Category Archives: Race Reports ’15

Tuesday 22nd September

The last Tuesday evening race of the year.  It was a light, bright evening with good wind so that it seems such a shame, but it was pitch black by eight o’clock.

Race Officer, Peter Proctor, chose a long course, beginning with a windward leg to E, the most northerly mark on the Clynder shore.  Only Catriona made a half decent start at the favoured shore end of the line.

In the absence of Teal, Catriona chose to cover Thalia.  On a tack into the Clynder shore, Thalia found a lift which eluded Catriona so that she was temporarily ahead.

Approaching the mark, Athene had stayed in the better wind away from the shore and had boat speed.  She forced Thalia to tack and Catriona to duck.  Catriona was still able to lay the mark so that she was first for the downwind legs.  Athene was firm in second.  Ceres, meanwhile, from looking strong had dropped back in the lighter air of the Clynder shore.

On the run to the finish, Athene was close enough to make Catriona’s helm keep looking back, but no places changed.

1 Catriona, 2 Athene, 3 Thalia, 4 Hemes, 5 Ceres.

Sunday 20th September

On the Water Race Officer Roger Kinns sent us on a beat to B, off Silvers.  Whilst it was dry and fine, Gareloch wind was its usual self.  The fixed starting line was biassed, so that there was a scramble for the pin end.  Made more complicated by changes in strength and direction of wind.

Catriona got the best start and thereafter concentrated on covering Teal.  These two went down the Shandon shore before tacking across the loch.  Teal, thinking to escape wind shadow, tacked into the strongest of the adverse flood tide.  That and an area of light air set her back.

Ceres, meanwhile, had started strongly and headed for the Clynder shore early.  It paid off.  The chasing pack could not read her sail number as she rounded B.  Thalia thought to do the same but never threatened Ceres.

In the confused air at B, Catriona managed to round just ahead of Thalia and kept the place on the run up the loch to G on the Shandon shore.  The next leg, windward to Clynder, was again characterised by changeable wind.  Ceres played it well and maintained her handsome lead.  Thalia found a good streak of wind to retake her second place.

There was confusion on Catriona and Teal about whether or not the race had finished at the end of the round.  They sailed on and fought closely a second round in the drizzle which had now set in.  The rest headed for the bar and stayed dry.

1 Ceres, 2 Thalia, 3 Catriona, 4 Teal, 5 Halcyone, 6 Athene.

Tuesday 15th September


On the water Race Officer Roger Kinns sent us on a windward leg to D, north of Clynder.  The shore end of the starting line was favoured.  Thalia was first on the fine reach along the line to the shore.  She held up Teal and Catriona who both started to leeward of where they would like to have been.  Thalia ventured too far into the adverse tide in the loch and soon lost her place to the other two, who kept swapping the lead.  Teal going especially well to windward.

Offwind across the loch, Teal kept her first place but lost it soon after the gybe for the run down the Shandon shore to the starting area.  There was time for a second round.  Only just, as it turned out because wind lightened and the light now fades early.  Thinking to avoid a tacking duel and let Thalia through, Catriona maintained only loose cover on Teal, which was not good enough.  Teal got ahead on the beat.  There was the complication of strong adverse tide and light wind near the shore for the final rounding of D.  As it was, the order did not change.  Whilst the leading three were close, they each rounded cleanly.

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

Sunday 13th September

It was a lovely afternoon, sunshine and good wind.  We sailed a long course and there was time for a second round.  A touch of changeability in the Gareloch wind kept up the interest.

Teal started well at the favoured pin end of the line for the beat to B, off Silvers.  A tardy Catriona tacked immediately at the starting mark and found good air, which encouraged her to think she might be able to tack back onto starboard and get ahead of the port tack Teal.  As it was, Teal crossed ahead with no trouble but then failed to cover.  Catriona was first (just) to the windward mark.  Thalia was on a charge but, near to the mark, was forced to tack by Halcyone (sailed single handed) which gave Hermes a clear approach.

The next beat from the Shandon shore to Clynder was characterised by changes of place at the front and failure to cover.  Catriona made it first to the mark and pulled away on the fine spinnaker reach back to the starting area.

Next another beat to B and again, there was failure to cover.  Backing of the wind meant that Catriona was able to lay the mark negate Teal’s advantage, who had worked herself substantially to windward.

On the run up the Clynder shore to C, Halcyone was finally relegated to last for want of a spinnaker.  Hermes was well placed in third.

Catriona led on what was now a fetch to the finish but Teal pointed higher.  Near the shore battery, a large header forced Catriona to tack and Teal crossed ahead with elan.

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

Tuesday 7th September

This was the first of the Tuesday evenings with the early (6pm) start.  It went well, except for Thia.  Hoisting sails was a trial because boats were lying to tide, with wind from behind.  In sorting things out, Thia lost her main halyard up the mast.

Wind was from the Shandon shore, so that a start offwind was needed.  A run to D, north of Clynder.  Hermes got away especially well, to the north of the fleet.  The rest were frustrated by patches of light wind and were blanketing each other.  Hermes slowed on the approach to the mark.  A wind shift which forced a gybe further disadvantaged her.  Not for the first time, Catriona kept her spinnaker a little longer than the rest and allowed her to round the mark unimpeded.  The others were three abreast at the mark with many calls for mark room.

Catriona had set off across the loch and was being headed.  Hermes noticed and chose to tack down the Clynder shore.  It might have been a decisive move, but it wasn’t.  Teal and Thalia got into a luffing match with Teal coming out on top.

There was time for a second round, a feature of which was a spinnaker gybe from reach to reach at B, off Silvers.  Always a manoeuvre which tests the crew and requires sensitive boat handling by the helm.  Catriona had plenty of time and space and made the gybe with the wind directly behind.  Others were more ambitious and it was some time before they got their spinnakers drawing on the reach up the Clynder shore to C.  Where Hermes dropped a place to Teal.

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

Saturday 5th September – Dog Race

Followers of this annual event, instigated many years ago by David Ryder-Turner, will remember that there is a time allowance depending on the length of dog.  Formerly 5 seconds/inch, the class has caught up with the metric system so that new allowance is 2 seconds/cm.

Four dogs arrived at the club to be measured in.  Lolly, a black Labrador, sailing on Halcyone was longest.  Milton (named after his place of origin) made a useful contribution to Hermes.  Caillie, a Beagle on Catriona, and Brodie on Zephyrus were both shorter, but still helpful at over 1m.  It was Brodie’s third dog race which made him the most experienced dog.  He is Australian (although has no trace of an accent) and a cross of several breeds, including Irish Water Spaniel.  What could be more appropriate?  Athene was unfortunately without a dog although she did bring along a small cuddly toy.

Milton is not especially fond of other hounds.  He did not share the launch on the way out to Hermes.  Caillie, on Catriona, was anxious to get going and much happier once underway.  Brodie and Lolly took things in their stride.
Race Officer Neil Isaacs sent us on a windward leg across the loch to D, north of Clynder.  Next, a leg offwind back across the loch to G.  Not for the first time, Catriona led the fleet to the wrong mark, the more northerly F.  Most of the fleet noticed as they rounded for the run to the finish.  Hermes, Zephyrus and Halcyone all had trouble with spinnakers.  Catriona and Athene were, thus, firmly first and second on the water.  The mix up over marks having happened before, the boats were careful to leave G on the correct hand.  Except for Zephyrus.

Catriona was safe in first place, Caillie making a useful contribution.  Milton swung it for Hermes, promoting her to second.  Bodie, badly let down, was gentleman enough not to show it.

1 Catriona, Caillie.  2 Hermes, Milton 3 Athene, ND. 4 Halcyone, Lolly.  Zephyrus, Brodie RTD.

A highlight of the event, the Dog Race fancy dress barbecue, was held in the evening at the club.  Barbara McManus had chosen the theme, Television, to commemorate John Logie Baird’s first successful transmission, 90 years ago.  Barbara herself was an aerial for husband Eric’s television set.  Sadly this had to be removed to make it physically possible for Eric to eat.  Worthy of note were Lasse and Lena Sutter as cameraman and presenter.  The winers were Ufo Sutter, who looked entirely natural as Fred Flintstone and Margaret Isaacs.  She was Mrs. Overall of the famous ‘Two Soups’ sketch.  We wondered if she was acting.

Tuesday 1st September

A good and reasonably true wind. We were sent on a beat up the Shandon shore against the tide.  There was the usual compromise between good wind further out but more adverse tide.

Catriona and Teal went out and looked back to find the later starters lifted outrageously.  Athene and Hermes achieved a better compromise than the rest and rounded the windward mark in that order.  Catriona tried hard for an inside overlap on Hermes but could not manage it. No scope for overtaking on the reach across the loch to C. Thalia, meanwhile, spoiled Teal’s chances by forcing her the wrong side of the mark.  Thalia’s penalty turns set her back and Ceres benefitted.

Downwind to A, off the club, Catriona benefitted from her spinnaker more than Hermes did but could make no impression on Athene.  There was a leg to windward to the finish.  Athene was concerned about Hermes getting to windward and tacked out into the adverse tide, failing to cover Catriona.

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

Sunday 30th August

A good turnout.  Seven Garelochs came to the starting area and the sun shone.  On the Water Race Officer Roger Kinns set a course beginning with a beat to C, off Clynder.

Teal and Catriona tried for the highly favoured shore end of the starting line.  The rest, perhaps through force of habit, went towards the pin end and were immediately well to leeward of the leading pair. Catriona looked good to start with but the Gareloch wind was its changeable self and she soon fell into calm air.  Those who had gone further up the loch prospered.  The order at the first mark was Thalia, Teal, Athene, Thia, Catriona, Zephyrus, Hermes.  The last probably suffering from marine growth and so underspeed.  The leaders were half way across the loch on a downwind leg to G before Zephyrus and Catriona rounded C.  A wind from behind and slickness with the spinnaker brought these two up to the leaders, who were languishing in an especially flat piece of water.  Hermes was too late to benefit from this puff of wind.

Catriona rounded first for the beat back across the loch and never looked back.  Or if she did, it was to check on the competition.  Rounding for the chasing pack was slow with calls for mark room and boats three abreast.  Thalia made a late charge for the second windward mark and was round ahead of Teal, which made for interesting tactics on the downwind leg to the finish.  Athene, who was always in the fray, could not make her challenge on Thalia stick.  Hermes’s problems were compounded as the wind died away.

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

Thursday 27th August – Crews Race

Rain just before the start of the race was remarkably wet. Spirits of Michael Lidwell on Hermes, Richard Reeve on Ceres, Lena Sutter on Catriona and Iain Macfarlane on Thalia were only slightly dampened. It brightened up although wind remained light.

On the Water Race Officer Peter Proctor sent us on what should have beat a beat to B, off Silvers. A late wind shift made it a fetch. Wind lightening just before the start made all boats late, Thalia was the least tardy and got into the better air in the loch whilst the rest were struggling against tide to reach the starting line.

The B mark was surrounded by glassy water. Thalia had crept round (and touched the mark) well before the rest, led by Catriona, arrived. Even with a penalty turn, Thalia was well ahead. Catriona, meanwhile, realised she could not tack onto port to round the mark because of Ceres ghosting along; who had the same problem with Hermes. All this took some time. Catriona managed to tack behind the other two, bear away and get her spinnaker to draw so as to chase after Thalia. Ceres and Hermes went high, which did for them.

After the run across the loch, there was a true beat to C, at Clynder. Thalia, still with a good lead, ventured into lighter air on the Clynder shore. Catriona tacked down the middle of the loch, against the tide but in good wind. Her helm, Lena, concentrating hard on the many changes in strength and direction of wind. It was Iain Macfarlane’s first time on the helm of a Gareloch and he was not advised to cover. Which was a mistake on the part of his more experienced crew. Catriona tacked on a header, crossed in front and made sure of covering thereafter.

1 Catriona, Lena Sutter. 2 Thalia, Iain Macfarlane. 3 Ceres, Richard Reeve. Hermes, Michael Lidwell DNF.

Tuesday 25th August

No wind, no race.  Which was a shame because Barry Choules, who used to crew on Catriona until his employer sent him to Bristol, paid a visit.  At least he got to paddle to the starting area and back.