the afternoon.
Iris and Catriona were both over early for the second start. As they gybed round, Zoe, Thalia and Athene got away. Catriona kept loose cover on Iris and in the lighter wind, did better.
Zoe and Thalia were round the windward mark first. Downwind, Thalia went too far left which let Catriona and Iris through. Zoe was not to be caught. Except, she failed to spot the shortened course and left the pin on the wrong hand.

1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Thalia, 4 Athene, 5 Zoe, 6 Ceres, 7 Teal, 8 Hermes, 9 Thia.

Mike Henry found time for a third race in the afternoon. The same course. Again, Catriona was over early. She gybed round to get a good view of the port tack starters trying to find slots. There was much shouting.
By the time Catriona started, Iris, Zoe, Athene and Thalia were well away. On the long beat, Thalia found unfavourable air to lose fourth. Athene fell into a hole on the Clynder shore which let Catriona past. Catriona, having given up hope of first or second, Iris and Zoe were barely in sight, stayed with Athene to safeguard third. There was a superb lift up the Clynder shore which brought the two back into contention. Catriona crossed Zoe and was close to Iris. Downwind, Zoe found a streak of pressure near the shore and took the lead from Iris. The three were close approaching the line to finish. Catriona had gone to windward of Iris but had insufficient space to go below Zoe, who luffed.

1 Iris, 2 Zoe, 3 Catriona, 4 Athene, 5 Teal, 6 Hermes, 7 Thalia, 8 Ceres, 9 Thia.

With two races to go, Iris has a two point lead over Catriona, Zoe and Athene four points and six points further back.

Gareloch Worlds – 28th to 29th July

A superb barbeque on Saturday evening, hosted by Peter and Francoise Proctor. Michael Curley, of The Buffet Shop, very kindly provided food. Iris’s helm, two points clear, was upbeat. Catriona’s knew it was still possible, but would not be easy.
Similar courses to Saturday, started from Tegwynt at the A mark. Race Officer Terrence Brownrigg sent us to E, off Rahane. Still a pin end bias. Catriona, Teal and Athene all got it about right, going fast towards the pin. Iris, conscious of the risk, held back and got a clean start but further back. Catriona covered Iris and was in control for the first part of the beat. She was distracted, though, by a well placed Zoe off towards the Clynder shore. She tacked back to stay on top of Iris but had dropped back a little and would have come out worst in the port/starboard. She tacked below Iris and the two sailed halfway across the loch overlapped. Catriona inside for the mark rounding.
Offwind, Iris went high to try and get on Catriona’s air. For a long time, it didn’t work. Finally, she caught Catriona napping and got on top. Catriona had a messy gybe and lost the place.
Athene, meanwhile, had kept Zoe at bay with nifty spinnaker work. Ceres did not spot the shortened course and left the finishing mark on the wrong hand.

1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Athene, 4 Zoe, 5 Teal, 6 Thalia, 7 Hermes, 8 Thia, Ceres DNF.
For the second race of the morning, we were sent to D, a little less far up the Clynder shore. There was a stramash between the starboard tack starters, who could not lay the pin, and the port tackers. This time Athene caught Catriona, who did turns. Iris, also on port, was more fortunate.

The fleet tended to the right side of the course, seeking a lift on the Shandon shore. Iris was soon leading. Also in contention were Teal, Zoe and Athene. Thia was well placed in the middle.
Catriona had nothing to lose and sought a lift on the Clynder shore, such as she found on Saturday. It was miserable going in, with light air and big headers. That, though, means big lifts on the tack up the loch. It paid again and she was second at the windward mark. This time, the boats were not close enough for there to be much changing of places downwind.

1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Teal, 4 Zoe, 5 Athene, 6 Thalia, 7 Ceres, 8 Hermes, Thia made the same mistake as Ceres in the earlier race and DNF.

The overall result of the championship, the points shown in brackets:- 1 Iris (6), 2 Catriona (10), 3 Zoe (18), 4 Athene (20), 5 Teal (24), 6 Thalia (27), 7 Ceres (39), 8 Hermes (39), 9 Thia (43).

Tuesday 31st July

There was wind, plenty of it in places. The art was in predicting where it might be and in which direction it might be blowing. Often, the sails and the racing flag had different opinions.
Race officer Don MacLean sent us on a beat to B, off Silvers, across the loch to G, back across to C and thence to the finish.
In the pre-start manoeuvres, Thia found the ripples of shingle at Gully Bridge and watched the race from there. No damage done.
With strong pin end bias on the line there was the usual conflict between the luffers and the bargers. Thalia was in position to close the door but was early. She began to luff Catriona but had to bear away to delay her approach. Iris went below. By the time Thalia came up again, she was close hauled and in Catriona’s wind shadow. A good start from Catriona, with Iris nowhere.
The beat to B was a frustration. Zoe and Teal found wind towards the narrows and were at B early. Athene and Iris used a streak of wind further up the loch. Others cursed their luck.
Offwind to G, some boats set spinnakers but quickly dropped them in the 180 degree wind shifts. Athene, Catriona and Teal went right and found better (or less bad) air than the others who stayed in the middle. Athene and Catriona were at G first, by now leading the Pipers as well.
There was wind on the beat to C. Problems were finding it and keeping boatspeed in the spectacularly large shifts. Catriona worked hard and had no bad luck. She rounded C before the wind deteriorated further and delayed the rest.
A reach to the finish. On a night such as this, the leader is apt to fall into a hole which others sail around. Not this night. At the line, Catriona needed binoculars to watch the fleet. Hermes was best placed, Iris out of it. She was up the loch in no wind with the tide now flooding and carrying her away from the line. A last minute streak of pressure brought her up and she pipped Hermes.

1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Hermes, 4 Thalia, 5 Athene, 6 Teal, 7 Ceres, 8 Zoe. Thia DNS.

Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous, 3 Mealista.

Sunday 5th August

There was rain but no wind. Five of us ghosted to the starting area. We became optimistic for a few minutes. By the end of the starting sequence, all suggestion of a breath of air had gone.

We paddled back for a ginger beer.

Tuesday 7th August

The evening started with strong wind. Iris thought it was too much to race and didnt go out. Catriona was moved by example. Thia and Ceres had gone out to rig but thought better of it. That left Thalia and Hermes, who had a superb race in the moderating wind.

1 Thalia, 2 Hermes.

Pipers, 1 Pompous, 2 Mealista.

Crews Race – Thursday 9th August

Changeable wind, such as the Gareloch often produces. There were areas to avoid, but no deep holes.
Race Officer Denis Jackson set a course zig zagging across the Loch, begining with a beat to B, off Silvers. Athene and Zoe got away well and were at B early. Hermes was well placed too. The others struggling in the changing air.
Downwind to G, on the Shandon shore, spinnakers had to be nursed to stay full. A chance for crews to shout at their regular skippers. Athene established a large lead. Zoe, Iris and Catriona were close together. Zoe got round well. Catriona had an inside overlap on Iris but made a wide rounding. Iris got the better of her on the beat.
The last leg to the finish was a little fine for spinnakers to be decisive. Those who set them caught a little, but could not pass.

1 Athene, Elizabeth, Laura and Simon Jackson. 2 Zoe, Jean Mackay. 3 Iris, Jim Chapman. 4 Catriona, Jennifer Darley. 5 Thalia, Francoise Proctor, 6 Teal, Mirriam Sutter. 7 Hermes, Jimmy Rowe. 8 Ceres, Margaret Isaacs DNF.

Sunday 12th August

A good wind in the morning died away as the rain came on. It was with no great enthusiasm that on the water Race Officer Simon Jackson set a sausage course across the Loch to H, off the middle of Clynder, and back. It picked up, though. Holes filled in and it was possible, with care, to keep moving on the beat to H.
Iris had part owner Michael Henderson on the helm and got the best start from the inevitably biased line. Catriona was just ahead of Athene. Iris kept her lead dispite the fluky wind. She rounded A ahead of Catriona, who lost time with the spinnaker by having a narrow squeak with Hermes who was beating up to the mark on starboard. Athene was round third.
The shifts which had kept the helms alert upwind did the same downwind for the spinnaker hands. Catriona could not break through to windward of Iris and left it too late to get an inside overlap to leeward. Iris, keen to make sure, kept her spinnaker a little too late and touched the mark. The 360 let Catriona past. She in turn did her best to give a place to Athene by making a mess of passing a moored boat. When Iris next crossed tacks with them, she was just behind Catriona and just in front of Athene.
Iris went left, Athene tacked to follow so as to clear her air from Catriona, who carried on to the right. She gambled on chasing rippled water rather than covering. It paid and she rounded H for the second time as a lull set in which left Iris and Athene struggling against the tide.
Thia and Ceres (with guest helm John Blackie) had a miserable time here, beating against the tide in light air.
The order was now set. Wind both filled in and veered to make the last round a reach in both directions. The only further occurence of note was Iris’s regular skipper standing at the shrouds, in that photogenic way, to play the spinnaker. His veneer of professionalism rubbed through when he later lowered it into the water.

1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Athene, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes, 5 Thia, 6 Ceres.

Visit to Bridlington 17th to 19th August

The Gareloch class were guests over the weekend of the Yorkshire One Design at the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club in Bridlington.
The YODs fight it out with the Howth 17 footers over which is the oldest one design keel boat. The YOD have, though, changed their rig from gunter to bermudian.
Photographs which you might have seen of YODs make them look a little like a Gareloch. The distinctive view, not usually photographed, is from the back. The transom is a small triangle. The hull is wide and very dished. These are heavy and stiff boats and they need to be. They live in floating cradles in the harbour at Bridlington. This dries out and the cradles hold them upright in the mud. We raced over a tide. Once out, we could not get back in.
There were instructions on how to beat out of the harbour. A very different experience. From the cradle to the harbour mouth, the racing flag showed a broad reach. The sails flapped randomly as, in the lee of the south harbour wall, wind bounced off buildings. In an instant, the boat was hit by a force 4 to 5 and a big swell when it passed the end of the south wall. Harden up towards the north wall at the other side of the narrow entrance, tack close to it as you dare and hope that you would now clear the south wall. If a second tack is needed, you are liable to be knocked back by the swell and not make it.
Six races on the Saturday with another three planned for Sunday. The swell was our undoing. We had the tactics and generally started well. The home team could keep the boats going just a little faster because we don’t get the practice at that kind of sailing. We also had trouble finding the marks. No land was visible beyond them for reference and they disappeared in the troughs. The home team were often seen to change course when they spotted a mark.
As we mud hopped back up the harbour on Saturday evening, the score was 4 to 2 against us with The Convenor holding the record for the most 360s.
Superb dinner in the club on Saturday night, marred only by the thought of being aboard at 7.30 on Sunday. The tide again.
If it had been the Gareloch, there would have been enough breeze to race. There, though, the swell knocked all wind out of the sails before it could do any good. We waited for two hours and called it a day.

Tuesday 21st August

Little wind. There was paddling to the start. Race Officer Simon Jackson set a short course up and down the Shandon shore. A fine reaching start. Athene, Iris and Catriona were well placed. Athene was just a little early and was luffed away from the pin by Catriona. That cost her boatspeed. Iris was to windward with a clean start but in less good air. Zoe to leeward with better wind but more adverse tide and some wind shadow.
Catriona edged out a small lead from Iris who was also clear ahead of the pack. These two got away as the fleet had multiple overlaps at the mark in dying wind.
Catriona benefited from being round first and established a big lead on the spinnaker leg to A, off the club. A beat back to the finish with risk of finding a hole inshore or being caught further out with light air and an adverse tide. Staying out worked, there was always a breath.
Positions in the rest of the fleet depended on the complex set of overlaps approaching A.

1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Zoe, 4 Athene, 5 Thalia, 6 Hermes, 7 Ceres. Teal DNF.

Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous, 3 Mealista.
Sonars, 1 Nona, 2 Grouse, 3 614, Charlotte and Jamie DNF.

Visit from Freundeskreis Klassische Yachten – 24th to 26th August

Over the weekend 25th to 26th we were visited by the Freundeskreis Klassische Yachten for team racing. There were five races, three on Saturday and two on Sunday morning. Good wind for all of them, although a little light and fluky for the first one.
Gareloch helms cannot sail their own boats, of course. Some felt that sailing someone else’s Gareloch was more different than sailing a Howth 17 or a YOD. Nevertheless, the home team had a strong advantage and took the first two races. The visitors had opted to use spinnakers which must also have helped us.
By now, the wind had strengthened so that there was a reluctance to get the boats near to each other. Sailing for boat speed was more to the fore than close team racing tactics. Enno Thyen and Wilfried Horns had been showing form all along. In the third race they got the first two places and we tied on points.
No one hurt themselves at the dinner on Saturday evening and we were bright eyed and bushy tailed as we boarded on Sunday morning. It was a fresh breeze, so that it was decided not to use spinnakers. The home team took these races although Enno in particular pushed us hard.
At the lunch, The Convenor was presented with the DRT trophy. A Viking ship in a bottle, which would have pleased David Ryder-Turner, who instigated this event.
In the afternoon, some visitors went to look at flowers whilst the hard core had a sail around the sugar ship. Enno took the helm of John Blackie’s Maid of Lorn. In a strong blow with some sea, she goes very well. It appears she has about the same pace as a Gareloch.

A superb weekend. Do not miss the return match in Germany.

Tuesday 28th August

The last Tuesday evening race of the season. At least the Sundays continue through September.
In a good breeze, we were sent on a beat to D, north of Clynder. The line had shore end bias. The technique is to reach in on port and tack at the last moment. Only one boat (Iris) can have pole position. Thalia and Zoe were close. Teal was below them. Catriona was a little later reaching in, had to duck the leaders, but was in clear wind when she tacked and not too late.
It seemed the Clynder shore was the place to be. Iris, leading, tacked first. Catriona, then Zoe tacked nearer the shore. Zoe benefited most and was leading at D. Catriona second. Iris, after persistent headers, third. Teal went in as well and made up ground to be a close fourth. Thalia and Athene stayed out and paid.
Offwind, Zoe kept her place. Iris was slicker with the spinnaker than Teal and resisted the challenge.

1 Zoe, 2 Catriona, 3 Iris, 4 Teal, 5 Thalia, 6 Athene, 7 Hermes, 8 Thia, 9 Ceres.

Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous, 3 Mealista. Sonars, 1 Grouse, 2 Nona, 3 Jamie, 4 Charlotte.

Dog Race – Saturday 1st September

The annual dog race was held on 1st September. This year, there was a new trophy, The Dougal Henry Memorial Dog Bowl.
The rules, as you might imagine, are complex. In essence, each boat has 5s of time deducted for each inch of dog. Catriona, being without a dog, secured from the Race Officer, Mike Henry, a half allowance for a cat called Percy. Catriona was thwarted, though. The distaff side forbade the cat to sail.
The start was a shambles. More so than we thought at the time. Catriona, suffering dirty wind, found that she could not clear the committee boat (Vagrant of Clyde, just back from sailing round the world) on starboard and put in a very risky tack. Blanketed again when she tacked back, she brushed Vagrant’s forestay with her main. Hermes said she was interfered with by Thalia. Only Iris and Zoe got away promptly.
Catriona, well behind after her penalty, tried a flyer up the Clynder shore. It did not pay. Iris and Zoe, meanwile, were half a leg ahead and fighting hard for the lead. Athene and Hermes also in contention. We completed two rounds.
At the fancy dress barbeque (Pirates) assistant Race Officer David du Boulay carried a flag X. A reference to Iris being over early at the start and making only a half hearted effort to return. Mike Henry read the results:-

1 Zoe, Ziggy; 2 Athene, half allowance for an artificial alligator; 3 Hermes, Milton; 4 Teal; 5 Thalia; 6 Catriona; 7 Thia; 8 Ceres. Iris OCS.

In the Fancy Dress competition, David du Boulay just sneaked a win from Mike Henry by carrying the flag. Denis Jackson, defending his title from last year, had a fine flintlock pistol, but it was not enough. Worthy of special mention were Roger Kinns (ear ring), Sue Mucklow (authenticity), Jean Mackay (pigtails) and Gordon Mucklow (appalling).
All present drank bubbly from the Dougal Henry Memorial Dog Bowl, which is to be engraved with the names of Zoe and Ziggy.

Armstrong Trophy – Sunday 2nd September

Iris had broken a cross tree during the dog race and stayed on her mooring. Catriona, Thalia, Athene and Hermes came to the starting line. On the water Race Officer Peter Proctor set a course with a long beat to E, off Rahane, reach to F, off Shandon Church and back. There was time for two rounds.
Catriona started well at the favoured shore end and began to cover Athene. There was some changeable wind and it was close at E. Athene would never get through on the reach to F but back to the start was downwind. The yellow boat tried very hard but Catriona kept her wind clear enough to round first. She was able to keep on top of Athene (who took to the Shandon shore) for the next beat. Thalia, meanwhile, went for the Clynder shore and prospered. It was down to the chance of the lifts and headers that she was crossed by Catriona when they next met. There was enough of a lead for Catriona to keep her air clear down wind to the finish.

1 Catriona, 2 Athene, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes.

Sunday 9th September

Iris again remained on her mooring with the cross tree still missing.
It was a stiff breeze as we assembled at the end of the jetty. On the water Race Officer Peter Proctor nominated the same course as the previous Sunday. Beat to E, off Rahane, F at Shandon Church and back. Five Garelochs set out, Teal with a reef. She had weans aboard, though. It was a little too much for them so she didn’t race. That left Catriona, Thalia, Hermes and Zoe. A fairly true line, so that we spread out to begin with. Catriona got her nose in front and kept cover on Zoe, who was close. A hole at E, the wind was blowing over the hill, separated the two further. Thalia had gone to the Clynder shore early and was set back.
The breeze filled in to help Zoe round E and she was in contention on the run to F. The wind was on the beam from F to the line and it was gusty. Catriona broached and felt it was safer to drop the spinnaker. Zoe was able to hold hers and passed to leeward to take the lead.
The two were still close for the second round. After hardening up at the leeward mark, Catriona was pinned by Zoe. She tacked away and was not closely covered. She had retaken the lead at the end of the beat and wondered why Zoe did not set a spinnaker downwind. It turned out there had been a minor gear failure in those gusts.

1 Catriona, 2 Zoe, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes.

Sunday 16th September

The Garelochs have many friends throughout the world. Today they counted the weather as one of them. A miserable morning, very wet with no wind. As we went out to rig, the rain had eased but still no wind. That filled in as we sailed to the starting area.
On the water Race Officer Peter Proctor set a course with a beat to D, north of Clynder. Catriona (with Dione’s owner, Adam Rodger on the helm) correctly chose to start at the inshore end and crossed ahead of the others. She opted to cover Thalia and the pair sailed out to the middle. Hermes and Thia had gone up the Shandon shore and it paid handsomely. Hermes led on the tack in to D, Thia just behind was caught in Catriona’s wind and dropped back a little.
Adam avoided being luffed and established the inside overlap to round first from Hermes and Thalia. Downwind, setting a spinnaker paid although it required concentration in the gusts. Catriona pulled away and Thalia got past Hermes.
At the leeward mark, Catriona tacked at once to benefit from the better wind on the Shandon shore. Thalia ignored the experience of the first round. She lost her second place by hardening up towards the Clynder shore. When she came back, she was crossed by both Hermes and Thia. She was able to regain the position downwind to the finish.

1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Hermes, 4 Thia.

Sunday 23rd September

In a good but shifty breeze, on the water Race Officer Peter Proctor sent us on a beat to B, off Silvers. Helming Catriona was Graeme Walker, who started well and kept Thalia (Roger Kinns) at bay as the pair crossed towards the Clynder shore. Ceres and Hermes had their own duel going down the Shandon shore.
Catriona failed to keep tight cover on Thalia, who was able to tack onto starboard and cross ahead. Catriona stood on and regained the place when the two next crossed.
Downwind to G, Catriona kept the lead but was worried by Thalia, who always seemed to be gaining on better pressure from the narrows. Ceres and Hermes found that the Shandon shore had not paid.
There was potential for changes of place because of shifting wind on the beat back across to C. Catriona kept the lead, though. Thalia gained a little on the second round, but not enough to cause concern.

1 Catriona (Graeme’s first time in a Gareloch), 2 Thalia, 3 Ceres, 4 Hermes.

Sunday 30th September

After four good races in the series, we ran out of luck. Catriona, Thalia and Thia ghosted towards the starting area before having to admit there was no wind for racing. We were towed home by Maid of Lorn, who had been out for lunch with her engine.

Thats all folks, see you next season!