It was dreich as we congregated in the car park. There were ripples on some parts of the loch but it did not look promising. Iris and Teal went home. By the time the remaining five of us reached the starting area, there was enough breeze for us to wet the side decks every so often. On the water race officer Eric Boinard sent us on a beat to B, off Silvers, then back and forth across the loch.
Circe got the best start, with boat speed at the key moment at the favoured pin end of the line. Circe sailed the beat in the right part of the loch and would have been first at the windward mark but for bad luck with changeable air at her last tack. Catriona took advantage. Her spinnaker hoist was sufficiently quick (although by no means remarkable) to give her a comfortable lead. Circe lost her spinnaker halyard up the mast. Thalia suffered a malfunction of gear and retired. Zephyrus and Hermes eschewed their third sails out of consideration for their crews.
There were no changes of place on the third leg from Shandon to Clynder or on the reach to the finish.
1 Catriona, 2 Circe, 3 Zephyrus, 4 Hermes.
The first race of the Gareloch’s 90th anniversary year. It is best not to have too much wind for the first race but this evening, there was rather too little. Race Officer Jock Fleming set one of the shortest courses, across to Clynder and back.
It was, as they say in another sport, a race of two halves. In ghosting conditions, Iris timed her start best. Catriona was a few boat lengths behind. Thalia was disastrously over early and Hermes was not in the right place. Teal had seen the light air and thought her time would be better spent at home.
Iris increased her lead as the wind shadow from an indecisive Thalia delayed Catriona. There was a little more wind towards Clynder. Iris and Catriona concentrated hard, the gap closing, then opening again. Iris was at the mark a few boat lengths ahead but rounded the wrong way. One of those mistakes we have all made too often. Correcting the error cost the lead and put her out of contention for first place.
The leg back to the finish began as a run with enough pressure to fill spinnakers. Catriona realised something was up when she saw Hermes, still trying to get away from the starting area, coming towards her under spinnaker. Wind was different on the Shandon shore. The end of the leg became a beat to windward under trying, fluky conditions. Three Sonars, who had started 10 minutes before the Garelochs, were struggling to finish and Catriona insinuated herself past them. Iris finished second. Thalia and Hermes, meanwhile, had arrived at Clynder after the light breeze on that shore had gone. They were accompanied by the two Pipers, who had also started badly.
1 Catriona, 2 Iris. Hermes and Thalia DNF.