Author Archives: Iain MacGillivray

Sun 27th May

Our Convener had been looking at a Met Office forecast which showed isobars widely spaced so that he feared a lack of wind.  As it was, there was more than enough to keep us amused.  Any more and we might not have raced.  Halcyone’s helm was returning from holiday and noted, as we were beating across the loch from Rahane,  ‘from the road you could see spray flying off their quarters’.  The Convener’s boat Athene is still undergoing shakedown.  The strong wind did not help so that she decided to stay on her mooring.  Six of us went to the starting area.  

On the water Race Officer Peter Proctor selected a long course, beginning downwind to D, north of Clynder and then back and forth across the loch.  Our start was delayed so as to allow a submarine to make its way out of the loch.  Thalia and Catriona were on the starting line at the correct time although perhaps not as close to the pin end as they should have been.  Teal misread the first leg and set off across the loch on port tack, thinking a gybe would be needed to reach the mark and she would approach on favoured starboard tack with the fleet having had to gybe on to port.  By the time she realised the mark could be made by remaining on starboard, she was behind.  

At the mark, Catriona had edged into the lead with Thalia and Zephyrus fighting over the overlap for mark room.  These two were swapping places until a ferule splicing wire rigging on Zephyrus slipped and she was forced to retire.  Thia thought better of it after the first mark.  Hermes had had enough at the end of the first round,   Teal showed her speed to move firmly into second.  

It is good that it was a warm day, because we all got wet with spray.  Some of it incompletely atomised.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Thalia.  Zephyrus, Hermes and Thia DNF.

Crew’s Race – Thu 24th May

A superb evening of sunshine and breeze.  Where else in the world would you rather be.

Helms Fiona Baker (Thalia), Peter Brown (Thia), Lucy Forrester (Catriona) and Michael Milne (Dione) raced.  Peter had won last year and the confident body language on Thia was plain to see.  Michael, with Roger Kinns as crew, knew that Dione goes well.

On the Water Race Officer Michael Knox was constrained by wind blowing from the shore at the starting area to set a course beginning downwind to C, at the north of Clynder.  Dione and Thia got away well with Catriona selecting the wrong gybe.  She corrected that and was able to establish an inside overlap by the time the three reached the mark.  A better rounding by Dione led to luffing and Thia made hay to take first place.  Shortly after, Dione lost her main halyard.  The time it took to remedy did for her chances.

Gareloch wind, meanwhile, was unkind to our Race Officer.  The second leg, back across the loch to windward, was almost a fetch.  Only a short port tack approach to the mark was needed.  Thia was not to be caught.  Nor was she on the next reach across the loch to Silvers.  The leg back to the starting area was a fetch.  Thia made a tactical error by standing on unnecessarily at the mark.  Catriona tacked at once and edged into the lead.  There was a second round.  An enjoyable sail in good breeze but no places changed.

1 Lucy Forrester (Catriona), 2 Peter Brown (Thia), 3 Fiona Baker (Thalia), 4 Michael Milne (Dione)

Tue 22nd May

(Edit – results corrected to include Hermes!)

The race officer was faced with a light and somewhat variable breeze and opted for the short course to the C mark off Clynder and back.  A decision not immediately appreciated but with hindsight gave a good race. 

As ever it is not possible to set an upwind first leg with an easterly so the first leg was under spinnaker.  Teal and Catriona made a good start but protest flags were sighted as Catriona gybed in Teal’s water. Dione sat close on Teal’s stern all the way across with Catriona close by and Thalia pushing up.  Athene on her first race of the year was balancing the need to organise the boat with racing priorities.  Catriona did her penalty turns at the C mark before setting off after Teal & Dione with Thalia in close company.  Places were to be won and lost on this beat with some tidal advantage to be had on the Clynder shore but some favourable shifts further out.  Thalia suffered from the disengagement of her main halyard causing her to lose ground.  After much tacking and covering, Dione led round the Y mark for the start of the second round, closely followed by Teal & Catriona.  The run back to C was uneventful but places were again traded on the beat as Catriona found first a favourable shift and then an unfavourable one.  With the course shortened to 2 rounds, the final positions were as for the first round.

1 Dione, 2 Teal, 3 Catriona, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes 6 Thia, 7 Athene 

Sun 20th May

No wind*, no race.

(*Webmaster/editor: well there was a little wind but it was very light, very variable, largely from the opposite direction of the forecast SSWerly and completely outmatched by the strong tide!)

Tue 15th May

After a pleasantly sunny day with light breeze, the sky became angrier for our evening race.  Low cloud over the hills and the sort of strong, cold wind that makes you nervous as you walk along the jetty.

Teal stayed on her mooring, her skipper was Race Officer.  Five boats went out but Thia thought better of it and did not race.  Iain MacGillivray set a course beginning with a leg to windward up the Shandon shore.  Catriona set herself up for a good start but confusion over timing of the starting sequence led to her starting last, in a wind shadow from Hermes.  Dione was away first closely followed by Thalia.
Dione eroded her advantage by sailing for a mark too far up the Gareloch and hence overstood the windward mark.  She still had a comfortable lead though. Catriona had fought back to be overlapped outside Thalia as they rounded the mark.  Next was a reach to the north end of Clynder where Thalia fell back in wind shadow and the gap to Dione closed a little.  The third leg was downwind to mark A, off the club.  Dione played the angles, broad reaching down the Clynder shore before gybing for another broad reach to A.  In the strength of wind, boats were close to maximum speed anyway so that the direct route was fastest. Catriona could not quite make the pass but was close to Dione at the leeward mark.  A tighter rounding gave her the place on the windward leg back to the starting area.
There was a second round, Hermes had had enough, no places changed.
1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Thalia, Hermes DNF, Thia DNS.

Sun 13th May

What a superb afternoon.  There was sunshine and wind.  Weather forecasts on the television had been a little pessimistic, but that must have been for the south east of England.

On the water Race Officer Roger Kinns set one of the longer courses, back and forth across the loch.  The same one as last Sunday.

No one made a good start.  Teal and Catriona were early at the line, Dione (the other boat fancying her chances) was late.  Teal luffed and slowed, Catriona bore away down the line but managed to start with pace.  For a while, Catriona could not have tacked to cross ahead of Teal and the two stayed on starboard tack going down the Shandon Shore and trying to make to windward to B, off Silvers.  Eventually, Catriona picked her moment and tacked into a clear first place.  There was tacking and covering on the way to B but Catriona had enough of a lead at the mark to avoid having to deal with a wind shadow from Teal on the next leg.  Downwind to Shandon Church..  The rest, meanwhile, were blanketing each other.  Dione in particular found herself in Halcyone’s shadow and suffered on account of it.  Hermes did not set a spinnaker on this leg and lost 200 yards or more to Thalia.  Which she made up on the next windward leg.
That leg was to C, off the north end of Clynder.  Thence a reach back to the starting area.  There were thoughts of déjà vu all over again on Catriona.  On the previous Sunday, she was leading at this point and there was just enough time for a second round.  She lost her place in variable wind at B.  Again there was a second round.  This time wind was constant (by the standards of the Gareloch) and there were no mishaps.  A rash launching of the spinnaker on a blowy reach almost cost a place.  Teal set her spinnaker at the end.  It was not enough.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Dione, 4 Hermes, 5 Thalia, 6 Halcyone.

Tue 8th May

Race report to follow (having been delegated by Charles to the winner Zephyrus) once it is written! You think they’d be keen since it was their first race win – congratulations skipper Eric Boinard!

1 Zephyrus, 2 …

Sun 6th May

A lovely afternoon for a sail.  There was cloud over The Cobbler and the wind was steady for a lot of the time.

On the water Race Officer Barrie Choules chose a long course, visiting many of the marks in the loch, beginning with a leg to windward to B, off Silvers.

Teal was early at the starting line and obliged to circle.  Catriona got the best of it with Dione and Halcyone to leeward.  Teal quickly recovered from her start and took the lead with starboard tack advantage.  Wind was variable, however, and she was a close second at the mark with Dione chasing hard.  Teal was super slick launching her spinnaker for the offwind leg to F, off Shandon Church and took back the lead.  Dione had trouble with her third sail, which compromised her challenge.

The next leg upwind to Clynder.  Again Teal dropped to second due to the variability of pressure in the Gareloch.  The leg back to the starting area a reach where overtaking is not usually possible.  We were just in time for another round.  Again Catriona and Teal swapped places.  Wind on the approach to B was outrageously variable and Teal was round first.  Dione, meanwhile, had made a poor rounding of the mark at the starting area and dropped a place to Halcyone.

There were no further changes of place at the front.  Unaccountably, Halcyone let Dione past again on the reach to the finish.

1 Teal, 2 Catriona, 3 Dione, 4 Halcyone, 5 Hermes, 6 Zephyrus.

Tue 1st May

Race report to follow (once it is written by the winner Dione!)

Sun 29th Apr

(Guest report from Teal – largely because a week later she was the only one who could vaguely remember what happened!)

It was a nice sunny afternoon and tempting to dress summery. This would have been and was a mistake. As we left the moorings ominous dark clouds threatened and as we sailed to the start a squally shower started and was soon spitting hailstones followed by mere soaking heavy rain. The wind swerved around bit too which didn’t help Teal (volunteer on-the-water RO) decide on a course. Given the wind, a tide, and a reported submarine (although it has perhaps happened) and various naval exercises afoot, it was decided to stick to Z-A-G course which kept us away from the narrows and main channel.

Various boats made a reasonable start including Dione slightly more inshore and to windward and with Catriona – helmed by Convenor Prof Blackie – and Zephyrus starting closer to the Z mark. Teal was concentrating on the start sequence as RO and sailed a little too far away in light air but followed behind Dione in the windward pack. The boats in the leeward pack however looked good since they would have the inside overlap at the starboard rounding at the A mark. A header shifted the balance however and now Dione was in a clear lead and reached A first. Zephyrus still made an overlap count with Teal following tightly round in third. Halcyone rounded fourth, with Hermes and Catriona suffering from their leeward position in the header.

Dione was away and never looked back in the race. Teal managed a quick spinnaker launch and broke through to windward of Zephyrus. Halcyone tried the same to Teal and was succeeding for a while before a lack of wind too far inshore stymied her. Hermes also managed to look too like she was also going to undertake Teal to leeward with a nice streak. Catriona now surfed her very own wind from the back to squeeze through between Hermes and Halycone and was threatening Teal. Teal however maintained a windward position and cover to the G mark to round in second. Halcyone suffered badly from her decision to go too far and rounded last.

It was now a case of covering back to the finish. Dione waltzing away. Teal covering Catriona home. Zephyrus covering Hermes. Halcyone trying to catch all.

1 Dione, 2 Teal, 3 Catriona, 4 Zephyrus, 5 Hermes, 6 Halcyone