Category Archives: Race Reports ’14

Tuesday 29th September

The last race of the year. A superb year it has been, the Garelochs a truly active class. Team racing agaist the Cultra Fairies and Howth 17s in May seems like yesterday. Our passage race to Rothesay was truly an adventure. Almost 100 people attended the Reunion Regatta which was a great success.

Anyway, wind was light as we drifted towards the start but filled in to give us a good race. There were guest helms, Justin Venton on Catriona and Ted Warren on Thalia. That did not change the natural order.

The Gareloch, as is its wont, had traps for the inexperienced or inattentive. It was important to watch the water so as to spot the light patches. That is what decided it, all the boats were on the pace.

1 Catriona, 2 Hermes, 3 Thalia, 4 Teal, 5 Athene.

Tuesday 23rd September

The lack of light is beginning to defeat the Ancient Mariner Series, even with the start at 6pm.  It was a dull, damp evening, though.

Race Officer Peter Proctor sent us on a beat to B, off Silvers, broad reach up the Clynder shore to C and home.

Catriona squeezed out Teal at the pin end of the biassed starting line and set off in front.  She was careful to cover the rest who made life easier by mostly going the same way.  Hermes had a stuchie with Thalia and ended up taking penalty turns.  It seemed a painfully slow operation to those watching because wind had lessened just then.

Off wind from B to C, Thalia and Teal were battling and taking each other high, towards the shore.  Hermes gained.  She sailed further out where wind was better and passed the pair of them.  Zoe was out of sorts on account of underwater growth and, rather than prolong her agony, went home.

1 Catriona, 2 Hermes, 3 Thalia, 4 Teal.  Zoe DNF

Sunday 21st September

Most people looked at the forecast, which was for no wind, and stayed away.  Only three boats turned out but we were lucky.  On a sunny afternoon, we ghosted to the starting area.  Sufficient breeze filled in for one round of a short course and then died again.

For the first leg, a beat to A, off the club, the shore end of the starting line was favoured geometrically.  However, ebb tide was stronger further out and wind was very light inshore.  Catriona had decided to start near the middle, which she did.  Having rudely squeezed out Halcyone at the pin.  For a while, it looked as though Catriona had made an error.  Hermes, further out, was strong.  An area of rippled water inshore redressed the balance and when the two tacked, it was clear Catriona had the lead.

Spinnakers were set for a broad reach to Clynder.  The direction of wind was remarkably steady although it was sometimes a little light.  Another beat back to the finish.  No places changed in what was a very pleasant afternoon sail.

1 Catriona, 2 Hermes, 3 Halcyone.

Tuesday 16th September

The third race of the Ancient Mariner series.  Sailing on Tuesday evenings in September with a start at 6.  A success so far, certainly tonight was superb.

Wind was again blowing from the Shandon shore so that Race Officer Peter Proctor was obliged to start us on a spinnaker leg to D, north of Clynder.  Catriona got away well at the favoured pin end of the line and avoided the blanketing and luffing with which the rest of the fleet amused themselves.  She established a lead which was never challenged.  At D, Thalia, Hermes and Teal were in line abreast, Thalia inside.  There were changes of place upwind.  Thalia seemed to be going well under spinnaker but was off the pace going to windward.  Scruffiness below the waterline is suspected.  There was time for two rounds and she was in a strong second place at the start of the final beat to the finish.  Teal had been second but had had spinnaker trouble.  Teal got her place back on this final beat.  Hermes was not able to make a challenge on Thalia.  Circe, sailing single handed, set a spinnaker and kept Ceres at bay.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes, 5 Circe, 6 Ceres.

Sunday 14th September

Perhaps the sun didn’t shine but it was a superb afternoon with as much wind as anyone could want.  Race officer Peter Proctor, crewing on Halcyone for Shane Rankin, was faced with the problem of wind blowing from the Shandon shore.  He set us off on a reach to A, off the club, then up the loch to D, north of Clynder and back again.

For the reach to A, a good start was essential.  The shore end of the line was favoured geometrically, but wind was better further out.  Hermes did well at the pin end.  Teal and Zephyrus less so by being close to the shore.  Catriona had intended to start inshore but, approaching the line, ducked Halcyone so as to avoid being luffed and ended up just to windward of Hermes.  It seemed to work well as Hermes, the only threat to Catriona, fell into wind shadow and dropped back.

Offwind to D, the gusts and changeable direction of wind (occasionally forward of the mast) separated those who love their spinnaker from those who don’t.  Catriona made ground with hers.  Hermes kept the kite stowed and remained in a strong second place.  Peter Proctor, on Halcyone, brought something of the style of his own boat, Thalia, with him.  First, the spinnaker set as an hour glass and stayed like that for some time.  Then, Halcyone was allowed to broach.  Certainly, concentration was needed to keep boats flat in the conditions.  Which is essential when wind is strong and on the side.  Some were alarmed by Halcyone’s angle of heel.  Her crew included, no doubt, as water overtopped the cockpit coaming.

For the beat to the finish, Catriona hardened up to sail for Shandon where there seemed to be good wind.  Hermes tacked down the Clynder shore to try something different and the rest followed.  Wind was better on the Shandon shore and first place was, thereafter, settled.  There was time for a second round.  Teal made her spinnaker work well and climbed into second.  Towards the back, Ceres and Athene were battling.  Athene has carefully cleaned below the water line so that the slowness which has recently afflicted her was gone.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Zephyrus, 4 Hermes, 5 Ceres, 6 Athene, 7 Halcyone.

Tuesday 9th September

The second race of the Ancient Mariner series.  Named after Douglas Young, who owned Galatea when he passed on.

Thad Burr is a pilot with United and pays us a visit when a visit to Glasgow coincides with a race.  He rearranged United’s schedule to make that happen this evening.

The forecast was not encouraging, little wind like the first race of the series.  As it turned out, this night was much better (unless you are Circe, that is).  Race Officer Peter Proctor sent us to Clynder and back.  Thad took the helm of Catriona.  Reaching up to the favouired shore end of the line on port tack, he was obliged to duck the starboard tack Circe, which gave the advantage to Thalia.  As these two set off to Clynder, Thalia had the advantage but Catriona was slowly making to windward.  When the time came to tack up the Clynder shore, Thalia was obliged to duck and her challenge over.  Hermes, meanwhile, had made hay on the Shandon shore.  A favourite trick of hers.  Catriona could not cross, tacked below her and was then unable to make enough to windward to be able to tack around the mark in the lead.  Ashore, Thad listened politely to the detailed explanation, from Hermes’ crew, of where he had gone wrong.  Anyway, Hermes’ joy was short-lived.  Catriona went better under spinnaker and started the next round ahead.  Ceres, meanwhile, was winning the battle with Circe.

Hermes again went up the loch on the Shandon shore.  She closed on Catriona a little, but with Thalia out of view, she was always covered.

1 Catriona, 2 Hermes, 3 Thalia, 4 Ceres, 5 Circe.

Sunday 7th September

A superb afternoon of good wind and sunshine.  Race officer Carol Rowe sent us on an ideal course beginning with a windward leg to the northernmost mark on the Clynder shore.

The place to start was at the shore end of the starting line.  Catriona and Teal fought for it with Teal the winner.  Catriona, well below Teal, was first into better air out in the Loch and was eventually able to tack and cross.  She stretched her lead from there.  Zephyrus, Teal and Hermes fought it out and changed places.  Whilst the wind was strong, it was variable.  It was important to be in the right part of the loch.  Often, covering another boat meant someone else taking advantage.

The second leg, a reach, was a little too fine for spinnakers in the strong air.  The third, down the Shandon shore was ideal.  There was a little shelter from the strongest gusts and wind was on the quarter.  Never so far forward as to make broaching a possibility but far enough to prevent that alarming rocking and rolling which characterises a dead run in strong air.  Nevertheless, not everyone set a spinnaker.  Thalia, of course, had had to turn back to recover hers from the water after a mix up between helm and crew.

Time for a second round.  Catriona ventured into dead air on the Clynder shore and very nearly lost her lead to Teal.  Hermes stayed right on the beat up the loch and prospered.  She was in the lead for the broad reach back to the finish but did not set a spinnaker and was being chased down by Teal, who did.  Hermes sailed high to prevent Teal taking her air.  In time, the Shandon shore prevented Teal rolling over the top of Hermes.  If there had been a few more yards to the race, the result might have been different.

1 Catriona, 2 Hermes, 3 Teal, 4 Zephyrus, 5 Thalia, 6 Thia, 7 Ceres.  Halcyone DNF.

Saturday 6th September – Dog Race

All the boats which competed had their dog.  Caillie cutting her teeth on Catriona.  It was her first dog race.  She was up against Canna on Iris.  A dog both long and experienced.  Brodie on Zephyrus, his second dog race.  Sammy again racing on Athene, his experience perhaps more valuable than his length.  You will remember that boats receive a time advantage of five seconds per inch of dog.

Chief measurer Gordon Mucklow still has all his fingers, despite a general dislike, amongst the crews, of being measured.  He went on to assist Race Officer Ufo Sutter aboard John Blackie’s Maid of Lorn.

We were sent on a beat up the Shandon shore to G, then two reaches to C, off Clynder and back to the start, off the club.  It was a good wind and no one set their spinnaker.  Perhaps if wind had been lighter, or the boats closer, someone might have.  As it was, there were times when wind was forward of the mast on both the reaches and we were cautious.

Iris was clearly out of sorts on account of being scruffy below the water line.  She could not stay with Catriona and was passed by Zephyrus.  Sammy’s lack of inches did not matter to Athene.  She was so far back (underwater growth again?) that a Great Dane would not have helped.

1 Catriona, Caillie.  2 Iris, Canna.   Her length advantage over Brodie made the difference.  3 Zephyrus, Brodie.  4 Athene, Sammy.

And so to one of the premier social events of the year.  The Dog Race fancy dress barbecue.  Kindly hosted by Shane and Fenella Rankin, Hon Barbecuers Don and Elspeth MacLean made the smoke.  Barbara McManus had chosen the theme, 1924 with particular reference to achievements in sport and aviation.  Barbara herself was dressed as Zephyrus but her hat of an upturned boat and green shirt combined to create a strong suggestion of Maid Marion.  Eric Boinard was a pilot with an an authentic flying helmet.  The pilot theme was also taken up by Charles Darley and Neil Isaacs, who had a moustache so convincing we hardly recognised him.  Ufo and Miriam Sutter evoked political upheaval in the east with Cossack outfits.  Miriam, with whom one would not have wanted to tangle, took the fancy dress prize.

Tuesday 2nd September

An evening of little wind, although 5 Garelochs turned out for the early start.  The best we could manage was the shortest course to A, off the club and back.  Circe got the best start and took the win.  Catriona, after a poor start,  got past Thalia but was repassed in dead air near to the finish.  Zoe, understandably, got fed up and retired.

1 Circe, 2 Thalia, 3 Catriona, 4 Halcyone.  Zoe DNF.

Sunday 31st August

Perhaps some had been satisfied by the Reunion Regatta the day before. Anyway, six Garelochs turned out. Race Officer Peter Proctor sent us on a beat to B, off Silvers, thence back and forth across the loch.

Teal got the best start at the favoured pin end. She hit the starting line going fast immediately after the gun. Catriona tried to squeeze her out but hadn’t the speed and fell astern.

Out in the loch, there was good wind but adverse tide. Catriona was obliged to go there so as to clear her air from Teal. Zoe followed Catriona, the rest went down the Shandon shore. Further out paid. Both Catriona and Zoe were in front of the rest when they next crossed. Teal got back to second, Catriona was away. Even a problem downwind with the spinnaker halyard tangled round the jib halyard did not cost the lead.

There was time for a second round. On the last leg, a reach from Clynder, Thalia gained under her spinnaker. Most did not set the third sail, thinking wind was too far forward and too gusty to be comfortable that far forward. Thalia chanced it and overtook Zoe and closed the gap to Teal.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Thalia, 4 Zoe, 5 Hermes, 6 Ceres.