2011 Race Reports

Tuesday 26th April

The sanding and the painting have had to stop, the first race of the season and time to find out how rusty the crews were.
For this first series, the Garelochs and Pipers race together. Handy for Pompous because no other Pipers came to the start. There are others on the club moorings, including Magic Flute, who has not been seen on the Gareloch for many years.
Wind was from the south east, so it was not possible to set a course with a start to windward. Race officer Jean Mackay sent us on a fetch to A, off the club, thence to Clynder and back. Most, from force of habit, started at the pin end of the line. Iris spotted the advantage of being further to windward at the shore end and Catriona went to join her. It paid, the two were first at A, with Pompous best of the rest. Offwind, Catriona was obliged to luff to avoid being blanketed by Pompous whilst Iris bore away in clear air. That should have benefited Iris but the leg became a little fine for spinnakers so Catriona, now well to windward, kept her lead.
Iris touched the C mark. She did not notice but fortunately Pompous was there to point out her error. The penalty turn set her back to fourth, Thalia taking advantage. Iris tried the Shandon shore on the beat back to the starting area. It did not pay so that Thalia kept her position.
Catriona, meanwhile, tacked for the Shandon shore before Pompous and suffered some changeable wind so that the Piper took the lead. Pompous, though, was not moved by Catriona’s bad example, carried to the shore and fell back to second again. Jean finished us after one round, fearing the evening breeze might die.

1 Catriona, 2 Pompous, 3 Thalia, 4 Iris, 5 Hermes, 6 Thia, who had forgotten her spinnaker pole and sent her crew onto the foredeck with a boat hook.

Sunday 1st May – Iris Gets Her Revenge for Tuesday

Wind from the south east with very strong gusts. Crews for four Garelochs chatted in the car park but Hermes’ crew thought better of it and went to do something with gardens. Really!
Catriona, Ceres and Iris went out. On the water Race Officer Gordon Mucklow was obliged to set a course with a running start. It zig zagged across the loch as far as E, the northernmost mark on the Clynder shore. Catriona got the best start. As usual, she and Iris began to play so that Ceres opened up a substantial lead. She kept it on the second leg, upwind. Iris almost took second approaching the windward mark but the gusts were very variable in direction and she was unlucky.
Offwind, back across the loch to E, Ceres did not sail the shortest distance. Sometimes that means a faster point of sailing and it can pay. Not in strong wind when the boats are close to maximum speed. Catriona got to E first with Iris on terms. On the last leg of the first round (a beat to windward) Ceres could not live with Iris, who likes these conditions and benefitted from a good heavy crew. Iris got the better of a brief tacking duel with Catriona. Catriona tried to tack away but remained head to wind for an awfully long time in a gust which kept changing its direction. And that was that. There was a short second round, but it made no difference.

1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Ceres.

Tuesday 3rd May – Newcomers to the Gareloch on the Pace

The Piper, Magic Flute was racing on the Gareloch for the first time in many years. Teal was there too, with her new owner Iain MacGillivray.
Unusually for the Gareloch, the direction of wind has been constant for a week or more. The general direction, that is.
Race Officer Chris Roddis set a course beginning with an offwind leg across the loch to D, north of Clynder. There was a gaggle of boats around the pin end of the line more or less blanketing each other. Catriona and Iris, of course, were not far apart at the shore end. Hermes was there too although she concentrated a little too hard on keeping to windward of the pack, kept too close to the Shandon shore and lost out. Catriona reached the D mark first, with Iris not far behind and Magic Flute immediately on the pace in front of the other Piper, Pompous. Teal was stamping her authority, leading the rest.
Catriona incompetently touched the next (windward) mark but had enough of a lead to take the penalty turn without endangering herself. Iris was battling Magic Flute and got ahead because she was entitled to mark room. A fine reach back to the starting area with little scope for places to change.
The second round involved a gybe of the spinnaker. Many chickened out. None did it well. Iris and Magic Flute did not promote their causes. At the finish, small mistakes by Magic Flute had been enough for Pompous to sneak the place by 5 seconds.

1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Pompous, 4 Magic Flute, 5 Teal, 6 Thalia, 7 Hermes, 8 Ceres, 9 Thia.

Sunday 8th May – Iris and Catriona Still Fighting

On the water Race Officer Peter Proctor set a course beginning with a spinnaker leg across the loch. All started well. Catriona was mixed up with the rest whilst Iris, to windward, had clear air. Towards the leeward mark, wind veered so as to become a little fine for the third sail. Catriona seemed to be on top of Iris but was not slowing her. The Goddess of the Rainbow was set up for an advantageous inside overlap at the mark but her spinnaker drop was insufficiently slick.
A reach back across the loch for a beat back to the starting area. Iris, to leeward, was on terms with Catriona but was prevented from tacking until it was a fine reach to the line. No scope for overtaking there. Meanwhile Thalia and Teal (who had trouble with her spinnaker pole) were close downwind but Teal pulled away on the beat.
On the wind again for the start of the second round, Catriona was overlapped to windward of Iris and trying hard to press home advantage. There were words between the two when Iris luffed but no protest and no penalty turns. Wind favoured Catriona in a brief tacking duel near to the mark. No places changed on the third round, with wind strengthening. Hermes was beginning not to enjoy it and went home after the second round.

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

Tuesday 10th May – Suilven drops in and wins.

Strong wind all day had all but gone by the start. Two more Pipers, Suilven and Curlew were there. Suilven, who is usually quick, led from the start and won convincingly. Pompous was a strong second for most of the race. The Garelochs who fancy their chances were intent on covering each other and let the two Pipers away.
The course took us back and forth across the loch to C, off Clynder, then a beat to the finish. It was here that the last breath of the old wind died away and the Gareloch returned to its indecisive form. Catriona, in third place just ahead of Iris, failed to cover as the green boat headed for the mirror flat water on the Shandon shore. Pompous, Catriona and the rest stayed in the middle where Suilven had prospered and the water was rippled. By the time Iris was moving strongly on the shore, it was too late. Hermes played the shifts of wind well and came out ahead of a duel with Catriona.

1 Suilven, 2 Iris, 3 Pompous, 4 Hermes, 5 Catriona, 6 Thalia. 7 Thia, 8 Curlew, 9 Ceres

Sunday 15th May – Teal Learns from Experience

The Garelochs delayed their start so that Iris could repair a minor failure of gear. Made more difficult because she was sailing single handed.
Iris and Teal fought for the favoured shore end of the starting line. They slowed each other and let Catriona, to leeward, get away well for the beat across the loch. Teal, well sailed by Iain MacGillivray and benefiting from crew, was able to get on top of Iris and led round the windward mark. These two, though, suffered from dying air at the mark which Catriona had just avoided. First place was not in contention after that.
Teal set a spinnaker downwind so that by the start of the second round she had a comfortable lead over Iris, who, lacking crew, did not use the third sail. She learned the lesson that most of us have re-learned several times. Cover Iris. The two separated on the next beat across the loch and when they came together again, Iris was in front. Teal was still not out of it because of her advantage downwind. She forgot, though, how poor the wind was near to the mark. She went in to the shore too early and gave Iris enough of a lead for the spinnaker to be insufficient. Near to the finish, Teal’s misery was compounded as she realised she had rounded the wrong mark at the end of the first round.

1 Catriona, 2 Iris, Hermes DNF, Teal RAF.

Tuesday 17th May – Catriona Snatches Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

A cold wet night. If there had not been a race, no one would have gone sailing. Once there, though, we had a good time.
It is impossible to avoid bias with fixed starting lines. Race officer Jock Flemming sent us on a beat across the loch to B, off Silvers. There was inevitable crowding at the pin end of the starting line. Catriona was pinned by Teal, Iris by a couple of Pipers. Pipers were first to B for a spinnaker leg across the loch. Iris was first of the Garelochs with Catriona next. Offwind, Catriona played the angles best (and was fortunate with random Gareloch air) to be first at the leeward mark. Which she touched.
The penalty turn allowed past too many boats to count. Iris the first of them. The final two legs were neither upwind nor downwind, so that there was little scope for places to change. Hermes looked strong against Catriona for a moment, but did not make it stick.

1 Iris, 2 Curlew, 3 Pompous, 4 Thalia, 5 Magic Flute, 6 Catriona, 7 Hermes, 8 Teal, 9 Thia, 10 Ceres.

Sun 22nd and Tues 24th May

Too much wind, not surprisingly. No one went out on Sunday.
On Tuesday, various people congregated in the car park and decided against racing. In fact they were influenced by the very windy conditions on Monday. If it had been just a normal, gusty Tuesday evening, we should have raced. As it was, Pipers Suilven and Curlew went out. Suilven won and said they had been out in much worse.

1. Suilven, 2. Curlew

Tuesday 31st May – Iris’s Turn to Make Unforced Errors.

The first race of the secondary points series. Pipers now have their own race. Gareloch numbers were increased by Luna, afloat for the first time since 2005.
Race Officer Iain MacGillivray set a long course, back and forth across the loch. The wind held and we all enjoyed it.
One of the starting marks had been blown out of position by the recent gales. That upset our instinct about where the line was. Another of those evenings where the shore end was favoured. Iris was there first with Catriona just behind. There was a recall signal, one or more boats over the line early. Catriona thought it was Iris but when she returned, the signal was not removed. Iris, still unsure, sailed further and further to the pre-start side of the line. Catriona then went back to see the signal come down. That had let the rest of the fleet away on the first beat across the loch. Iris was just ahead of Catriona at the mark, both well down the fleet. Thalia and Hermes were on terms at the front but there was a port/starboard incident which led to a protest.
The two arch rivals made up places offwind. Then, Iris headed for the wrong mark, a mooring not a racing mark. She led some others astray too so that Catriona, with the benefit of an inside overlap on Thalia, had the lead at the leeward mark. She quickly lost it again on account of trouble taking down the spinnaker. Iris never needs asking twice.
On the next beat, Catriona found a better streak of air than Iris and retook a lead which she never lost. Luna lost a place to Hermes right on the finish line.
In the bar afterwards, Iain told us that Iris had not been over early, just Catriona.

1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Thalia (subject to protest), 4 Hermes (subject to protest), 5 Luna, 6 Ceres, 7 Thia.

Sunday 5th June – Is it the boat or the helm?

The second Sunday series is a hat race series. From the idea that you draw the name of the boat you are to sail from a hat. In this instance, the hat has been rigged to give everyone a shot in a variety of boats.
There could be no start to windward because the wind was off the Shandon shore. Teal and Thalia got away well, then Thalia dropped back having endless trouble with an unfamiliar arrangement for setting the spinnaker. She was last at the leeward mark, behind those boats which had not tried to set a kite. Teal and Catriona were to the fore.
On the windward leg, a few places changed, Thalia moved up the rankings and was doing battle with Iris on the next downwind leg. Teal and Catriona still firmly at the front.
There was just time for a second round, which was shorter than the first. In shifting wind on the final beat, Thalia and Catriona came closer. Several times, Thalia thought she had the place but had been misled by the shifts. Close to the finish, Catriona tacked inshore and crossed ahead but sailed into patches of very changeable, sometimes light air as it blew off the land. Thalia just managed to take the place at the line.

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

So is it the boat or the helm? A bit of both, the two helmsmen usually at the front finished first and second. Thalia’s part owner Roger Kinns was a close third in Catriona.

Tuesday 7th June – Iris perseveres and keeps away from Pipers to win.

After so much wind recently, there was only just enough this evening to get across the loch and back. The shortest available course.
Catriona seemed well placed at the start with Thalia just to windward. Iris behind and to windward of Thalia. Iris tacked to avoid a moored boat and sailed up the loch for a while. That put her in different and better air so that she was first by a margin at the windward mark. Thalia, on the pace, was second with Catriona third.
Catriona gybed to go downwind so as to avoid being luffed by Thalia. She carried her spinnaker later than the rest as the air began to trouble the sails from further forward and took the lead from Iris. Iris saw the problem of two late running Pipers ahead and ducked early. Catriona got too close to them and was slowed. Thalia saw what was happening and followed Iris’s lead.
The ebb tide was now dominant and it was necessary to bear away so as to make the finishing line. Catriona was within a whisker of an inside overlap on Iris at the finish mark, but whiskers are not enough. Hermes then Teal, meanwhile, sensed enough pressure sufficiently on the beam to set spinnakers again. Hermes could not make hers fill consistently. Teal did better, but to no avail.

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

Sunday 12th June – The Hat Race Series, Second Instalment

In the report on the first of the hat races on Sunday 5th, where helms do not sail their usual boats, we asked is it the boat or the helm which is fast. Then there was evidence of a bit of both. The second race came down firmly in favour of the helm.
On the water Race Officer Carol Rowe sent us on a fetch to A, off the club. Downwind across and up the loch to D and a beat back to the start. There was time for two rounds.
Thalia got her start right at the shore end of the line and was comfortably first at A. Hermes found a hole in the wind and compounded her error by allowing herself to be swept on to the starting mark. Only Catriona was behind.
Offwind, Iris did not set a spinnaker. Nevertheless, Hermes, who did, took a long time to get past. Thalia and Ceres went close to the Clynder shore early. It cost them as the wind backed and made it very fine for them to carry their spinnakers. Hermes and Iris caught up a bit.
Wind was from the Shandon shore. Those who went too close to it before tacking down the loch were slowed by its changeable nature. In this way, Hermes took the lead from Thalia and Ceres.
Thalia had trouble with her spinnaker at the end of the offwind leg on the second round. She let Ceres through and was unable to recover.

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

Tuesday 14th June

Race Abandoned

No wind. A shame, because that means I cannot tell you about Thalia running aground before the start. Her helm, a senior officer of the Royal Navy.

Tuesday 21st June – A Workout.

Mid-summer. Nevertheless, it was not an evening to enthuse the sailor as he looked from the comfort of his motor car. There is a view that it does not matter about the rain, as long as there is wind. There was plenty of that. Spinnakers were not deployed.
The direction of wind made life awkward for Race Officer Jim Findlay. A start to windward was not possible. We began with a fetch to A, off the club, broad reach up and across the loch and a beat back. The shore end of the line was favoured and Iris, as usual, went for pole position. Sadly, she moved forward from her grid slot before all the lights went out and was obliged to return so as to start correctly. That gave hope to Catriona, who had ventured too far from the line and was caught out by a lull.
Teal was first at A with Catriona close behind. The rest in a good position to hinder Iris on the broad reach. Catriona insinuated herself past Teal for the beat back. Iris is usually fast in heavy air and so it was this evening. She promptly left Teal, Hermes and Thalia behind and closed on Catriona. Teal stayed too close to the Clynder shore and dropped back.
A second round. This time the boats were more spread so that the fetch to A and broad reach were uneventful. Hermes’s helm was unhappy about the way the boat responded downwind and went home.
For the final windward leg, Catriona concentrated on covering Iris so that the green boat could make no impression. Teal cemented her third place and Ceres, finding form, got the better of Thalia.
Jim Findlay said it rained during the race. We had not noticed.

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

Cadets Race 23.6.11

Calum Fowlis, Jessica Noble and brother and sister Lasse and Lena Sutter came to the starting line each in charge of a Gareloch. Wind was certainly sufficient to wet the lee decks and more than one would have chosen for young helms.
Race Officer Carol Rowe, ably assisted by husband Jimmy, selected a course across the Gareloch and back. Short but incorporating a good beat and downwind leg. There was some luffing on the starting line which made some owners who were crewing nervous. Hermes (Calum Fowlis) and Thalia (Lena Sutter) got away well. Catriona (Lasse Sutter) kept well up to windward and edged in front as first Thalia, then Hermes slipped off the wind.
First round the windward mark, Catriona set her spinnaker for the downwind leg. The other adult crews had a morbid fear of their own foredecks and managed with just the two sails.
Towards the line, Thalia was fast catching Hermes but made the mistake of trying to pass to windward.

1 Catriona (Lasse Sutter), 2 and winner of the very fine Simpson Elephant, Hermes (Calum Fowlis), 3 Thalia (beaten by her younger brother Lena Sutter). Iris DNS.

Yvonne Armstrong Regatta 26.6.11

The Yvonne Armstrong Regatta is for under 21s, in memory of Yvonne who died aged 20. 5 teams competed over three races.
Weather would have made the cruising sailor miserable. It was remarkably wet. There was, though, good wind to keep the racer happy. Race office Reay Mackay, aboard Douglas Young’s Eorsa, was able to set good windward/leeward courses.
Cove 1 won the first race in Teal by a whisker from Catriona. That, and Helensburgh Sailing Club finishing fourth, was to be important. In the two afternoon races, for which the teams changed boats, Helensburgh Sailing Club were in Iris and figured how to make her go. They had two emphatic wins with Cove 1 second each time.

1st Cove 1, 2nd Helensburgh Sailing Club, 3rd, Lomond School, 4th Hermitage Academy, 5th Cove 2.

The trophy, a fine model of a Gareloch, once again resides in Cove Sailing Club. There was a dark patch on its table over the last year whilst it was temporarily at Lomond School.

Tuesday 28th June

The race officer, Gordon Mucklow, struggled with changeable wind before settling on a course up and down the Shandon shore.
The pin end of the starting line was favoured. It was not possible to lay it on starboard tack from the shore. Teal and Catriona approached on starboard as well as they could but had to tack in order to cross the line. Thalia put the wind up Catriona with a daring approach offwind on port tack. She rounded up sharply and got away best leaving Catriona in her wind shadow and unable to tack because of Teal. Thia took things in a more leisurely manner.
Thalia stayed too long inshore and failed to get the best of the flood tide so that Teal and Catriona were first round the windward mark. That order soon changed as Teal took too long to get her spinnaker drawing.
Teal overstood a mark, perhaps she had forgotten about it, which let Thalia get close. There seemed to be no danger but approaching the leeward mark for the last time, Thalia was close enough to slow Teal with wind shaddow and get the crucial inside overlap for the mark rounding.
The final leg was a fetch, with little scope for overtaking.

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

Tuesday 5th July – Teal in a Spin

One of those evenings when it appeared the wind would die away and leave large holes. The Gareloch surprised us. As we sailed back to the moorings, lee decks were getting wet.
Race Officer Reay Mackay found a good course along the Shandon shore. As usual the fixed starting line was heavily biased. The shore end was favoured.
Iris was in the charge of Fraser Noble, not her usual helm. That allowed Catriona to seek pole position without pressure. She got away first and avoided any further interference.
Teal was on the pace and rounded the windward mark in a safe second place, gybed onto port for the run up the loch and forgot about Thalia beating up to the mark on starboard. The penalty turns cost her.
The fleet was closely spaced for the spinnaker leg so that those behind slowed those in front with disturbed air. Thalia escaped from the pack and opened sufficient margin to stay safe. At the end of the round, Teal had climbed back to third.
Approaching the windward mark for a second time, Teal on port thought she was clear ahead of Hermes (never a boat to tangle with) on starboard. Hermes did not agree and protested. Despite having practiced the move, the penalty turns were a substantial setback for Teal.

1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Thia (delighted to be in the top half of the fleet), 4 Hermes, 5 Teal, 6 Iris.

Tuesday 12th July – Teal Finds Form

Race officer Luke Dicken was obliged to start with an offwind leg across the loch to C, at Clynder. The pin end of the line seemed best but those who started there were blanketed by others further up the line. Thus it was that Thia, Iris (Fraser Noble taking the helm from her owner) and Thalia were early at C. Teal and Catriona (Sandy Kerr on the helm, the owner advising with gusto) led the rest. On the beat back across the loch, there was changeable wind. Thia, Iris and Teal prospered.
There followed a fine spinnaker leg to B, off Silvers. Thia did not have the technique and fell back. Thalia was better, but not good enough to keep Catriona at bay. On the wind again to the finish and the Gareloch was up to its usual tricks. Wind lightened and became more variable. Iris looked strong but was taken the wrong side of the finish mark by the tide. Teal avoided the trap and snatched first. Thia took a tack against the tide, it might have been OK, but there was no wind. Thalia faded to let Hermes past. Ceres seemed to be in another race, the difference explicable only by growth below the water line. Her owner should buy her a loofah.

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

There was to have been a hat race on Sunday, but only three boats turned out and its not a hat of stone. We decided on a casual race to the sugar ship, thence to look at the tall ships. Photos from Ufo Sutter available at Gareloch OD picture site – see above.

Sunday 17th July

The Garelochs were to have travelled to the Mersey to race in Mersey Mylnes. That event was postponed because some of the Mylnes were damaged when a boat broke from its mooring.
Five Garelochs came out to race in the loch. Among them John Blackie’s bright yellow Athene. Newly in the water and shaking down for the World Championship, next weekend.
Reay and Jean Mackay very kindly turned out to start us from the shore battery at Blairvadach. Another biased starting line which, without a Committee boat, cannot be avoided. Sandy Kerr, on the helm of Iris, got a very prompt start on port tack. Those who tried to lay the pin end of the line on starboard struggled and were late. That will never do for the Worlds.
A curious beat to windward up the Shandon shore. Sometimes it paid to go close inshore. Sometimes it didn’t. Iris increased her lead. Catriona was fourth at times but managed to climb to second by the mark.
For the reach across the loch to Clynder, there was little enthusiasm for Spinnakers in the heavy air. Catriona was single handed, so Iris kindly said she would not set hers. Thalia did hoist a kite but did her best to gain no advantage from it. Its flapping a distraction to others.
A second downwind leg to A, off the club. Iris inexplicably clung to the Clynder shore. Perhaps she was sailing for the wrong mark and took a long time to notice. Anyway, she let Catriona and Thalia past.
To windward to the finishing line. There was time for a second round. Wind eased for a while but left an awkward chop in the loch. Sometimes there was more wind further out so it paid, sometimes the calmer water inshore was better. Athene did especially well and rounded the windward mark for the reach to Clynder in a strong second place. She stayed there for the next two legs but fell away to leeward as she hardened up at A for the beat to the finish.
Thalia got a helpful lift and stayed well to windward, as did Iris. Athene and Teal had an unfortunate port/starboard collision which delayed them both. No real damage but they exchanged paint. Yellow clashing a little with Teal’s French Blue. Teal finished last, less than half a boat length behind Athene at the finish line.

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

Tuesday 19th July – Ceres shows staying power.

Ceres, conscious of the possibility of growth below the water line, took time to clean the underside of her keel on a bank of shingle. It made her late for the start.
A good breeze in the Gareloch which lasted well. The Race Officer was able to select a course beginning with a beat to windward up the Shandon shore.
Iris was early by a cat’s whisker. No more than half a foredeck, anyway. In returning, she let Thalia and Hermes away and found herself back in the pack. In that way that she has, she had climbed back to second by the windward mark with Thalia leading. A reach across the loch to Clynder, then a downwind leg to A mark, off the club. The expectation was that superior spinnaker handling would give Iris the lead. Her crew, Alastair Reid, is unfamiliar with the foredecks of Garelochs so no spinnaker was hoisted and Thalia cemented her lead. Luna was threatening but the downwind leg was not long enough for her to capitalise on the advantage of the third sail
. On the wind again for a beat to the start/finish line, Thalia kept her lead. Time for a second round. Iris tried hard to help Thalia. Reports from the boats are contradictory but what is certain is that Iris slowed dramatically in the shallow water between Blairvadach and Gully Bridge. Thalia, though, could not take advantage and was distinctly second at the windward mark. By the time she reached Clynder, Iris had enough of a lead not to be caught downwind. Even without a spinnaker.
Approaching the line to finish, Thalia was in front of Teal but she seemed to spend a lot of time head to wind. Teal maintained her momentum, risked going further inshore and took the place by a nose.

1 Iris, 2 Teal, 3 Thalia, 4 Luna, 5 Hermes, 6 Thia (helmed by Sandy Kerr, who is displaying cosmopolitan taste), 7 Ceres, who could not make up for her late start but did not drop back either.

Gareloch Worlds 22nd – 24th July – And Juno makes ten

It used to be there were three races over the Championship weekend. Now there are six, four on Saturday, two on Sunday morning.
The weekend began with a magnificent lift off party thrown by Roger and Marion Kinns. Those keen on the racing were careful not to hurt their chances with too much wine.
It was assumed the competition for the trophy would be between the usual combatants, Catriona and Iris. In the first race, which Race Officer Reay Mackay aboard Douglas Young’s Eorsa was obliged to shorten to one round for lack of wind, Iris got away well. Catriona was too kind to an outrageously barging Thalia and made a poor start. At the windward mark, it was looking grim for Catriona as wind died and half the fleet was in front. There was a wind shift of 180 degrees which unsettled some of the others. In the end, Catriona was just one point behind Iris, who could not be caught.
The second race was over a reciprocal course to the first. Catriona improved her start and evened the score with Iris. Athene, only recently in the water, did not have her owner, John Blackie, aboard. He had displayed a distinct lack of forward planning by having to work. Her fitting out was not finished, she had no working spinnaker. Miriam Sutter with a house guest as last minute crew was delighted to push Ceres into last place.
For the third race, Reay was able to send us on a long beat up the loch to E, near Rahane. A few, including Iris and Catriona, went across to the Clynder shore early and were well behind those who had gone up the Shandon shore to begin with. Iris was a little ahead of her arch rival as the two came up to Teal. Catriona, fearing dirty wind, tacked away. That was that, when she tacked back, she needed binoculars to see Iris. Those who had gone the better way were led round the windward mark by Luna and Juno. Racing for the first time this year, Juno was improving with every race. The two finished first and second. Iris made her way past a couple of boats to finish third. Thia punched her way into the top half of the fleet finishing fourth. Catriona effectively ended her challenge with an eighth place.
Wind was more uniform for the last race of the day. Iris took the win with Catriona second and Teal third.
A barbecue in the evening at Peter and Francoise Proctor’s house. The hospitality this weekend was a Thalia affair. Iris’s helm was seen to take one of the many glasses of wine drunk that evening, the pressure off. On Sunday morning, there was sufficient wind for two good races. Catriona started well and won both but could get no boats between herself and Iris so that it was to no avail. In race 5, Ceres finished in the top half and Athene pushed Hermes into last place.
Everyone took something from the weekend. Athene was not always last, despite having no spinnaker. Hermes beat Catriona in a race. Juno improved and has several strong finishes, including a second. Thia and Ceres each had a top half finish. Thalia beat Hermes. Teal beat Thalia. Luna was in second place on Saturday night.

1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Luna, 4 Juno, 5 Teal, 6 Thalia, 7 Thia, 8 Hermes, 9 Ceres, 10 and winner of the Tourist Trophy, a fine silver rowlock, Athene.

Photographs will be uploaded to the Gareloch OD Picture site

Tuesday 26th July – Thad Burr flies in.

Two years ago, Thaddeus Burr, a pilot with Continental Airlines and keen sailor, was on a stopover in Glasgow and thought to take the train to Helensburgh to see if there was any racing. He walked along the shoreline until he came to the jetty at the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club, where he happened on Catriona’s crew. Late as usual, they were rushing out to rig and cut conversation short by inviting Thad to join them for the race. They kept in touch and this evening, the visit was planned. He took the helm.
In light and patchy air, race Officer Tim Henderson set a short course down the Shandon shore and back. The starting line was inevitably biased towards the pin end. As wind disappeared towards the starting signal, a good start was partly a matter of luck. Teal and, more so, Thalia did not get away with trying to start to windward of the fleet. Thad was generous to Juno, just to windward, and let her take pole. If it had been Iris, it would have been different. Iris, meanwhile, with Michael Henderson on the helm, was pushing Ceres up. Ceres was put off by the many boats to windward. She luffed with insufficient determination and ended up taking penalty turns.
Juno, then Hermes were first to the windward mark. Hermes set no spinnaker, so that she was caught. Very close to the line as it happened. Tim shortened to one round as he saw the air became even more still. Iris sensed a streak of pressure inshore and almost had the momentum to beat Catriona. She did finish before Hermes.
Several boats touched the finish mark as wind died away with tide still significant, which caused the finishing order to change.

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

Sunday 31st July

Thalia had guest crew from the south east of England. Expecting summer, Martin Cook went sailing in shirt and shorts. He got wet.
The only course which would give us a windward leg was relatively long, starting with a fetch to A, off the club. Iris and Thalia started at the favoured end of the line but tangled with each other. That gave hope to Hermes and Catriona, further out. It was not to be and Iris was round first. Thalia was just behind Catriona but rounded inside her. She ignored the luff from Catriona and ended up doing penalty turns. Worse, she got in Hermes’s way whilst still taking the penalty. More turns.
She got back very quickly and was first for a while as Catriona chased Iris. Eventually, Catriona got the better of the gybing duel and was first at the downwind mark for a beat back to the starting area. Wind died away as that light but very wet rain set in. No places changed.

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

Tuesday 2nd August – No wind, no fee.

The Pipers and Sonars had already thought better of it. The Garelochs sat on the moorings with sails hoisted and not a breath. Even the Race Officer, Simon Pender, was for abandoning. There was some slight rippling of the water, which encouraged us to set off for the starting area. Nothing when we got there. We accepted the inevitable. Very little as we returned with a fair tide. After sails had been packed away, a breeze did pick up but even that was fickle and short lived.

Sunday 7th August – Dreich

A group of enthusiasts gathered in the car park. No amount of optimism could change the fact that it was raining and there was no wind.

However we are not the only ones to hold a championship –
Our friends from Howth

Tuesday 9th August – Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie.

Race officer Neil Isaacs was constrained by one of the starting marks being out of position. He set a course starting with a reach to A, off the club, thence a good beat to windward across the loch to D.
Iris delayed her approach too long, which gave Catriona a clear run. Luna, just below her, might have spoiled things with a luff but it was OK in the end. Hermes tried to start to windward of the late running Iris and paid the price. Juno started well, at the pin end of the line, and was well placed to get an inside overlap at A and round first. Catriona, though, set a spinnaker and it was enough to get her clear ahead.
Rounding the mark required a tack, Athene left too much space. When she went to tack, Iris was in the way.
Going to windward up the loch, Catriona made certain of cover on Iris. The two tended to the right. Juno, just a little behind, found a lift which the other two did not and appeared to have the lead. Gareloch wind did for her, though. She was crossed by Catriona and tacked below Iris. Wind became lighter and more changeable on the approach to D. Tacking early, as Juno had, was not good. She rounded fifth. Good spinnaker handling took her past Hermes and Thalia on the run to the finish but she could not reach Iris.
Athene, meanwhile, was well placed. Her spinnaker gear had just been rearranged by her new owner. The previous set up had been effective but complicated. The new arrangement more conventional. Her former helm, Simon Jackson, was aboard as crew so that the first spinnaker set of the year would be slick. Athene had high hopes of taking places downwind. At first, owner John Blackie could not explain the numerous large holes in the third sail. So much daylight that it had to be taken down. Those on board had ample time, before the finish, to deduce that a family of mice had made it their home over the winter. When food was short, it had provided sustenance too. In the bar afterwards, John was overheard negotiating the purchase of a cat.

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

Sunday 14th August – Thalia develops six pack.

On the water race officer Peter Proctor set a long course beginning with a beat to windward up the Shandon shore, then a reach across, run before the wind down to the club and back to the finish.
The starting line was strongly biased towards the pin end. Iris and, more so, Catriona mistimed it and were late getting to the pin. Hermes did not get away with a start on port near the pin end. It was Thalia who got away best. Catriona tacked inshore to clear her air, Iris went too. Hermes tacked on top of Luna and was unable to lay the line, delaying both their starts. Athene was late away from her mooring and best out of it.
Thalia, Luna and Hermes first went inshore and did well. Thalia and Luna then went close to the Clynder shore and did very well. That put them unassailably in front. Hermes stayed nearer the Shandon shore which kept her closer to Iris and Catriona. These two were intent on covering each other and swapped places a few times. Whenever they tried to do what Thalia had done to get so far ahead, it set them back. Incredible wet rain, even by the standards of the west of Scotland, lowered their spirits further.
Hermes rounded the windward mark and fell into a hole from which she did not recover. Iris and Catriona battled to keep spinnakers drawing in the now light and variable air. Iris had her place back by the C mark at Clynder, whilst Thalia was near the finish. Luna not far behind. Athene was now in the worst of the tide with little wind, which did for her chances of catching up.
Catriona needed the whole downwind leg to establish an inside overlap at the leeward mark. A few boat lengths ahead on a fetch to the finish, she seemed to have a comfortable third place. The Gareloch was not finished, though. She was headed whilst Iris was lifted so that it was nip and tuck at the line.

1 Thalia, 2 Luna, 3 Catriona, 4 Iris, Hermes and Athene DNF

Tuesday 16th August – but he is a very fine cat, a very fine cat indeed.

You might remember the trouble Athene has been having with a mouse. A regular reader of the column sympathised and provided Athene’s regular crew, Miriam Sutter, with a small toy cat. Unfortunately, the cat was unable to sail because Athene (and Thia) disliked the heavy wind we all felt in the car park. As it turned out, it was never strong enough to put the lee deck underwater and there were some very light patches.
Race Officer Roger Kinns sent us on a beat to windward to D, north of Clynder. Teal got the best start on a short line biased towards the shore end. She must have cut it fine. Uncharacteristically, Iris was not prompt.
The usual battle between Iris and Catriona developed. Catriona had made the better start and so covered Iris who chose to go over to the Clynder shore early. One classical theory is that going left up the beat is best so it should have paid. On the approach to D, those who had stayed further right (Luna and Thalia leading the pack) were comfortably in front. Catriona tangled with the stragglers of that group, Iris rounded last.
A reach across the loch to G for a gybe and broad reach to the finish. Catriona luffed Hermes so as to clear her air. Hermes misunderstood the motive and thought Catriona was just being contrary. The move paid off. Catriona caught up to second placed Thalia. Luna was too far in front to be touched. The wind was not kind to Iris and she could not lift herself from last place.

1 Luna, 2 Catriona, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes, 5 Teal, 6 Iris.

Sunday 21st August

On the water Race Officer Charles Darley set a course beginning with a beat to windward across the loch to B off Silvers. By the starting signal, the Gareloch wind had behaved as usual and the leg was a fetch. Nevertheless, the course turned out well and there were legs to windward later on.
Iris was absent so that Catriona, without her usual preoccupation, made a good start and never looked like she would be caught.
Teal was squeezed at the favoured pin end of the line by Luna. She never really recovered.
During the first round, Thalia was firmly in second place with Luna, Teal and Hermes in line astern. For the second round, wind had shifted again so that it was necessary to tack to reach B. Here, Luna was only a couple of boat lengths behind Thalia. They then went different ways. Thalia to the middle of the loch, Luna along the Clynder shore. At the last mark before the finish, the gap was re-established.

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

Tuesday 23rd August

A dark evening, just to remind us that Tuesday racing is nearly over.
Race Officer Michael Knox set a superb course. He was obliged, being based on shore, to begin with an offwind leg across the loch. There was the usual struggle for position. Luna got the best of the pin end, Catriona the shore end. Iris was behind Luna and never got on terms.
It was soon clear that the pin end was better but with concentration, Catriona was able to draw ahead.
A beat back across the loch and fetch to the finish did not take long. Despite the low light, there was a second round. Different to the first, it began with a reach across the loch to B, off Silvers. Catriona made her spinnaker work and pulled away. Luna hoisted hers but gybed from a reach straight on to a reach at B mark and could not get the third sail to work thereafter. Iris left hers in its bucket.
Thalia, Hermes and Ceres approached B overlapped. Thalia with mark room. There was contact with Hermes, who thought Thalia had taken too much room. Ceres kept well out of it and prospered as a result. Teal hoisted her spinnaker for the reach from B to C and it paid. She failed to cover, though, and gave a place back going to windward to the finish.

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

27th – 28th August Visist to Germany

Caol Ila not quite up to strength

A team of 8 Gareloch sailors visited north Germany over the weekend for team racing against the Freundeskreis Klassische Yachten. The event was instigated by the late David Ryder-Turner and the trophy bears his name. Racing was at Lindaunis on the Schlei, a fjord off the Baltic. More like the Norfolk broads than the narrow, steep sided inlet one might imagine. There was the novelty, near the racing area, of a dual use road/rail bridge part of which lifted every hour to let boats through.
The racing was of the fiercest format, two boats a side. Whichever team has last place loses. Imagine the manoeuvring that leads to.
The boats were Knarrs. 30 feet long with classical lines, long overhangs at the ends and rudimentary cruising accommodation below. Very pretty indeed. The chief organiser, Klaus Birkhoff, did a superb job of bringing together four equally matched boats. Not to mention the magnificent schooner Vera Mary, our hotel boat for the weekend.
The Gareloch team had Klaus’s Triton and Louise. The FKY team Frau Groove and Caol Ila. Caol Ila is very strong in the local fleet races and came with a bottle of her whisky. Which did not last long.
The local team were surprised when the Garelochs began to attack at the preparatory signal of the first race. What are they doing, said one of their crew, we haven’t even started yet. His skipper, Enno Thyen, a very determined racer, gently suggested he wake up.
In the first race, Caol Ila used her speed to finish first by a margin. She had not reckoned, though, on her team mate Frau Groove being pushed back to fourth. The second race was less widely separated but the result was the same. The Garelochs now had their tails up. The match was to be best of five races. The FKY had a team talk. It worked. In the next race, Triton found herself trying to attack Caol Ila on the last leg which was downwind. The careful judgement needed to make such a move stick eluded Triton and Caol Ila got through. The local team similarly won the fourth race. All to play for in the fifth.
Caol Ila tried to push Triton over the line early. Fearful of being over early herself, she did not press as hard as she might. Triton got away with it by a whisker and was then on top and in control. By the final leg, Caol Ila was in front, but Frau Groove was last. It was Caol Ila’s turn to misjudge the luff. Triton was able to luff a little so as to get clear ahead. When the overlap was re-established, Caol Ila was not allowed to sail above her proper course. All that took time so that Louise was now in the lead and Frau Groove came to attack Triton. It was too late. Triton was close to the line and was able to call for room at the finishing mark.
Your correspondent is biased, but a better, closer, harder fought day of team racing is hard to imagine.
On the Sunday, some of us went for a cruise up the Schlei (under the lifting bridge). John Blackie was asked to take Frau Groove back to her home port of Kiel. A voyage he relished. With Miriam and Ufo Sutter as crew, they found force 7 winds in the Baltic after leaving the Schlei. Maybe not enough to blow the barnacles off the rocks but it was enough to blow the Windex off the mast. They enjoyed the trip and were ready for their dinner on Sunday evening.

See our Gareloch OD picture site above for pictures from the weekend.

Tuesday 30th August

This race was abandoned before the start due to lack of wind.

Sunday 4th September

A report by guest correspondent Carol Rowe.

Catriona was noticeable by her absence. Iris had a Canadian cousin on board as crew. Wind was hardly there and as we were in mid flood tide the only option was across the loch and back. Iris at the pin end probably in an eddy managed to hit the mark and gave the others a chance from which in very poor wind she did not recover. Thalia made the best start and was not to be challenged. Ceres from astern pipped Hermes at the C mark but Hermes with Adam Rodger in charge of the spinnnaker retrieved the second position. One round was all that the wind which died allowed. Teal a late starter suffered from the dying wind.

1 Thalia 2 Hermes 3 Ceres 4 Iris Teal DNF

You can read of our adventures on the Schlei in August, and see more pictures, Here

Dog Race September 10th – Mika in decisive dog race win.

On Saturday, the Gareloch Class held its annual Dog Race. URTV was there to record the event.
The key rule is that a competing boat is given a time allowance of 5 seconds for every inch length of dog. After Race Officer Reay Mackay had completed the official measurement, Catriona was on pole with the very impressive Mika. A collie whippet cross measuring 48 inches. Just one inch shorter and second on the grid was Harris, sailing on Thalia in his fifth dog race. Iris had Canna, a young labrador. Not short but she still has some growing to do. Reay’s collie Ziggy sailed aboard Ceres. Her length only counted for half allowance because the owner was not aboard. Hermes was without a dog, Milton (named after his place of origin) dislikes heavy weather and the forecast was not good. He declined to sail.
Reay set a course beginning with a good beat to B, off Silvers. Iris made the best start. Catriona, close behind, was never able to catch up. The others were nowhere.
It was windy enough for spinnakers to stay below deck during the first round. It would have been OK, but Iris did not set hers and the rest followed. At the second rounding of the windward mark, Catriona had Iris in her sights and did set her third sail. Reay had shortened to finish us at the gybe mark, off the club. It was too soon for Catriona to make the pass. Iris was 20 seconds in front on the water but Mika’s contribution was crucial. Canna gave him 8 inches, worth twice the time deficit.

1 Mika (Catriona), 2 Canna (Iris) 3 Harris (Thalia), 4 Ziggy (Ceres). Hermes ND, 5th.

There was a fancy dress barbecue (theme Gareloch Gods and Goddesses) in the evening. Again the weather ignored the forecast and was kind to us. Reay Mackay, who simply borrowed one of his wife’s dresses, and David Du Boulay did not trouble the judges. Miriam and Lena Sutter showed strongly as Athene. Ufo Sutter crews on Teal. He did his best with a facsimile of a duck, but the G.O.D.s were not with him. The Convener, Gordon Mucklow, forsook his usual cummerbund and was very convincing with a gold painted brush fixed to his helmet. Perhaps a little more material in his toga would have been wise. He was heading for a win when Margaret Isaacs as Ceres, Goddess of Plenty, arrived.

1 Margaret Isaacs, 2 Gordon Mucklow, 3 Miriam Sutter. If there had been a fourth place, it would have gone to Sandy Kerr as Hermes.

Sunday 11th September

Sunday was wet and windy. Only dedicated enthusiasts turned out. Hermes and Thalia. Catriona was without crew so that her helm went on Hermes.

Thalia had trouble with her jib sheets before the start, so she was not prompt. Hermes had a substantial lead at the windward mark. On a long downwind leg, neither set a spinnaker but Thalia poled out her jib. Approaching the leeward mark, Roger Kinns on Thalia’s foredeck missed his footing as he was removing the pole. Worse, his leg was caught in a bight of a sheet so that he was being pulled along under water. Helm Peter Proctor, his mind concentrated, disentangled Roger and got him back aboard but by this time, Thalia had drifted onto the lee shore. A falling tide too. It looked to Hermes as if Thalia, her crew safe, was there for a few hours. A RIB from the club made no impression but an MOD Police launch had come to help. Her not inconsiderable horsepower plucked Thalia from the shingle. A very grateful Peter and Roger were given hot tea aboard. Peter rather more shaken than Roger.

1 Hermes. Thalia DNF

Sunday 18th September – Iris sails clean away.

A magnificent afternoon. Bright sunshine and a good breeze.
On the water Race Officer Gordon Mucklow set one of the longer courses beginning with a beat to E, near Rahane. Hermes was pleased to be in the thick of it at the start. Iris was prompt, of course. Catriona should have concentrated more.
Iris soon opened up more of a lead than she usually does. Conversely, Thia was off the pace. At this time of the season, boat speed often has a lot to do with growth below the waterline. Or its absence. Iris continued to increase her lead on he way to E. Catriona could do nothing about it. Behind, Thalia and Hermes were fighting for third.
On the offwind legs, the sizes of the gaps changed but not the order. There was time for a second round and it was very pleasant sailing. No one’s position was threatened, though.

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

Sunday 25th September

The last race of the year and only Iris and Hermes challenged the weather reports of steady force 5 with stronger gusts which ensued with increasing ferocity.
Athene was willing but short of crew so her skipper added power to Hermes. Catriona’s skipper was elsewhere umpiring.
Only one round was the decision, up and down the Shandon shore. Hermes gave Iris a satisfactory challenge on the downwind leg but a combination of being on too close an angle approaching the lee mark and gusts caused a second gybe in quick succession.
Hermes was caught heading the wrong way and going backwards.
After that all was lost and Iris was next seen at the mooring.

1. Iris, 2. Hermes

Thats all folks, see you next season!