Category Archives: Race Reports ’18

Tue 14th Aug

Once again, wind was unkind to the Race Officer.  Shane Rankin this evening.  There was steady breeze as we milled around the starting area so that he sent us on a long windward leg to the northernmost mark on the Clynder shore.  We had barely set off when the wind began to ease and by half way we were struggling to maintain smooth flow of air over the sails.  The water around the windward mark was unrippled.  We could see the Sonars, who had started 10 minutes earlier than us, taking a long time to round it.

Catriona made a good start at the favoured shore end of the line.  She covered Dione as they sailed out into the adverse ebb tide in the loch.  Others went up the Shandon shore where there was less adverse tide but less wind.  Zephyrus was the best of these and was in the fray when she finally tacked towards the Clynder shore.

Different boats gained and lost in the patchy and changeable air.  Dione and Catriona were usually to the fore.  Dione followed the usual advice, leaving it late to tack in to the shore.  It did not help this time because ‘wind’ veered and it was possible to lay the mark earlier.  Catriona made it round first and escaped across the loch on transient currents of air.  Dione and Hermes followed but Hermes had trouble making progress across the loch and faded.

Time was getting on and it seemed we should not finish the round before the time limit.  There was about 30 minutes to go as the leader rounded F, off Shandon Church, and set off for home. With occasional patches of breeze she was able to finish with just a couple of minutes in hand.  That led to a 15 minute extension of time so that Dione and Thalia made it too.

1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Thalia.  Zephyrus, Thia, Athene and Hermes DNF.

Sun 12th Aug

It was wet and windy.  Crews for six Garelochs arrived at the Club but only four left their moorings and one of them thought better of it.  Lucy Forrester, who is without fear and prone to understatement, said it was exhilarating.

The on the water race officer struggled to find a good course with wind off the Shandon shore.  We began with a run downwind to Clynder.  Zephyrus got the best start and resisted Dione and Catriona to have the favoured inside position for the mark rounding.  Upwind to F, off Shandon Church was almost a fetch.  It needed only a short tack on port.  There was a racing mark from the Clynder shore out of position and north of F.  Zephyrus and Dione were misled by it and let Catriona into the lead.  Thenceforth, the course comprised either fetches or broad reaches so there was little scope for tactics.  It might not have made a difference because the order was established.

1 Catriona, 2 Zephyrus, 3 Dione.  Thalia DNS

RNCYC Club Regatta 2018 – Sat 11th Aug

Five Sonars and five Garelochs took part. The first start was scheduled for noon but Race officer Simon Pender, aboard David Whitham’s Evolene, could find no wind.  We waited and when breeze filled in from the south west, Simon’s team already had the course laid.

Thalia, with Simon Jackson on the helm, started best at the pin end of the line. Athene was next and battled hard with Thalia going to windward on the first leg.  Catriona had started badly, below Athene. Dione and Hermes were behind her, at the Committee Boat end where breeze was less.

Thalia led all the way round two laps. Catriona was chasing hard and had moved into second from Athene going downwind. On the windward leg to the finish, Thalia took a tack to reach the better wind which had brought the chasing pack closer.  This was associated with a shift in direction.  The new air reached Catriona as she rounded and it was now possible to lay the line from the leeward mark.  Catriona was able to sneak in.  Athene kept Dione at bay.

The course was re-set for the second race and this time, Catriona started better.  She was leading from Thalia at the first mark but paid insufficient attention when gybing onto port tack to go downwind and fouled Thalia who remained on starboard.  The penalty turn let Thalia away, constantly lightening air caused the gap to increase.  She was almost at the finishing line by the time the others had rounded the leeward mark.

By now, air was barely moving enough to affect the racing flags.  With steerage way lost, Thalia was unable to cross the finishing line.  The rest were brought up, more on currents of water than air. Catriona got close at the pin end of the line with both boats being swept to the left to the left.  There was enough air to stem the tide on port but as soon as boats tacked to finish, they were taken the wrong side of the mark. Thalia tacked first and Catriona had to pass astern. Thalia was taken the wrong side so Catriona stood on a bit, tacked onto starboard and might have made it. Thalia now on port left it too late to keep clear.  The penalty turn set her back irrevocably. Dione, meanwhile, had caught up, avoided all this and took the gun. 

Result for the regatta, 1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Thalia, 4 Athene, 5 Hermes.

 

Sun 29th Jul

(Guest report from Thalia)

A very wet day, with poor visibility.  Only Hermes and Thalia went out for the last race of the present series. Wind was a light northerly, after wild weather on Saturday. Race Officer Roger Kinns set L1, with a beat down the Shandon shore to ‘g’ then across to Clynder and a lap finish via ‘a’ and ‘z’.  Both boats headed down the line for a pin start on Starboard with Hermes ahead.  The gap narrowed so the pair were almost level near ‘g’.  But where was the mark? The two boats agreed that a yellow mooring buoy would have to serve for the day.  Hermes rounded first, but Thalia had the better of the fetch to Clynder and got an inside overlap.

The run to ‘a’ saw hardly any change in relative position, with crews deciding that wet spinnakers were not going to be much fun.  Thalia was ahead on port tack, with Hermes overlapped on the outside.  Unable initially to see the next mark in the damp gloom, Thalia tracked too far left and had to bear away as the ‘a’ mark came into view.  Uncertain whether she had lost her right to a proper course and unwilling to risk boom contact, she executed a quick double gybe to duck under Hermes’ stern and conceded mark room as a result. A stuck jib sheet cost another couple of lengths. Seeking to balance the effects of an ebb tide with better wind in the loch didn’t favour Thalia in the beat to ‘z’ and on to a second lap via the substitute ‘g’. The race seemed to be over as a contest. A generous Hermes then sailed on up the Loch towards Faslane, never found the real ‘g’, eventually came across ‘f’ and turned towards Clynder.

So who won?  Technically it was Thalia with Hermes second through her extra voyage.  Both enjoyed a refreshing sail.

Tue 24th Jul

Race Officer Carol Rowe was not helped by the fickle wind of the Gareloch.  There was breeze as we left the moorings but a grey cloud seemed to absorb any current of air around the start line. We waited and were rewarded by a zephyr.  The only feasible course was to A, off the club, and back.  A mark on the Clynder shore, which at first seemed more to windward, out of the question on account of a large, glassy area of water.  As it was, wind backed so that the trip to A required tacking.

Catriona got away well, chased closely by Dione.  The pin end of the line was favoured and there was inevitable congestion.  Teal thought to set her spinnaker early for what began as a fine reach. She was undone by boats to leeward pushing her the wrong side of the mark (and boats to windward taking her air).  At the end of the first round, she was at the back, along with Halcyone.  Both made progress in a second round.

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

The Gareloch Championship 2018 – Sat 21-22 July (aka The Gareloch Worlds!)

The premier social and sporting event of the year.  If you have a Gareloch, that is.  Racing on Saturday and Sunday morning.  Lift off Drinks Party hosted by Reay and Jean Mackay on Friday evening.  A barbecue by Barrie and Arlene Choules on Saturday evening, when those who had done well in the sailing could relive their triumphs.

The wind was kind to us, it was steady all day on Saturday and the sun shone.  All ten boats which are afloat were there.

Race officer Jean Mackay, aboard Tim Henderson’s Blue Iris, was able to send us on a variety of courses with the gist being a leg to windward up the Shandon Shore.

Catriona got away well from a square starting line in the first.  Guest crew Mark Greenhalgh had adjusted the leads of the jib sheets to good effect.  Working in unison with regular crew Lucy Forrester, they made it easy for the helm and she won by a margin.  Hermes was delighted to come home second, ahead of Dione.

The second race was over the same course and Catriona had learned how to start.  She did not have it all her own way, though.  Dione found a good route up the beat.  Tide was ebbing so that there was a balancing act between better wind but adverse tide out in the loch and a favourable back eddy but less pressure inshore.  Anyway, Catriona tried to tack on top of Dione, who got bow forward and made hay.  This was Catriona’s day, though, and she got it back on the next leg downwind.

There is a prize for the last placed boat which has competed in all the races.  Notwithstanding it is a handsome silver rowlock, there is competition to avoid it.  After two races, Athene was set to win the rowlock again.  She became determined.

After lunch, the third race of the day took in a circle of the south end of the loch, beginning again with a windward leg up the Shandon shore.  The results were much the same as before.

At the start of the fourth and final race, the wind strengthened which upset many plans.  Those who decided on a port tack flyer at the outer end of the line were obliged reach along it so as to avoid being premature starters.  Where they met the starboard tackers who had gone close into the shore so as to achieve the safer approach.  Thalia, on right of way starboard tack had the fittings pulled from both ends of her boom and was unable to continue.  She was given average points for the race.  There were other incidents where penalty turns were taken.  Catriona would have started well if her skipper had listened to his crew.  Instead he dallied and hit the mark.  Teal, just in front, was early and obliged to re-round.

After all that, Dione established a lead whilst Catriona fought back to second by the end of he round.  Jean Mackay changed the next leg of the course, giving us a long windward leg to the northern most mark on the Clynder shore.  Wind approaching the shore is often variable.  Catriona risked going in whilst Dione found a lull further out and that was that.

It would have been too much to expect that wind on Sunday could be as good as it was on Saturday.  It was lighter, it had backed to the south and there was variability.  For the first of two races, Jean sent us down the Shandon shore, to the club and back.  We finished at the club, in dying air, after three legs.  Catriona thought she had started well and had covered her main opposition.  Thalia, her boom fixed, started better, went the right way and was not to be caught.

Wind soon filled in for the second race, more from the west now, so that a good windward leg was from the club to the B mark, off Silvers.  Thalia’s tail was up and she got away well, leading the fleet up the first beat on the right side.  Zephyrus, trending left, was well placed too.  Both crossed Catriona.  Wind at B was tricky, as it often is near to the shore from which it is blowing.  Catriona was in and out efficiently, with slick spinnaker handling from Lucy and Mark.  Dione found herself rounding on a great circle route with boats inside.  That set the pattern for the remaining rounds.

Athene, with Wendy Jones and Julian Forrester crewing, was able to get ahead of Ceres and Thia in these later races and so avoided having to polish the rowlock.

Each boat has competitors that they would like to beat.  Carol Rowe’s Hermes, for example, had fun in tussles with Halcyone (when she usually inched ahead) and with Teal (when she usually didn’t).  Her second place in the first race was associated with a good start.  If she had kept that up, she would have been further up the leader board.

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

Tue 17th Jul

It was an evening of light and changeable air. Race officer Peter Proctor chose one of the shorter courses (to D, north of Clynder, and back) thinking there might be time for two rounds.

The pin end of the starting line was favoured. That led to congestion and some angst as many favoured a start on port tack at the pin whereas Teal reached along the line on starboard and caught some out. Dione and Catriona went for the shore end. Dione getting the better of it. Both soon realised the pin was favoured.

On the windward leg, Catriona and Dione covered each other, each benefiting then suffering from the lifts and headers. Further up the loch Thalia prospered and Teal suffered a little. Halcyone went a long way up before tacking for the shore. It kept her in the mix.

Approaching the mark wind was kind to Catriona so that she round at first and was away before the wind died even more on the Clynder shore. Thalia caught Dione on Starbird and Teal was back on terms.

Some had trouble with spinnaker halyards on the run which
set back their cause

1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Teal, 4 Dione, 5 Halcyone, 6 Zephyrus, 7 This, 8 Ceres

Sun 15th Jul

Halcyone, Dione and Teal all started in a line at the biased Z Mark start. Teal tacked off to clear her air and try for better wind. Dione thought to stay out of the tide down the shore to the moorings but wasn’t getting much wind. Teal, playing some lifts, emerged well on top covering Dione and Halcyone and lead in to the A Mark.

Sadly a dropped and trailing spinnaker sheet let Teal down and Dione’s slicker spinnaker launch got her past for the long run downwind up the loch. Places didn’t change after a beat to C and back to the finish at Y.

1 Dione 2 Teal 3 Thalia 4 Ceres 5 Halcyone 6 Athene

Tue 10th Jul – no race

No wind. No race.

Sun 8th Jul

The Scottish summer continues and today there was wind too.  It was blowing from the north west so that on the water Race Officer Barrie Choules was able to send us on a long windward leg to the E mark, near Rahane.

Only Teal made a good start.  She opted for the shore end of the line.  A little unfavoured by the bias but avoiding inevitable congestion at the pin.  The rest of us either arrived early and lost time in the turning back or were just late.

Dione started to windward of Catriona but just behind.  An unfavourable position out of which  she was able to climb.  Teal, meanwhile, was well to windward of the fleet and looked secure.  Variability in strength and direction of wind did her no favours.  In particular a large header towards the Clynder shore put Dione on terms.  We all looked for the best route and fortunes changed.  The only constant was that Dione sailed fast in the best of the air.  She was round the E mark first,  Catriona had to give mark room to Teal.  Zephyrus and Thalia were battling for the last of the podium places.

Offwind to Shandon Church, Catriona drew level with Teal and had the benefit of the inside position for the next mark rounding.  Wind from behind brought Zephyrus and Thalia into the mix.  After the gybe at the mark, Thalia took the shore route for the run down the loch to the end of the round.  Zephyrus tempted Teal further out with the threat of passing to windward.  Dione maintained her pace, despite the group behind disturbing her air.

There was time for a second round.  Shorter and beginning by hardening to a spinnaker reach to A, off the club.  Catriona had been obliged to luff Teal to prevent being blanketed and losing mark room.  As a result, the final approach to the mark was by the lee.  Catriona held her boom out but Teal needed to gybe.  She dropped her spinnaker which set her back.  Thalia, meanwhile, had done well in shore but could not break an overlap and so had to give mark room.  On the way to A, she could not live in disturbed air to leeward or make a pass to windward.

The next leg was to windward, this time to D, north of Clynder.  The variability in wind was the same as before and as then, Dione did not put a foot wrong.  Catriona did alright, Teal suffered.  It was all decided before the run to the finish.

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