Category Archives: Race Reports ’17

Tue 29th Aug

The last race of the summer series.  Race Officer Neil Isaacs set a course beginning with a leg to windward to D, north of Clynder.  The shore end of the starting line was favoured, Thalia started in the best place with Athene well placed.

Each boat had a decision to make.  Wind seemed better out in the loch but the adverse tide was stronger out there too.  Further to complicate things, there were holes in the wind and big changes of direction.  Hermes is always fond of the Shandon shore and stuck to it until it was clearly not working.  She tacked out but still stayed to the right.  Zoe too began on the right side.  Most of the rest did their best with the tide and capricious wind in the middle.  Dione looking strong.  A substantial backing and steadying of wind favoured those nearer the Clynder shore.  Catriona got the best of it.  Dione was second but fell back a couple of places after penalty turns arising from a run in with Zoe.  She got the place back from Thalia downwind.

There was a reach to the finish, a point of sailing on which overtaking is unlikely.  Dione was not able to get back at Zoe.

1 Catriona, 2 Zoe, 3 Dione, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes, 6 Thia, 7 Halcyone, 8 Athene, 9 Zephyrus, 10 Ceres.

Sun 27th Aug

Guest report from Hermes

On-the-water Race Officer Peter Proctor selected an upwind downwind course to Silvers with the variant of a start line between the Y and Z buoys  giving a better start line (Editor: a Boinard Start after its inventor?). As it was a long start line helms could select a position clear of other boats. The promised fair wind failed to materialise and in the flukey winds eddies were cruel. Thalia eventually took a course across the loch which took her up the loch and away from the windward mark but benefited on tacking to arrive first at the mark. Teal had suffered in a hole at the start but eventually started and tacked and tacked as winds shifted. Thia and Ceres had appeared at the start to be making good progress but on tacking across the loch found themselves behind the others. Hermes had found a hole on the start line but recovered sooner than Teal.

Spinnakers were flown on the return with Thalia and Hermes reaching the down wind course together. Thalia having had an overlap Hermes had warning to give her mark room  but was rounding the mark to find Thalia tacking across her bows. It did not pay and on striking the mark Thalia then had to pay the penalty which not only let Hermes pass but also Teal.

Thereafter the next round saw the combatants stretched out across the loch and while Teal attempted to make inroads on Hermes’ lead the order did not change (although Ceres, having had enough of the changeable winds, retired at B).

1 Hermes, 2 Teal, 3 Thalia, 4 Thia, DNF Ceres.

Crew’s Race – Thu 24th Aug

Hermes, Thia and Ceres turned out on a damp and misty evening for the Crew’s Race with a reasonable breeze from the Southwest.  After a little confusion as to what course to sail in the low light L6 was selected and all boats got away well.  Hermes kept to the Shandon shore whilst the other two set off across the loch.  Neither course conferred any advantage as all three arrive at the B mark together with Thia at the front.  There was an enjoyable spinnaker run to G, which was not easy to spot in the gloom, with all boats close together; Thia holding her lead and Hermes just ahead of Ceres.
Again on the beat to C Hermes favoured the Shandon shore with Thia and Ceres heading across the loch arriving at the mark in the same order.  On the broad reach home Hermes was gaining on Thia and the latter was pleased the course was not a hundred meters longer!
All three crews were thankful that neither the promised downpour or the 24 knot gusts appeared.

1 Thia, 2 Hermes, 3 Ceres

Tue 22nd Aug

Race Officer Roger Kinns selected a course beginning with a fetch to A, off the club, then downwind to Clynder and a true windward leg back.

The starting line was unavoidably skewed, with the shore end to windward of the pin.  Normally, the shore end would be the place to start but A was easy to fetch from the pin.  Teal took advantage of this.  Catriona started further inshore and was soon on top of Teal but unable to break the overlap.  Teal, therefore, had mark room at A and was in pole position for the run to C, at Clynder.  It was sufficiently windy for no one to set a spinnaker.  The two protagonists began to take each other high, but thought not to gift the lead to Thalia and desisted.  Dione took a place from Thia by virtue of having mark room.
Upwind some pointed higher than others in the strong wind, which was near to the limit of what is comfortable for Garelochs.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Dione, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes, 6 Thia, 7 Ceres.

RNCYC Club Regatta – Sun 20th Aug

The forecast looked ominously light but at least with racing held on the East Patch if there was any wind we would get the best of it. If we could get there. The tide was also against and in light air getting through the Rhu narrows would be a challenge. As it was the organisers had plenty of capacity for towing between the committee boats and ribs on hand and so out we all headed. And a good turn out it was, with many Sonars – competing for the Scottish Sonar Champs as well as the club cup – and the Pipers also represented. The Gareloch class was a little depleted since three helms (Athene, Catriona and Dione) were all on a Sonar practicing ahead of a trip to Seawanhaka in the US. That left Hermes, Teal, Thalia and Zoe competing.

The race committee, led by Race Office (RO) Simon Pender, set up the course between west Helensburgh and the peninsula with the windward mark somewhere approaching the outer bounds of Culwatty Bay (i.e. between Rosneath and Castle Points). The wind – despite the forecast and the morning’s windless clag – perked up just on time and, while there were the odd changes of direction (W to SW and back) and patchy gustiness, it largely held without ever completely dying and gave us a grand afternoon racing.

In the first race the line was shortish with perhaps a slight pin bias (an RO’s favourite). Teal led Zoe in, and also shut the door on Thalia who was forced to tack away from the committee boat and round behind from which she never quite recovered. Teal and Zoe both hit the line well with Hermes near the committee boat. Teal managed to climb enough on Zoe to be able to tack and head back right to cover Hermes who always likes to try and escape to a corner. Thalia also managed to head right and got past Zoe. The race continued with out much change of places and was shortened after two rounds – albeit with some confusion over the use of the Leeward mark (separate and to windward of the starting line) and a rib – correctly flying the class and S flags – as the finish line. Hermes didn’t spot the shorten course and dropped her spinnaker early to round but still just finished ahead of Thalia.

Race 1 – 1 Teal, 2 Hermes, 3 Thalia, 4 Zoe**

On the second race. The wind had swung SW and start line was very pin biased. Teal and Thalia led in and started well but Thalia had Teal pinned until they hit the port layline and she could not cover Hermes and Zoe who got away to the right. A worry in patchy wind. When the boats met again, Teal was still leading but Hermes and Zoe got in front of Thalia. Back upwind on the second leg Teal was covering Hermes and Zoe. They went left and Teal covered in a good position (despite thinking the wind looked better right). When they went back right, however, Teal relaxed too much and also, thinking to avoid the blanket cover of a fleet of running Sonars, did not immediately cover. A school-boy error. Thalia had managed to sail all the way up the right and was now laughing as she went from last to first – with Zoe and Hermes following up – while Teal dropped from a good lead in to last place. Her crew did a good job keeping her skipper concentrating rather than thinking about his lapse.

Downwind Teal kept left and immediately attacked Hermes to try and get on her wind. Up front however Thalia, perhaps revelling too much in schadenfreude, inexplicably failed to keep the Leeward mark to port and, since the course was shortened and it was the finish line, failed to finish. From first back to last again. Zoe therefore took the win. Further back Teal did manage to overtake Hermes. Thalia eventually came back and rectified her mistake to record a finish.

Race 2 – 1 Zoe, 2 Teal, 3 Hermes, 4 Thalia

For the final race the wind had veered back to a more westerly direction and the line was square. Teal had done the maths (cumulative points: Teal 3, Zoe 5 (with a 1st), Hermes 5, Thalia 7) and knew that Zoe was the boat to cover. From left to right, Hermes, Thalia then Teal. Teal followed in last and controlled the others as windward boat. This done, the others could only tack and then duck her, and she promptly tacked to cover Zoe. Thalia too tacked right to make the shepherding job easier for Teal. Hermes – on real form and with fighting spirit – again found some good wind on the left side and came in on the port layline ahead of the rest. Offwind Teal managed to play the wind and gybes to get left and inside and was then ahead. After the Leeward mark Zoe seemed to have a fankle and Thalia got past. Teal was covering and she didn’t repeat her covering errors and with Hermes following, then Thalia and then Zoe the places did not change further on the 3rd and final leg.

Race 3 – 1 Teal, 2 Hermes, 3 Thalia, 4 Zoe

OVERALL RESULTS  1 Teal (4 pts), 2 Hermes (7), 3 Zoe (9), 4 Thalia (10)

Finally, many thanks to all those who organised and helped, but especially Carolyn Normand as the lead organiser from the Sailing Committee and RO Simon Pender.

**(1st race counting towards Sunday series: 1 Teal, 2 Hermes, 3 Thalia, 4 Zoe)

Tue 15th Aug

Sun and wind as we left the moorings.  Wind reduced as the evening went on.

The course began with a long windward leg to D, north of Clynder.  With the starting line only slightly biassed to the shore end, several boats got good starts.  Most of the fleet ventured out into the loch (and into stronger adverse tide) in search of better air.  Catriona was obliged to tack back along the Shandon shore to avoid a moored boat.  She opted to try her chances there, Halcyone and Thia kept her company

It became clear the Shandon shore was not a winner.  Thalia was leading the fleet up the middle of the loch.  When those who had tried the shore ventured out, they were crossed by most of the others.  Wind towards the D mark became very variable and places changed. Catriona got the best of it and was round first.  Downwind back across the loch Dione established herself in second with Teal, Thalia and Zephyrus in contention.  Dione allowed her main sheet to brush the gybe mark.  Her penalty turn dropped her three places.  With the spinnaker back up, she recovered two of them.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Dione, 4 Thalia, 5 Zephyrus, 6 Thia, 7 Halcyone, 8 Athene, 9 Ceres.

Sun 13th Aug

A wonderful summer afternoon.  There was enough wind.  It would be churlish to complain about its variability.

Recent recruit to the Gareloch Class, Julian Forrester, brought along his daughter, Lucy.  They left the moorings intending to sail on Dione but Catriona, arriving late as usual, had no crew and so Lucy changed boats.

On the water Race Officer Peter Proctor selected a course zig zagging across the loch and beginning with a leg to windward to B, off Silvers.  Catriona got the best start with the best of the wind and was comfortably leading for the start of the downwind leg to Shandon.  So as to even things up, wind lightened and filled in from behind, which brought up the fleet.  Thalia made ground in a streak of good air in the middle of the loch.  

For the second windward leg to Clynder, the fleet separated.  Hermes has often done well by sticking to the Shandon shore when going to windward up the loch.  She did the same in the opposite direction and was able to cross ahead of the fleet by a large margin.  She slowed in light and changeable air on the Clynder shore but the large gap gave her a cushion.  The others changed places as they crossed tacks trying to avoid the holes in the wind.  Halcyone the best of the rest at one point.  Teal and Thalia, doing battle, found one of the holes.

On the final approach to the C mark, Halcyone, Teal and Thalia were close together with rules about port and starboard tacks and mark room coming into play.  The upshot was that none made an especially quick rounding.  

Lucy (her first time on a Gareloch), who had helmed Catriona on the downwind legs, was disappointed not to win.  She beat her father which was the main thing.

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

The Gareloch Worlds 2017 (Sat 22 – Sun 23 July)

A belated view from our resident German correspondent.

Winning a race is not to be sneezed at, winning a series is good fun, as is winning the passage race but there is little that stands quite up to the Gareloch Worlds. Hulls get scrubbed, gear gets checked, it is not rare to get mercenary crew for the event, indeed in the past whole boats have been lend out to able crew to participate in the prestigious event. Rumour has it that sails get ironed the night before.

While the Worlds usually start on a high with an often exquisite cocktail party there was little to rival this year’s Friday entertainment with Dione joining the fleet after a tremendously successful restoration by Tim Henderson and Bill McLaren supported by a host of volunteers. The evening saw Dione’s proud owner formally taking her over celebrated by a large crowd of guests in Rhu Marina.

Saturday it was back to business: The Gareloch is blessed with a glorious wind – that is on average. Sometimes there is none and on times it blows. Saturday greeted with one of the blustery settings. Crews would be tested and helms tired. Race Officer Jean McKay on Blue Iris sent the fleet racing across the Loch. The Gareloch Worlds started much according to expectations. Catriona seemed to reign supreme. A first in the first race followed by a first in the second race seemed to set the tone for the Worlds 2017. Teal cemented a solid second with a two and a two followed by Zoe who took third in the first race but had to settle for fourth behind Zephyrus in the second race. The class is blessed in that it is competitive all through the fleet. Hermes and Ceres ended the first two races on equal points, Thalia had started strong and lost out to turns inflicted through a protest in the second race. Athene and Thia closely battled for points. Dione ably sailed by her restorers proved to be a fine addition to the fleet and then withdrew. It would not have done to overtax her fine gear in front of her new owner’s eyes.

The Gareloch Worlds are about much more than sailing skills. Tensions showed and nerves frayed. The races after the lunch break saw Zoe in supreme form taking a first and a first out of two races. Teal kept consistent form adding another two and the three to her tally. Catriona added a third and a fourth with however a start-line incident looming over her, Zephyrus kept close contact to the leading trio with a fourth and a second place.  Thalia made ground good on her unfortunate second race and crept up through the ranks with a fifth and a fourth place. Hermes matched Teal’s performance in showing excellent consistency cementing her place in the middle. Athene improving from race to race kept pressure on Thia while Ceres crew struggled with unfamiliar gear.

Showing the competitiveness and skill present in the class the evening saw the three leading boats separated by the small print in the rules rather than points. On equal points Zoe was leading on her two firsts in the third and fourth race over Catriona having taken firsts in the first two races with Teal in third on equal points. Zephyrus kept close with a chance. The mid field was closely contested between Thalia and Hermes with Athene, Thia and Ceres sailing the rear guard.

The traditional Saturday evening barbeque this time at the Proctor’s provided a feast for tired sailors and excited onlooker alike.

The Gareloch is blessed with fine average winds. Having expended all the allowance already on Saturday there were glassy patches on Sunday. Crews rigged for light running taking out triple and double purchases and swapped to light lines. Race officer Jean McKay did her best to search for a sensible course and after a bit of waiting a Zephyr of wind allowed for a race to start off the mooring towards the G mark. The Gareloch in light winds can be as much exhilarating as it can be cruel. Hermes took an excellent line all along the Shandon shore with the rest of the fleet searching for wind more or less far out into the Loch. Boots seemed to prosper for minutes only to fall back when the wind failed them. Progress was slow. Supreme skills in light wind sailing allowed Catriona to creep through the fleet for a first. Hermes gained a well earned second with Teal taking third claiming that one important point from Zoe coming in fourth place. Closing an excellent campaign Zephyrus took fifth to take an overall fourth. Fighting the rear action Thia managed to claw back points on Athene.

The Gareloch Worlds are as much about sailing well as they are about sailing well under pressure. Bowing out to a misjudgement Catriona retired from the third race. That left Teal taking the crown on 12 points, closely chased by Zoe on 13 with Catriona taking third with 15. Zephyrus on fourth with 19 and Hermes having claimed fifth with her great final race for a total of 25. Thalia followed on 28, Ceres on 36, Thia on 38 and Athene on 39.

1 Teal (12 points), 2 Zoe (13), 3 Catriona (15), 4 Zephyrus (19), 5 Hermes (25), 6 Thalia (28), 7 Ceres (36), 8 Thia (38), 9 Athene (39)

Tue 8th Aug

(Guest report from Teal since Charles Darley (of Catriona), joined by our favourite airline pilot Thad Burr of United Airlines who sometimes drops in while on a stop-over in Glasgow, was practising on a Sonar ahead of a visit to the US)

Wind was from the North and Race Office and Class Convenor Peter Proctor set an excellent course from Z up the Shandon shore to G and then back to A off the club moorings before a finish back at Z. The line was biased, with the pin/port end favoured, and could just be laid on starboard. Teal led in early ahead of Halcyone and Thalia. She judged it just right to close out Diona and Hermes who had elected to try and hit the pin on port (perhaps thinking that others would be late and struggle to hit it on time?).

Established after the start, Teal was leading Halcyone, with Dione behind but to windward having had to duck the leading boats on the line. The wind was lifting and lightening however and Teal was looking back nervously at Dione’s angle and speed. Messrs Henderson and McLaren appeared to have done a very good job of restoration indeed! Teal decided to tack and cross Dione to cover her. To no avail as, perhaps helped by the light air penalising the tacks, Dione just glided underneath and clear in front! Dione rounded the G mark a good few boat-lengths in front of Teal with the others a reasonable distance back led by Halcyone.

Spinnakers up and Teal started to hunt down Dione and some luffing ensued. It didn’t achieve that much and Teal was perhaps fortunate that Dione’s new crew struggled with the drop and did not press their inside overlap at the A mark, allowing Teal around first. Teal covered Dione and in better wind she was held at bay. Dione is going to be a contender.

Further back Halcyone continued on the pace despite not having flown a spinnaker and was not far behind. And Thalia, despite having rounded ahead, did not cover Ceres and headed too far inshore. Ceres made the most of the better wind and took fourth.

1 Teal, 2 Dione, 3 Halycone, 4 Ceres, 5 Thalia, 6 Thia

Sun 6th Aug

It rained.  That might have put some people off but there was good wind and so a good race.

On the water Race Officer Roger Kinns was unable to set a course beginning with a leg to windward.  We set off for A, off the club.   It looked like a fetch to begin with but wind veering led to tacking near the mark.  Teal suffered blanketing at the start so that Catriona got away first.  These two were well clear of the rest, where there was argy bargy regarding opposite tacks and room at the mark.

Downwind, to D, north of Clynder, Dione was on the pace.  Owner Barrie Choules had Julian Forrester as crew.  The last time he was on a Gareloch was Zephyrus in the 1970s.  They damaged their chances by rounding the wrong mark before noticing where the others were going.

There was time for a second round.  The early veering of the wind had set in so that the first leg of the round was now truly to windward.  Catriona, not for the first time, failed to cover and then fluffed a tack when her jib sheets got caught.  Teal was first to A but two were soon side by side on the downwind leg.  Catriona with the favoured inside position for the forthcoming mark rounding.  In the shifting wind of the Clynder shore, it was suddenly a little too fine for spinnakers.  Teal dropped hers early thinking to make a better rounding.  Wind came back behind though.
Dione had been concentrating and had recovered her third place.  Thalia’s crew came into the bar complaining of things going wrong, including broken gear. They produced a block which Julian might have recognised had he sailed on Thalia all those years ago.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Dione, 4 Athene, 5 Hermes, 6 Thalia.