Category Archives: Race Reports ’19

Sun 14th July

The Boinard starting line (between the two pins of the fixed starting lines) has been useful for the past few Sunday races.  Today, it could not have been more square to the wind if it had been laid specially.  On the water Race Officer Iain MacGillivray selected a course beginning with a windward leg to B, off Silvers.  Notwithstanding the true line, there was competition for the starboard end. It was up tide, which might have been a slight advantage.  Catriona squeezed out Dione.  Teal started well a little way down the line.  Hermes had the port end to herself.

Dione and Hermes went across to the Clynder shore early.  Catriona, falling down on Teal, tacked to cover Dione.  Hermes and Catriona pulled away, The rest looked for wind other than on the Clynder shore and were not in luck.

Despite being slow with her spinnaker, downwind to Shandon, Hermes kept her second place.  She kept it on the windward leg to C, at the north end of Clynder and she kept it back to the starting area.

Catriona crossed the line 2 1/2 minutes before an hour had elapsed so that there was a second, shorter round.  Teal, trying very hard, still could not get to Hermes.  On account of the chronically tardy spinnaker work on Hermes, Teal was in contention for second by the end of the final leg.  There was a stooshie at the finishing line, although no protest.

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

Tue 9th July

Race Officer Linda Pender sent us across the loch to B, off Silvers, and back.  There was time for two rounds.  The pin end of the starting line was the place to be so that there was inevitable crowding.  Halcyone was there a little early and obliged to bear away down the line.  Catriona was a little late, having avoided the possibility of being squeezed out by Athene and Luna.  Hermes would have started well, but for right of way boats below her.  She bailed out and then fell foul of Teal as she sailed back on port tack to rejoin the queue.
Catriona was able to sail over the top of Halcyone as the two proceeded down the Shandon shore.  Teal had gone across the loch early and seemed at first to be stuck in light air.  She got to a good breeze on the Clynder shore and took the lead from Catriona and Halcyone.  Hermes’ luck was out, she was on the wrong end of a port/starboard with Thia as they approached the windward mark.
Teal kept her lead downwind and began the return to the windward mark in first place. She was to windward of Catriona as the two went down the Shandon shore.  Catriona determined not to tack until Teal did so as to avoid being blanketed.  When they were both overstanding, Catriona took the plunge and was able to get clear air on the new tack.  She worked to windward and was able to drop Teal into disturbed air, giving her a significant lead at the mark.  Downwind her spinnaker set was less than efficient (crew Lucy Forrester is away) so that Teal drew level.  It was not enough.
Hermes, meanwhile, was swapping places with Luna.  She was in front when it mattered.  Athene bemoaned a tactical error which put here in the weakest of the Gareloch’s air.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Halcyone, 4 Thia, 5 Hermes, 6 Luna, 7 Athene

Sun 7th July

Ceres joined us for the first time this year, we now have 10 Garelochs afloat.  The steady air of Saturday was gone at the start of Sunday afternoon’s race.  On the Water Race office Barrie Choules, aboard Halcyone, set a course with a true windward leg to B, off Silvers, and back.  He selected a Boinard start (the line between the two buoys which mark the outer ends of the two fixed starting lines).  All this was good but his difficulty was a visible lack of wind on the Clynder shore.  As it turned out, wind filled in after some initial indecision about direction.  Catriona and Halcyone went down the Shandon shore and got the best of the back eddy associated with a flood tide.  The rest set off across the loch and suffered.  There was time for two more rounds.  Wind by now had veered so that both legs were fetches.

Catriona’s and Halcyone’s respective positions were never challenged.  Hermes and Thia battled each other and swapped places.  A late charge from Luna was not enough to pass Ceres.

1 Catriona, 2 Halcyone, 3 Hermes, 4 This, 5 Ceres, 6 Luna.

Mid-Summer Passage Race – Sat 6th July

The Gareloch Class midsummer passage race was this year to Gourock for lunch.  Whilst not as adventurous as some previous events, a remarkably good race.  The forecast had been for very light wind but it was steady all the way to the Royal Gourock Yacht Club and for our sail back in the afternoon.

We were fortunate to have John Hammond’s Clearwater as start boat and Jamie Grant’s Kelana to finish us.  Race Officer Reay Mackay set up a starting line just south of Rhu Narrows so as to avoid shallow water.  It was low tide.  Dione missed all but the one minute time signal and made by far the best start.  Teal was there at the right time too, Catriona notably not.

Dione achieved the best compromise between being close to the Rosneath shore where adverse tide was less and further out where wind was better.  Teal, in particular, ventured too far into Rosneath bay and lost advantage.  Dione and Catriona swapped the lead.  At the first rounding mark, the light blue boat was in front and she was able to keep Dione behind on the crucial windward leg.  Halcyone and Teal had a similar battle.  The separated on the windward leg.  Halcyone was leading as the came together at the second mark.

There were no changes of order on the reach to the finish.

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

Tue 2nd July

Race Officer Neill Ross initially chose a course beginning with a windward leg across the loch.  He changed it, on account of the wind backing, to a course with an S prefix, denoting short and intended for light air.  Wind was strong so there was disappointment until we looked at the course card to see it was up and down the Shandon shore (right for the wind) and not particularly short.  Bias as usual on the fixed starting line with the pin favoured.  Thalia took pole position.

Catriona and Halcyone set off across the loch.  Teal and Thalia tried their hand inshore.  Inshore did not pay.  The order was established by the windward mark.  Halcyone could not catch Catriona, not Teal Halcyone, not Thalia Teal.  The three leaders came close on the first leg downwind when wind strengthening from behind made the first boat nervous.

It was textbook windward/leeward.  Perhaps the only thing lacking was a need to gybe the spinnaker downwind.  A good course with time for three rounds.

1 Catriona, 2 Halcyone, 3 Teal, 4 Thalia, 5 Thia, Hermes DNF.

Sun 30th June

Not encouraging for the cruising sailor as we made our way out.  It was gusty as a squall of rain passed down the Gareloch.  The sky cleared by the time of the start.  The gusts remained strong.

On the water Race Officer Iain MacGillivray (sailing as crew on Dione) started us with an upwind leg to D, on the Clynder shore, thence across to Shandon (G) and back.  The fixed starting line, as almost always happens, was biassed.  The pin end favoured this time.  There was a choice between being early or being at the back.  Dione and Halcyone got the best of it.

Dione and Catriona covered each other across the loch whilst Hermes and Thalia trended up the Shandon shore.  Halcyone went more up the middle.  For a while, it seemed Thalia and Halcyone were way out in front.  Large headers and lulls approaching the mark caused them to lose advantage.  Wind especially cruel to Thalia, she rounded fourth.

Readers of previous reports will know of a continuing debacle regarding the sighting of racing marks.  Dione (having chosen the course) headed for F, further north, rather than G.  Halcyone followed, Thalia had her suspicions, Catriona saw the error but delayed telegraphing it until she was in front.

Halcyone and Thalia battled each other near the shore, on the way back to the starting area.  It did them no good.

There was time for a second round which had a long windward leg from A, off the club, back to D.  Catriona began comfortably in front.  The three large men on the windward rail of Dione kept her flat and powered up.  Lucy Forrester and Sophie Hutchison, on Catriona, are rather lighter.  Dione, as happened on the first round, climbed away.

A run downwind to the finish from D.  The strong gusts and changes of direction (especially near the Clynder shore) discouraged the setting of spinnakers.  As the wind evened out, Catriona set hers.  With spectacular rocking and rolling she caught up to Dione for a photo finish.  Unfortunately no one on the shore to judge it. (Editor – so marked as a rare 2= finish!)

2= Dione, 2= Catriona, 3 Thalia, 4 Halcyone, Hermes DNF

Cadets’ Race – Thu 20th July

This was a wonderful close race of three boats, a tribute to the enthusiasm and skill of the four mustard keen cadets, Lucy Forrester (Catriona), James McPherson (Thalia) and Logan Brown, with Noah Watson as part of his crew (Thia).  Thalia was over first and with a quite strong wind coming down the loch there were challenges in deciding what the optimum course to reach the first mark on the Clynder shore would be.  Thia was second over the line and having kept further out in the loch than Thalia was first at the mark.  On the next leg, the wind was moderating and shifting back and forth on what began as a reach and eventually became a run across the loch.  The rule being no spinnakers, adult crew members, endowed with differing arm lengths goose winged jibs, sometimes successfully.   The final leg down the Shandon shore presented a tactical question.  Thalia kept out to get what looked at the start of the leg like a better wind.  She managed to hold her lead at the line, though her wind had lessened. Thia kept out but not so far.  Catriona, who was third round went down the shore.  This proved an effective choice, as the wind was kind for most of the way, and so she could benefit from the shorter distance.  Having been in front for a while on the leg she made it to second over the line, with Thia snarling at her stern, barely a boat length away.

Everyone went into the Club house for a celebration of what had been universally experienced as a good evening.  Cadets received a something in thanks for their wonderful effort.

Research has revealed that the last time a report of a Cadets Race was made was six years ago.  The cadets this time have asked we do not let it lapse again and expressed their intention to be back with more. 

As that 2013 report states, “the trophy for first is a perfectly attractive silver cup.  For second is the magnificent bronze Simpson Elephant”.

1 James McPherson (Thalia), 2 Lucy Forrester (Catriona) 3 Logan Brown (Thia).

Kiel Klassische Woche (Kiel Classic Week) – 14-22 June 2019

(Report from Shane Rankin – Halcyone)

At the 2018 autumn FKY meeting at Lake Starnberg the Garelochs were invited to come to the 2019 Kiel Klassiche Week. Eventually after much toing and froing only Charles Darley and Shane Rankin attended. Charles sailed with Wulf Fiedler on Van Hout a 1963 8m cruiser and Shane sailed with Wilfred Horns on his 1949 11m Piraya.

Klassiche Week is a major event which happens every four years. The 2019 event marked 20 years since the first. It dovetails neatly with the much longer established and even bigger Kiel Sailing week; as Klassiche Week ends, Kiel Week begins.

Around 160 boats took part from the 12 metre Anita and the 23m long Germania VI to Hansa Jolle pocket cruisers and even a 5m open dinghy. Although the big glamourous yachts, the 8, 6, 5.5 metres, and the Skerry cruisers first catch your attention, most of boats are family cruisers, dinghy cruisers, Knarr boats, Dragons, all much loved and cared for.

The week starts with an overnight race to Sønderborg on the Danish island of Als from Kiel, Feman, Flensburgh and Svendborg. Starting at 2130 on Friday from Kiel, Piraya crossed the finish line in Alssund just before mid-day Saturday.

Through the night the wind was light and fickle, dying away for a time, returning about 0300. By dawn there was a large fleet stretching north around the island into Alssund. The wind followed us round into the sound coming abeam eventually, giving us a close reach to the finish. We couldn’t tell who was in which class but there was always someone nearby to race; it made for an interesting finish.

Priaya finished shortly after Mingary, a Mylne ketch, and chummed her and others down the narrow sound to the lifting bridge into Sonderberg harbour. Later that day Charles strode down to the harbour from his train wearing his characteristic white- topped hat, ready to race.

Sunday was racing around buoys off Sonderberg in nine classes in a moderate breeze that died away. The pattern for the week began – race to a picturesque port, next day race off that port, move on, all the way back to Kiel. Gather the boats at the quayside each day and turn it into a spectacle. Eat and drink together, enjoy several varieties of jazz and discuss the day. Every other day there was a prize giving, and a thank you to local officials for hosting and helping us. The occasional novelty event was thrown in – the Arnis Soup tour of 10 restaurants each offering different soups for €3 in Kappelin was a bit of fun as we were led round the town by an Oompah band

Not only was it special to be part of the spectacle of the boats milling about to race, but entering each port as part of this huge fleet was quite a sight. In Kappelin on the Schlei, it took an hour to reach the port from the Baltic. Then we all had to wait for the bridge to lift when we jostled to squeeze through the 30m gap against tourist steamers and work boats.

Remarkably there were few incidents on the water. There was one ugly collision when 12 metre Anita, on starboard, mounted the starboard bulwark of the heavy double ender Gudrun III.

The weather was glorious, but near the end of the race into Eckernforde, well up the fjord, the thunder that had rumbled all afternoon turned into a sudden hail shower. The hailstones were the size of broad beans, the visibility disappeared and the wind rose to 35- 40 knots. We all took a hammering. The 5m dinghy filled and capsized, and capsized again, the 8 metre Feo pulled up, dropped sails and rescued her and her helm. In 15 minutes it was over, the sun came out and we sailed to the finish; several boats retired and motored in.

It was quite an occasion and good to be part of it. The photos on the FKY website capture the bigger glamourous classes, there were many more everyday classics, smaller but beautifully formed too.


Tue 25th June

An evening of light air.  There was not enough to tempt the Sonars.  Race Officer Michael Knox waited a little before setting the shortest course to A, off the club, and back.

Catriona had trouble rigging and was very late at the start.  Usually, that would have resulted in a convincing last place but this evening the light and variable air caught some.

Halcyone started convincingly from Thalia and benefitted from better wind out in the loch.  Luna and Hermes suffered inshore.  After the leaders had reached A, there was always a breeze but always still patches.

On the second round, Thalia had the lead offwind towards the starting area.  She dropped her spinnaker when the wind came forward and so lost out when it went back again.  Halcyone and Catriona (by now back in contention) were concentrating so hard on being first to the line they did not notice there was to be a third round.  Thalia, paying more attention, rounded first and retook the lead.  She found a narrow band of wind down the loch and was not to be caught.  Halcyone ventured too far towards the Clynder shore where air was still.  The rest made progress on the Shandon shore.  Halcyone, with the help of her spinnaker, managed to repass Luna near to the finish.

1 Thalia, 2 Catriona, 3 Hermes, 4 Halcyone, 5 Luna.

Sun 23rd June

(Belated guest report from our Convenor aboard Athene!)

East winds present challenges in the Gareloch as has been remarked before in Race Reports.  One of these is that a reaching or running start is unavoidable.   Another is that the wind on the Blairvadach shore is unpredictable. A third is it can be very gusty.   All five boats were slow at getting to the start line owing to the wind going down for a bit.    Crossing the loch to the D mark with the wind moving around there was a question as to whether a spinnaker would help or not.  Eventually already way out in front Dione raised hers and became even further out in front.  Athene raised hers early, and to good effect.   Thia did too, but had a problem, after the race revealed to have been the result of putting the spinnaker boom up on the leeward side. Hermes decided it was worth it further over the loch.  Dione had rounded the D mark lang syne when Athene got around second. 

On the beat across to G in quite strong gusty wind Hermes and Thia pointed well and quickly overhauled, with Luna with guest helm, Seb Hudson also doing well.  Athene pointed badly. Hermes in a suddenly light wind got tangled with the mark.  But having done the necessary she caught up and overtook on the next leg down the loch to B, the first leg of the second round of the H3 course, which then goes up the Clynder shore to C before crossing back.  With Dione now home in the anchorage, the four behind crossed the line at Z still relatively close together with Athene at the back.

1 Dione 2 Hermes 3 Thia 4 Luna 5 Athene