Tuesday 28th April
For six Garelochs, the sanding and painting were over and the racing began. The wind gave us more of a work out than we should have liked on our first outing.
Race Officer Andrew Nicholson started us with a broad reach to D, between Clynder and Rahane. A spinnaker leg. Wind was gusty and backed in the gusts. Rusty crew on Catriona entertained with several spectacular broaches. Having made a poor start, that did not help.
Teal led the way, Iris with a strong crew was second. Thalia had trouble with her spinnaker and fell back. Hermes wisely kept her kite below deck and was showing strongly. Thia had not started well and was a little off the pace.
At D, the fleet hardened up for a beat across the loch to G. Iris and then Catriona were able to get by Teal. Hermes fell into the clutches of Thalia, Goddess of Comedy. She didn’t think it was funny.
After an uneventful reach back to the starting area, the second round took us to B, off Silvers. A leg more amenable to spinnakers. Iris had broken her pole and went without. Catriona and Teal caught up only a little. Both wisely dropped their kites for the reach up the Clynder shore to C.
Try as she might, Catriona could not get close to Iris on the beat to the finish. Wind off the Shandon shore is usually fluky and the air around the line was especially variable. Having seen chances against Iris disappear, Catriona was suddenly obliged to defend against Teal. No places changed though.
1. Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Teal, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes, 6 Thia.
Sonars 1 Grouse 2 Jamie,3 Nona,4 Charlotte.
Sunday 3rd May
A bright, sunny, windy day. Indeed Hermes wondered whether it was too windy to race. It wasn’t and we enjoyed the afternoon.
Race Officer David Du Boulay set a long course beginning with a beat to E, off Rahane. Catriona learned from her poor start on Tuesday. She was a little early but forced Iris below her and maintained cover. Hermes took to the Clynder shore early. Not fast.
On the offwind legs across the loch to F, off Shandon Church, back to the start and, beginning the second round to A, off the club, no one was inclined to set a spinnaker. Catriona maintained her lead and covered Iris. In a tacking duel near the Clynder shore, Iris cleverly tacked so that Catriona had to pinch to clear a moored boat. She broke free and could not be caught. Iris likes heavy air. Catriona tried a spinnaker on the last leg and it worked. Iris responded, though.
1 Iris, 2 Cartriona, 3 Hermes.
Tuesday 5th May
The wind in the Gareloch is rarely as we would choose it. Often there is too little. This evening, there was too much. No race.
Sunday 10th May
The start was delayed because Zoe had the B mark aboard and went to replace it.
On the water Race Officer Ufo Sutter sent us on a long course zig zagging across the loch. More by luck than judgement, Catriona was able to get on top of Iris as they were beating along a very biassed line for a pin end start.
The G mark, on the Shandon shore, was next to a moored yacht and hard to spot. The owner of the yacht, in a rubber dinghy, came to tell us how the mark had drifted and tangled with his mooring. We were, each of us in turn, preoccupied with dropping spinnakers and hardening up for the next beat so that we didn’t stop. He must have thought us very rude. When Hermes rounded in fifth, he had given up.
Catriona led for four of the six legs but found some light air on the fifth which allowed Iris past. Her position was almost restored at the start of the sixth, when Iris slowed in light air.
Zoe and Thalia fought over third. Zoe just getting the better of it at the finish. Hermes, having trouble with her halyards, was a little way back.
1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Zoe, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes.
Tuesday 12th May
For the spring points series, the Garelochs and Pipers are (experimentally) racing each other with no time handicap. The Pipers are using smaller jibs to make the boats more even. This evening was the first when the Pipers were out (no race last week). It was strong and gusting wind, which suited Pipers better than Garelochs.
The wind was off the Shandon shore, so that Race Officer Chris Roddis was not able to give us a start to windward. We had a reach to A, off the club. Teal was fighting with Pompous and got the better start. Teal was to leeward, though, and had been passed at the mark. Catriona saw Iris as the threat and delayed both their starts so as to be ahead of her. Iris broke a spreader and had to retire.
Offwind to D, between Clynder and Rahane water lapped over the counters, a sign of maximum boat speed. Spinnakers were not set. Catriona was able to edge to windward of Teal.
The beat was from D back to the start. Pipers Pompous and Suilven established a clear lead. Curlew (Piper) got by Teal.
We were sent on three rounds. Fortunes changed on the third. Catriona tried her spinnaker from A to D. Wind had moderated a little but was still too much. She did not gain. Pompous lost the lead to Suilven (who is usually strong), Thalia dropped a place to Hermes and Thia lost out to both Hermes and Zoe. We all felt we had had a workout.
1 Suilven, 2 Pompous, 3 Catriona, 4 Curlew, 5 Teal, 6 Hermes, 7 Thalia, 8 Zoe, 9 Thia.
Sonars, 451, Jamie, Charlotte, Nona.
Sunday 17th May
Iris was still suffering from a broken spreader so only four of us competed.
With good wind from the south east, on the water race officer Charles Darley set a course begining with a fetch to A, off the club. Run to D, north of Clynder and beat back. Perhaps being pre-occupied with timing, he was caught out in a port/starboard with Hermes near the line and obliged to take penalty turns. Hermes also took a penalty (she didn’t need to) having fouled Zoe as a result of avoiding Catriona.
All this let Zoe away. She led on the first run and Catriona could make no impression on the beat back. On the second round, Zoe did not set a spinnaker, having damaged a fitting on her pole the first time. This let Catriona catch up sufficiently to be in contention. The two battled hard on the last beat. Eventually, Catriona was able to cross on starboard and establish cover.
1 Catriona, 2 Zoe, 3 Hermes. Ceres (her first race of the season and a shakedown) DNF.
Tuesday 19th May
The Garelochs and Pipers are racing in the same series. This, Iris having retired last week and there being no discards has complicated things. The Pipers did not race on the first Tuesday, so that they all carry a large number of points and are unlikely to win. Except for Pompous. Her owner was Race Officer on the first night, so she gets the average of her points for the other races. The only other contender was Catriona.
Catriona was keen to cover Pompous, which she did. Iris got away well and was comfortably in front. At the first off wind leg, we were to round G, on the Shandon shore, for a beat across the loch to Clynder. Iris rounded a mooring instead of the G mark and the boats close behind, Suilven, Catriona, Pompous, Teal and Thalia followed. Catriona spotted the error and went back, which prompted Suilven. The second wave, Curlew, Hermes and Thia saw what had happened and rounded the correct mark.
At the front, Iris was unable to keep Pompous at bay. The Pipers were still a little faster in tonight’s wind. Force 4 perhaps, not quite enough to keep the lee decks wet.
Catriona tried to keep cover on Suilven in the battle for first place. She did not stay close enough and eventually Suilven broke through. Meanwhile, Curlew was undisturbed and able to sail faster in better air. She crossed both Catriona (by a margin) and Suilven. Suilven got the place back but Catriona was helpless. Indeed Thalia got in front for the last but one leg of the last round. Catriona re-passed with the help of difficulties with the spinnaker on Thalia.
1 Suilven, 2 Curlew, 3 Catriona, 4 Hermes, 5 Thia. Pompous, Iris, Teal and Thalia retired.
Sonars, 1 451, 2 Charlotte, 3 Jamie, 4 Nona.
Sunday 24th May
On the water Race Officer Peter Proctor set a course beginning with a beat to B, off silvers. The old adversaries Iris and Catriona tangled with each other and went left, down the Shandon shore. Hermes and Thalia tacked across the loch into better wind.
Iris got the better of Catriona and the two were never close again. Hermes led at B, from Iris, Thalia and Catriona.
The run was trying, with variable wind and, it seemed, light air in the middle. Iris got across to the Shandon shore early and it paid. Catriona kept left and got past Thalia and Hermes.
A fetch to C looked straightforward to start with but lack of wind on the Clynder shore gave hope to those behind. Iris was being swept left on the tide so Catriona went right. Thalia went left and found a streak of wind which promoted her to second. In the battle to round the mark on whatever breaths of air there were, she dropped back to third.
The final leg had every point of sailing on it. It did not suit Catriona, who found a hole whilst Hermes and Thalia found a line of pressure.
1 Iris, 2 Hermes, 3 Thalia, 4 Catriona.
Tuesday 26th May
The Race Officer was missing this evening so that Gordon Mucklow started us on the water.
This was the last race of the spring points and the end, for now, of Garelochs and Pipers racing each other. Catriona was in a strong position. Suilven was in with a shout. She needed to get two or more boats between herself and Catriona. With good wind, Pipers had been dominant in the last few races so that Catriona saw the risk. As it was, the wind was very variable and light in a lot of places. Suilven had no crew and stayed on her mooring.
Pompous got a good start on port tack and crossed Catriona reaching along the line on starboard. Iris went left with Pompous for the beat across the loch to Clynder.
There were large wind shifts and streaks of pressure. It was hard to know who was in front. A boat might be crossing 100m ahead on the opposite tack but huge headers and lifts meant it was an illusion. Catriona managed to tack on top of Iris towards the Clynder shore. Iris tacked in to the shore to clear her air and stopped. Thalia and Pompous were now well up the loch and in the middle but somehow not looking strong. Catriona and Iris battled the random pattern of pressure around the C mark. Wind dying after a gust and also lifting is particularly difficult. Sails flap but bearing away is he wrong thing to do.
Catriona led downwind to Shandon. Better air from behind brought up the chasing pack.
Next, a beat to D, north of Clynder. We all knew what to expect. Teal deliberately stayed out and it paid. She was second and overlapped outside Catriona at D. Downwind to the finish needed concentration but no places changed at the front.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Iris, 4 Thalia, 5 Pompous, 6 Hermes, 7 Curlew.
Sunday 31st May
Wonderful weather, but you cannot please all the people all the time. Sailors wanted a little more wind.
Four of us milled around and discussed the possibilities for a course. A good beat was to B, off Silvers, but no wind could be seen on the Clynder shore. Eventually, on the water race officer Charles Darley made an executive decision. One of the longer courses risking the Clynder shore. It turned out alright. There were holes but we were always moving and there were some good patches of pressure.
Catriona was determined to cover Iris. When Iris tacked out early, Catriona followed leaving Thalia to the favoured Shandon shore. Iris seemed to be ahead of Catriona but was further out in the loch where the wind was less good and the tide more adverse. Thalia led round B from Catriona, Iris and Hermes. Hermes suffered from a faulty clip on her spinnaker halyard which was lost up the mast. With no spinnaker and faced with a long run to G in light air, she went home.
Catriona kept her spinnaker full more of the time than Thalia and had the lead at G, on the Shandon shore. There was variable wind on the fetch to C, at Clynder, but no places changed. Another fetch back to the line. Thalia was not concentrating and let Iris through to windward.
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Thalia. Hermes DNF.
Tuesday 2nd June
What a superb evening. Bright sun and plenty of wind. It would be churlish to complain that its direction was variable.
Race Officer Tim Henderson set a course beginning with a beat up the Shandon shore. By the time we started, it was a run. There were holes and strong gusts from behind brought up the back markers. An opportunity at the G mark to put into practice the new three boat length zone. There were many boats overlapped.
For the fine reach to C, at Clynder, Hermes got away well and was tangling with Pipers. Iris appeared to be passing to windward of Catriona, but wind shifts and Zoe put paid to that.
The leg from C to A, off the club, had become the beat. Iris did well in the shifts and ducked close behind Catriona. Catriona tacked to cover, got a jib sheet stuck and blew it. Rather than fall into Iris’s dirty wind, she tacked away to the Shandon shore. Iris, convinced that was the wrong move, stood on. When the two crossed tacks again, Iris needed binoculars to see Catriona in front. Hermes was between them.
A run back through the start and to G for the second round. Iris set a spinnaker, not easy to handle in the gusty changeable wind, and pushed past Hermes. She tried to gybe it at G and keep it for the reach to C. Her undoing. As she went sideways, Hermes retook the place.
Wind had veered for the final beat to A. Previous experience was not necessarily valid. Iris got back into second and Thia, who had always been lurking, took third.
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Thia, 4 Hermes, 5 Thalia, 6 Zoe, 7 Ceres.
Pipers, 1 Pompous, 2 Curlew.
Sonars, 1 Charlotte, 2 Grouse, 3 Nona, 4 Mickey Finn
Race photos by Neill Ross
Sunday 7th June
On the water Race Officer Carol Rowe set a short course in light and changeable wind. She had been irritated by the longer course, set in similar conditions, last Sunday.
As is the way with The Gareloch, the wind changed and strengthened. There was still a good beat from C at Clynder back to the starting area.
On the first leg, to A, off the club, Iris went inshore. She found no pressure and was well back at the mark. Catriona had done well and led from Hermes and Thalia.
Offwind to C ought to have been suitable for spinnakers but the wind was variable and there were occasional gusts from forward of the mast. Iris made little impression. Catriona had tacked back down the loch at C. Iris, determined to go a different way, hardened up into a wind which headed her badly.She was still in third place at the end of the round.
The wind had veered for the next leg to C. Catriona and Iris profited from their spinnakers. This time Catriona stood on. The tack was lifted a lot from the previous round. Iris took to the Clynder shore which did not pay. Hermes let boats past.
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes, 5 Ceres.
Tuesday 9th June
There was a little bias on the starting line with the shore end favoured. Iris has always been best at tacking close in shore and coming out on starboard at just the right moment. Catriona was a little further along the line. Teal started with good boat speed at the pin.
There was wind everywhere for the beat to D, north of Clynder. Some parts of the loch were better than others, though. When Catriona tacked to go up the loch, Iris was able to tack and cover. Catriona tacked away to go further in to the Clynder shore and later saw Iris lifted above her from further out. Teal and Zoe avoided the shore and were second and third at D.
Offwind across the loch, Catriona got an inside overlap on Zoe at G mark and took a place. She kept it for the reach back to the line and on to A, off the club.
Iris and Teal had headed towards Clynder for the second beat to D. Catriona and Zoe tacked early and started up the Shandon shore. Catriona, now chasing Teal, tacked across whilst Zoe stood on. When they crossed again, Catriona was only just ahead of Zoe. She tacked to cover, fluffed it and dropped behind. She made ground slowly and by the time the two were near the Clynder shore, Zoe was prevented from tacking. A moored boat helped Catriona get on top.
Thalia spent much of the race alone. She did not challenge the four at the front and kept away from Ceres, Hermes and Thia at the back. Hermes does better offwind and gained places on the final run. Ceres was concentrating too hard on keeping her spinnaker full and lost out.
1 Iris, 2 Teal, 3 Catriona, 4 Zoe, 5 Thalia, 6 Hermes, 7 Thia, 8 Ceres.
Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Pompous, 3 Curlew, 4 Mealista, 5 Piccolino.
Sonars, 1 Grouse, 2 Nona.
Sat 3rd & Sun 4th July
The Gareloch OD sent a team to Cultra, on Belfast Loch, to race in Fairies against a team from the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club.
These team racing weekends are always good. One of the few things in life that you look forward to and they never disappoint. The hospitality, of course, was wonderful. Competition began on the Friday evening when we were offered a comprehensive selection of malt whiskies.
The form for Saturday was two races in the morning, lunch and a further two races in the afternoon. The visitors took a while to re-acquaint themselves with the Fairies, which are older and heavier than Garelochs. Conventional wisdom is that they should be sailed a little free but they seemed to respond when hardened in and sailed closer to the wind.
The home team do less team racing than the Garelochs and it showed. Most of the mark traps, luffing to let team mates through and chasing boats away from the start line were initiated by Garelochs. That overcame the advantage of the Fairy team who could sail their boats a little faster. In the end, we retained the Fairloch Trophy by a small margin of points.
On Sunday morning, there were two fleet races with helms from the Saturday crewing. Your correspondent misjudged a gybe, failed to let the main sail out sufficiently on the new tack and fell into the water as the boat heeled. If his crew had done that on Saturday he would have been unforgiving. Getting back aboard took a little while so that the boat was firmly in last place. A fact which the helm, who had been given no respite the day before, was kind enough not to mention. In the bar at lunch time, the others were amused. The serious message is that it is much harder to get back aboard a yacht than you imagine.
A return match on the Gareloch is planned for next year.
Sunday 12th July
Wind died as we were about to start. Not unusual in the Gareloch.
On the water Race Officer Peter Proctor waited a while, chose a course and was obliged to stop the sequence because of a big wind shift. As it turned out, wind filled in nicely and we got a good beat to D, north of Clynder.
Iris got the best start at the shore end of the line. There is only room for one boat there but the rest of us must learn to fight a bit harder for the slot.
Iris, Catriona and Athene (newly afloat) Thalia and Ceres set off across the loch. Hermes kept to the Shandon shore and crossed all of us on the approach to D. Downwind, Catriona caught Iris a little, but never enough to challenge for the lead.
The second round began with a reach across the loch, followed by a beat up the Clynder shore. Iris tacked out at the mark so that Catriona and Athene went in towards the shore. For a long time, going in seemed to be favoured. A good lift came to Iris, though, and she was out of danger.
1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Athene, 4 Hermes, 5 Thalia, 6 Ceres.
Gareloch Worlds 19th & 20th July
The racing was keenly contested. All nine boats afloat sailed in all five races.
Catriona made a good start on Saturday, winning the first two races. The second by a whisker in a downwind finish where wind filling in from behind helped her catch Iris. Iris was second both times and Athene, just in the water and in the charge of Simon Jackson and John Blackie, third. In the final race of the day, Iris won by a margin, Catriona second and Athene third again.
The leaders relaxed only a little at the Saturday evening barbecue. Iris had the bit between her teeth on Sunday morning. She climbed out from under Catriona at the start and set off up the loch (on a beat to D, north of Clynder) at pace. At the end of the first round, Catriona was second with Athene, sailed single handed by Simon, third. On the second beat to D, Iris hardened up at the leeward mark before tacking, so Catriona tacked straight away to go up the Shandon shore. She matched Iris for speed but was well to leeward. Athene went across to the Clynder shore. Drizzle came in from the north, the wind reduced and its direction became variable. These conditions are trying because it is hard to judge the shifts with tell tales wet and stuck to the sails. Catriona edged up and almost, but not quite, got ahead of Iris. Athene had prospered on the Clynder shore and led by a margin.
At the beginning of the run to the finish, Iris had a good lead from Catriona but found poor air. A puff from behind brought the two close. Iris’s luff did not keep the light blue boat at bay and there was a boat length between them at the finish. For Iris to win the championship now, she had to win the last race and get another boat between herself and Catriona. A fact not lost on Catriona, who got on top at the start and determined to cover her rival all the way. The interest was at the front of the fleet, where Athene showed form again. Hermes went the right way up the beat and finished a strong second.
The overall results, at the conclusion of a superb weekend, 1 and winner of the trophy first presented at the 50th anniversary, Catriona. 2 Athene, 3 Iris, 4 Zoe, 5 Hermes, 6 Thalia, 7 Teal, 8 Thia. Ceres finished in 9th place to claim the Tourist Trophy, a handsome silver rowlock.
Tuesday 21st July
A wet evening with very variable wind off the east shore. The course was a fetch to A, off the club, run to D, north of Clynder and beat back. Two rounds.
Catriona covered Iris at the start, which let Thalia, who has a new jib, get away on the Shandon shore. Catriona got the better of it, Iris was headed more than you could believe.
Catriona could not catch Thalia on the run. Hermes and Ceres showed strongly too. On the beat back, Catriona made sure of Iris and Thalia kept her lead. For the second run, Catriona found a fast lane and crept past Thalia. Catriona seemed to suffer less than most in the huge wind shifts, 90 degrees once, on the final beat. She got some Pipers behind her, too.
1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Iris, 4 Ceres, 5 Hermes.
Pipers, 1 Pompous, 2 Piccolino, 3 Mealista, 4 Curlew.
Sonars, 1 Carpe Diem, 2 Kandu.
Tuesday 28th July
Thad Burr is an airline pilot and keen sailor who was on an overnight stop in Glasgow. He had caught a train to Helensburgh to check out the local yachting scene. He walked along the shore from the station and found himself on the jetty of the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club just as Catriona’s crew was rushing out, late as usual. He quickly accepted an invitation to crew. It was a windy night and the extra hand was welcome.
On the water Race Officer set a long course up and down the Shandon shore, which was ideal. Zoe and Teal got away well and had a good lead at the windward mark, A. Catriona had been covering Iris, so these two were fourth and fifth.
The run up the loch was a little too gusty for spinnakers. Catriona set hers as usual and had to drop it when things got out of hand. It helped her past Thalia and nearer to the leaders, though.
By the end of the beat back to the line, Iris and Catriona were on terms with the leaders. Catriona briefly in front of Zoe. Wind had moderated for the second round so that Catriona was not alone with her spinnaker. Iris’s stayed below deck, though. The upshot was:
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Zoe, 4 Teal, 5 Thalia, 6 Athene, 7 Hermes.
Thad enjoyed the evening and told stories about flying F16s in the bar.
Sunday 2nd August
Only three boats out. Thalia’s crew had gone to watch the rain at Edgebaston. There was a good breeze so that on the water Race Officer Gordon Mucklow set one of the longer courses. Zig zagging across the loch as far as the most northerly marks. Hermes led most of the way but was caught on the fifth leg by Iris. By this time the wind had lightened and become very variable. Those at the front navigated round the holes with skill. Those at the back found them by misfortune.
1 Iris, 2 Hermes, 3 Catriona.
Thursday 6th August
Race Officer Denis Jackson had intended to set a short course across the loch and back. One of the skippers (working on the foredeck this evening) prevailed upon him to change to a longer one. As it happened, the wind which was never strong died away so that we ran into the time limit.
Laura Jackson in Athene got a good start along the Shandon shore for the beat to B, off Silvers. Jennifer Darley in Catriona was a little behind and further out. Slightly better wind edged Catriona forwards so that she was on top of Athene when the two tacked. Adam Rodger in Iris was further out still. For a while, he seemed to be lifted into the lead. Gareloch wind is fickle, though. Iris suffered badly on the approach to B.
Offwind, across the Loch to G, it was a matter of keeping spinnakers full in light and shifting air. Catriona and Athene were close, Iris, Hermes and Ceres had suffered at B.
For the beat across the Loch to C (at Clynder), Athene was making no impact behind Catriona so that she tacked down the middle. It might have paid, but it didn’t. Catriona set off on the leg from Clynder to the finish with a good lead and a full spinnaker. It was a large hole, both deep and wide, which stopped her a few hundred metres from the line. Athene saw and went high. For a while, she looked good but was never in front. When the time limit passed, we took a Broadley finish (after Ian Broadley, former Rear Commodore Sailing) at the C mark.
1 Catriona, Jennifer Darley; 2 Athene, Laura Jackson; 3 Iris, Adam Rodger; 4 Hermes, Dick Taylor. Ceres, Margaret Isaacs DNF
Thursday 13th August – Ladies Race
Race Officer Luke Dicken set a course with a beat across the Loch to D, north of Clynder. Athene (Laura Jackson) set her stamp on this with Hermes (Carol Rowe) not far behind. Thalia (Francoise Proctor), Catriona (Jennifer Darley) and Zoe (Jean Mackay) arrived at D close together. Iris (Elizabeth Henderson) had gone up the wrong side of the loch on the beat and together with Ceres (Margaret Isaacs) was not in the points.
Off wind across the loch to G, Thalia did not set a spinnaker whilst Zoe gave a fine display of vexillology. The usual skippers are rarely good on the foredeck. Catriona got on terms with Hermes and crept ahead with a better gybe at G. In a spinnaker duel towards the line, Zoe got past Hermes as well. Athene was still comfortably ahead, though.
The second round began with the boats hardening up for a fetch to A, among the club moorings. Athene went for the wrong mark to begin with. That and the vagaries of the wind brought Catriona up. For the second beat to D, the two went towards the Clynder shore. Catriona was a few boat lengths further in and seemed to catch lifts which eluded Athene. Catriona had the lead at D. Thalia, meanwhile, went closer still to the Clynder shore. She looked strong for a moment but found no wind there.
Off wind to the finish Catriona was comfortable until wind died near the line. Athene had found a line of pressure and looked dangerous. She too found the hole. Some defensive sailing from Catriona kept her at bay.
In all the concentration, the leaders lost sight of the time limit, which had expired. Results were taken at the end of the first round, with an accomplished victory for 12 year old Laura Jackson. Catriona second and Zoe third.
So it would have ended except that the dates of the Ladies Race and Cadets Race had been changed. Your correspondent was remiss in not posting the change on the club notice board, as is required by the sailing instructions.
The organising authority, The Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club, cancelled the race.
Sunday 23rd August
As Shakespeare’s Mark Anthony almost said. ‘If you have cobwebs, prepare to shed them now’.
It was a wet afternoon, if it had not been a race then we should all have stayed in. As it was, only Catriona, Iris and Hermes came to the line. Catriona was keen to reverse her recent lack of form but she was single handed so that seemed unlikely.
On the water Race Officer Gordon Mucklow set a course with a beat to A, a run up the loch to D, north of Clynder and a beat back.
Wind was strong now. Iris and Catriona were both early for the favoured pin end of the line. Catriona should have had the advantage, but she hardened up poorly and Iris was able to cross and so be first at A.
No one set a spinnaker, which turned out to be the correct decision. Wind strengthened more. Near to D, boats were on the cusp of broaching with only two sails. After she had rounded D, Iris had to concentrate on surviving. Her crew well practised in the art of bailing. Hermes thought better of it and turned for home.
In the bar afterwards, there was talk of Force 7 and how much we had enjoyed it.
1 Iris, 2 Catriona, Hermes DNF.
Tuesday 25th August
The last evening race of the year. Catriona had a run of poor form recently, she needed to win this evening to beat Iris in the series.
Iris took an unfavoured route to the windward mark, A, and Catriona covered. They rounded seventh and sixth respectively. Offwind across the loch to C at Clynder was as fine as a spinnaker would stand. Any more wind and it would not have been possible.
Thalia and Teal carried their spinnakers well and rounded C first and second. Zoe lost time because she was blanketed by Sonars on her approach. Athene had to drop the kite, which let Catriona catch up. Hermes did not set a spinnaker, which let Catriona past. Iris found herself unable to point at the mark with a spinnaker set and uncharacteristically fell back.
The leg to the finish was fine again. Thalia and Teal engaged in a spot of luffing which encouraged the others. Sense prevailed with the order at the front unchanged.
Catriona was able to hold her spinnaker just a little better than Athene and crept past. Zoe went for the shore end of the line. Less fine but further to go and lighter wind inshore.
1 Thalia, 2 Teal, 3 Catriona, 4 Zoe, 5 Athene, 6 Hermes, 7 Iris, 8 Thia.
Sonars, 1 Kandu, 2 Prelude, 3 Nona, 4 Charlotte, 5 Carpe Diem, 6 Grouse, 7 Jamie.
Pipers, 1 Suilven, 2 Mealista, 3 Curlew, 4 Piccolino, 5 Pompous.
Sunday 30th August
The day before there had been so much wind that Sonars competing in the National Championship broke masts and booms. Today, we ghosted to the starting area and then it began to rain. That particular Gareloch rain, fine and seemingly insignificant but especially wet. There was an attempt at a start but we were all going backwards against the tide. The race was abandoned and nothing happened to make us think that might have been the wrong decision.
Saturday 5th September – Dog Race
One of the best ever turnouts of four-footed friends marked this year’s dog race. From the start at A three approaches were adopted to get to the windward mark, C. Dogless Iris went straight across the loch; Hermes went straight up; the rest tacked hither and yon up the middle in winds, fickle both in direction and strength, before going across. Catriona and Teal had the worst of the luck from the wind. Athene, rumoured to have started a minute late, her three professorial humans and massive dog, Hamish, being unable to tell the time, decided in the middle to follow Hermes, and so caught up. At the C mark Iris was first and way ahead, Hermes second, and Athene third, with Thalia and Zoe almost becalmed at the mark. No spinnakers were carried in view of the force 6+ gusts. Zoe and Thalia, nonetheless, overhauled Athene. After the Z mark the ranking remained doggedly nigh fixed. But from A to C on the second round Zoe went up the loch, then roared across and got ahead of Thalia. Iris was somewhere in the dim distance as first, even sans dog. Hermes was comfortably second, with Zoe and Thalia very close to each other next, and Athene quite near behind. Hamish, substantially larger than Zoe’s dog gained Athene such a handicap as to haul her into third place, by a margin of one second.
1. Iris, 2. Hermes, 3. Athene, 4. Zoe, 5. Thalia, 6. Catriona, 7. Teal
Sunday September 6th
Reay Mackay as on shore race officer starting us, sent us across to the windward mark at Silvers Rosneath and then on the long spinnaker run to Shandon back across to Clynder and back to Blairvadach. Certainly we had a late start but the first round was completed in less than an hour and a second round was required. Iris having led from the start elected to withdraw (Other commitments?) and the remainder of the fleet continued to Silvers Clynder and home. Thalia extended her lead and Ceres gave Hermes some challenging moments.
1 Thalia 2 Hermes 3 Ceres.4 Iris DNF
vSunday 20th September
Gusty on Sunday. As is so often the case in the Gareloch, both strength and direction of wind were very variable. We were all out of practice. There had been no wind on the previous two Sundays and evening racing has, sadly, finished.
As usual, Iris and Catriona concentrated on each other. Catriona started on pole this time and covered Iris all the way up the beat to B. Roger Kinns, meanwhile, took Thalia along the Rhu shore in the best wind. Near to B, he crossed comfortably ahead of everyone. He then sailed on into the poor air nearer Clynder that the rest of us had struggled with and rounded near to the back.
Catriona got away on the run to G, off Shandon. In the bar afterwards, she rudely attributed that to flaws in Iris’s handling of the spinnaker. Iris blamed the changeable wind.
Hermes held third place from Thalia all the way to the start of the second round. Another beat to B. Thalia remembered which way was fast and regained the place.
John Blackie, on Athene, put it down to experience.
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes, 5 Athene.
Sunday 13th September
Sunday 27th September
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, and dinners and the end of sailing. Keats never raced a Gareloch, obviously.
The last race of the year. One of those days when you might have stayed at home and read the Sunday papers but were glad that you went out and raced. It stopped raining. There was plenty of wind. It was generous, too, with its variability of strength and direction. On the water Race Officer Gordon Mucklow set a course alphabet soup, visiting most of the marks. That was trying at times, because marks on the Clynder shore seemed to radiate wind.
Catriona was keen to get the best position at the pin end start. She was caught out by a gust, was early and luffed past head to wind onto port tack. The penalty turns naturally set her right back. The competition at the front was between Zoe and Iris. Zoe had the lead and kept it with some determined luffing. Until a shroud came adrift and she retired. Thalia and Hermes battled the wind, rather than each other. Thalia came out on top in the end. Catriona kept feeling optimistic in the big lifts, but there were big headers too.
1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes. Zoe DNF.
Thats all folks, see you next season!