Author Archives: Iain MacGillivray

Islands International Challenge Cup @ Seawanhaka Corinthian YC, NY

Members of the Gareloch OD class have been taking part. The Convenor’s cabled race report was brief:

”Last again.”

Tue 24th Sep

The very last race of the season for the old ladies, born in 1925. It was a stiff breeze off the Shandon shore.

On the water race officer Peter Proctor selected a course beginning downwind to D, north of Clynder. Catriona with Michael Lapsley on the helm made a leisurely start but Spinnaker work better than the rest put Catriona in contention with Halcyone early on.  Thalia following.

Halcyone was first to D but made a wide rounding and let Catrions inside. She dropped into wind shadow and was obliged to tack away. Catriona found better wind on the beat towards the Shandon shore and that was that.

1 Catriona, 2 Halcyone, 3 Thalia

Sun 22nd Sep (informal race)

[Editor: this was not NOT sadly the last Tue race of the season. The last Sun race – according to the agreed calendar – was the previous weekend…]

The last of the Sunday afternoon races this year.  Heavy rain in the morning did not engender enthusiasm but it was dry with good wind (if gusty) for the race.

New to the Class Michael Lapsley and Louise Corry sailed on Catriona.

With wind blowing from the Shandon shore, a start to windward was not possible.  The C mark at the north end of Clynder was judged to be downwind so that is where we went. There was time for two rounds.

Catriona just managed to reach C first, from Dione and Halcyone, avoiding anyone having an inside overlap.  She was passed by Dione in the changeable air towards the starting area and followed to C the second time.  The order changed as the two made their way to the finish but it was Catriona who finally benefitted from favourable air.

1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Halcyone, 4 Thia, Ceres DNS.

Tue 17th Sep

On the water Race Officer Shane Rankin sent us on one of the shorter courses up and down the Shandon shore.  There was an instruction to finish after one round.  It seemed a short race but as we made our way back to the moorings, wind lightened so that a second round might have put us into the twilight.

The starting line was square to the wind, being fixed that is unusual.  Tide was against us for the windward leg so that a decision was required.  Start at the outer end, in stronger adverse tide with the hope of more wind or start inshore in less tide and wind.  Catriona and Halcyone opted for the shore, the rest for the outer end.  The shore paid and the two benefitted from an initial lift before being headed with the rest as we all went out into the loch.  Catriona was the first to tack back towards the shore and she crossed only a little ahead of Thalia who had recovered well from a start at the pin end, struggling against the tide to make the mark.  Thalia and Halcyone stood on into the loch and adverse tide, which was their undoing.  Ceres was next, comfortably ahead of Luna (who had to fight to keep Thia at bay) but not able to challenge for the podium.

The downwind leg was straightforward and with the tide.  The only gybe needed was to round the mark.  The order did not change.

1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Halcyone, 4 Ceres, 5 Luna, 6 Thia.

Sun 15th Sep

(Guest report from Teal)

The days are running out for this season, so when the message came saying that Teal’s crew Ufo was down with cold/flu, I was resigned to gardening with a heavy heart. I nonetheless resolved to pop along and pump out Teal (which was as well since she was full to the deck floor after last week’s rain). The heart became heavier still forlornly contemplating a good breeze and sunshine….

…but then I spotted that Thalia was sailing three-up! After a request to pinch a crew member was kindly accepted, Teal was going to race after all with Wendy aboard (Mother of Rear Commodore Sailing – unsure if this is a formal position like the Queen Mother?). Teal rigged sharpish.

Thalia was RO and selected the excellent L8 course. A good long beat to D, reach across to G, run back to start at Y and then down to A, followed by another very good beat back up to D. A biased start line as so often given the fixed start lines. Teal led in easily with little challenge, Dione following, others lagging. Both Dione and Teal tacked to head across the loch to the Clynder shore but Teal’s large starting lead was easily eaten into by Dione who both climbed and pulled ahead under Teal. Better boatspeed (a dirty hull on Teal?) or better helming from Barrie on Dione? Or both! Teal tacked and Dione followed, now ahead. The others had stayed closer to the Shandon shore and were not threatening. Dione round D first, but Teal had managed to play some shifts inshore and arrived shortly after.

Across the loch to G it was difficult to spot the mark and both headed too high before raising kites and gybing. Thalia went the right way and with slick spinnaker work from Peter was right back in the race. Teal attempted to luff Dione to prevent an inside and then to give her mark room but with skipper on the spinnaker, team communication slowed down reactions and she failed to do so resulting in Dione hitting the mark. Teal was rightly protested and did her turns. Dione and Thalia both swept onwards down to Y. Teal was at least quick with her kite drop, penalty turns and then re-launch of the kite from the cockpit and chasing. Dione had time to fit in a quick penalty turn for touching the mark before rounding Y and still lead Thalia.

To A, Dione leading Thalia, Teal chasing. Both Dione and Thalia rounded and tacked – thinking to keep out of the tide. Teal however spotted good wind on the Clynder shore. While the Gareloch has tide, good wind will always trump it. And so it proved: while Dione and Thalia sailed in lighter air and covered each other up the Shandon shore, Teal thundered up directly to D in a lane of excellent gusty wind.  By the time Dione and Thalia had crossed the loch, Teal was unfairly clear for the run back to the finish at Y. Dione should have secured second but Thalia kept fighting and a spinnaker pole failure on Dione didn’t help. A frustrating race for Dione but a good one for Thalia – especially on her first race after Roger’s broken leg!

1 Teal, 2 Thalia, 3 Dione, 4 Thia, 5 Luna. Ceres DNF. (To be confirmed.)

Tue 10th Sep

The second of the Ancient Mariner series was greeted by a wet evening but with wind, and a forecast of more to come, something of a change from recent weeks.  6 boats ventured out and course L5 up and down the Shandon shore was selected with Catriona as on the water race officer.

It soon became apparent that the wind, and more especially the tide was not uniform across the Loch.  A tidy start with Catriona a few seconds early and having to bear away down the line allowed Dione and Halcyone to make the best of it.  The decision was then inshore for least-bad tide or offshore for the best wind; Dione, Thia & Hermes went inshore, Halcyone, Luna and Catriona (after a foray inshore) went out.  Inshore payed off, although Halcyone managed to find an area of good tide that served her well.

At the windward mark (A) the tide was predominant and all boats had to fight more tide than they were expecting; the latter boats having something of a torrid time as the wind eased in that location separating them from the front of the fleet.  A decent spinnaker run, for most, to the Leeward mark (G) saw some bunching at the mark with Hermes just getting mark room inside Catriona then the beat to the finish.  Dione stayed inshore, Halcyone offshore in her narrow strip of favourable tide, going so well that she almost omitted to pass the finish mark on the correct side and in returning, slipped from 2nd to 4th.

Despite the relatively short race, it was stopped after one round because of fading light, forecasting of more wind, the tail end boats being a little way back and because Hermes asked for 1-round only.

Results: Dione, Thia, Hermes, Halcyone, Catriona, Luna

Tue 3rd Sep

The first of the Ancient Mariner Series, named after Douglas Young, whose nickname that was.  He owned the Gareloch Galatea when he passed on.  We start an hour earlier, on account of the darker evenings.

On the water Race Officer Shane Rankin selected one of the shorter courses to B, off Silvers and back.  Wind lightened towards the start with the result that Carol Rowe, on the helm of Catriona, got away unchallenged.  The rest held back too much.  The fleet set off down the Shandon shore with Dione, a little further out than Catriona, making ground to take first place.  When Catriona tacked out on port, she was obliged to duck. That was the last of the competition for Catriona, however.  She played the shifts in the wind to reach the windward mark comfortably first.  Halcyone had tacked out into the loch early and was comfortably second.  Ceres was going well.  She was later into the water this year and probably has more effective anti fouling.

There was theoretically time for a second round, but the race officer finished us after one.  He saw that Dione and Thia had found a distinct lull at B.

1 Catriona, 2 Halcyone, 3 Ceres, 4 Dione, 5 Thia

Team racing vs FKY & Howth 17s – 31 Aug – 1 Sep

The Gareloch class was host to visitors from the Howth 17 Footers (the oldest one design keelboat) and the Freundeskreis Klassische Yachten.  The plan was for nine races so that each team raced each other team three times.

Saturday morning started with a brisk wind in the Clyde so that Race Officer Jean Mackay, aboard Jim Findlay’s Full Circle, moved racing from the East patch (off Helensburgh pier) to the more sheltered Gareloch.  Conditions were benign as our two visiting teams left the moorings for the first race.    Soon after the start a wind from the north funnelled down the loch with a strength far too great for meaningful team racing. At the end of the first round, Jean finished them and sent the boats back to their moorings.  Crews lunched in the clubhouse with a view to assessing things in the afternoon.  There was a flat patch in Camsail bay but the Gareloch was still lively so that racing was called off for the day.  It was planned to get two quick races on Sunday Morning before the Irish visitors had to leave.  Meanwhile, there was a cruise around the sugar boat in Jamie Grant’s Kelana (which was our hotel boat), John Hammond’s Clearwater and Ufo and Miriam Sutter’s Tiffany Aching.  There was space for anyone who wanted to be on the water.

Wind on Sunday morning was kinder.  The Gareloch class raced each of the visiting teams in true air.  The downwind legs in particular provided opportunity for team race tactics as boats from behind took the wind of those in front.  Helms balanced the need to luff to keep their air clear against making progress towards the finish.  The Garelochs won both to retain the David Ryder-Turner trophy for the match against the FKY.  We won back the trophy for the match against the Howth 17s which we had lost last year racing the 17s in their home waters.

Tue 27th Aug

The last of the normal Tuesday evening races although the Garelochs carry on through September with an earlier start.  Weather was very pleasant in the context of gardening but not conducive to a memorable race.  Race Officer Peter Proctor was very patient and waited for enough movement of air to send us on the shortest course to the club and back.

With tide more prominent than wind, both Catriona and Halcyone hit the starting mark.  Luna took advantage.  Thia was late, having tarried too long on her mooring thinking there would be no race.

1 Catriona, 2 Luna, 3 Halcyone, 4 Thia.

Sun 25th Aug

On the water Race Officer Iain MacGillivray had trouble choosing a course as wind changed direction.  It was blowing from the Shandon shore so that a start to windward was not possible.  Iain settled on a short course to C, at the north end of Clynder, and back.  Teal had the best position on the starting line but Catriona somehow got away, despite being slow with her spinnaker.

Off Clynder, the water was like a mirror but oddly there was sufficient steady current of air to make significant progress.  Catriona was round first from teal, the rest rather further back.

The wind had veered to make the return leg a fetch.  Spinnakers could be set to begin with.  A short tack was needed at the end on account of variable wind off the Shandon shore.  There was a second round but no changes of place.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Dione, 4 Ceres, 5 Halcyone.