Category Archives: Race Reports ’18

Sun 16th Sep

Gusty again as we made our way out to the boats.  The effect is heightened with sails flapping on the mooring.  That put off crews on Luna and Zephyrus, they missed a good race with wind moderating a little.  There were five of us at the start.  Iain MacGillivray sent us on the same course as the previous Sunday.  Again zig zagging across the loch and giving two true windward legs.

Unusually, the starting line was just about perpendicular to the wind.  Catriona thought she had started well but Teal was closer to the shore and found better air on the way across the loch.  When Catriona tired of the headers and tacked, she passed behind Teal.  Dione got in front of Halcyone and cemented her third place.

Once again, approaching the Clynder shore was trying.  Catriona found the better air and took the lead.

There was time for a second, shorter round.  A windward leg back across the loch then downwind on the Clynder shore to the southern most mark off Silvers.  At least it began downwind.  Teal’s crew wondered what on earth Catriona could be doing as she suddenly found herself head to wind with no change of course.  Teal was encouraged for a moment but then came to the same contrary air.

Thia and Halcyone, meanwhile, were battling to avoid fifth place.  Thia had boat speed, it is thought Halcyone had unwanted growth below the water line.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Dione, 4 Thia, 5 Halcyone.

Tue 11th Sep

It was a windy evening, at least to start with.  A couple of crews went out to rig but thought better of it.  That left Teal, Hermes and Catriona.  Some of the others cannot make the earlier start in the September series, necessary on account of fading light.

On the water Race officer Iain MacGillivray was able to choose a course zig zagging across the loch and giving two true windward legs.  As ever with wind blowing from the Clynder shore, it was fluky on the approaches to the two windward marks.  Tacking on the headers but not on those transient, heading gusts which often precede a lift was key.  And a matter of some luck.  Wind was kind to Catriona.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Hermes.

Sun 9th Sep (corrected results)

Edit – corrected results (Hermes not Thalia!)

Wind was gusting strongly enough to discourage some.  Thia and Ceres went out to rig but did not leave their moorings.

On the water Race Officer Iain MacGillivray was able to set a course zig zagging across the loch, giving two true windward legs and taking us to the northern most mark on the Clynder shore.

Catriona started reasonably well at the favoured shore end of the line.  Her tack to cross the line was not as snappy as it should have been so that she was only just in front of Dione.  On the way across the loch, Dione had better speed and pulled ahead.  Teal, a few boat lengths back, in third place.

Wind blowing from the shore is often variable.  Dione failed to tack on a big header which set her back a couple of places.  Teal ventured in shore and took the lead at the first windward mark.  When Dione tried the same, she had a torrid time of it.

Downwind to the Shandon side of the loch no places changed and Teal increased her lead.  She hardened up at the mark.  Catriona, thinking to do something different, tacked and saw the gap increase dramatically.  She concentrated on covering Dione.

The final leg to the finish had the wind on the beam.  In the gusting conditions, spinnakers led to a high risk of broaching.  Both Teal and Catriona succumbed.  In the second of her broaches, Catriona’s helm lost control, the boat tacked and dropped him into the water.  It is said total immersion is the quickest way to learn.  Anyway, he was recovered but with all the messing about Dione moved into second place.

1 Teal, 2 Dione, 3 Catriona, 4 Hermes.

Tue 4th Sep – no race

No wind*. No race.

*No wind until we finally gave up and, as Teal’s crew literally picked up the mooring, the wind filled in.

Sun 2nd Sep

There was a good strength of wind and it was possible to set a course which incorporated two true windward legs.  Its direction, however, was more than a little changeable.  Especially near to the Clynder shore.

Catriona got away well on the first windward leg to B, off Silvers.  Those who had sought to stay out of the flood tide and benefit from a back eddy on the Shandon shore suffered from a lighter wind.  Teal soon made her way over and from being behind, she found a streak of very good but local wind and rounded the mark first.  Her lead increased as Catriona was badly headed on the approach and had to make a couple of tacks.  Wind on the run to F, off Shandon Church, brought the two leaders close again,  The chasing group had a torrid time getting to B, by the time they rounded, they could not read the leader’s sail numbers.

Catriona got around the mark smartly, tacked and set off down the shore on the windward leg to C, off Clynder.  Teal covered and was to windward but a little behind.  In a series of headers, Catriona was on the look out for a chance to tack and cross so as to make her way to C.  That opportunity passes when an untidy spinnaker sheet caught a mooring and brought her to a standstill.  It seemed the race was over but such was the nature of the wind that Catrtiona found a line of pressure which eluded Teal and she looked comfortable.  Until the tables turned again.  Teal tacked to cover and found herself turning through 180 degrees.  Getting to C was trying.  Some of the wind visible on the water was blowing straight downwards.  Sails and the racing flag told different stories.  Teal was round first and had her spinnaker drawing strongly whilst Catriona sat with sails flapping.  The order changed again on the approach to the finish, Catriona passing to windward on localised air.  A moored boat was in the way of the favoured course.  Catriona went to windward of it, which should have been better but wasn’t.  Teal passed to leeward and took the finish by a whisker.

The pack, meanwhile, had an even less pleasant time at C.  Many of them arrived together.  Thia came out on top.  She had been strong throughout the race and Hermes, chasing hard, was able only to achieve fickle leads.  Dione got stuck to leeward of others at the start and never recovered.

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

Tue 28th Aug

Race Officer Alan Yendell, conscious of lack of light and the risk of a drop in wind, set one of the shorter courses.  A true windward leg to B, off Silvers, and back.  As it was, there was time for two rounds.

The pin end of the line was the only place to start and Teal got that spot.  A gaggle of boats to leeward or behind followed her down the Shandon Shore.  Catriona, who had been trapped below Zephyrus, and Athene tacked out into the loch early and prospered.  Zephyrus soon came to join them.  Zephyrus was ahead on the approach to the windward mark but Catriona had an inside overlap and rounded first.

Downwind, these two indulged in a little match racing so that Teal, who had not been far behind and was slick with her spinnaker, took the lead.

Back in the fleet, Thalia, Athene and Thia approached the leeward mark close together, Athene with mark room.  An injudicious gybe onto port tack by Thalia resulted in a foul on Athene.  Thalia was set back by the penalty turns.  Soon after, Athene suffered a gear failure and so did not capitalise.  Hermes had watched with interest from behind, avoided the stramash and gained three places.

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

Sun 26th Aug

Wind was blowing from the Shandon Shore so that our course began with a fetch to A, off the club.  Thence downwind to D north of Clynder in preparation for a windward leg home.

Catriona fancied she had made a good start at the favoured shore end of the line and was comfortably leading at the A mark.  As she was about to hoist a spinnaker she was hailed by Hermes, who was coming to the end of the first leg, to say that she had started prematurely.  Hermes had been at the pin end of the line before the start and had a race officer’s view.  It was an awfully long way back to start correctly.  From then on, the order was set.  Hermes did not set a spinnaker on her first round and so made no impression of the leading group, where Dione was under no pressure.

1 Dione, 2 Thalia, 3 Thia, 4 Hermes, 5 Catriona.

Sun 19th Aug

There had been no wind all day.  International Judge Nigel Vick was at the club as chief umpire for the event in the British Keelboat League and had been whiling away the time but was enthused by the thought of a race in a Gareloch.  Julian Forrester was short of crew so they sailed together on Luna.

To begin with, it looked as if we should be lucky to get a race.  We ghosted to the starting area and on the water Race Officer Barrie Choules set a short course up and down the Shandon shore.  Thia made by far the best start and set of in the zephyr which seemed to cling to the shore.  Catriona caught up and tried to pass to windward, which was a mistake.  During the penalty turns, Luna caught up and established a good lead.  Thalia, meanwhile, had ventured further into the loch and was brought up on a new streak of pressure.  She ignored Dione, who had gone further out still and could be heard approaching at speed.  Catriona thought to tack out and caught enough of the new air to pass first Thia, then Thalia, who was irritated by Dione.

At the mark, Luna approached from the shore on right of way starboard tack but she had not benefitted from the new breeze.  Dione and Catriona approached with enough boatspeed to sneak round in front of Luna, further robbing her of air.

The next leg was now a fine reach, such were the curiosities of Gareloch air.  Little changed.  We gybed around the A mark, off the club, and set off on another reach to the end of the round.  Dione crossed the line within an hour of the start, so that there was a second round.  Wind now filling in.  In the tacking duel up the shore, Dione did not appreciate the changing direction of wind and overstood, letting Catriona into the lead.  Back down the loch, it was now just possible to carry a spinnaker which Dione did best.  Thalia moved into third place, Luna and Thia did not set their kites.

1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Thalia, 4 Luna, 5 Thia.

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