Category Archives: Site News

“Welcome Dione”

The Gareloch One Design Dione after its three year rebuild was formally relaunched by Gordon Mucklow, President of the Class Association at Rhu Marina on Friday 21st. Retired Royal Navy engineer Bill McLaren who led the rebuild had dressed the yacht with Navy signal flags which read “Welcome Dione”.

Relaunch with Dione dressed in signal flags

Relaunch with Dione dressed in signal flags

Peter Proctor, Class Convenor, welcomed the many guests to the relaunch. Current and former Gareloch sailors and owners were well represented. Many from the wider sailing community attended. Friends from the other classic classes the Mersey Mylnes, Howth 17s and the Yorkshire One Designs were there. Dorothy McGruer, one of the last surviving members of the McGruer family who built the Garelochs in 1924 was there. Several former owners of Dione attended, including Donald Hardie who owned Dione in 1958-59.

Guests at the Dione relaunch event

Guests at the Dione relaunch event

The former owner and former boat builder who started the restoration some thirty years ago was there – David Spy. He had made two half models of Dione at the request of the Class Association. David owned and restored several Garelochs and worked extensively on ten of them. David is now a highly regarded model maker with many clients across the UK and in the US. One of his models is on display in the New York Yacht Club.

Presenting the half models to Bill Mclaren and Tim Henderson, Peter Proctor said: “Words cannot express our gratitude for what you have achieved in this rebuild. It seemed at times, especially in the later stages, you had no alternative life, I have been overwhelmed by your dedication to the project.”

Presentation of half models

Presentation of half models

Bill accepting the models joked that “both he and Tim now felt like fathers handing over their daughter in marriage, on the one hand relieved to see the back of her after the torrid teenage years, but also anxious that she would be properly looked after.” Dione’s new owner Barry Choules made all the proper promises.

Rhu Marina have been a key supporter of the project and the Class, their Yard Manager, Eddy Young presented the new owner with the “keys” to Dione, and a small box of sawdust. When the Garelochs are lifted back into the water in the Spring it is an anxious time, they often leak badly initially. Gareloch owners and the Marina crew have developed a technique for holding sawdust over the leak until the water sucks it in and the leak stops.

Presentation of sawdust

Presentation of sawdust

Dione won the first ever Gareloch Class race in 1924 under her first owner Agnes Stephen of the Stephen shipbuilding family. Agnes’ nephew, Sandy Stephen, spoke at the relaunch. He remembered Agnes’ generosity in sharing Dione with her nieces and nephews. He had sailed on Dione as a child in the 1930s and remembered many happy times.

Sandy Stephenson shares memories of Dione in the 1930s

Sandy Stephen shared memories of Dione in the 1930s

An exhibition on Agnes Stephen had been mounted at the relaunch. Agnes was one of the first women to receive an economics degree from Cambridge University. She trained at Glasgow School of Art and was an artist of some ability. She trained in social work and worked with the Women’s settlement in Anderton. In later life she was a Girl Guide Commissioner, and County and District Councilor. Agnes presented the prizes at the Class’ 50th anniversary in 1974. She died in 1989.

Dione joined the first race of the Gareloch Annual Championships on Saturday 22nd. The conditions were difficult with strong gusty winds, grey skies and rain. She acquitted herself respectably in Tim and Bill’s hands. She made a good start, up there with the leaders. Peter Proctor commented after the racing that “it was a fitting climax to three years dedication and hard work. It was great to see Dione back on the water”

Photos by Don MacLean
For further pictures visit our gallery page

The Goddess Dione returns

The racing yacht Dione built in 1924 will be launched at a reception at Rhu Marina on Friday 21 st July at 6pm. Dione will rejoin the fleet of 16 Gareloch One Designs (GODs) sailing and racing on the Gareloch at the Annual Championships on 22 and 23 July. Dione hasn’t been afloat for nearly 35 years and missed the 90th anniversary of the class when the rest of the fleet mustered and raced in the Gareloch. Most of the GODs are named after Greek Goddesses.

Peter Proctor, Convenor of the Gareloch Association explained.

“Dione didn’t make an appearance in 2014. After that the Association acquired her with a view to restoring her. She was in bits, but under cover, so basically sound. We didn’t know how we would get her back together and sailing, we just knew we should try.

“Retired Royal Navy engineer Bill McLaren stepped forward and volunteered to lead the work. Then Tim Henderson stepped up, thinking he should help his cousin Bill and the class he had been involved with since childhood. Both are former Gareloch owners. Between them they put in most of the 1500 hours involved, but the local sailing community also made a massive contribution – labour, technical expertise, parts and equipment.”

In 1923 the Gareloch Yacht Club formed after the First World War decided they needed a yacht suitable for racing. They asked McGruers, based along the Gareloch at Clynder, to design and build 10 boats. The boats were delivered in spring 1924 and allocated by ballot to the owners, before being painted the many colours which are still a feature of the Class.

The Royal Forth Yacht Club took a liking to the Garelochs when they were under construction and had five built in early summer 1924. They branded their boats Royal Forth One Designs. A 16 th and final Gareloch was built in 1928 for a Clyde owner. Over the next decade some of the Clyde Garelochs migrated to the Forth and Aldeburgh in Suffolk. But in the mid 1950s a series of events led John Henderson, Tim’s uncle, to achieve his “pipe dream”, he brought all the Garelochs back home. This meant that sixty years ago, in 1957, and for the first time, all the boats raced together on the Gareloch. That year more Garelochs raced at Clyde Week than ever before.

Peter Proctor commented. “I think these 93 year old Garelochs are unique as a class of classic yachts. All the Garelochs ever built are still here and sailing on the waters they were designed for. It is fantastic that Dione will be rejoining the racing at the Annual Championships. Her return is a great credit to the members of the Association, the local sailing community, but especially to Bill and Tim who made it possible.”

For further details see the Restoration Pages on this website.

Dione Launch Party

On Friday 21st July at 1800, the Gareloch Association will hold a party in the marquee at Rhu Marina, drinks and nibbles will be offered. This is to celebrate the launch of Dione, returning to the water for the first time in 35 years and completing the Class of sixteen boats. The refit of Dione has been undertaken by the Gareloch Association and was led by Bill MacLaren and Tim Henderson. This project has taken three years and 1500 man-hours at a cost of £10,000.

All Gareloch and Associate members are invited to attend, as well as those who have contributed to, or are connected with, Dione.

Guests will include Sandy Stephen, the nephew of the original 1924 owner of Dione, artist Agnes Stephen. John Blackie is organising a display of some of her work in the marquee for the occasion.There will also be a photo loop showing the images of Dione’s refit and Dione will be alongside in the marina and available for inspection.

This celebration starts the Gareloch Championships weekend where the original 1924 boats will be competing all day Saturday and Sunday morning in the Gareloch.

Gareloch Dinner 19th November

The Annual Gareloch Dinner took place on Saturday 19th November.

After a Prosecco reception and five course dinner we had a report from the Convenor, Peter Proctor, followed by a review of the year from our Secretary, Charles Darley.

The Guest speaker was Eric Thompson MBE who, in toasting the Garelochs, regaled us with memories of his encounters with the class and gave us an excellent parody of Garelochs in the style of Tam O’Shanter

Here are Eric’s words, at one point in the speech we saw an excellent slideshow of the 90th sail past:

When your Convenor invited me to speak tonight, I thought immediately of the old sea shanty: ‘What can I say to the Gareloch sailors … early in the evening?’

As I have had the privilege of only a limited association with the Garelochs, there is nothing I can tell you about the Gareloch Class that you don’t already know; so I thought I would take for my text tonight, the immortal words of the Robert Burns:

‘Would some pow’r the giftie gie us
‘To see ourselves as others see us.’

And I would like to give five examples of how I see you.

The first is the 90th Anniversary Sail Past when I escorted our local MP, Alan Reid, to the mother ship to take the salute.
SLIDESHOW:
Sail Past to the tune of ‘Conquest of Paradise’ by the massed pipes and drums of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

The second is that on my first visit to the Club, Charles Darley greeted me with the immortal advice that: ‘the two most useless things in a yacht are an umbrella and a Naval Officer.’ As I was about to crew for Peter Proctor who was in the Navy with me, I was left wondering whether two naval Officers would fare better than one with an umbrella?

My third experience was when Peter very kindly took Madame Dany Lasbleis and me for a sail in Thalia in Force 5, gusting 6. Now, as Peter and I have known each other for fifty years, we naturally fell into the procedure for a Naval Officer’s discussion; namely, statement followed by counter-statement followed by personal abuse. And there we were, scudding along on a starboard tack towards Clynder, lee-gunwhale-under, vehemently disagreeing over some finer point of Scottish politics. I was actually quite concerned that Peter was not considering easing sheets but I was damned if I was going let him know that I was worried by the amount of green water we were shipping.
The most amazing thing was that Dany, who had never set foot in a yacht before, was an entirely unfazed by the fact we were heeling over at 45 degrees and shipping water.
So, when we got back to the clubhouse, I said to her that I was most impressed by the way she taken her first exhilarating sail in her stride.
‘Oh,’ she replied, ‘I knew everything was OK because you and Peter were talking politics.’

My fourth experience was when Peter invited me to crew for him on the Schlei at your bi-annual regatta with the German Classic Boat Association. There, I discovered that the Germans had kindly provided us with double bed accommodation. That was all right for Peter who was to share his bed with Roger Kinns – and a lovely couple they made – but I had to share my bed with an unknown German who had not yet arrived when I turned in.
Now I had never before shared a bed with a man let alone an unknown German; so I clung like a limpet to the edge of my side of the bed, couldn’t sleep a wink, and played possum. Some hours later, I heard footsteps coming into my room, the unfamiliar noise of a man undressing only a few feet away and then the bed sag as he climbed in beside me.
It was the most scarey experience of my life and I didn’t sleep a wink.
The following morning, I discovered that my German sleeping partner was called Jens Sutter and that he was on our side.
So, thank you Miriam for two thrilling nights with your husband. He was very good in bed.

My fifth example concerns the shocking behaviour of your Convenor, Mr Peter Proctor, the tale of whom I should like to tell in the style of Tam O’Shanter.

THE SHOCKING TALE O’ PETER PROCTOR
(with gratefu’ thanks to Robert Burns)

When racing days are wearing late
And yachtsmen at the mooring wait.
As victors furl their sails sublime
And Darley hoists his protest sign.
As dinghies tak their skippers off
And drouthy sailors quit the loch,
They think not on the long Scots miles,
Of traffic jams and taxi files
That lie between them and their hame,
Where lurks their sullen sulky dame.
Gathering her brows like gathering storm
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

These thoughts struck honest Peter Proctor
Whose wife declared his conduct shocked her.
O Peter! Hadst thou been sae wise
As ta’en your guid wife’s sound advice.
She warned thee well thou were a chancer
A bletherin’, blusterin, drunken dancer
That frae November till October,
On racing days thou wisnae sober.
Even after kirk on Sunday,
Thou drank wi’ Mucklow thro till Monday.
Ah, gentle dames! It gars me greet,
To think how mony counsels sweet,
How mony lengthen’d, sage advices,
The husband frae the wife despises!

But to our tale:
Ae Saturday, Peter Proctor couldnae sail
For, aye at Thalia’s call and beck,
He’d tried to stand upon her deck
But slipped and fell wi’ muckle clatter
And, in a flash, was in the watter.
There, he flapped his human flipper,
A gasping, gurgling, drowning kipper.
Until, like sergeant-major, roared:
‘Man Overboard! Man overboard!’
His cry was heard inside the cuddy
Where lurked his trusty sailing buddy,
The imperturbable Roger Kinns
Quietly knocking back the gins,
But despite such alcoholic sins,
Was still quite steady on his pins.
Kinns loved Proctor like a brother.
– They’d been fu’ for weeks thegither.
Responding to the desperate cry
Roger heaved the lifebelt high
And watched it land out on the Clyde
But not on Peter Proctor’s side.

Now, the Gareloch tide is awfie strong.
It swept poor Proctor fast along.
There was no way of stopping it,
Until it dumped him on Rhu Spit.
There, he crawled up through the weed
Gratefu’ that he wisnae deid,
And, though his feet began tae tingle,
He hirpled bravely o’er the shingle.
Then, through Gareloch’s evening haze
He saw a building all ablaze.
Proctor stopped tae have a pewk
Then staggered ow’r tae tak a look.
Through bleary eyes still stung wi’ sea
He saw the RNCYC.
From every window poured out light,
And inside, sic an awesome sight.
An orgy truly Bachanalian,
Conducted by a loud Australian.
Warlocks and witches in a dance,
Smoking stuff brought new frae France.
The Gareloch crews in frenzied frolic,
All bleary-eyed and alcoholic.
Hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels,
Put life and mettle in their heels.
The Maclarens jived completely frantic.
(They’d just arrived from mid-Atlantic).
In window-corner to the east,
Charles Darley lurked in shape o’ beast;
A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large,
To gie them music was his charge.
He screw’d the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a’ did dirl.
On a table danced Jens Sutter
Slappin’ thighs like German nutter,
Whilst underneath the kilt he’d chosen,
He wore his wee short lederhosen.

As Proctor glowr’d, amaz’d, and curious,
The mirth and fun grew fast and furious;
As Darley loud and louder blew,
The dancers quick and quicker flew,
They reel’d; they rocked; they rolled; they shook it,
Till a’ their clothes wi’ sweat were drookit.
High on the bar sat auld John Blackie
Wi’ curly wig and whacky-baccy.
Beside him, Jo and Michael Knox
Were quoiffin’ whisky on the rocks.
The MacGillivrays sat playing poker
With Reay Mackay who played his joker.
Fenella Rankin, out o’ cash,
Gie’d a crack on her whiplash
And cornered poor Tim Henderson,
To ask if he could lend her some.
Graham Walker took an ice axe,
Swung it wild at Margaret Isaacs
But missed his mark and struck Jon Reid,
The axe being buried in his heid.
Fraser Noble with a lanyard,
Tried to hang poor Eric Boinard.
‘Help, murder, get the Polis,’
Roared the cheering, yob-like chorus.

Then, out the door into the galley
Appeared a wondrous corps de ballet
Kicking high like Paris can-can,
Higher far than any man can.
Greek Godesses in a line,
Bodies utterly divine,
But, as the nymphs came into view,
None was less than ninety-two.
Ancient, wooden, prancing beauties,
Yet still the yacht club’s favourite cuties,
Bodies all rubbed down and varnished
Brasswork just a wee bit tarnished.
Luna, Zephyrus and Thea
Linking arms wi’ Galatea,
Hermes, Circe, and Dione
Iris, Zoe, Halcyone
Juno, Ceres and, inter alia,
The highest kicks from smiling Thalia.
Behind her, coat all glossed and sheeny,
Came the deity Athene.
And wi’ signs o’ weed still on her
Came the lovely Catriona.
But then, as if for luck,
Waddled in a common duck.
Nae fancy name gie’d her appeal.
She was simply known as Teal.

Proctor’s eyes were out on stalks
Tae see such goddesses in frocks.
Kings may be blest, but he was glorious,
O’er a’ the ills o’ life victorious!
But what came on as cabaret
Almost blew his brains away.
A nubile wench, clad in Helly Hansen,
Appeared as if on Strictly Come Dancin’.
Across the floor she glided sweetly,
Casting off her harness neatly,
Then pranced about in yellow wellies,
Twin spinnakers like wobbling jellies,
And, with seduction in her eyes
Cast her oilskins to the skies
Then birled her way all round the flair,
In her polar underwear.

Proctor’s nostrils flared and twitched.
This spectre had the man bewitched.
But, pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flow’r, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white then melts for ever.
He stared in alcoholic trance,
Desperate now to join the dance,
To seize the dancing mermaid tight
And drag her off into the night.
He roared out loud: ‘I’ll have you later!’
Then saw it was the Procurator.
Alas, poor Proctor didnae know,
This siren wench was Carol Rowe!

In an instant all was dark.
The Club was stunned by his remark,
And scarcely had his senses rallied
When forth the Procurator sallied.
Screaming out to catch the pester
Who had threatened to molest her.
Along the spit he ran like fury,
Afraid that he would face a jury
With Carol Rowe as prosecutor,
(He knew a legal fee would suit her).
Hard on his heels she sprinted gaily.
(She did her exercises daily).

Into the loch our Proctor plunged.
Behind, the Procurator lunged.
Across the loch and back again
Up pier Road and down Rhu Glen.
Through the kirk yard, past the Inn
In deadly race he had tae win.
He had no hope of gaining solace
The chase was now joined by the polis.
As rain did lash and wind did blaw
He felt the long arm of the law
Reaching out to grab his collar.
(How he wished he’d been born taller).
Off his heaving, sweaty backit
It ripped away his sailing jacket.
They had the evidence of guilt.
And he was in it to the hilt.
But then he reached the lane of Spy
Up which lay his alibi.
His good wife Francoise would declare
That he had been at home wi’ her.
Helping her wi’ a’ the chores,
Ironing shirts and scrubbing floors,
Doing exaclty as she bid;
Everything she asked, he did.

Tumbling ower a Council bin,
He fell and made a hellish din
Which terrified his faithful spouse
Sitting, waiting, in the house.
Fearing for her very life,
She armed herself wi’ kitchen knife
And threw the front door open wide
But wouldnae let him come inside.
Her face, all grim wi’ Gallic menace,
Showed her husband’s crime was heinous.
Her life, already ruined by Brexit;
She had to act before he wrecks it.
She screamed out: ‘You are drunk again!
‘You and a’ they yachting men.
‘I warned thee no tae drink wi’ Kinns!’
(With that she kicked him in the shins).
‘What on earth is a’ this racket?
‘And where the hell’s your sailing jacket?’
The Procurator then arrived
And Proctor’s freedom was denied.
A policeman read a formal warning
That he’d be in the Court next morning.
In handcuffs he was led away.
The Sherriff now would have his say.
So, by this tale it is attested,
That Peter Proctor was arrested.

Now wha this Gareloch yarn shall read
Each man and mother’s son tak heed.
If sailing yachts runs through your mind
And to drink you are inclined,
Think, you may just be a Wally.
Remember Peter Proctor’s folly.

I should like to finish as I began, with a song which you can all join in.

A Gareloch for me. A Gareloch for me.
If you’re no a Gareloch, you’re nae use to me.
The Pipers are braw. The Sonars and ‘a
But the cocky wee Gareloch’s the Pride o’ them ‘a.

Toast
‘The Garelochs’

(Reproduced with kind permission of Eric Thompson MBE)

Gareloch Goddesses Class History for Sale

It was John Henderson who brought the Garelochs back to Rhu in the late 1950s. He wrote a history of the class, Gareloch Goddesses, in 1959. A volume which is now highly prized.

For the 90th anniversary of the class, John’s nephew, Tim Henderson wrote Gareloch Goddesses Back Home, which brings the history up to date. The foreword is by Woodie Scott, the first winner of the 50th Anniversary Trophy, awarded for the annual Gareloch Championship. Bound in green buckram with gold lettering to match the earlier volume.
Gareloch Goddesses Back Home is available at £30 plus £3 postage and packing.

smbook.

Tim Signing
Book signing at Reunion Dinner August 2014

Gordon Mucklow Named Class President

In recognition for his more than twenty years of service to the Gareloch Class, Gordon Mucklow has been appointed President of the organisation. Gordon is only the second person to be honoured in this way in our 90 year history, which reflects his strong and meaningful contribution to us all.

Congratulations Gordon!

McGruer Regatta & Clyde Classic Booklets

Gordon Drysdale, organiser of the McGruer Regatta in 2012 and Clyde Classic in 2013, is offering for sale copies of the sought after programme booklets that accompanied these memorable events. Priced at £10 each plus £2 p&p, they contain articles for those interested in yacht design, racing and building on the Clyde, together with beautiful photographs. Gordon can be contacted on gordondrysdale@hotmail.com.

Clyde Classic Official Programme booklet

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An attractive, professionally produced, 56 page collection of articles that accompanied Clyde Classic. Five articles on Clyde classics, including:

  • Lone Fox A Clyde Classic by David Hutchinson
  • Scots in Oyster Bay by Ewan Kennedy
  • Deliverance to Kelana by Gordon Drysdale

McGruer Regatta Official Programme booklet

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An attractive, professionally produced, 48 page collection of articles which accompanied the McGruer Regatta.  This includes an article on the Gareloch One Design class by Tim Henderson. Six articles on McGruer & Co and McGruer yachts, including:

  • Gareloch One Design by Tim Henderson
  • McGruer & Co A Century of Boatbuilding on the Clyde by journalist and photographer, Kathy Mansfield
  • A McGruer Love Affair by Colin Tindal
  • The Loch Fyne Skiff Yachts by Iain McAllister
  • The Mylne – McGruer Connection by David Gray
  • The Sultan’s Queen by Gordon Drysdale

From the Convener – Gareloch 90th Anniversary

The Class enjoyed an active season throughout 2013. Zephyrus (Eric Boinard) made her first appearance for some years and looked immaculate after 500 hours of refit during the preceding winter. Halcyone too (Shane Rankin) was resurrected, in her case from lying ashore in Kilcreggan for a decade, and entered the water in August. In total, we had 13 Garelochs racing at one time or another. With an ever growing fleet, competition was fierce at several levels including amongst those who do not usually win trophies. I suppose I should mention here that Charles Darley was overall champion for the season (again – well deserved nevertheless). A highlight was a visit to the Baltic in September where the Class was represented by eight members who enjoyed racing in Knaars on the Schlei fjord as guests of the FKY (the German Classic Boat Association). We lost – but the weather and hospitality were outstanding.

So 2014 brings the Class to its 90th anniversary, an achievement which no doubt would have given great pride to McGruers who built these lovely small dayboats in 1924. And, possibly uniquely for a class of its seniority, we still have the complete 16-strong original fleet. Of these, 15 are in private hands locally and able to race. Only Dione is in need of a major refit. She was generously donated by Adam Rodger to the Class who now own her, and the necessary refit which will last a couple of years has been put in hand under the leadership of Bill McLaren.

We do not intend to let the anniversary year pass unnoticed! Planned special events include:

  • a three-cornered team racing weekend in the Gareloch with the Howth (Dublin) 17 and Cultra (Belfast) Fairy Classes. Both of these classes – note – are considerably older than the Garelochs.
  • a mid-summer’s day passage race to Rothesay.
  • a ‘sail-past’ in sail number order at the end of the Gareloch ‘world championships’ where the salute will be taken by our Westminster MP Alan Reid who will also present prizes.

Of particular note is ‘Gareloch Reunion Day’ on Saturday 30 August. We would invite anyone who has had a past interest in the Class whether as owner, crew or stalwart supporter to join us for some informal racing during the day and/or dinner following the racing that evening in the Clubhouse. Speakers at the dinner, which is open to all RNCYC members and friends, are David Spy and Iain McAllister and the occasion will be used to launch ‘Gareloch Goddesses 1957 – 2014’, a private publication written by Tim Henderson. We are grateful to the RWYC and the RNCYC who have generously donated prizes for races on the day in the form of copies of Tim’s publication in recognition of their close connection with the Gareloch Class. If you would like to attend the dinner or sail in a Gareloch on 30 August, please contact me or class secretary Charles Darley.

Peter Proctor
Class Convenor

New Zephyrus Diary Posted

Eric Boinard continues his series documenting the restoration of Zephyrus. Part 7 of the diary covers the replacement of ribs and planks, and comes complete with detailed images highlighting the process. Be sure to read this, and all of Eric’s work here.

New Website Launched

Welcome to the new Gareloch One Design website. Given that this year marks the 90th Anniversary of the class, we felt that we should update our website to reflect the depth of activity and passion the class continues to enjoy. Please, browse the site and learn more about these wonderful boats, and the association that maintains and races them.