Tuesday 24th April
Five Garelochs were afloat for the first race. They had that faint disinfectant smell of fresh varnish. Floating on the bilge water, a layer of fine dust from the sanding.
Race officer Reay Mackay chose a short course up and down the Shandon shore. Rightly so.
Catriona got the best of the start, Thalia next with Iris below and avoiding contact with the mark at the end of the line by a whisker as tide swept her onto it.
The tide was ebbing so that some were tempted into the shore to avoid the worst of it. No wind there though. Catriona stayed out and whilst she was headed, she had boatspeed on the rest. Thalia learned from example and the two were in line together approaching G, the windward mark. Iris was fourth, which encouraged Hermes in third.
Thalia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory (well second place anyway) by rounding the mark on the wrong hand. Unwinding and then rounding correctly was slow near to the airless Shandon shore. The rest came in on a puff.
There was sufficient wind for spinnakers on the run to A, off the club. Iris muscled her way past Hermes.
For the beat back to the line, wind had become very variable. In both strength and direction. Catriona went out into the Loch again. Iris tried the shore which looked good for a while. The shore end of the line was favoured geometrically too. Catriona was able to breathe again when Iris came to a near standstill and had to tack out.
Approaching the line, Thalia found a breath which eluded Hermes and took third.
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes, 5 Thia.
Sunday 29th April
Zoe is newly afloat and was at the starting area. Her fit out was not complete though, so she declined to race.
Many of the Garelochs had listened to Luke Patience, who is to sail for Great Britain in the 470 class at the Olympics, talking on Friday evening about his journey to selection. He and crew Stuart Bithell were leading an important regatta. They were winning one of the later races in heavy air, which would have put them in an unassailable position, when the rudder ripped away from the boat. They were unable to repair it and so slipped from first to nowhere. Luke told us how he was very careful to prepare his boat so as to ensure that would never, ever, happen again. Iris’s helm listened, but did not absorb. A little before the start, a shroud came away from a spreader. The retaining tie having parted. Iris was obliged to return to her mooring.
It is said by football pundits, discussing two famous Glasgow teams, that Celtic needs Rangers. So Catriona needs Iris. She was late at the start but Thalia and Hermes were later. By the first mark, they struggled to read Catriona’s sail number. Catriona was a leg in front for the second round. The gap between Thalia and Hermes was big too.
1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Hermes. Iris DNS.
Tuesday 1st May
Its the McGruer Regatta at the weekend. Dudley Isaac, from South Africa, is rebuilding a McGruer boat and so thought to come to the regatta. Having toured the highlands, he arrived at Rhu to look at boats and was standing at the end of the jetty this evening. Fortuitously, because Catriona was without crew.
A biased starting line with the shore end so favoured sailing along the line was a little above close hauled. Zoe got the inshore position. Catriona forced Iris over so as to get the better start. As the fleet set off down the loch for A, off the club, it was not clear the tactic had paid. Anyway Catriona was second round the mark behind Zoe.
Offwind to C, next to the old McGruer yard at Clynder (houses there now) there were holes in the wind. Dudley knew what he was about with the spinnaker and he kept Catriona’s second place. Shortly after, she crept past Zoe to take the lead. Thalia third, then Iris. On the leg back across the loch to the starting area, the Gareloch became extremely variable in both strength and direction. Iris, Zoe and later Thalia passed Catriona on a streak of wind. It seemed everywhere Catriona tried to go, the wind left. Boats passed on either side to put her last. Approaching the finish, she found some pressure and was optimistic until headed. Thia, meanwhile, had appeared to be stranded in a hole but finished on line of pressure all her own to beat the pack. Iris and Zoe having finished some time earlier.
Bad news for Zoe in the bar. Three boats had been over early at the start. Iris and Catriona returned. Zoe did not.
1 Iris, 2 Thia, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes, 5 Catriona. Zoe OCS.
Dudley Isaac enjoyed the evening, despite the result.
5th/6th May – McGruer Classic Regatta
Gordon Drysdale lives in the south of England. His parents, though, have the McGruer designed and built gaff cutter Rowan IV. He arranged this magnificent regatta from the south. The amount of work needed does not bear thinking about.
There was one design racing for the Garelochs. On Saturday, it was to have been on the east patch but the lack of wind defeated us. Iris and Catriona returned to Rhu marina and were admired. No mean compliment in light of the company they were keeping.
The lack of wind did not bode well because Sunday’s forecast was for even lighter air. The programme was for a sail past at Clynder (George McGruer taking the salute) and then a race in the Gareloch. There were holes in the wind, but all in all it was much better than we might have hoped. Race Officer Hugh Normand sent us on a beat across the loch to Clynder with a run downwind to get back.
Iris and Catriona were, as usual, preoccupied with each other at the start. A lull in the wind left Catriona better placed than Iris. Thia and Thalia, though got the best of the start and crossed in front of the other two several times. They went right whilst Iris and Catriona covered each other on the left. After a while, it was obvious left was better. Thia and particularly Thalia were stranded on the Shandon shore.
There were a few moments when it seemed Iris might have her own streak of wind to pass Catriona but it never sufficiently constant. Catriona led round the windward mark. Her spinnaker expertly played by Dudley Isaac, who is rebuilding the McGruer Al Malika in South Africa and visited especially for this regatta, kept Catriona in the lead downwind. There followed a leg on the wind back to the starting line. Catriona was headed a little, Iris lifted. Catriona tried in vain to stay in front. Iris came up on a puff and broke through to leeward. She was first across the line, but not the finish. As the wind left us for a while, Hugh took the Committee boat to Clynder to finish us there.
Iris and Catriona, meanwhile, diverged on opposite tacks in the merest breath of air. It was Catriona who felt meaningful pressure first and this time she made sure of keeping Iris behind. It was still close at the finish though.
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Thia, 4 Thalia.
The prize, donated by one of the event sponsors, McRoberts, was a bottle of MacKinlays Highland Malt Whisky. A replica of the whisky taken by Earnest Shackleton to the Antarctic in 1907.
Tuesday 8th May
The first leg of the race this evening was across the Loch to D, north of Clynder. This was complicated by a submarine coming up the loch so that the tack across had to wait until it had passed.
Catriona got the best start at the inshore end of the line. Iris and Thalia fought each other which did Catriona no harm. Zoe was there too.
Catriona was the first to be approached by an MOD rib, keen to ensure she kept out of the way. Iris and Thalia went further out which seemed to put them in better air, both as regards strength and direction. The Gareloch was inconsistent, though, so that Zoe and Catriona began to prosper closer to the Shandon shore. Delaying the tack out so as to take the heavy wash on the counter helped. Submarines have an entourage.
There was an element of luck in the rounding order at D. Thalia was first, Ceres next then Zoe. Catriona got her spinnaker drawing to pass Ceres and Zoe. Every time Thalia gybed, there was a spinnaker air brake but she still rounded G, on the Shandon shore, in the lead. The last gybe did for her, though, and Catriona took the lead. Thalia tired of her third sail, took it down and made a determined luff on Zoe. It only delayed the inevitable and Zoe eventually used the superior speed from her spinnaker to pass. Ceres had trouble with a spinnaker sheet which let Iris up to fourth. Still not good enough to satisfy her helm.
1 Catriona, 2 Zoe, 3 Thalia, 4 Iris, 5 Ceres, 6 Hermes, 7 Thia.
Sunday 13th May
The forecast was for 20 knots of wind, gusting 40. That is more than the old ladies would like and presumably it kept most crews away.
Representatives of only Circe and Catriona were at the club. The wind was nowhere near the forecast strength and eminently sailable. It was cold and wet, though, which sapped enthusiasm. Despite the best efforts of one skipper, there was no race.
Tuesday 15th May
It seemed as if it would be one of those Gareloch evenings as we stood on the jetty waiting to go out to our boats. Wind dying away and its direction becoming very variable. As it turned out, it was a workout with moments of inattention resulting in water over the cockpit coaming. Athene was on her mooring but there was rigging still to be done so she did not join us.
Race officer Peter Proctor was obliged to change the course just before he went into the starting sequence so as to provide a true beat. A good decision.
Iris caught Catriona napping at the start and got the favoured position close to the pin end of the line. Thereafter, she climbed high and forced Catriona to tack away towards the Shandon shore. Wind in there was better than expected, or perhaps it was the flatter water, because when the two next crossed, Catriona was ahead. Just. Zoe had her name on third place. Hermes and Thia fought for fourth.
The first of the offwind legs was across the loch to Clynder. In lighter air, spinnakers would have gone up. A gybe at C mark and a run downwind to A, off the club. Spinnakers were feasible on this leg but Iris didn’t attack for first by setting one so neither did Catriona.
The two leaders diverged a little on the next beat, beginning the second round, with Iris getting closer than Catriona would have liked. Hermes got the better of Thia.
Spinnakers downwind this time, but no places changed. The beat back to the finish needed nerve. The shore end of the line was the only place to finish but one had to avoid going aground. It was nip and tuck with Iris skilfully trying to get her nose across in the minimum depth of water.
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Zoe, 4 Hermes, 5 Thia.
Sunday 20th May
An afternoon of light air and some sunshine. Circe joined us for her first race of the year. Along with Thalia, she was single handed. On the water race officer Gordon Mucklow set a course beginning with a beat down the Shandon shore to A, off the club. Then to Clynder and back to the starting area. In the light air, some thought going to Clynder and back was optimistic. It turned out well.
The best position to start was at the pin end of the line. Only one boat could do that and once again, it was Iris. Thalia looked strong just a little down the line, Catriona fell in behind Iris and dropped back gently. She was a few boat lengths behind at A with Iris in the lead and feeling comfortable.
The leg to C at Clynder would usually have been a little too close to the wind for spinnakers but in the light air they can be cajoled. This is a speciality of Catriona’s. Iris was late to respond with her third sail and could do nothing about Catriona’s greater speed. She was passed to leeward.
Wind died for the fetch back to the starting area. Iris went high and found a streak of wind which, on some days, would have carried her past holes in the wind which had swallowed others. Not today, though. As the boats set off on the second round, the air became stiller. It was possible to get to A, with the tide, but progress to C would have been agonisingly slow. We gave up. In such circumstances, the sailing instructions say the results will be taken from the position of the boats at the end of the last completed round. That was:-
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Thalia, 4 Ceres, 5 Hermes, 6 Circe.
Tuesday 22nd May
There was virtually no wind. The Gareloch kept tantalising us with streaks of ripples on the water and some boats would begin to move. Nothing meaningful, though. 20 minutes after our warning signal, no Gareloch had reached the starting area.
Race officer Luke Dicken quite rightly abandoned.
Sunday 27th May
A superb afternoon. Sunshine and wind. Some of the fleet would have preferred more consistency in strength and direction. Those who profited were happy the way it was.
On the water race officer Peter Proctor set a course beginning with a fetch to A, off the club. Downwind to D, north of Clynder and beat back.
Thalia had boatspeed on the starting line and got away best. Catriona and Iris both let their starts be spoiled by Thalia. Iris more so. Catriona tried to be clever going to A and set a spinnaker. She was headed and had to take it down. Iris was moved by example and was pushed off to leeward. Thalia was more cautious and rounded first. Circe and Thia were in the hunt as well.
Offwind to D, Thalia fell into poor air. Iris kept threatening to pass Catriona to windward so the two kept each other high. At D, Catriona led from Thalia and Iris. She hardened up to cross the loch. There was a moment’s inattention as Spinnaker gear was stowed. When her crew looked up, they saw Iris going fast to windward on a huge lift. Catriona tacked and passed close behind Iris. Catriona now had the predicament of trying to cover both Thalia and Iris, who were on diverging tacks. She kept closer to Iris, who threatened with a strong puff on the Shandon shore. Thalia did much better out in the loch and had a comfortable lead for the start of the second round. In dying air.
Back to D, it eventually filled in. Catriona used her spinnaker to take the lead. Iris seemed not to prosper.
For the final leg, it was almost possible to lay the finish from D. It seemed silly to tack across to the Shandon shore. Catriona and Thalia did what had paid the first time. Iris was so far behind, she had to do something different and went for the Shandon shore. This time the wind there was better. Iris took the win. Thalia passed Catriona on a line of pressure which she kept all for herself.
The others, meanwhile, ran out of air at D. Some spent more time on the Clynder shore than others.
Ceres insinuated herself past Hermes but had rounded the wrong mark at the start of the end of the first round.
1 Iris, 2 Thalia, 3 Catriona, 4 Thia, 5 Circe, 6 Hermes. Ceres RAF.
1st to 3rd June – Visit to Howth 17 Footers
The Howth Seventeens and their vice captain Ian Malcolm played host to the traditional annual team racing event against members of Scotland’s famous Gareloch Class on the June Bank Holiday weekend.
Nine members of the 88 year old design from the Clyde travelled and were hosted by various ‘Seventeeners’ for the 2-day series of races in 6 of Howth’s finest classic racing keelboats.
Richard Kissane and his team provided the teams with 4 challenging races from the East Pier on Saturday, not least for the fact that the 8-12 knot north-easterly was combined with steep-waved sea conditions.
Both morning races were won by John Curley and his Howth team on ‘Anita’. The afternoon’s races were again dominated by the home side although Gareloch skipper Gordon Mucklow found ‘Anita’s’ turn of speed in the final race to finish second behind ‘Rita’.
Foul weather on Sunday sealed the victory for the ‘Seventeeners’ and allowed the visitors to hop on the DART and visit the National Yacht Club and the Maritime Museum on Dublin’s southside.
Howth YC website
Tuesday 5th June
Race Officer Hugh Normand set one of the shortest courses and sent us off in very light air. Getting lighter.
After three quarters of an hour, as we approached the first mark with no noticeable momentum, he made three sound signals to abandon the race. Two minutes later, a light offshore breeze developed. No one could have foreseen it.
Tuesday 12th June
Another evening of light and changeable air. Having to paddle to the start is never a good sign.
Iris’s skipper went out to pump his boat, then went home. He might have had a point. We were sent on one of the shortest courses, to A, off the club and back. When we started, the leg was to windward but it became a reach. Ceres was first to the mark having benefited from better air out in the loch. Those who sought the back eddy near the shore so as to escape adverse tide found less pressure.
Downwind back to the line, Ceres fell foul of a luffing Piper. Catriona chose not to try and pass to windward of them and suffered from severe wind shadow. There were flat patches but a puff as we returned to the starting area encouraged the race officer to send us round again. It was still early.
Thalia now had the lead from Zoe. Little changed on the reach back to A. Thalia and Thia chose to go inshore, in search of the bit of offshore breeze sometimes found there. The others went further out. For a long time, Thalia and Thia were convincingly first and second. The pressure next to the shore did not last, though. Wind finally filled in from the Clynder side. It collected first Zoe, then Hermes, then Catriona. Thalia felt especially unfortunate.
1 Zoe, 2 Hermes, 3 Catriona, 4 Thia, 5 Ceres, 6 Thalia.
Tuesday 19th June
In the absence of our diligent reporter this belated report is extremly brief.
Little wind again gave rise to a short course up the loch to the G mark at Shandon and back then to the A mark off the club and back.Wind picked up enough to permit a second round but for half the fleet it was not to be. With dying wind and the strong eddy in the spring tide rounding the G mark proved impossible with Hermes Thia and finally Ceres retiring in that order.
The rest of the fleet showing considerable skill finished.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Thalia Ceres Hermes and Thia DNF
Sunday 24th June
The second Gareloch One Design race of the Nyassa Plate Series race took place in the Gareloch on a lovely Sunday afternoon in a stiff north westerly breeze. Race officer Peter Proctor set a long course of two laps, each lap being roughly 4 miles long.
Gordon Mucklow sailing single handed in Iris and demonstrating excellent upwind prowess, took an early lead which he never lost.The following three Garelochs however enjoyed some close competition, changing position several times. Athene (John Blackie) held second place throughout most of the race until well into the second lap when he chose to tack along the Rosneath shore in reduced wind strength. Circe (Graham Walker also sailing single handed) and Thalia (Peter Proctor) found themselves calling for starboard tack water rights on more than one occasion.
In the end and despite despite the best efforts of Thalia’s senior and experienced crew of past Faslane Base Commodore Eric Thompson and, from France, Dany Lasbleis – Circe prevailed. This may have had something to do with Thalia’s poor spinnaker drill. Hermes (Carol Rowe) hung on tenaciously,
1. Iris 2. Circe 3. Thalia 4. Athene 5. Hermes
Tuesday 26th June
It was wet. There was a little wind but it struggled against the precipitation.
The Sonars and Pipers suffered a loss of enthusiasm and retired to the bar. Meanwhile, Thalia, Thia, Hermes Teal and Catriona encouraged each other. Iris’s skipper was Race Officer. He chose a short course to A, off the club, C at Clynder and a beat back.
The vagaries of wind on the Shandon shore made tactics for starting uncertain. Thalia decided the shore end was best. She was early and had to return along the line on port tack. After ducking the fleet, she had room to tack before reaching the pin. Maintaining momentum she made the best start.
At A, Thia rounded first. Teal and Hermes approached on port and were treated very gently by right of way Catriona on starboard. Thalia had not capitalised on her start.
The leg offwind to C settled the final order. Thia and Hermes found a line of pressure along the Clynder shore. Teal and Catriona, further out in the loch did not. Thalia went across to the Clynder shore directly from A. It might have paid but it didn’t.
Hopes on the final leg were raised by patches of rippled water, then dashed.
1 Thia, 2 Hermes, 3 Catriona, 4 Teal, 5 Thalia.
Tuesday 3rd July
Race Officer Iain MacGillivray gave us a much better race than we had any right to expect. As we went out to the boats, there was that particular rain which seems light but is very wet. Patches of smooth water too.
Iain sent us on a fetch to A, off the club, run to C at Clynder and beat back.
The starting line was very biased. It was not possible to lay the shore end from the pin. Iris and Catriona were preoccupied with starting at the windward end. The rest of the fleet say better wind at the pin end, from where it was possible to lay the A mark.
Catriona made a slow start at the shore end. Iris had omitted to take a transit on the line, so she was on the course side at the gun. She was close to the back when she started correctly.
Hermes was first to A, followed by Thalia and Thia. These three bore away across the loch, which was their undoing. Catriona and Iris gybed at once and were soon first and second. Ceres rounded A last.
Approaching C, Iris found a streak of wind in the light air around C which might have taken her round the outside of Catriona. Catriona, though, was entitled to mark room and determined to take it. She was able to keep Iris outside her. The others meanwhile bunched up and rounded close to each other.
On starboard tack across the loch, Iris found a line of pressure which lifted her well above her rival. She is good at pointing high anyway. Catriona tacked to cover but Iris was able to sail away from below. The two concentrated on their tell tales. Approaching the Shandon shore, Catriona was just sufficiently in front to tack on top of Iris. Close cover was maintained on the tack back to the line.
Wind had filled in a little and there was sufficient for a second round. No places changed at the front. Ceres suffered most, dropping from third to last.
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Thalia, 4 Thia, 5 Hermes, 6 Ceres.
Cadets Race – Thursday 5th July
The rescheduled Cadets Race (there was unusually too much wind for the first attempt) was between three competitors. Callum Gregor in Iris and brother and sister arch rivals Lasse Sutter in Catriona and Lena Sutter in Thalia.
Race Officer David Du Boulay set a course beginning with a downwind leg to the Clynder shore. There was some argy bargy at the favoured pin end of the line with the three contenders starting close together. Iris had the best of it and Catriona set about using her spinnaker to get past. Thalia avoided the fray and went off to the right.
Catriona was first at the downwind mark but Iris, just to leeward, was able to make a better rounding and took the lead. Thalia’s ploy had not paid.
On the wind, towards the Shandon shore, Catriona got her lead back for a moment and crossed Iris. After that, Callum used his considerable experience in dinghies to sail through the cyclic changes in wind direction. Iris was first to the windward mark for the fetch to the finish. Despite variable wind, it was not possible to make a pass here.
1 Iris (Callum Gregor), 2 Catriona (Lasse Sutter), 3 Thalia (Lena Sutter).
Tuesday 10th July
No race. No wind. A continuing theme of the summer.
Garloch Worlds – Fri 13th to Sun 15th July
The premier event of the Gareloch year began with a lift off party throw by Roger and Marion Kinns. Food and drink superb although, as usual, some keener protagonists limited their consumption to one thimbleful.
On the Saturday, Race Officer Dick Taylor arrived to find rain and no wind. We all went out anyway. After a while, there was sufficient wind for a start. The rain had stopped too. Catriona put her stamp on the first race, leading home Zoe and Iris. Better breeze for the second race, but the Gareloch had become changeable which introduced an element of randomness. Zoe won comfortably from Ceres and Thia. Catriona thought her challenge for the championship was severely dented with a fourth. Iris’s certainly was, she was seventh.
We lunched whilst the wind was away and returned to a breeze good enough for two more races. Marks on the Clynder shore were the undoing of many. Being first on the approach seemed not to be a good thing. In the third race, Catrion won and Zoe, still keen, was second. Any glimmer of hope Iris might have had took a further knock with a fifth. Juno, meanwhile, was emerging from the pack. Just ahead of Iris on points. Teal not far off either.
The final race of the day was up and down the Shandon shore. Of course we all know from experience of the shingle banks near Gully Bridge. Catriona had a lapse and found one, then led Ceres onto it. She was quickly afloat again (Ceres took longer) but the race became a matter of damage control. Iris took her first win, followed by Juno and Teal. Catriona stayed ahead of Zoe to even the score at the top of the leader board. 10 points after 4 races (you get a point for each place, so less is more) would normally be enough to relegate a boat to the middle of the field. The high scoring a result of the capricious wind. Remarkable on the day were Athene, who finished 10 out of 11 in each race, and Circe who was single handed. She set a spinnaker too although more for entertainment than speed.
The social events of the weekend were produced and directed by Thalia. The barbecue on Saturday evening at Peter and Francoise Proctor’s house. Peter co-owns Thalia with Roger Kinns. Many people asked about the groundings, some of them out of kindness. Juno realised she was equal on points with Iris, which increased her enthusiasm for Sunday.
The morning began with rain, but there was wind too. In the first of the two races that morning (the fifth of the series), Catriona arrived at the windward mark on the Clynder shore near the back with many boats overlapped inside. As they all fought for mark room and then covered each other she was fortunate to get away in relatively clear air to take a lead which she never lost.Catriona took another win, Iris second. Zoe created a cushion by finishing fifth.
For the sixth and final race, the decider, the Gareloch wind excelled itself. Another beat across the loch to the Clynder shore. The first round was without incident. For the second, Hermes arrived at the windward mark whilst the air was moving with consistency, rounded and was away. Iris, then Catriona looked well placed. They found an area of little wind which lacked any conviction regarding direction. The fleet sailed past on both sides. Zoe was back in contention. She could not reach Hermes, Athene and Thalia though. Her fourth place did not leave enough of a gap to Catriona, who finished seventh.
1 Catriona, 2 Zoe, 3 Iris, 4 Juno, 5 Teal, 6 Thalia, 7 Hermes, 8 Thia, 9 Ceres, 10th equal Athene and Circe. Circe was given credit for having been single handed over the weekend so that the silver rowlock, the tourist trophy, was awarded to Athene.
Tuesday 17th July
Another of those wet evenings with little wind. The Pipers thought better of it but six Garelochs put hope over experience.
Race Officer Jean Mackay set the shortest possible course, to the club and back.
On a flood tide there was a choice to be made between better (or less bad) wind in the loch and more favourable tide inshore. The upshot was the six all came together at the A mark. Thereafter, half went out, half stood on inshore. The logic was with those who sought the better wind in the loch with the tide now behind them.
1 Thalia, 2 Hermes, 3 Catriona, 4 Ceres, 5 Zoe, 6 Teal.
RNCYC Regatta – 21st July
There were SB20s and Sonars (who had their own start) so we could watch some hot sailing. Six Garelochs turned out. Race Officer Douglas Forrester set windward leeward courses on the east patch. True starting lines and reasonably consistent wind made a change from the usual conditions in the Gareloch.
Zoe was on form and took the first race. Catriona, disadvantaged by lack of crew, kept Zoe honest but could not make an impression. Ceres was on the pace. Circe was four up but still did not use her spinnaker to sufficient effect downwind. On Hermes, they are still analysing their spinnaker handling.
For the second race, Zoe led to the leeward mark but her rounding was not good and she let Catriona through on the beat. All to play for in the third and final race. Catriona got the better start and crossed Zoe before the final approach to the windward mark. Zoe kept an inside overlap, though, and that was that.
1 Zoe, 2 Catriona, 3 Ceres, 4 Thalia, 5 Circe, 6 Hermes.
Sunday 22nd July
The forecast was for high wind and it certainly was gusty. We might have been able to race but it would have been on the borderline of enjoyable. Those few in the car park decided against it.
Tuesday 25th July
There was cause for optimism as we sailed to the starting area. Steady breeze and closer to sunshine than we have been used to lately. Race Officer John Blackie set a course beginning with a beat (against the tide) up the Shandon shore. Thalia and Zoe started well, with Catriona stuck behind Thalia and Iris in cleaner air to windward.
Catriona and, to a lesser extent, Zoe realised that it was necessary to keep to the shore so as to stay out of the worst of the tide. Hermes knew that too but she made the move too early and suffered from indistinct breeze around the starting area. Thalia, Iris and the rest were seduced by ripples on the water further out.
Being early at the windward mark was key as wind died away. Catriona was there first, Zoe only a couple of boat lengths behind but needing to tack. By the time Zoe had rounded, Catriona had a good lead. These two were almost at the C mark, off Clynder before the rest joined them on the second leg.
Wind was reducing everywhere so that spinnakers downwind to A, off the club, began to collapse. Those at the back got the worst of it and compounded their misery.
Iris had made up a place on the reach to C and downwind had got close enough to Thalia to pass just after the mark rounding. She had not learned, though, from her error on the first leg and went out into the strong adverse tide for the beat to the finish. Hermes applied the theory correctly.
1 Catriona 2 Zoe, 3 Hermes, 4 Thalia, 5 Iris, 6 Circe, Thia and Ceres DNF.
Tuesday 25th July – The View from Hermes
With a fickle northerly wind the course set from the Z mark took us to G then across to C at Clynder thereafter a spinnaker run to A at the club mooring and then back to the Z mark.
The wind which might have been on the upper side of force 1 dropped off later. Those that elected to challenge the ebb tide in the hope of better wind made better progress to the G mark and Hermes, with Ian Nicolson and granddaughter Phillipa, on board having chosen to hug the shore to avoid the tide, found that it did not pay and ended rounding that mark at the end of the fleet though not last.
Crossing the loch it was apparent that Catriona and Zoe had benefitted from stronger winds and were well away in the distance rounding the C mark with apparently very little difficulty. Thalia ahead of Iris, Circe and Thia appeared to suffer from dropping winds but rounded the C mark and headed off across the loch back to A.
Iris Circe and Thia suffered badly from the combined effect of the dropping wind and the strong tide sweeping them down and in the case of Thia past the mark requiring a tack.
Hermes keeping well up the loch from A found a steady path into the mark and rounded it just behind the other three. Different courses were taken across the loch with Hermes using the tide and taking a more westerly course than the others who appeared to head for the other side of the loch. Wind had dropped off to such an extent that spinnakers filled with difficulty. On the beat back to the Z mark Iris and Thalia ahead of Hermes took a course further out into the loch. Very slowly Hermes to windward of the other two crept passed Thalia and Iris and tacked onto starboard (crossing in front of Thalia who had tacked in to the shore earlier) and tacked again to cross the line in front of Thalia and Iris and Circe . In the dropping wind the tide became the master and time ran out on Thia and Ceres.
Sunday 29th July
On the water Race Officer Peter Proctor sent us on a beat across the loch to D, north of Clynder.
There was a fair wind to begin with but as the race progressed it became variable in quantity and direction. Iris and Thalia got away well with Catriona to leeward of the group. As these three made their way across the loch, Thalia dropped back a little. When Catriona eventually tacked to go north, she crossed behind Iris who immediately tacked to cover. The two were now laying the mark so Catriona did not have to fight Iris for a windward position and rounded first. Hermes, meanwhile, had tried her luck on the Shandon shore. Not tonight Josephine.
Downwind, spinnaker handling needed patience. Several gybes were needed to make progress. Sometimes sheets were trailing in the water, occasionally the leeward deck was awash. There were holes and streaks of wind which make those at the front nervous and those behind hopeful. Iris got the better of it and led for the start of the second round.
At the leeward mark, she was a few boat lengths in front of Catriona as the two hardened up for the beat back to D. As they reached the Clynder shore, Catriona had been lifted to windward and was in control. Only a short distance away, Iris did not have the same wind. Going up the loch, cover from Catriona pushed Iris further from the Clynder shore and into poorer air. Thalia and Athene crossed some distance behind this pair but continued closer to the shore where a line of rippled water gave them good speed. They were first and second round the mark. Wind for the final spinnaker leg was true and no more places changed.
1 Thalia, 2 Athene, 3 Catriona, 4 Iris, 5 Ceres, 6 Hermes.
Tuesday 31st July
The first evening of steady, true breeze in a while. We were sent on a beat to A, off the club, run up the loch to D, north of Clynder and back.
Catriona managed the best start on a curious line. The shore end was strongly favoured on account of direction of wind but there was less of it in there. Iris was further in, Thalia further out. The middle ground paid and Catriona was comfortably first round A.
Offwind, Iris prospered under spinnaker. Near D, Catriona managed to get clear ahead for a short time but Iris was first round the mark. Thalia and Zoe after the leading pair.
Iris hardened up and Catriona was pinned so she tacked away to go down the Clynder shore. Iris covered. That had two effects. Zoe continued to the Shandon shore and prospered. Others thought Iris and Catriona had chosen the Clynder shore from years of experience of the Gareloch and followed. It did them no good.
When Iris and Catriona met Zoe again, the advantage of the Shandon shore became clear. Catriona was now third with Zoe and Iris close. Thalia had not managed to profit in the way Zoe had. Iris and Zoe tacked inshore for the finishing line a little early. They found headers and less pressure. Catriona stood on hoping to tack later and get starboard advantage at the line. It was better than that, she avoided the hole and snatched a win. Iris beat Zoe in a photo finish.
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Zoe, 4 Thalia, 5 Ceres, 6 Hermes, 7 Thia, 8 Athene.
Tuesday 7th August
A sunny evening with breeze and ten boats at the start. It must be summer.
Those who expect to be at the front nowadays include Catriona, Iris and Zoe. They started in that order for the beat to D, north of Clynder. Catriona began to get nervous as she approached the Clynder shore. She tacked to cross Iris (just) and Zoe. Then tacked back thinking the Clynder shore would be favoured. Iris did better in the shifting wind and was comfortably ahead when they next crossed. Zoe, meanwhile, went back towards the Shandon shore in the worst of the ebb tide but good breeze.
Catriona went closer to the Clynder shore to avoid the worst of the tide. Adverse tide seemed no less strong and wind was lighter and more variable. Iris pulled away. Most of the boats which had gone up the Shandon shore prospered. Zoe was first at D, followed by Teal. Iris next then most of the rest before Catriona struggled round.
Downwind to the Shandon shore, Hermes was unable to hoist her spinnaker. Her pole had been damaged in an earlier practice hoist. Iris had young crew so stuck to two sails. Catriona insinuated herself past Thia. Despite a poor gybe at the mark, she was gaining on the reach to the finish and overtook Hermes. Iris, without spinnaker, just lost a place to Thalia. Reports from Athene are that the banter was good, but that is not necessarily compatible with fast sailing.
1 Zoe, 2 Teal, 3 Thalia, 4 Iris, 5 Catriona, 6 Hermes, 7 Thia, 8 Circe, 9 Ceres, 10 Athene.
Sunday 12th August
One of the best afternoons for sailing so far this year. Not that it is a high bar.
On the water Race Officer Michael Knox set a long course, beginning with an offwind leg to D, north of Clynder. A capsized dinghy on the approach to the line complicated things. The shore end of the line was closer to D so many went for that. There was little wind in there, though. Catriona bore away to keep well clear of the dinghy and then had to pinch to lay the pin end of the line. That should have set her back, but the better wind away from the shore was to her advantage. Thalia got the best start, but declined to set a spinnaker so that Catriona had the lead approaching D. Thia set her third sail, but had a problem and it came down. Perhaps not intentionally.
A beat back to the Shandon shore in gusts strong enough to submerge the lee deck as far as the cockpit coaming. Catriona kept her lead. Thalia did not capitalise on her second place. Another offwind leg to E, the most northerly mark on the Clynder shore.
Back to the starting area might have been a fetch. Even on a good day, direction of wind in the Gareloch is changeable so that everyone had to tack.
There was time for a second round, which was much shorter. Catriona and Teal were now well established in first and second. Circe and Thalia were on terms at the final rounding mark and had an argument about mark room. Circe came away better.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Circe, 4 Hermes, 5 Thalia, 6 Thia, 7 Ceres.
Tuesday 14th August
At the start, wind was not strong but was steady and more than adequate, taking account of some recent evenings.
Race Officer Michael Knox chose a long course, beginning with a beat to B off Silvers. Catriona got the better start at the favoured pin end of the line. Zoe was just in front but was a little too conservative with timing and bore away. Iris just behind. Zoe stuck to the Shandon shore and Catriona covered. Iris was nicely lifted and was comfortably in front when Catriona and Zoe eventually tacked. Thalia and Hermes looking strong too.
Iris rounded B well in front for the long spinnaker leg to F, off Shandon Church. Catriona next. Her cause helped by Zoe (with the inside slot) and Thalia being close together. They both went high to try and avoid being rolled.
Zoe was leading Thalia. Catriona was catching Iris on account of vagaries of Gareloch wind. As they closed, she went on the attack, took Iris’s wind and had the lead for the leg to C, at the north end of Clynder. That started as a fetch but ended as a beat. There was a persistent header approaching the west shore. The Pipers were comfortably round C and on the way home but wind was lightening for the Garelochs. Soon after C, we were looking for the ripples of bow wave on the water which indicate forward progress. There seemed to be pressure at the Clynder shore, but none in the middle. The time limit is earlier for August evenings so that no one completed the round. Broadley finish at C (named after Ian Broadley who decided in these circumstances we should take the order at the last rounding mark).
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Zoe, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes, 6 Teal, 7 Circe, 8 Ceres, 9 Athene. Subject to confirmation.
Sunday 19th August
On the water Race Officer Peter Proctor selected a superb course for the seven Garelochs at the starting line. It is unavoidable with fixed lines that there is bias. This afternoon, the pin was the only place to be for the beat to B. Iris (single handed) and Catriona with guest helm Shane Rankin approached the pin from upwind and had to give way to all those who were sailing higher courses. Only Thalia made a worse start. Despite being in charge of timing, she was early and had to re-round the pin.
The fleet set off down the Shandon shore with Teal leading comfortably. Iris and Catriona in the fray. Catriona tacked out to clear the wind shadow from Teal. That did not pay. Others tempted into the middle were Ceres and Hermes. Athene had made a good start but she was trying an experimental arrangement of leads for the jib sheets. There was no breakthrough.
Teal and Iris led round the mark for the spinnaker run to G, north of Gully Bridge. Iris, lacking crew, did not set hers which let Catriona past. Teal still leading comfortably. Thalia got back into contention, passing Hermes by setting the third sail. After a beat to C and a second spinnaker leg to the starting area, there was time for a second round. Teal had inexperienced crew so that spinnaker and gear were becoming less organised after each drop. Her helm was thus distracted on the next beat to B and Catriona caught a little.
The reach to C was fine but spinnakers could be carried with care because wind had lightened. Teal did not set hers and was overtaken. Hermes, meanwhile, had passed Thalia on the approach to B. With the bit between her teeth, she went to windward of Ceres on the reach to C.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Iris, 4 Hermes, 5 Ceres, 6 Thalia, 7 Athene.
Tuesday 21st August
The start was curious. Torrential rain (it was to get worse) dampened the wind so that plans had to be quickly revised. With a minute or so to go, it picked up again, leaving many too close to the line with surrounding boats limiting options. Athene found herself close to the shore and was concerned about the shingle bank. Especially on a falling tide. Her crew pointed to Thalia, a little ahead and commented she would run aground first. Which she did. There was ineffectual prodding of the bottom with paddles. By the time her crew realised that was not working, it was too late. She was stuck fast. As we came through the finish line at the end of the race, she was high and dry. Skipper, Cdr Peter Proctor RN, was asked about it in the bar but declined to comment.
Meanwhile, Iris, Catriona and Zoe made reasonably good starts. They had a little boatspeed but were too far from the favoured pin end. The rest, who had hung back, were at the pin end, going well, at the right moment.
Teal, Iris and Catriona began down the Shandon shore for the beat to B, off Silvers. Zoe tacked out and Catriona went to cover. The two are close in the points. It was not the fastest route. Iris and Teal were at the mark some time before the rest.
Offwind to G, on the Shandon shore, wind died for the tail enders so that Iris and Teal increased their lead. It was clear they were not to be caught. Catriona stayed in front of Zoe.
In the lightening air there were wind shifts on the beat to C. Zoe closed the gap a little.
Iris and Teal finished well within the time limit and so there was an extension. It helped Ceres but Hermes was just a minute too late.
1 Iris, 2 Teal, 3 Catriona, 4 Zoe, 5 Ceres. Hermes and Athene DNF. Thalia DNS.
Thursday 23rd August – Crews’ Race
Just 3 Garelochs took part. Course L6.
1 Thalia (John Urquhart), 2 Hermes (Michael Ledwell), 3 Ceres (Richard Reeve)
Sunday 26th August
On the water Race Officer kindly waited a couple of minutes or so for Juno to arrive from Clynder. He selected a course beginning with a beat to A, off the club, offwind to C at Clynder and beat back. The strong flood tide meant it was important to be at the shore end of the starting line. Favoured by wind and back eddy. Catriona and Teal were there, most others were not. Many, like Iris, started at the pin end and tacked to travel down the loch against the full might of the flood. Catriona, Teal and Thalia were comfortably in front for the off wind leg. Hermes strong too. Juno so far back it was thought she might need a scrub below the water line.
There were some large and persistent wind shifts. The run to C appeared from A to be dead downwind. We all played the angles and gybed when the wind veered 30 degrees and made the approach to C a reach. Catriona opened up a lead which was not to be threatened.
On the wind again to the starting area, Thalia played the wind shifts better than Teal and established herself in a strong second place. The approach to the Shandon shore was tricky. Wind, which was blowing off that shore, became lighter and more variable further in. On the other hand, there was less adverse tide.
The second round was an opportunity for those who could be contenders, but had begun near the back, to make their way through the fleet.
1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Iris, 4 Teal, 5 Juno, 6 Ceres, 7 Thia, 8 Hermes.
Tuesday 28th August
The last evening race of the year. As usual it has passed so quickly.
The weather leading up was not encouraging. Too much wind and not a little rain. As it turned out, it was a superb evening. Race Officer Neill Ross set one of the shorter courses down, then up the Shandon shore. The start was a little chaotic. There was barging and many were early at the favoured pin end. At least one boat was over early. That appeared to be Thalia, who went back.
Teal established an early lead by playing the wind and flood tide just right. Near the shore had less adverse tide, but less wind. She operated her spinnaker better than the others and established a lead which never looked threatened.
Zoe and Catriona battled. Catriona was passed going downwind on the first round. Zoe made a poor mark rounding to give the place back. Was back on terms when she was on the wrong end of a port/starboard incident with Thia and took penalty turns. Catriona lost it again at the end of the second downwind leg with her own disastrous rounding. She got back again going up wind and crossed the line second.
Iris, after a laid back start, insinuated herself through the fleet to finish behind Zoe.
Not quite the end of the story, though.
1 Teal, 2 Zoe, 3 Iris, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes, 6 Thia, 7 Athene. Catriona and Ceres OCS.
1st & 2nd September – Visit by FKY
The Gareloch Class were hosts to the Freundeskreis Klassische Yachten, team racing for the David Ryder-Turner trophy.
The visiting team lacked one of their crack helms, Enno Thyen, but benefited from Sven Foerst, who sails his Knarr Caol Ila at international level. The stakes were high. The Garelochs had won last year in Germany but lost on the Gareloch in 2010.
Race Officer Dick Taylor, aboard Fiona Du Boulay’s La Cavale, set windward-leeward courses. For the first of five scheduled races on Saturday, Gareloch wind was changeable in direction. The visitors won, which concentrated minds. The second race was complicated by a breakdown of one of the FKY boats, just before the finish. Once the ramifications were sorted out, it was a win for the home team. In both these races, Athene (with Sven at the helm) had done badly.
After lunch, we swapped boats. It soon became apparent that Athene was not on the pace. Our own Iain MacGillivray could do nothing with her either. She suffered a broken mast earlier in the year and is racing with a borrowed one. Its fittings perhaps do not fit the rigging. The home team tried hard but were unable to promote Athene and lost the third.
At the beginning of the final leg of the fourth race, the Garelochs were first and second, seventh and eighth. Tied on points but a losing combination because the team that does not have last place wins. A very difficult situation to recover from as well. The two leaders have to try to attack the four boats in the middle so that two of them are pushed back to seventh and eighth. It was a valiant effort but it was never going to be easy. After four races, the visiting team were the victors.
On Sunday morning, we had a fleet race. Helms from the team racing crewing for members of the opposing team. Roger Kinns, on the helm of Thalia, received a master class from Sven Foerst. Two of the old hands in Garlochs sent their helms round the wrong marks. No names, no pack drill. In the afternoon, we sailed round the sugar ship. John Blackie’s Maid of Lorn and La Cavale joined us. It was a cruise, not a race but Thalia won, followed by Wilfried Horns in Iris.
Barbecue in the evening. The competition was not quite over. A time trial down the driveway on Lasse Sutter’s scooter. Any time sub 10 seconds was good. Lasse won of course. Also featuring strongly were Sven Foerst, Charles Darley and Gila Miescke. The Convener’s time was almost 15 seconds.
Sunday 16th September
A gusty day. Both Iris and Catriona arrived without crew and decided against sailing single handed in the conditions. Iris’s skipper took the helm of Catriona.
With this dream team, the others were at a psychological disadvantage from the beginning. Race Officer Peter Proctor set a course beginning with a long beat to E, up the Clynder shore. The fixed starting line was heavily biased towards the shore end. Teal got the best of it with Hermes and Athene both well placed. Catriona not so. She had to tack away from under Athene. When things had settled down, Teal was leading with Catriona below her, nearer the Shandon shore. Thia not far behind, Thalia looking good on the lifts in wind direction but not otherwise.
Gareloch wind became more changeable on the approach to E. Catriona insinuated herself into the lead and rounded E just ahead of Teal and Thia. Downwind across the loch, Catriona was irritated by frequent changes in direction of now light air which required many gybes. Her frustration was as nothing compared with that of Teal and the rest. A partial vacuum had formed around E. Catriona was almost a leg ahead before the others could escape.
Carrying a spinnaker was just about possible on the fine reach back to the starting area. Thia, Thalia and Hermes had a good scrap here. Athene had struggled on the beat and was a little way back.
Time for a second round. This time a beat to D, closer to Clynder. Again the wind favoured those in front. A hole formed at D to hinder the middle of the fleet.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes, 5 Thia. Athene DNF.
Sunday 23rd September
Only one more race left this year. The sailing season always passes so quickly.
A superb afternoon, too. Good wind and sunshine throughout the race. Race Officer Roger Kinns set a course beginning with a beat to A, off the club, run up the Shandon shore to F and back. The starting marks had moved out of position so Roger nominated the starting line between a moored boat and the mast on shore.
Teal was sharpest away and was able to keep Catriona in her wind shadow to be first round A. Downwind Catriona, in second, tried hard but made little impression. The rest suffered with their spinnakers. Hermes in particular taking the time to rinse hers in the Gareloch. Despite needing a while to set the third sail, Thalia was close to the front at F. Iris was obliged to sail a long way from the mark before she was able to gybe.
There was a strong flood tide so that tacking back along the Shandon shore was essential. The strong breeze tended to hide that fact so that some battled the worst of the adverse tide out in the loch. Teal and Catriona were sometimes close. Iris was soon back on terms. Thalia close behind.
There ensued confusion over which mark bounded the end of the round. The moored boat or the out of position racing mark. Teal and Catriona went for the mark, Thalia protested that the moored boat was the thing. Catriona went back to round that, dropping two places and ending competition at the front. She got a place back from Thalia on the second round on account of playing the tide.
1 Teal, 2 Iris, 3 Catriona, 4 Thalia, 5 Circe, 6 Hermes, 7 Athene. Subject to protest and request for redress.
Sunday 30th September
The last official race of the year for Garelochs. Wind before the start was strong enough to make competitors nervous about setting spinnakers. A contrast to all those light air days.
There had been trouble in earlier races because starting marks were out of position. The problem had been solved by removing them alltogether. On the water Race Officer Iain MacGillivray was obliged to issue detailed instructions for using moorings as marks.
On the first leg to B, off Silvers, the Iris/Catriona dream team was in action again and quickly overtook Teal who had started best. Iris’s skipper, on the helm of Catriona, allowed Teal to tack away without cover. For a brief time, Teal was in front. Catriona played the wind and tide better to be first round B for the offwind leg to F, off Shandon Church. The first of a series of warships leaving the Garloch delayed the chasing pack.
The third leg, a reach to C, at Clynder. Catriona escaped before a hole in the wind developed which swallowed the rest. She crossed another warship which delayed the others. Back at the start/finish line there was time for another round although some had not yet escaped C.
The shorter second round was to B, C and back. Wind between B and C was frustrating, this time, for Catriona. The pack of Teal, Thalia and Hermes came up on wind filling in from behind. Athene, still out of sorts, was further back. It was not quite enough for any of them to take the lead but it gave them hope. The combination of wind and tide favoured Thalia over Teal, who lost her second place and later compounded her misery by touching the finishing mark.
1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Teal, 4 Hermes, 5 Athene.