Category Archives: Race Reports ’14

Tuesday 26th August

The last official Tuesday evening points series race.  Although the Garelochs intend to continue into September with an earlier start.

Race Officer Iain MacGillivray was faced with wind blowing from the Shandon shore.  Inevitably a running start with a biassed line.  It could not be helped.  A beat back to the starting area from the leeward mark.

Catriona was in competition with Thalia.  She got her start timing badly wrong, was early at the line and obliged to sail away from the favouired pin end.  Thalia made the most of it and got away well under spinnaker.

Iris, Hermes and Catriona took each other’s wind, luffed and generally delayed themselves so that Thalia established a handsome lead.  Ceres a little way back, Zoe not going well at all.

On the beat back to the starting area, Catriona caught Thalia a little.  A slow spinnaker hoist at the start of the next round put paid to any overtaking.  The two were close for the start of the final, windward leg but Catriona was making little headway.  Hermes was on the pace. That Iris was not unquestionably due to growth below the water line.  Catriona tacked to windward to escape the disturbed air of Thalia and began to make ground.  Thalia slowed in variable wind near the finish and Catriona edged alongside.  Defensive luffing was not effective.  Hermes, meanwhile, took a different route in better air.  She delighted in the other two slowing each other and took the win.

1 Hermes, 2 Catriona, 3 Thalia, 4 Iris, 5 Ceres.  Zoe DNF.

Sunday 24th August

A superb day, sunshine and sufficient wind.  We were rewarded with nine Garelochs at the starting line.  On the water race officer Peter Proctor set us on a course down, then up the Shandon shore.

Those who tried to make a textbook start, beating to the slightly favoured pin end of the line, were undone by those who reached in from the loch.  Those boats had momentum and blanketed the ones who thought to avoid being squeezed out by being close on the wind.  Thus it was that Teal, Thalia and Hermes started well.  Ceres and Catriona did not.

Tide was ebbing so that a course to the windward mark further out into the loch was favoured.  Catriona took this and was leading comfortably at A mark, off the club.  Thalia a determined second.

Downwind to G had become a reach.  A little fine for spinnakers at times.  Again it paid to go further out.  Despite now adverse tide, the wind was better.

Upwind, back to the starting area, the challenge from Thalia had faded.  Hermes had made the best mark rounding in the confusion of boats.  There were now three separate groups with close competition in each.  Hermes, with the bit between her teeth, and Catriona at the front.  Thalia, Teal and Zephyrus then Halcyone, Athene and Ceres.  Thia was out of sorts.

There was ample time for a second round.  Downwind, Hermes chose the correct course and passed Catriona to windward.  A lead she was not to give up.  In the second group, places kept changing, eventually Thalia came out on top.  As did Hlacyone in the third.

1 Hermes, 2 Catriona, 3 Thalia, 4 Teal, 5 Zephyrus, 6 Halcyone, 7 Athene, 8 Ceres, Thia DNF.

Tuesday 19th August

A superb evening with sunshine and good breeze.  Only four Garelochs raced, its hard to think what might have been a greater draw.

Catriona had guest helm Thad Burr.  He is a pilot with United, flying out of Newark.  When an overnight in Glasgow coincides with a race, he comes to sail with us.  There is a certain reservoir of ability and experience.

Catriona benefitted from some scrubbing before she left her mooring.  As the boats were sailing about, pre start, it was noted that Thia had the occasional barnacle.  A tickle with a brush would have done no harm.

Race officer Gordon Mucklow sent us on a beat to D, north of Clynder.  Thad went for the favoured shore end of the starting line.  He was slightly late and could have been closer.  Thalia, who was ahead in the points series, was far too early and had had to sail down the line towards the pin.  Catriona was two or three boat lengths ahead when they first crossed.  She made sure of covering and the lead did not diminish.

Hermes, meanwhile, was on terms with Thalia but was obliged to tack from port to starboard as the two converged.  She might just have avoided being blanketed and climbed out from under but her main halyard tensioner let go at just the wrong moment.  From then on, the order was set.  None of the spinnaker gybes at G, on the Shandon shore, were text book but it made no difference.

The race finished at the end of the first round and left us wanting more.  The second round of that course is a long one, however, and the nights are drawing in.

1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Hermes, 4 Thia.

Tuesday 12th August

Perhaps the biggest influence on the evenings racing was the extent of flora and fauna below the waterline. Iris was scrubbing right up to the start. That can only mean she left much more than she removed. Ceres was slow, no doubt for the same reason. Thalia was swanking about her anti fouling paint and did, indeed, seem to be going well.

We were sent on a course with two windward legs across the loch, first to C. Thalia made the best start, Catriona was compromised by being a little early, Iris too far from the favoured pin end of the line. Catriona concentrated on covering Thalia, who is ahead in the points. Iris found the best of the changeable air on the Clynder shore and was first onto the downwind leg to the Shandon shore. All those tiny shrimps which turn into barnacles must have been swimming the wrong way. First Catriona, then Thalia passed her.

Upwind again to D, north of Clynder, wind on that shore had not improved. Rounding D was trying for Catriona and worse for the rest, as the few breaths that there had been died away. Iris watched from the peacefullness of still air as Zephyrus sailed past.

1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Zephyrus, 4 Iris, 5 Ceres. Hermes DNF.

Sunday 10th August

A soft afternoon, as they say in Ireland. Race Officer Roger Kinns sent us on a beat up the Shandon shore. Catriona started well but went inshore for less adverse tide and found less wind. Thalia did nor make the mistake and moved into first. She dropped back again as Catriona got the inside overlap at the next mark. Hermes just missed an advantageous overlap on both of them. Downwind with the spinnaker, Catriona allowed herself to be blanketed and gave back the lead. On the next beat, Catriona avoided earlier errors. After a brief period behind Hermes, she cemented her first place. The battle was now between Hermes and Thalia. Hermes had the advantage but did not cover sufficiently closely. On the approach to the finish, Thalia found wind which eluded Hermes.

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

Tuesday 5th August

Race Officer Reay Mackay was faced with the problem of wind blowing from the Shandon Shore. Square starting lines and starts to windward are not possible. Also, it is difficult to judge the direction of wind further out in the loch. He sent us down, then up the Shandon shore. There was time and sufficient wind for two rounds.

The inner end of the line was certainly to windward for the fetch to A, off the club. Catriona started at the shore end, Thalia (to good effect) at the pin. As the two converged, Thalia fell into Catriona’s disturbed air. As far as first place was concerned, that was that.

The leg up the loch to G was suitable for spinnakers but a little fine. The risk of broaching increased with the strength of wind. Late running Pipers added to the interest. They do not carry their spinnakers so well as Garelochs when the wind is forward of the beam.

Back to the starting area may or may not have required a tack, depending on the capriciousness of the wind. Mistakes or luck here meant changes of place. Teal in particular was not favoured. Zephyrus is learning more about the riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma that is wind in the Gareloch.

1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Zephyrus, 4 Hermes, 5 Teal, 6 Thia.

Sunday 3rd August

Another wet day. Normal service has been resumed after the especially good weather arranged for the Commonwealth Games. Race Officer Shane Rankin sent us on a beat across the loch to Clynder. When we started, the C mark appeared directly to windward. As it turned out, most time was spent on port tack. Catriona got away well and avoided light air at the shore end of the line. Zephyrus was on the pace. Teal found the light (and changeable) air.

From C was a reach back across the loch followed by a curious leg to B, off Silvers. Some set spinnakers from C, which paid. Even allowing for the generally poor gybes at the beginning of the leg to B. Catriona extended her lead and made her spinnaker work until wind died in heavy rain. Zephyrus found different air. Her spinnaker hindered her and allowed Hermes to pass. The leg to B became increasingly miserable for back markers. Halcyone was passed by Teal for no reason other than variable air. Catriona delayed her finish to more than an hour from the start so as to avoid the need for a second round. There is a sailing instruction to this effect for when there is no Race Officer on shore. No one complained.

1 Catriona, 2 Hermes, 3 Zephyrus, 4 Teal, 5 Halcyone. Thia RET.

Tuesday 29th July

Wind appeared steady and we were sent on a beat to D, north of Clynder. The shore end of the starting line was favoured. The technique being to reach in on port and tack to start at the last moment just before going aground. Unusually, Catriona got it right and Iris was well back. Catriona seemed to be sailing lower but she was going faster. The rest, pointing higher, were led by Teal.

Catriona got the best of the changeable wind going up the Gareloch and was comfortably first. There was time for a second round. A great hole in the wind had formed at the D mark. Pressure during the approach a matter of chance. Thalia found a line of air and overtook Teal to round second. Iris was out of luck.

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

Sunday 27th July

A remarkably wet Sunday. Decent wind though. Catriona was unkind to Hermes at the start, squeezing her out at the favoured pin end of the line. Karma, though. Catriona was early over the line and, after returning, started last. She was back in front at the windward mark. Putting Thalia into her disturbed air on the way into the mark promoted Hermes.

Downwind, a very bad spinnaker gybe by Catriona allowed Thalia into the lead. She kept it for the remaining two legs of the round and the first of the second round. A shift in direction of wind had made the beat a fetch. The next leg, up the Clynder shore, was dead downwind. Careful blanketing by Catriona and a slow gybe by Thalia restored the usual order.

1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Hermes, Ceres DNF.

The Gareloch Championship, 19-20th July

The usual superb lift off party, this time at Peter and Francoise Proctor’s. Canapes were especially good.

On Saturday, Race Officer Gordon Mucklow, aboard Tim Henderson’s Blue Iris, set a starting line at Clynder. 15 Garelochs were there. Only Dione, being rebuilt, was absent.

The Gareloch gave us plenty of wind, but it was at its most fluky. Large and sudden changes in direction (downwind, the racing flag could be seen to flick through 30 degrees or more) and deep holes caught out the unwary and the wary alike. Luna won the first race but then her rudder stock broke in the second so she was, thereafter, unable to take part. Boats which like to be near to the front (Iris and Catriona) were 6th and 3rd, Thalia was second, which gives an indication of the conditions.

Normal service was resumed in the second race, Catriona first with Iris second. Hermes a strong third, her arch rival Thalia seventh. Zephyrus strong in fourth. With a minute and a half to the start, Teal found the allure of the Clynder shore stronger than the water was deep. She finished last.

The third race did for Catriona’s chances. She was chasing Iris and ventured into a part of the Loch which seemed to have paid in the previous race. There was no wind of any significance and what there was was so variable in direction as to preclude meaningful progress. She finished 8th with Iris winning. Teal made herself feel better with a second place.

The last race of the day was closely fought between Iris and Catriona. Wind at the finish favoured Iris. Thalia, showing some form, was third.

A barbecue at Jimmy and Carol Rowe’s on Saturday evening. The Gareloch Hon Barbecuer, Don Maclean, was in his element. His home made relish unique. His wife Elspeth there to prevent disaster. There was a protest arising from one of the races which a very conscientious
committee of Shane Rankin, Ian Nicolson and John Blackie resolved on the night. To the detriment of their dinner.

When crews arrived on Sunday morning, most were bright eyed and bushy tailed with cold wet nose. The glassy surface of the loch depressed us at first but a good breeze got up. Gordon sent us on a true beat across the loch in steady air. Catriona took the win from Iris, with Galatea second and Thalia fourth. There was a large shift of direction of wind for the sixth and final race. This time, the beat was up the Shandon shore. Catriona struggled after a poor start, Iris led. Zephyrus, in a strong position, thought she could luff to squeeze round the windward mark. It might have worked but much of the fleet, sailing a little more free, took her wind. She lost all momentum in a most inopportune place. To cap it all, she drifted into the mark.

The results after six races:

1 Iris, 2 Catriona, 3 Thalia, 4 Galatea, 5 Teal, 6 Zephyrus, 7 Juno, 8 Hermes, 9 Circe, 10 Halcyone, 11 Athene, 12 Zoe, 13 Thia, 14 Luna, 15 Ceres.

There was a sail past Blue Iris of high standard. Alan Reid MP took the salute. He later presented the fine 50th Anniversary trophy to John Mucklow and Simon Jackson, crew of Iris.