Category Archives: Race Reports ’16

Garelochs 30th September to 3rd October

A fitting end to the season. The Gareloch class flew to Germany to compete against the Freundeskreis Klassische Yachten. The Friday flight to Hamburg is well known for stag parties. For once, the Garelochs were not the worst behaved.

There was team racing on the Schlei in Nordic Folkboats. The Folkboats had been chartered by our hosts. In the past we have raced in Knarrs but one has been sold and a fleet of six was not available.

The two owners of the Folkboats watched the racing with interest. It is not clear whether of not our hosts had mentioned that the boats were to be used for racing. Let alone team racing. Despite a few anxious moments, the owners must have enjoyed the event, photographs are to appear in one of their calendars.

There were four races on the Saturday, which were split between the two teams. Crack German helm Sven Foerst taught us how to make the best of the starting line and then sailed into the distance. We were left to concentrate on his team mates.

Three shorter races were planned for Sunday morning so as to break the tie and allow time for a fleet race where crews could helm. We have come, over the years, to realise that the stereotype of ruthless German efficiency is not necessarily accurate. Different instructions had been given to the two teams regarding the course. It was only fair to abandon the first race and we shared the other two. The match was declared a tie.

The fleet race was sailed in dying air. Eventually a result was declared at a rounding mark. Race Officer Klaus Birkhoff (who had no hand in the dichotomy of sailing instructions) awarded the prize of a bottle of rather over proof rum to Eric Boinard. A surprise to Iain Macfarlane who led the race. After some of the rum, he was past caring.

It would be remiss not to mention the entertainment of Saturday evening. Oliver Berking of top line Silversmiths Robbe and Berking opened the Yachting Heritage Centre in Flensburg which bears their name. The opening exhibition was of Royal Yachting. The Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club has lent various exhibits, including our fine silver model of Britannia and one of her racing flags. One of three thought to exist. We were able to swing an invitation.


It is not possible to list all the delights of the exhibition and of the Heritage Centre. Curator Eva Nielsen has done superb work. The workshop, where 12 metres can be built, had treasures wherever you looked. A 6 metre and a 12 with immaculate varnish. Charming clinker dinghies. My favourite, a Skerry Cruiser. Out of the water, her ends look unfeasibly slender.

The star of the evening, for me, the 6 metre which had belonged to the King of Norway. Her keel was set into a pit in the floor so the deck was at a convenient height. Champagne was served from the cockpit.

Tuesday 27th September

The last race in the Series of the Ancient Mariner.  There was an autumnal feel to the air.  It had been blowing hard during the day which put off some.

There were cat’s paws on the water as we went out.  During the race, occasional gusts caused the Garelochs to heel more than is comfortable but it was a good race.  We sailed a course back and forth across the loch beginning with a leg to windward to Clynder.
The starting line was necessarily biassed towards the pin end.  Teal got it just right with Zoe to leeward.  Catriona was early and obliged to go round and tuck in behind.
Whilst there was generally sufficient wind in the loch, its direction was capricious.  Catriona was lucky so that approaching the first windward mark, she was ahead.  Direction of wind was so variable here that tell tales could not be relied upon.  We went from head to wind to beam reach in an instant.

Teal and Catriona fought it out at the front.  Ceres and Zoe doing the same further back.  Growth below the water line was probably the reason for the gap.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Ceres, 4 Zoe.

Sunday 25th September

The last of the Sunday races.  There were white horses out in the river and it was a bit cold.  Six crews went on board but three of them decided it was too windy. If the sun had been shining, they might have felt better.  As it was, wind was never strong enough to push the lee deck under water and there were some light patches later in the race.
On the water Race Officer Roger Kinns selected one of the longer courses beginning with a windward leg across the loch to Silvers.  Teal and Catriona, racing each other, were both early at the starting line and had to go round.  Catriona might have come out of it better but wrapped her main sheet around the counter and was therefore second.
Teal kept her lead to the windward mark.  She kept it on the long leg downwind to Shandon Church.  Despite the wind becoming light and very fluky.  The leading pair both saw their racing flags spin round, which is especially frustrating when carrying a spinnaker.
The third leg was upwind again, to Clynder.  Teal with a substantial lead failed to keep close cover.  She found a patch of light air as Catriona was on her final tack into the mark and rounded a couple of boat lengths behind.  The leg to the finish was a fine reach with very little scope for overtaking.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Thalia.

Tuesday 20th September

The series of the Ancient Mariner, Garelochs racing on Tuesday evenings in September with a start at 6, has been well supported.
This evening, the Gareloch was at its scenic best although we were not troubled by an excess of wind.
On the water Race Officer Peter Proctor selected a short course to A, off the club, and back.  He chose well.  We all finished and, with no leg across the loch, avoided being caught out by strong tide.
Progress depended on skill (or luck) in finding the best air, concentration and amount of growth below the water line.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Ceres, 4 Hermes, 5 Athene, 6 Thalia, 7 Thia.

Sunday 18th September

A wet afternoon but there was wind, which was good.  We had been warned that a submarine was due at 3 o’clock, our start time.  There was no submarine then, but various smaller vessels with blue flashing lights.  We decided to delay, which benefitted Thalia who took time to recover a halyard which had been lost up the mast.
After the submarine had passed, we were able to sail a course across the loch, beginning with a leg to windward to B, off Silvers.  There was an element of luck in choosing the best way to get there, wind was both changeable and different in different parts of the Loch.  It was a similar story going downwind to Shandon and then upwind to Clynder.   The final leg, a reach to the finish was predictable.  There was no second round, which was fortunate as wind died away.
1 Catriona, 2 Halcyone, 3 Teal, 4 Ceres, 5 Hermes, 6 Athene, 7 Thalia, 8 Thia

Tuesday 13th September

A lovely evening on the Gareloch, especially after Sunday when it was too windy to race.

On the water Race Officer Peter Proctor chose a course up and down the Shandon shore.   It suited the direction of wind and kept us out of the way of a submarine which was returning to Faslane.

Zoe got the best start at the outer end of the line.  Hermes and Catriona close behind.   Zoe was comfortably in control of the first windward leg but took an injudicious tack into the shore where tide was less favourable and wind lighter.   Catriona and Hermes profited.  Thalia, perhaps suffering from growth below the waterline, was not on the pace.

Later, Hermes made a wide rounding of the leeward mark and allowed Zoe past.

1 Catriona, 2 Zoe, 3 Hermes, 4 Ceres, 5 Thalia

Sunday 4th September – Dog Race

‘The Dog Race was an idea thought up by David Ryder Turner some two
decades ago as a bit of fun to mark the end of the Gareloch sailing
season. It has always been held in early September because that was when
racing series used to finish; more recently, an early-start Tuesday
evening set of races and a Sunday afternoon series have taken the racing
calendar to the end of September but the timing of the Dog Race remains
Five Garelochs took part – Catriona, Thalia, Athene, Hermes and Halcyone
but only three dogs – Milton as crew member in Hermes, Bracken in Athene
and Lolly in Halcyone.  The dogs behaved impeccably.  Convenor Peter
Proctor did produce a stuffed dog who completed the race secured to
Thalia’s boom; Lena Sutter named the stuffed dog Fudge.
Dog measuring was carried out by Class President Gordon Mucklow who also
fulfilled the role of Race Officer assisted by Sue Mucklow. Tim and
Elizabeth Henderson kindly provided Blue Iris as Committee Vessel.
Gordon started the race from the A mark for a triangular course ABYA
and, despite the wind being a light south westerly, two laps were
completed.  Catriona led from the start and retained first place
throughout.  Similarly Hermes recorded second fastest times elapsed for
both rounds.  Thalia, Halcyone and Athene were competing closely for the
remaining places until Thalia infringed Halcyone’s and Athene’s water
rights at the Y mark second time round incurring a 720 penalty.
Interestingly, Halcyone, finishing on the water 19 seconds behind Hermes
in third place, claimed second place overall after times were corrected
for dog length.  For that Shane and Fenella Rankin had Lolly to thank.
Result (corrected times): 1) Catriona 1.12.46  2) Halcyone 1.16.02 3)
Hermes 1.16.07  4) Athene 1.20.36  5) Thalia 1.25.25

In accordance with tradition, a barbeque at the Clubhouse was held after
the race for which fancy dress was encouraged –  Barbara McManus had
proposed Olympic Games with a Brazilian twist.  A general invitation for
the event was extended to Club members other than Garelochs increasing
numbers attending to around 30.  Charles Darley inflicted a dangerous
Caipirinha cocktail on attendees at the start (unofficial cocktail of
the Rio Olympics, rum based and quite nice actually).  He also
generously conceded the race first prize (a dog’s body draught excluder
and inscribed dog drinking bowl) to Halcyone since none of his crew
members was a dog.  Francoise Proctor won the bottle of fizz for best
fancy dress.’

Saturday 3rd September

The usual Sunday afternoon race had been switched to Saturday to accommodate the Dog Race on Sunday. Only three Garelochs came to race.

On the water Race Officer Iain MacGillivray chose a course down then up the Shandon shore. With wind forecast to reduce, he wisely avoided a course taking us across the loch and across the tide.

Catriona got the best start down the windward leg to A, off the club. She chose to tack out into the loch to clear a moored boat near the line. The others bore away and stayed inshore. Out was better.

Zephyrus and Teal were on terms after the mark, at the beginning of the run to G at Shandon. Teal used her spinnaker to draw ahead.

At A on the second round, Teal had narrowed the gap and drew alongside Catriona under spinnaker. Catriona fell into the wind shadow and thus behind. In one of those curiosities of air currents in the Gareloch, a puff from behind took her back through the wind shadow and ahead.

Back at the starting line, the leader was just in time to trigger a third round. It might have been better if she hadn’t because wind was reducing as forecast. Zephyrus saw little point battling the adverse tide in very light air.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, Zephyrus DNF

Tuesday 30th August

Years ago, this would have been the last race of the year.  All points series used to finish at the end of August.  The Gareloch class could not bear that so we continued racing to the end of September.

After a few days and evenings of no wind, this evening has a good breeze.  Blowing in a direction which allowed a start to windward, to B off Silvers.

Catriona made the best start by getting to the favoured pin end of the line first.  Arch rival Teal was tangling with Hermes, which did little for her progress.

Thalia had a guest crew from the Royal Navy, who need more experience on this type.

Off wind back across the loch was testing on account of the usual shifting wind of the Gareloch.  There were many gybes.  Hermes and Athene were making an impression on Teal.

Catriona began what seemed at first to be a fetch to C, off Clynder, with a comfortable lead.  Teal found a fast lane across the loch and made the best of unpredictable air near the shore to take the lead.  The fine reach to the finish was not conducive to further changes of place.

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

Tuesday 23rd August

Rain, strong tide, no wind, no race.