Gisela and Helmut Scharbaum have built Tringa to the 19/24 class rules, introduced on the Clyde in 1898. She is in Rhu Marina just now and is a jewel. This evening, Gisela and Helmut raced in the Gareloch Class. Gisela at the helm of Catriona, Helmut on Athene.
Now the wind this evening started light. Blowing from the Shandon shore it meant a running start. The Race Officer selected a short course, to C off Clynder and back. There was a true beat to windward to get back and time for three rounds.
Hermes started well and was on pole at the end of the first round. Sadly, she did not choose the best route upwind and allowed Teal and Thalia back into the fray. She was close behind Thalia at the start of the third round but inefficiency with the spinnaker did for her. Indeed, spinnaker handling mostly set the pattern of the evening. The best, Teal, was not swift. Neither was Thia. These two, though did not make any large mistakes. Catriona dropped the kite into the water. Having recovered it, she tried to sail round the leeward mark with it still hoisted. Athene had so much trouble with the pole that she did not set it at all on the last round. Thalia’s spinnaker work was not characterised by any sense of urgency. Once hoisted, it was a while before it took effect. Hermes you have already heard about.
Teal, after a slow start, maintained concentration to take first place. Hermes lost out to Thalia. Gisela beat her husband but they were still talking afterwards.
1 Teal, 2 Thalia, 3 Hermes, 4 Catriona, 5 Athene, 6 Thia.
There was good wind but, in the way of the Gareloch, it was variable in direction and there were anonymous quiet patches which could hold back a yacht long enough for large margins between places to be reversed.
On the water Race Officer Ufo Sutter sent us on a true beat to D, north of Clynder. Catriona was away first with Teal in hot pursuit. Teal pointed high but in the variable air it did not pay. Catriona sailed further from the wind but kept her momentum. Those two tended towards the Clynder shore, from which the wind was blowing. Hermes and Thia went up the Shandon shore and made the most of the steadier wind.
It has become almost a tradition that competitors who should know better sail for the wrong mark. So it was today. Catriona, leading downwind across the loch from D headed first for a mooring. Seeing the small pick up buoy, she realised her error but began heading for F instead of G. Now the position of some marks has recently been adjusted. That might have been a good excuse except that Catriona’s helm was in the team that did the adjusting. It was Hermes who saw what was happening first. She, Thia and Teal began heading the right way. Catriona dropped to fourth place.
Time for a second round. On the long beat upwind to D, Catriona got back on terms with Teal. She tried to tack on top but Teal’s momentum got the better of her and she was obliged to tack away. Teal did not cover, which was her undoing. Hermes, meanwhile, repeated her trick of the first round and made ground by sticking to the Shandon shore. Miriam Sutter, on Athene, was irritated to lose a place to Ceres.
1 Catriona, 2 Hermes, 3 Teal, 4 Thia, 5 Ceres, 6 Athene.
A much more eventful night than might have been imagined when standing on the jetty watching large patches of smooth water appear on the Gareloch.
9 Garelochs left their moorings. Zoe went home early, presumably after a failure of equipment.
The start was a spinnaker leg to D, north of Clynder. Zephyrus was on it and got away first. Iris was keen but a little way from the favoured pin end. Catriona, with Barrie Choules on the helm, was a bit late but soon got on terms with a swift spinnaker hoist. Hermes was in the fray until she amused the fleet by hooking a buoy with her spinnaker sheet. She kept the spinnaker full but still it was not the fastest way across the loch.
Zephyrus maintained her lead and was first at D for the start of the beat back across the loch to Shandon. Catriona, second, fell into her wind shadow. Iris, round in third, was able to do her trick of pointing high and escaped the disturbed air to take the lead. On the approach to the next mark, Catriona was second.
A fetch back to the starting area. Too fine for spinnakers. Catriona concentrated hard on playing sails in the shifting air blowing off the shore. She closed the gap to Iris. Zephyrus had a scrap with Thalia.
The second round began with a broad reach to B, off Silvers. Catriona was slicker than Iris hoisting the spinnaker and got past. It was not to last. A large hole developed on the approach to B which swallowed Catriona. Iris saw it coming and found a streak of pressure to leeward. As did the rest of the fleet. Zephyrus, Hermes and Athene took their inside overlap on Catriona and were round and away. Thalia was less sure of herself and went to go round the outside. With pressure coming up from behind, she was on starboard tack when she made a point of catching the stationary Catriona on port. The two penalty turns in little wind set Catriona back further. Teal was much kinder than she needed to be as Catriona finished her turns. She had got in front of Ceres but found herself in Catriona’s wind shadow and lost the place.
Thalia was laying a comfortable third on the approach to the finish when an 89 year old iron fitting broke and she was forced to retire. Catriona was fortunate to have on board Lasse Sutter, who is fluent in German. He was able to explain the meaning of schadenfreude.
1 Iris, 2 Zephyrus, 3 Catriona, 4 Hermes, 5 Athene, 6 Ceres, 7 Teal. Zoe and Thalia DNF.
Zephyrus raced for the first time in ten years. Looking superb, too. She beat Athene to the windward mark, B off Silvers, and then luffed to prevent a pass downwind. She had it in mind not to set a spinnaker on her first outing, which was her undoing. Athene got past with the third sail and was not to be caught, despite Zephyrus changing her mind.
Meanwhile Catriona had ruthlessly squeezed out Iris at the pin end of the biased starting line. With Iris out of the way, Athene got a good start just behind.
Iris was battling for second place with Thalia. She could not quite get the place downwind. On the second beat across the loch to Clynder, Iris tried going to the Clynder shore early, so as to do something different. It did not pay. Ceres was fighting Hermes over fourth place. With success.
The sailing instructions, when there is no race officer on shore, say to finish if the leading boat crosses the start/finish line more than an hour from the start. Catriona began a second round after 59 minutes, 58 seconds. It didn’t please everyone. Thalia carried on. Iris had young crew for whom the novelty had worn off so she went home. Others claimed to have been confused. The only other boat to finish a second round was Hermes. She was pleased to have moved up two places.
1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Hermes. Iris, Ceres, Athene, Zephyrus DNF
A good evening for racing. More wind than we expected. Maybe the gusts were close to 20kts.
We were sent on a beat up the Shandon shore with the usual pin end bias on the starting line. The Pipers thought it difficult to lay the pin on starboard tack from the shore and mostly started on port. There were enough Garelochs going for the starboard start to make being on port at the pin too risky.
Iris was a little early and was obliged to go round. Hermes was very early and over the line. The recall signal put the wind up Catriona, who had cut it fine. Zoe, then Iris and Teal were close behind.
Zoe and Catriona fought hard on the beat. Zoe never crossing ahead but looking dangerous all the time. Catriona finally got on top of her on the approach to the windward mark. After that, first place was settled.
The reach across the loch to C, at Clynder, had the added interest of a tug passing down the loch. The wash was substantial and provided opportunities to surf for those near enough. Zoe fought off a challenge from Iris for an inside overlap at the gybe mark and kept second. Iris, meanwhile, beat Teal to the leeward mark. Then had trouble dropping her spinnaker and lost a place in the hardening up. Thalia was chasing Ceres. She tried for an outside overlap at the leeward mark, not a good tactic. She did not take the place.
Athene, meanwhile, had started late. Whilst rigging, she had found loose bottle screws. She did not have time to tighten them all. One came apart during the race. She would have been last, but Hermes was towards the back and was racing (for interest) against a late starting Piper. When the Piper got fed up and went home, so did Hermes.
1 Catriona, 2 Zoe, 3 Teal, 4 Iris, 5 Ceres, 6 Thalia, 7 Athene. Hermes DNF.
In the stong wind and swell, picking up the mooring was not easy. Most did not manage it on the first approach. One independent observer reported that Thalia made double figures.
There had been no wind all day and there wasn’t as crews, more in hope than expectation, went out to the boats. Most didn’t leave the moorings. Hermes and Catriona did cast off. Hermes reached the starting area on a flood tide and was able to return on the back eddy close to the shore.
It would have been a miserable afternoon, except that Zephyrus came to join us on the moorings. Afloat for the first time in ten years, she looks magnificent after her restoration by Eric Boinard. Fitted out with an eye to tradition as well as to racing, her refit gave rise to a small but discernible peak in the price of bronze.
The most Garelochs to start this year, eight. Ceres looking smart and competing in her first race of the year.
With fixed starting lines, it is impossible to avoid bias. It was just possible to lay the pin from the shore end on starboard tack. Catriona was early and had to slow. She was very close to the buoy at the gun. Her confidence not helped by a recall signal. Zoe was clearly over. She had her timing wrong and started a minute early. Iris made the best start. A little back down the line but with boat speed. Teal luffed a slow to respond Thalia which no doubt took the edge off her start.
The first leg, almost a fetch to G, up the Shandon shore. Iris, close to the shore, was in less adverse tide but less wind as well. Catriona crept past and rounded G behind the prematurely starting Zoe. It looked like a fine reach to C, at Clynder, but the wind off the shore there was so fluky that some had to tack. Zoe was one and she fell back. Iris (who has been at the fair for a long time) and Teal saw what was happening to the Pipers, whose start was five minutes earlier, and stayed high.
Iris was being attacked by Teal for second place on the next leg, almost dead downwind.
Back at the starting area, the Race officer changed the course to send us on a beat to C and run back. A pragmatic move although not strictly in accordance with the sailing instructions. Catriona and Iris, covering each other, went to the Clynder shore early. Teal stayed out and rounded first. She seemed to slow at the mark though. Catriona sailed round the outside of her to retake pole. Iris pushed her hard.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Iris, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes, 6 This, 7 Ceres. Zoe OCS.
A day scarcely better than the previous Sunday for those who like to race in sunshine. Good wind, though. Four boats turned out, just half of those on the moorings.
The first leg, a beat across the loch to B, off Silvers, led to the usual biased starting line. The pin end was the place to be. Catriona fancied it but her concentration lapsed and Iris luffed her out of the way. Iris was then a premature starter and had to return. Catriona, meanwhile, ducked in behind Iris and cause irritation on Teal, who bore away and got by far the best start.
Catriona chose to cover Iris, who stuck to the Shandon shore along with Thalia. Teal went out and kept her lead. She was comfortably in front when Catriona, on port tack, crossed behind. Changeable wind on the Clynder shore was unkind to Teal so that she rounded for the run downwind to Shandon Church close behind Catriona.
Now the protagonists have been racing in the Gareloch for long enough to know where the marks are. Inexplicable, then, that the first three rounded the wrong one. Teal was the first to spot the error and sailed on up the Shandon shore. Catriona followed, having lost the lead.
Wind on the Clynder shore was even more trying for the beat across the loch to C than for the initial leg to B. Catriona got back into the lead on the roll of the dice that lifted her up to the mark.
There was time for a second round. Iris in contention for second could not quite get there.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Iris, 4 Thalia.
Six Garelochs racing this evening. There was no race officer on shore so that Roger Kinns on board Thalia took on the task. He sent us on a windward-leeward course, down then up the Shandon shore.
Catriona was on pole at the start with Iris a little to leeward. Wind was a little better out in the loch but with a flood tide there were advantageous back eddies nearer the shore. Some went out, others stayed in. In the end, the shore paid. Catriona rounded the windward mark first with Iris not far behind.
Offwind, Iris did not set a spinnaker, which let Thalia past. For the beat back, Iris thought to do something different to the rest and went well out into the loch. It cost her. With wind dying, there was confusion at the end of the first round. The race officer shouted to shorten the course but, of course, could not comply with the rule requiring flag S. One boat went home, the rest, led by Catriona, sailed on.
At the start of the second downwind leg, Thalia found a streak of wind which took her past Catriona. An evening offshore breeze had filled in which made all legs reaches. Try as she might, Catriona could not retake the lead.
The race officer selflessly forsook Thalia’s first place and declared the results as they were at the end of the first round.
1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Teal, 4 Zoe, 5 Iris, 6 Hermes.
It was a dreich day. What you expect on a bank holiday weekend. Good wind for racing, though. Seven Garelochs are now on the moorings. It was a surprise, then, that only three turned out to race. Those owners with an interest in gardening which borders on obsessive had no excuse.
Iris and Catriona agreed to let their crews take the helm. John Mucklow on Iris, Barrie Choules on Catriona. The first leg a beat to B, off Silvers. The starting line was unavoidably biased to the pin end. Barrie was a little early on the approach and bore away to let Iris take pole position. Sailing down the Shandon shore, there was the usual thing of Iris pointing high, Catriona dropping down and going faster. Catriona tacked out to avoid tangling with moored boats. On port tack she crossed close behind the starboard tack Iris. Catriona carried on towards the Clynder shore until wind became lighter. When the two crossed tacks again, it was Iris who shaved Catriona’s counter. Iris seemed to suffer more in at the Clynder shore so that Catriona was under no pressure as she hoisted her spinnaker for the long run to F at Shandon Church.
Teal was close to Iris on the run and was only a little behind at F. Thereafter, the gaps increased. There was time for a second round, but Iris had given up on the lead by that time.
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Teal.