(Guest report from Teal)
The days are running out for this season, so when the message came saying that Teal’s crew Ufo was down with cold/flu, I was resigned to gardening with a heavy heart. I nonetheless resolved to pop along and pump out Teal (which was as well since she was full to the deck floor after last week’s rain). The heart became heavier still forlornly contemplating a good breeze and sunshine….
…but then I spotted that Thalia was sailing three-up! After a request to pinch a crew member was kindly accepted, Teal was going to race after all with Wendy aboard (Mother of Rear Commodore Sailing – unsure if this is a formal position like the Queen Mother?). Teal rigged sharpish.
Thalia was RO and selected the excellent L8 course. A good long beat to D, reach across to G, run back to start at Y and then down to A, followed by another very good beat back up to D. A biased start line as so often given the fixed start lines. Teal led in easily with little challenge, Dione following, others lagging. Both Dione and Teal tacked to head across the loch to the Clynder shore but Teal’s large starting lead was easily eaten into by Dione who both climbed and pulled ahead under Teal. Better boatspeed (a dirty hull on Teal?) or better helming from Barrie on Dione? Or both! Teal tacked and Dione followed, now ahead. The others had stayed closer to the Shandon shore and were not threatening. Dione round D first, but Teal had managed to play some shifts inshore and arrived shortly after.
Across the loch to G it was difficult to spot the mark and both headed too high before raising kites and gybing. Thalia went the right way and with slick spinnaker work from Peter was right back in the race. Teal attempted to luff Dione to prevent an inside and then to give her mark room but with skipper on the spinnaker, team communication slowed down reactions and she failed to do so resulting in Dione hitting the mark. Teal was rightly protested and did her turns. Dione and Thalia both swept onwards down to Y. Teal was at least quick with her kite drop, penalty turns and then re-launch of the kite from the cockpit and chasing. Dione had time to fit in a quick penalty turn for touching the mark before rounding Y and still lead Thalia.
To A, Dione leading Thalia, Teal chasing. Both Dione and Thalia rounded and tacked – thinking to keep out of the tide. Teal however spotted good wind on the Clynder shore. While the Gareloch has tide, good wind will always trump it. And so it proved: while Dione and Thalia sailed in lighter air and covered each other up the Shandon shore, Teal thundered up directly to D in a lane of excellent gusty wind. By the time Dione and Thalia had crossed the loch, Teal was unfairly clear for the run back to the finish at Y. Dione should have secured second but Thalia kept fighting and a spinnaker pole failure on Dione didn’t help. A frustrating race for Dione but a good one for Thalia – especially on her first race after Roger’s broken leg!
1 Teal, 2 Thalia, 3 Dione, 4 Thia, 5 Luna. Ceres DNF. (To be confirmed.)
The second of the Ancient Mariner series was greeted by a wet evening but with wind, and a forecast of more to come, something of a change from recent weeks. 6 boats ventured out and course L5 up and down the Shandon shore was selected with Catriona as on the water race officer.
It soon became apparent that the wind, and more especially the tide was not uniform across the Loch. A tidy start with Catriona a few seconds early and having to bear away down the line allowed Dione and Halcyone to make the best of it. The decision was then inshore for least-bad tide or offshore for the best wind; Dione, Thia & Hermes went inshore, Halcyone, Luna and Catriona (after a foray inshore) went out. Inshore payed off, although Halcyone managed to find an area of good tide that served her well.
At the windward mark (A) the tide was predominant and all boats had to fight more tide than they were expecting; the latter boats having something of a torrid time as the wind eased in that location separating them from the front of the fleet. A decent spinnaker run, for most, to the Leeward mark (G) saw some bunching at the mark with Hermes just getting mark room inside Catriona then the beat to the finish. Dione stayed inshore, Halcyone offshore in her narrow strip of favourable tide, going so well that she almost omitted to pass the finish mark on the correct side and in returning, slipped from 2nd to 4th.
Despite the relatively short race, it was stopped after one round because of fading light, forecasting of more wind, the tail end boats being a little way back and because Hermes asked for 1-round only.
Results: Dione, Thia, Hermes, Halcyone, Catriona, Luna
The first of the Ancient Mariner Series, named after Douglas Young, whose nickname that was. He owned the Gareloch Galatea when he passed on. We start an hour earlier, on account of the darker evenings.
On the water Race Officer Shane Rankin selected one of the shorter courses to B, off Silvers and back. Wind lightened towards the start with the result that Carol Rowe, on the helm of Catriona, got away unchallenged. The rest held back too much. The fleet set off down the Shandon shore with Dione, a little further out than Catriona, making ground to take first place. When Catriona tacked out on port, she was obliged to duck. That was the last of the competition for Catriona, however. She played the shifts in the wind to reach the windward mark comfortably first. Halcyone had tacked out into the loch early and was comfortably second. Ceres was going well. She was later into the water this year and probably has more effective anti fouling.
There was theoretically time for a second round, but the race officer finished us after one. He saw that Dione and Thia had found a distinct lull at B.
1 Catriona, 2 Halcyone, 3 Ceres, 4 Dione, 5 Thia
The Gareloch class was host to visitors from the Howth 17 Footers (the oldest one design keelboat) and the Freundeskreis Klassische Yachten. The plan was for nine races so that each team raced each other team three times.
Saturday morning started with a brisk wind in the Clyde so that Race Officer Jean Mackay, aboard Jim Findlay’s Full Circle, moved racing from the East patch (off Helensburgh pier) to the more sheltered Gareloch. Conditions were benign as our two visiting teams left the moorings for the first race. Soon after the start a wind from the north funnelled down the loch with a strength far too great for meaningful team racing. At the end of the first round, Jean finished them and sent the boats back to their moorings. Crews lunched in the clubhouse with a view to assessing things in the afternoon. There was a flat patch in Camsail bay but the Gareloch was still lively so that racing was called off for the day. It was planned to get two quick races on Sunday Morning before the Irish visitors had to leave. Meanwhile, there was a cruise around the sugar boat in Jamie Grant’s Kelana (which was our hotel boat), John Hammond’s Clearwater and Ufo and Miriam Sutter’s Tiffany Aching. There was space for anyone who wanted to be on the water.
Wind on Sunday morning was kinder. The Gareloch class raced each of the visiting teams in true air. The downwind legs in particular provided opportunity for team race tactics as boats from behind took the wind of those in front. Helms balanced the need to luff to keep their air clear against making progress towards the finish. The Garelochs won both to retain the David Ryder-Turner trophy for the match against the FKY. We won back the trophy for the match against the Howth 17s which we had lost last year racing the 17s in their home waters.
On the water Race Officer Iain MacGillivray had trouble choosing a course as wind changed direction. It was blowing from the Shandon shore so that a start to windward was not possible. Iain settled on a short course to C, at the north end of Clynder, and back. Teal had the best position on the starting line but Catriona somehow got away, despite being slow with her spinnaker.
Off Clynder, the water was like a mirror but oddly there was sufficient steady current of air to make significant progress. Catriona was round first from teal, the rest rather further back.
The wind had veered to make the return leg a fetch. Spinnakers could be set to begin with. A short tack was needed at the end on account of variable wind off the Shandon shore. There was a second round but no changes of place.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Dione, 4 Ceres, 5 Halcyone.
A trying day on the East Patch for the Race Officer, Simon Pender. He managed two starts for the one design classes in the brief moments when wind was sufficiently steady to set a course.
Catriona was almost swept the wrong side of the Committee Boat at the finish of the first but was able to avoid a tack to take a win from a charging (relatively speaking) Dione.
There was even less wind for the second race. Catriona got away best from Dione. The tide was different on either side of the course on account of the swirl which forms off Helensburgh. Dione was caught in the adverse eddy. Catriona covered her so that Athene, in better breeze and tide, took a strong lead. Downwind movement over the ground was dominated by tide. As Athene arrived at the downwind mark, there was very little movement of air and she was swept past. Catriona arrived on the merest zephyr and was able to round and make her way back upwind to the finish.
1 Catriona, 2 Athene, 3 Dione.
Race Officer Caz Hoole, influenced by the light wind and evenings drawing in, chose one of the shorter courses to B (off Silvers) and back. With wind from the Shandon shore, it was inevitable the fixed starting line would be heavily biassed towards the pin end. Teal and Dione played it correctly, arrived in front of the pack and fought for pole position. Thalia started in the right place with boat speed. Hermes and Catriona were hopelessly blanketed and arrived down the line, late and slow.
There were holes in the wind and changes of direction. Those who moved up the order believed they achieved that by skilful reading of the wind. Those who didn’t thought they were unlucky. Anyway, Teal was strong, Dione went the wrong way, (staying too long on the Shandon shore) Halcyone and Luna looked good and Catriona used her boat speed to get up to second place.
Downwind to the starting area, Halcyone suffered for want of a spinnaker. She was single handed. Catriona closed on Teal. There was time for a second round. Teal and Catriona did their best with the changeable air. Catriona twice crossing close behind until Teal opened the gap. Catriona was heading for the Clynder shore, Teal on the opposite tack so as to minimise the effect of wash from a motor launch. She delayed tacking to cover as Catriona found good pressure. Luna, in particular, went the wrong way. Ceres made most of the right decisions.
The water around B went glassy as the pack approached. Teal rounded in front of the rest but the leader was gone. Halcyone lost a place to Thalia, who benefitted from a third sail.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Ceres, 4 Dione, 5 Hermes, 6 Thalia, 7 Halcyone, 8 Thia, 9 Luna.
There was wind. Strong gusts and the usual changes of direction and local lulls made life awkward. Teal read the changes of direction correctly and got away at the favoured end of the starting line.
There was a lot of mark related interest. Firstly the E mark had dragged to end up by D and Teal – leading – had to round E first to be certain it wasn’t D! Then across the loch to G in strong wind but not before mistakenly aiming at F. Luna and Athene, after minor gear failure, went home early.
Then of course with the E mark missing a buoy had to be selected in place of the missing E mark. At this point Catriona snatched the lead with some nifty play of the gusty shifts right at the mark. Teal however gybed and headed out into the loch on port and found good pressure which allowed her to undertake Catriona before gybing back on to starboard.
There were some broaches under spinnaker in strong gusts on the final run back to Z. Catriona stayed close but could not pass. Hermes a little further back. All perhaps glad that the just over an hour had passed and the race finished after one round….
1 Teal, 2 Catriona, 3 Hermes. Luna and Athene DNF.
A delightfully sunny evening with steady wind [editor – well, initially!]. Race officer Barrie Choules took advantage and set one of the longer courses with a windward leg to the northernmost mark on the Clynder shore.
Athene, who was at the bottom of the order in the weekend’s championship, had just been lifted out for a routine survey. She had barnacles and, in the gap between the keel and rudder, mussels. Her skipper John Blackie took the helm of Catriona for the evening.
At the start, Catriona found herself pinned below Thia. Not wishing to remain there, she bore away sharply so as to be able to tack away behind. With the urgency of her initial approach to the line now lost, she later crossed behind Hermes and then Teal. The others had gone a different way but most looked ahead too. John used Catriona’s boat speed to squeeze to windward past Teal and was comfortably first at the mark. Despite confusion over the location of the second mark, F off Shandon church, Catriona was never challenged. Teal and Hermes had a battle on the spinnaker reach to F. Teal, with an advantageous inside overlap at the mark, took second place and managed to hold onto it by a slim margin at the finish. Dione, with guest helm Reay Mackay, was able to take a place from Luna under spinnaker.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Hermes, 4 Thalia, 5 Dione, 6 Luna, 7 Ceres, 8 Thia.
Many congratulations to our winner Catriona (Charles Darley) and in a very well deserved and popular 2nd place Hermes (Carol Rowe)!
Full race results and report to follow.