Race Officer Alan Yendell, conscious of lack of light and the risk of a drop in wind, set one of the shorter courses. A true windward leg to B, off Silvers, and back. As it was, there was time for two rounds.
The pin end of the line was the only place to start and Teal got that spot. A gaggle of boats to leeward or behind followed her down the Shandon Shore. Catriona, who had been trapped below Zephyrus, and Athene tacked out into the loch early and prospered. Zephyrus soon came to join them. Zephyrus was ahead on the approach to the windward mark but Catriona had an inside overlap and rounded first.
Downwind, these two indulged in a little match racing so that Teal, who had not been far behind and was slick with her spinnaker, took the lead.
Back in the fleet, Thalia, Athene and Thia approached the leeward mark close together, Athene with mark room. An injudicious gybe onto port tack by Thalia resulted in a foul on Athene. Thalia was set back by the penalty turns. Soon after, Athene suffered a gear failure and so did not capitalise. Hermes had watched with interest from behind, avoided the stramash and gained three places.
1 Teal, 2 Catriona, 3 Halcyone, 4 Zephyrus, 5 Hermes, 6 Thia, 7 Thalia, 8 Athene, 9 Ceres.
Wind was blowing from the Shandon Shore so that our course began with a fetch to A, off the club. Thence downwind to D north of Clynder in preparation for a windward leg home.
Catriona fancied she had made a good start at the favoured shore end of the line and was comfortably leading at the A mark. As she was about to hoist a spinnaker she was hailed by Hermes, who was coming to the end of the first leg, to say that she had started prematurely. Hermes had been at the pin end of the line before the start and had a race officer’s view. It was an awfully long way back to start correctly. From then on, the order was set. Hermes did not set a spinnaker on her first round and so made no impression of the leading group, where Dione was under no pressure.
1 Dione, 2 Thalia, 3 Thia, 4 Hermes, 5 Catriona.
There had been no wind all day. International Judge Nigel Vick was at the club as chief umpire for the event in the British Keelboat League and had been whiling away the time but was enthused by the thought of a race in a Gareloch. Julian Forrester was short of crew so they sailed together on Luna.
To begin with, it looked as if we should be lucky to get a race. We ghosted to the starting area and on the water Race Officer Barrie Choules set a short course up and down the Shandon shore. Thia made by far the best start and set of in the zephyr which seemed to cling to the shore. Catriona caught up and tried to pass to windward, which was a mistake. During the penalty turns, Luna caught up and established a good lead. Thalia, meanwhile, had ventured further into the loch and was brought up on a new streak of pressure. She ignored Dione, who had gone further out still and could be heard approaching at speed. Catriona thought to tack out and caught enough of the new air to pass first Thia, then Thalia, who was irritated by Dione.
At the mark, Luna approached from the shore on right of way starboard tack but she had not benefitted from the new breeze. Dione and Catriona approached with enough boatspeed to sneak round in front of Luna, further robbing her of air.
The next leg was now a fine reach, such were the curiosities of Gareloch air. Little changed. We gybed around the A mark, off the club, and set off on another reach to the end of the round. Dione crossed the line within an hour of the start, so that there was a second round. Wind now filling in. In the tacking duel up the shore, Dione did not appreciate the changing direction of wind and overstood, letting Catriona into the lead. Back down the loch, it was now just possible to carry a spinnaker which Dione did best. Thalia moved into third place, Luna and Thia did not set their kites.
1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Thalia, 4 Luna, 5 Thia.
Once again, wind was unkind to the Race Officer. Shane Rankin this evening. There was steady breeze as we milled around the starting area so that he sent us on a long windward leg to the northernmost mark on the Clynder shore. We had barely set off when the wind began to ease and by half way we were struggling to maintain smooth flow of air over the sails. The water around the windward mark was unrippled. We could see the Sonars, who had started 10 minutes earlier than us, taking a long time to round it.
Catriona made a good start at the favoured shore end of the line. She covered Dione as they sailed out into the adverse ebb tide in the loch. Others went up the Shandon shore where there was less adverse tide but less wind. Zephyrus was the best of these and was in the fray when she finally tacked towards the Clynder shore.
Different boats gained and lost in the patchy and changeable air. Dione and Catriona were usually to the fore. Dione followed the usual advice, leaving it late to tack in to the shore. It did not help this time because ‘wind’ veered and it was possible to lay the mark earlier. Catriona made it round first and escaped across the loch on transient currents of air. Dione and Hermes followed but Hermes had trouble making progress across the loch and faded.
Time was getting on and it seemed we should not finish the round before the time limit. There was about 30 minutes to go as the leader rounded F, off Shandon Church, and set off for home. With occasional patches of breeze she was able to finish with just a couple of minutes in hand. That led to a 15 minute extension of time so that Dione and Thalia made it too.
1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Thalia. Zephyrus, Thia, Athene and Hermes DNF.
It was wet and windy. Crews for six Garelochs arrived at the Club but only four left their moorings and one of them thought better of it. Lucy Forrester, who is without fear and prone to understatement, said it was exhilarating.
The on the water race officer struggled to find a good course with wind off the Shandon shore. We began with a run downwind to Clynder. Zephyrus got the best start and resisted Dione and Catriona to have the favoured inside position for the mark rounding. Upwind to F, off Shandon Church was almost a fetch. It needed only a short tack on port. There was a racing mark from the Clynder shore out of position and north of F. Zephyrus and Dione were misled by it and let Catriona into the lead. Thenceforth, the course comprised either fetches or broad reaches so there was little scope for tactics. It might not have made a difference because the order was established.
1 Catriona, 2 Zephyrus, 3 Dione. Thalia DNS
Five Sonars and five Garelochs took part. The first start was scheduled for noon but Race officer Simon Pender, aboard David Whitham’s Evolene, could find no wind. We waited and when breeze filled in from the south west, Simon’s team already had the course laid.
Thalia, with Simon Jackson on the helm, started best at the pin end of the line. Athene was next and battled hard with Thalia going to windward on the first leg. Catriona had started badly, below Athene. Dione and Hermes were behind her, at the Committee Boat end where breeze was less.
Thalia led all the way round two laps. Catriona was chasing hard and had moved into second from Athene going downwind. On the windward leg to the finish, Thalia took a tack to reach the better wind which had brought the chasing pack closer. This was associated with a shift in direction. The new air reached Catriona as she rounded and it was now possible to lay the line from the leeward mark. Catriona was able to sneak in. Athene kept Dione at bay.
The course was re-set for the second race and this time, Catriona started better. She was leading from Thalia at the first mark but paid insufficient attention when gybing onto port tack to go downwind and fouled Thalia who remained on starboard. The penalty turn let Thalia away, constantly lightening air caused the gap to increase. She was almost at the finishing line by the time the others had rounded the leeward mark.
By now, air was barely moving enough to affect the racing flags. With steerage way lost, Thalia was unable to cross the finishing line. The rest were brought up, more on currents of water than air. Catriona got close at the pin end of the line with both boats being swept to the left to the left. There was enough air to stem the tide on port but as soon as boats tacked to finish, they were taken the wrong side of the mark. Thalia tacked first and Catriona had to pass astern. Thalia was taken the wrong side so Catriona stood on a bit, tacked onto starboard and might have made it. Thalia now on port left it too late to keep clear. The penalty turn set her back irrevocably. Dione, meanwhile, had caught up, avoided all this and took the gun.
Result for the regatta, 1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Thalia, 4 Athene, 5 Hermes.
Ten of us turned out. Luna was in her first race since 2014 under the new ownership of Julian Forrester. We were visited by Michael Scholl and Jörg Kadgiehn of the Freundeskreis Klassische Yachten. Both accomplished helms, they took charge of Dione and Athene.
The wind in the Gareloch is often unkind to Race Officers and so it was this evening to Barrie Choules. He set a course beginning with a windard leg to C, at Clynder, and zig zagging back and forth across the loch. The start for Garelochs is the third of the three classes. By that time it was not possible to sail along the starting line from the shore end to the pin. There was inevitable congestion as most tried a start on port tack at the pin. Teal was set back. Catriona timed her approach just right but thought she was over the line early. The recall was for Thalia who approached from the course side of the starting line and was easily able to duck it before tacking.
After all that, we set off across the loch with Luna and Dione leading. Gareloch air was lightening all the time and becoming more variable, especially near to the Clynder shore. Boats a few yards apart found themselves in different wind. Some of the fleet was brought up on a line of air so that several boats were trying to round the mark at once. Thia came out well. Luna went around the outside of all of them and was well placed for a run back across the loch but dropped back for want of a spinnaker. Thalia found herself headed as she approached the mark and struggled to avoid touching it.
Getting cleanly away from the Clynder shore was key. Thia did well. Teal would have done, but for Halcyone who was still to round. Catriona found the best of the air and, her spinnaker drawing, resisted a luff from Luna.
Time was now getting on and Barrie rightly thought we should struggle to finish if we had to visit the Clynder shore again. He set up a finishing line at the G mark, on the Shandon shore. A lamp post serving as one end of it. We were able to ghost back to our moorings before light began to fade.
1 Thia, 2 Catriona, 3 Thalia, 4 Athene, 5 Teal, 6 Dione, 7 Luna, 8 Halcyone. Ceres and Zephyrus DNF.
(Guest report from Teal)
Dione volunteered to be on-the-water race officer since she was three-up and, in the continuing absence of the G mark sent us on a good long race around course H6 (ZBfcY) – the F mark being the furthest up the Shandon shore. The line was biased to the Z mark end and, with a light patch before the start, Dione, Thalia and Halycone made the best of it with Teal following close behind. Teal followed for a bit but following wasn’t going to achieve much so despite the risk of a strong incoming tide in the middle of the loch she tacked away to what appeared to be a darker windier patch and towards a distinct dark cloud which she reasoned was causing it. When she tacked back to consolidate, Dione was only just ahead of Teal so it had paid. Dione tacked on top of Teal but Teal tacked herself to head back towards the Clynder shore. Heading back towards the better wind and out of the tide. And leaving Dione and others heading against the worst of the tide! When Teal tacked back again on a shift, she was so far ahead that the race was almost already won.
Teal rounded the B mark for the very long run to the F mark. In the following pack Halycone rounded first having played the tacks and shifts well, followed by Dione, Athene then Thalia. Thia too both going well and with the pack. Ceres trailing somewhat with spinnaker troubles? Thalia overtook Athene with slicker spinnaker handling but the order otherwise unchanged. Rounding F for the beat to C, Teal decided to immediately tack and head up the loch on the Shandon shore out of the tide and towards what appeared to be better wind back towards the mouth of the loch. When they rounded Halycone and Dione decided to stand on towards the Clynder shore which didn’t seem to pay with mediocre wind. And Dione exacerbated it by bearing off towards the E mark! Thalia meanwhile made a good decision and followed Teal up the Shandon shore in good wind and when she tacked to cross the loch she crossed ahead of both Halcyone and Dione. Sadly for her she didn’t cover to consolidate her position. Teal rounded C and watched the following pack wondering whether they had over stood the mark; perhaps all tying to get inside mark rights. Halcyone had Dione well covered and sure enough rounded second, followed by Dione then closely by Thalia.
Teal watched secure on her fine reach to the finish at Y. We thought Halcyone was secure too in second. Dione however kept attacking, hoisted her kite and went well to leeward of Halcyone. She was rewarded when the wind lifted half way across and she powered through well under Halycone to finish a good few boat-lengths ahead. Thalia too put up the kite but couldn’t quite replicate the gains.
1 Teal, 2 Dione, 3 Halcyone, 4 Thalia, 5 Athene, 6 Thia, 7 Ceres
(Guest report from Thalia)
A very wet day, with poor visibility. Only Hermes and Thalia went out for the last race of the present series. Wind was a light northerly, after wild weather on Saturday. Race Officer Roger Kinns set L1, with a beat down the Shandon shore to ‘g’ then across to Clynder and a lap finish via ‘a’ and ‘z’. Both boats headed down the line for a pin start on Starboard with Hermes ahead. The gap narrowed so the pair were almost level near ‘g’. But where was the mark? The two boats agreed that a yellow mooring buoy would have to serve for the day. Hermes rounded first, but Thalia had the better of the fetch to Clynder and got an inside overlap.
The run to ‘a’ saw hardly any change in relative position, with crews deciding that wet spinnakers were not going to be much fun. Thalia was ahead on port tack, with Hermes overlapped on the outside. Unable initially to see the next mark in the damp gloom, Thalia tracked too far left and had to bear away as the ‘a’ mark came into view. Uncertain whether she had lost her right to a proper course and unwilling to risk boom contact, she executed a quick double gybe to duck under Hermes’ stern and conceded mark room as a result. A stuck jib sheet cost another couple of lengths. Seeking to balance the effects of an ebb tide with better wind in the loch didn’t favour Thalia in the beat to ‘z’ and on to a second lap via the substitute ‘g’. The race seemed to be over as a contest. A generous Hermes then sailed on up the Loch towards Faslane, never found the real ‘g’, eventually came across ‘f’ and turned towards Clynder.
So who won? Technically it was Thalia with Hermes second through her extra voyage. Both enjoyed a refreshing sail.
Race Officer Carol Rowe was not helped by the fickle wind of the Gareloch. There was breeze as we left the moorings but a grey cloud seemed to absorb any current of air around the start line. We waited and were rewarded by a zephyr. The only feasible course was to A, off the club, and back. A mark on the Clynder shore, which at first seemed more to windward, out of the question on account of a large, glassy area of water. As it was, wind backed so that the trip to A required tacking.
Catriona got away well, chased closely by Dione. The pin end of the line was favoured and there was inevitable congestion. Teal thought to set her spinnaker early for what began as a fine reach. She was undone by boats to leeward pushing her the wrong side of the mark (and boats to windward taking her air). At the end of the first round, she was at the back, along with Halcyone. Both made progress in a second round.
1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes, 5 Teal, 6 Halcyone, 7 Ceres, 8 Thia