Category Archives: Race Reports ‘20

2020 Race Reports

Sun 26th Sep – last race of the (short) 2020 season

(Anonymous guest report although it may be inferred!)

Race Report. GOD’s Last Race

This is my first, and likely last, race report. I have limited understanding of what went on except that we all started at more or less the same time but finished at rather different times. That is obviously the point of all this racing over the summer twice a week but which was cruelly cut short this year. All too soon this was our last crack at it and of course Lucy, with Charles barking, came first in Catriona and Chis, hindered by Julian at the helm, came last in Luna.  

But other things went on. In brief:

Halycone was a ghost ship: no one has sailed her all summer but my goodness she turns up for every race. Reports, unsubstantiated, have it that a head of curly blond hair (maybe Shanes? needs substantiating)has appeared over her coaming when the sun comes out.

Circe and Ceres are courtesy of John and Paul, both new on the block. Hail to the new Goddesses! Their boats that is. Your correspondent had become used to not coming last as Paul filled that slot, until the last two races when the normal order was restored.

Athene was a late starter this year. John made it into the water for the Worlds – well not him but Athene did. Of course, he did make it himself into the water last year, getting very wet/ Coastguard rescued  – but his chance for a repeat performance this year seems over now. It could have been that his crew Barrie the Boatman (some kind of sea-shanty there maybe?) rather stifled his chances of another trip overboard? We may never know.

Then Carol with Hermes.  For Carol a quiet season – and of course we all know why. Where is Commander Proctor when you need him for a decent protest? It is as much for Carol’s performance in the bar after race with the protest cards as it is for her performance afloat that she is admired, indeed feared – by members of the senior service in particular.

Iain and Eric, Teal and Zephryus respectively, were ‘hors de combat’ for this race. One feels fairly sure that all concerned know what this actually means rather than what it sounds like it may mean.

The order was:

1 Catriona, 2 Halcyone, 3 Hermes, 4 Ceres, 5 Circe, 6 Athene, 7 Luna.

Sun 20th Sep

A lovely warm afternoon, but with light winds. Race Officer set course H4 (ZADZ) once everyone managed down to the line, as the wind, which fluctuated from South East to East at least promised to give a beat on the leg back from D to the finish line.

The wind went very light at the start of the race and with faint signs of movement in the middle of the loch, the fleet headed out in that direction, however Halcyone (after a poor start) was compelled to do something different and head up the Shandon shore. Everyone drifted along, and waited. It was an easterly breeze that filled in from Shandon side, and Halcyone was perfectly placed to have her own wind first and powered on towards A. The remainder of the fleet picked up the wind in slow order and boats were nicely spread out as they rounded mark A, with Halcyone well out in front.

On the run down to D the wind dropped again, the Clynder side was not the place to be, but there was some air movement which was caught by the boats at the back of the fleet. Halcyone and Zephyrus both lost quite a bit of ground, and the fleet again closed up round D.

The best laid plans of the race officer for a beat to the finish line were thwarted by a veering wind direction, meaning that the finish line could be reached on one starboard tack, and it was on this last leg that Catriona caught up to Halcyone and overhauled her to finish first.

Particular mention goes to Ceres who was glad to be in the fray and didn’t finish last.

1 Catriona, 2 Halcyone, 3 Zephyrus, 4 Hermes, 5 Circe, 6 Ceres, 7 Luna.

Tue 15th Sep – no race

A fine sunny evening, but no wind so no race.

Sun 13th Sep

There were six boats intending to race.  Athene’s skipper’s vehicle suffered a punctured tyre.  On account of the modern trend for cars not to carry spare wheels, Athene could not race.

Luna’s crew found that a cross tree had broken as they were hoisting sails.

It was very gusty weather so that Halcyone, who was single handed, and Ceres, who had young crew, stayed on their moorings.  That left Teal and Catriona.  The sudden changes in direction of wind, coupled with the gusts, made it impossible to avoid water coming over the cockpit coaming.  Boats caught without momentum (and thus without manoeuvrability) at the key moments would have been vulnerable.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal.

Tue 8th Sep

This was a dull wet evening.  None of us would have turned out for a pleasure sail but, it being a race, there were six boats competing and we enjoyed it.

Teal was a little early at the favoured pin end of the starting line.  Having squeezed out Hermes, she was obliged to bear away.  Catriona, just behind, was able to start at the pin, spoiling Halcyone’s approach on her way.

On the first leg, windward to Silvers, Teal and Catriona were even for some time until a lift in the wind put Catriona in front.  The battle was then for second between Teal, Hermes Circe and Halcyone. All had their moments.  The final leg was was a fetch from Clynder back to the starting area.  Hermes had insinuated herself ahead of Teal at the mark.  In an effort to clear her air, Teal stood on down the Clynder shore before tacking.  The tactic did not work because Hermes, then Halcyone were able to tack at the mark and lay the finish.

1 Catriona 2 Hermes, 3 Halcyone, 4 Teal, 5 Circe, 6 Ceres.

Sun 6th Sep

A wonderful sunny afternoon.  There could be no better place to sail although the race was essentially uneventful.

1 Catriona, 2 Hermes, 3 Teal, 4 Zephyrus, 5 Ceres

Tue 1st Sep

It could only be an anti climax after the championship at the weekend.  It was a dull evening, even with  the start an hour earlier to take account of the loss of light later in the year.  The race, two rounds of a short course up and down the Shandon shore was uneventful.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Hermes, 4 Halcyone, 5 Ceres.

The Gareloch Championship (The Gareloch “Europeans”) 2020

The Championship was held over the weekend 29th and 30th August.  It had been postponed from early in the month.
Nine boats took part, Athene going afloat in the week before.  It was a truly magnificent weekend of racing and socialising.  Perhaps more so because of the contrast with the present austere times.
Our Committee Boat, under the command of Race Officer Peter Proctor, was Jamie Grant’s ‘Kelana’.  As yachting historian Iain McAllister remarked, there couldn’t be a more appropriate committee vessel for the event than Kelana.  A veritable McGruer-fest.
Conditions on Saturday could only be described as Champagne wind.  A phrase coined by Thilo Durach of the Deutscher Touring Yacht-Club where the Garelochs had a weekend of team racing in 2018.
Peter was able to set courses with true beats to windward, taking Kelana from the Shandon shore in the morning to Rosneath in the afternoon so as to suit the direction of wind.  Blowing predominantly from the north, we were spared the large changes of direction and lulls which so often happen when it is from one of the shores.  There were, though, patches of stronger air and headers worth tacking on.Those who got it right were rewarded but they were not necessarily consistent.  Halcyone, Hermes, Catriona and Teal each had a second place in the four races.
At the barbecue on Saturday evening, hosted by John and Clair Campbell, Barrie and Arlene Choules, the sailors were able to tell anyone who would listen of good starts, luffing and mark room.  The race officer had a sheet of results, which he did not divulge, tantalisingly visible in his pocket.  In the best Gareloch tradition, there were three dogs present.  It was a lovely evening, not diminished even by those desperate to talk of conquests on the water.
The forecast for Sunday morning was for next to no wind.  We had to wait a little while for a breeze to fill in from the north.  Again Peter set true beats to windward for the two races.  The second notably won by Lucy Forrester on the helm of Catriona.  
In recognition of people sailing alone on account of the current restrictions, spinnakers were not used in the regatta.  Achieving the optimum Velocity Made Good downwind required extra care.  Some boats prospered by goose-winging their headsails, for others it was slow.  If an unseemly gybing duel was to be avoided, it paid to have a comfortable gap at the windward mark.
1 Catriona 2 Teal 3= Halcyone 3= Athene 5 Circe 6= Hermes 6= Luna 8 Zephyrus (*did not race Sunday) 9 Ceres
(Halcyone and Athene had equal overall points for third place, but Halcyone had higher best position.
Hermes and Luna had equal overall points for sixth place, but Hermes had higher best position.)

Sun 23rd Aug

As we stood in the car park, there was no breath of air. The keener ones rigged and ghosted towards the starting area. Sometimes ghosting backwards. By the time the leader got there, a light but steady breeze had filled in.

A course was set up and down the Shandon shore which gave a start to windward. Catriona misjudged it badly, she failed to respond quickly enough to Teal, to leeward. By the time her penalty turns were finished, the fleet was well on its way. Led by Halcyone from Teal and Circe.

The tide turned during the race. Balancing wind and tide going up and down the loch was always key and associated with some luck. On the approach to the downwind mark, Catriona managed an inside overlap on Circe and climbed to third. The first two positions were not close. There was time for a second round but it seemed the podium places had been determined.

Catriona, going downwind, narrowed the gap to the leaders a little. On the beat to the finish they went inshore, into less adverse tide, so that Catriona went out. Out paid. Halcyone found light air. Teal came out and crossed ahead of Catriona but lost momentum in the tack to cover and could not make it stick. Halcyone, nearer the shore, held her first place by a whisker.

1 Halcyone, 2 Catriona, 3 Teal, 4 Circe, 5 Luna. Hermes DNF.

Tue 18th Aug

An evening of light air from the south.

Just north of the starting line, a burn flows into the loch.  Associated with it is a shingle bank which stretches out at a shallow angle.  All but one of the Gareloch skippers knew about it.  The deficiency was rectified this evening.  By coincidence, the previous inductee was also an Officer in the Royal Navy.

After all the boats were manoeuvring freely, on the water Race Officer Iain MacGillivray set one of the shortest courses, a windward leg to A, off the club, and back.  There was the usual decision to be made about whether to start inshore, to windward and in less adverse tide, or at the pin end where air was moving more freely.  Teal, Halcyone, Luna and Hermes started well, part way up the line.  Catriona, delayed by a penalty turn having touched the mark, was late at the pin.  The better air helped her back on terms.

A speciality of Hermes is to benefit from conditions close to the Shandon shore and she hit the right compromise, being first at A from Teal, Catriona and Halcyone. These positions were maintained downwind back to the starting area.  There was time for a second round in the now lightening air.

Hermes again went close to the shore.  Perhaps too far in because this time it did not pay.  Teal and Halcyone looked for better wind out in the loch.  Catriona would have followed but she was lee bowed by Teal and tacked for the shore where she found a line of pressure which had eluded Hermes.  The tide did for Teal and Halcyone.

Downwind to the finish was a matter of keeping sails as full as could be.  There was a weak offshore breeze which did not extend far out into the loch.  Catriona managed to keep going so as to stay ahead of Teal and finished just inside the time limit.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Halcyone, 4 Circe, 5 Hermes.  Luna and Ceres DNF.