Category Archives: Race Reports ’22

2022 race reports

Tue 21st June

Report from Circe.

A lovely Tuesday evening, wind blowing ENW, and for once what could (almost) be considered a (reasonably) constant (ish) wind for the Gareloch.

On the line there was a gradual dawning that the Invisible Man was the RO, so a quick decision was made to sail course L1, heading upwindish to mark G first. The Sonars left, followed by the Garelochs, and they were just close enough to be able to see the Sonars going round the upwind mark. Perhaps – was a trick of the light? The squashed up spacing of marks F and G? Or that the Sonars went round mark F instead of G (!) But it was enough to lure those at the front of the Gareloch fleet (well, Catriona anyway), up towards F. Halcyone (single handed) was speeding along and took the lead, followed by Teal, Circe, Dione, Ceres and Thia. Across the loch and on rounding C, a look back found Catriona skulking back downwind to correctly round mark G. Circe had a shocking spinnaker launch allowing Dione and Ceres past, and on the downwind leg, Teal (with spinnaker) cruised past the white-sailed Halcyone.

Down to A, back to Z and round again for the second lap. Circe made some good ground and moved back into 3rd position by the time G was reached again, but then lost a position back to Dione following another spinnaker mare! Meantime, Catriona had finished skulking and was climbing back up through the fleet, managing to overhaul both Thia and Ceres.

1 Teal, 2 Halcyone, 3 Dione, 4  Circe, 5 Catriona, 6 Thia, 7 Ceres

Sun 19th June

Report from Teal.

A beautiful warm summer day on shore belied a stiff breeze on the water. And much more northerly than the forecast, funnelling down the Gareloch. The result was a lumpy chop and, combined with a strong flood tide, a strong wind against tide effect. Choppy white waves could be seen in the middle of the loch – where the flood tide stream was strongest – which is unusual for the Gareloch. Garelochs can cope with these conditions but it was full on. Not conditions to relax in. Or perhaps fly spinnakers…

Joining in the fun were Helmut & Gisela Scharbaum, members of Freundeskreis Klassiche Yacht (German Classic Yacht Club/Association) and owners – and builders – of the beautiful Fife-designed gaff-rigged Clyde 19/14 class replica ‘Tringa’ who had been racing in the recent Fife Regatta. The Scharbaums, not Tringa. (More info on ‘Tringa’ here.). Gisela joined Catriona’s crew and Helmut on Teal.

Race officer Charles Darley on Catriona went for course H1: a short beat up the Shandon shore to F, reach across to C (Clynder), then a good long downwind leg to A at the moorings, back to start at Z, with a subsequent round (or rounds) back up to G, then C, then A again. The start however had to be aborted due to a collision between Thalia and Hermes who both retired. (We shall not say too much while they resolve matters – but it appeared based on the end result to be a simple port-starboard!)

Once re-started, Catriona did her best to lead Teal in, but with both of them trying to avoid the other luffing them over, and being slow in the chop, neither made a good start. Halycone, who later admitted she hadn’t even heard the starting signals, nonetheless took the cue and nailed the start to set up a good lead, followed by Dione and with Ceres going well. Halycone led from Dione at the end of the short beat. Catriona and Teal both overstood the mark (the F mark is where G should be!) but Catriona managed to work her way in to 3rd just behind Dione, with Ceres just behind and Teal in 5th.

No places changed in the reach across to C (the only almost relaxing part of the day). Catriona managed to swing wide and made a good rounding of the mark to get on Dione’s wind and, combined with boldly launching her spinnaker (when does Catriona not?), got past in to second. Others kept their spinnakers away given both wind strength and direction (broad reach at best) and didn’t really seem to lose out.

At A, Halcyone led, followed by Catriona, Dione, Ceres, Teal. Circe and Thia following. All the leading pack round and stood on following each other on port tack in to the shallow curved bay between Blairvadach and the moorings. Teal, forced to try and break out rather than simply follow, tacked out. Ceres tacked out too but fell in behind Teal and that was one down. As the leading pack approached the moorings it was clear that Teal has been in luck (better wind and/or tide?) and had closed the gap hugely. Dione chose to tack off below and just ahead of Teal. Catriona crossed Teal but in the choppy conditions even a good tack would have struggled to maintain cover. It was not a good tack judging by the noises from the skipper! At the line and with everyone needing water and to tack, Teal managed to tack ahead of Dione and both forced Catriona to have to tack off. Somehow Teal was in second. Halcyone still leading.

A very short beat up to G, then a reach across to C again and down to A again. As the fleet approached C, Thia now appeared from a very odd direction and the consensus was that she had neglected to round the G mark! She later retired.

Downwind to A, Teal flew a spinnaker to protect against Catriona in 3rd. She regretted it given the reachy nature – and a huge weather helm to prevent broaching – and dropped it early. Everyone except Halycone now knew that it paid to go out L on the beat. And they did. Halycone didn’t cover. Near the line Teal had now almost caught Halcyone. Halcyone repeated Catriona’s exact manoeuvre: she crossed Teal near the line and tacked, but in the choppy conditions tacks were slow and Teal’s momentum carried her through.

If the race had finished now Teal would have just won but had their eye on the clock and an hour had not yet passed, so a 3rd round was required! And again Teal had the advantage of being able to tack inside at the shore and force Halcyone to tack. Teal now controlling the approach to the layline up the short beat. She sailed Halycone past it and tacked ahead. Catriona and Dione chasing Halcyone too. And Ceres staying on the pace.

Once more in to the (b)reach: across to C, down to A, and a final short beat to the finish. The wind had eased now and spinnakers did help those that flew them. At the mark all the leading pack now knew that going out paid. Catriona tacked out. Halycone had learnt her lesson and covered her. Teal covered them both. Dione and Ceres both chasing. All finishing within a minute or so after a long long race.

1 Teal, 2 Halycone, 3 Catriona, 4 Dione, 5 Ceres, 6 Circe / RET Thia / DNS Hermes, Thalia

Tue 14th June

Report from Teal.

The forecast was not good: light air and dying away. But on the moorings there was some breeze. And what there was reasonably consistent with puffs coming through too. So six Garelochs headed to the starting area where Thia was ashore doing Race Officer (RO) duty. They wisely selected a short special ‘S’ course (a simple, and usually shorter, upwind-downwind, ‘sausage’ course) to B off Silvers. A biased start line unavoidable with the fixed starting marks. And not much room either with a very low tide right down at the 0m chart datum.

Catriona looked like she was early but read it perfectly and lead over in pole position followed by Teal. Ceres started ok just under Teal. Luna did not just above Teal and was squeezed out above the starting mark. Teal tacked off right towards Clynder to clear her air. Catriona tacked to cover and gained ahead in clear air. Ceres following. The others – Thalia, Hermes and Luna – kept going left towards the moorings. Teal tacked again to try and break Catriona’s cover – heading S towards the Rhu channel. Catriona tacked again to maintain cover. The wind now picked up.

It was now clear – at least to Teal, looking R to Catriona and L to the others – that the right side of the course was heavily favoured. Possibly the effect of a large dark brooding cloud above and behind the Rosneath peninsula** spilling out wind? Catriona to the right pulled ahead of Teal and Ceres. And all of them pulled well ahead of the others who had gone left towards the moorings. The wind had perhaps also veered from SW to W…? The forecast certainly mentioned it.

So it was a surprise when, after an uneventful downwind leg back to Z, rather than heading towards the good wind, Catriona tacked L quite quickly and headed towards the moorings! Teal did not but rounded and headed towards Clynder and the still brooding cloud. And clear wind on the water. The wind picked up and kept veering. And Teal didn’t have to go far before she tacked, in good wind, already on the (lifted) lay-line to B. And easily crossed poor Catriona by many boat-lengths. The veering wind meant the sails even had to be eased.

Teal rounded with Catriona following and not giving up easily. Both hoisted spinnakers but the continuing veering wind-shift meant that by the finish sails were being sheeted practically close-hauled. Teal held on, Catriona followed, with Ceres finishing a solid third.

Further back those who hadn’t – with hindsight – gone the right way were nonetheless having some good close racing. The final leg was tight and involved luffing. Only Hermes didn’t raise a kite. But given the wind shift it perhaps didn’t  matter. Thalia prospered near the end and took fourth.

1 Teal, 2 Catriona, 3 Ceres, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes, 6 Luna

(**Linguistic-geographical pedantic/educational aside – I am forced to use a tautology there since a Ros(s) is a peninsula/promontory (eg. the Ross of Mull that meets Iona)! It doesn’t help when settlements – Rosneath – take on the name of wider geographical areas/features, ie. the peninsula/promontory so there is ambiguity. Perhaps the Ross of Neath vs Rosneath?).

Sun 12th Jun

Report from the Secretary.
It was admittedly a little windy. It was blowing down the Gareloch so there was the usual chop in the moorings which is uncomfortable. It unnerved most of those who went out to their boats, only Hermes and Catriona raced. Hermes with a reef in the main. As soon as the boats were off the moorings, they settled. It was rare for water to come up the side deck.
A course was set beginning with a beat to windward to D, off Clynder. As the two approached D, wind moderated and the sun came out. Hermes suffered from her reef here. The tack into D was characterised by headers so that Hermes found herself with a significant way to go up the Clynder shore in light, variable air. That put paid to her challenge.
It was decided between the two that one round was sufficient, wind increased again and brought rain with it.
1 Catriona, 2 Hermes.

Tue 7th June

Report from the Secretary.

Race Officer Paul Blackburn was faced with wind blowing from the Shandon shore so that a start to windward was not possible.  With stronger wind, he selected a long course zig zagging across the loch and beginning with a run downwind to D, north of Clynder.

Catriona started promptly at the pin end of the starting line and was soon passed by several of the others who found a line of better air closer to the shore.  Teal quickly established a lead which she reinforced throughout the race.  The others chopped and changed.  Halcyone, sailing single handed and not setting a spinnaker, was always in the mix.  Finding the correct path across the loch through the variable wind was key.  It is usually fickle when blowing from one of the shores.  Only Teal got it right all of the time.  Other boats in second place at mark roundings were Thalia, Circe and Halcyone.  Some failed to make the progress they would have liked because of errors with the spinnaker.

Towards the finish, it appeared Catriona had climbed to second with Halcyone well to leeward and Circe out in the loch with a long way to go to the line.  Circe found wind and approached with speed.  Catriona tacked to cover the pin end and misjudged the line.  Sighting along it was needed to split the three.  As it turned out, Catriona’s tack allowed Halcyone, nearer the shore end, into second.  Circe got to the pin first and looked from the water to have the second place but Catriona had crossed just before her.

1 Teal, 2 Halcyone, 3 Catriona, 4 Circe, 5 Thalia, 6 Thia, 7 Ceres.  Hermes DNF.

Sun 5th June (a non-series, no Scottish Series race!)

Report from Circe
Not a planned Sunday event, but due to the cancellation of the Scottish Series it was decided to have a Sunday race as normal.
Five boats turned up for the race and there was a nice fresh breeze with some good gusts from the east, along with some sunshine.
Strangely, for an easterly, the wind was constant, and therefore all luck was removed from the race, it was fought out using absolute skill and decision making.
RO ChoulesCampbell decided on ZADZ which wasn’t quite a nice beat to A, but it did at least give a good beat from D to Z.
At the start, it was Thalia, Catriona and Dione who made a good start up to A, followed by Circe and Hermes, then there was a long run down to D.
Thalia (without spinnaker) and Dione (with spinnaker) took the direct route whilst Catriona went out into the middle of the loch and had a bit more of “single handed trials with the spinnaker”.
Round D, there was a general decision to head across towards Shandon, whilst Circe took the Clynder side – it was a great sight with all the boats heeling well over in the gusts.
After the first round, Circe found herself well ahead followed by Catriona, Dione and Thalia – unfortunately Hermes had dropped back.
On the second time down to D, it was close racing between the middle three, however Catriona elected to avoid the spinnaker, as did Thalia, but it was Dione who put hers up and benefitted from some good speed.
The final beat up to Z, and Circe (still in the lead) took off to the Clynder side again, followed by Thalia but this time around it wasn’t so beneficial and Dione and Catriona made some good ground, Catriona more so. Circe came across to cover off the advancing boats, and held on to first place, followed by Catriona, Dione, Thalia and Hermes.
This report is based on true events, but some elements have been included for dramatic effect, (it was definitely NOT a constant wind from the east, and there were extensive wind shifts, as ever!) which therefore calls into question the skills of the winning crew, as opposed to their luck!
1 Circe, 2 Catriona, 3 Dione, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes

Tue 31st May

Report from the Secretary.

Race Officer Carol Rowe had seen a weather forecast and was not misled by the steady breeze at the start. She set one of the shortest courses, up and down the Shandon Shore. It was as well because on the approach to G, the windward mark, the Gareloch excelled itself for variability in strength and direction of what little wind there was.

Towards G, Teal, from Dione and Catriona, went closer inshore and and found a meagre offshore breeze. The rest, out in the loch, were stranded. Spinnakers should have been worthwhile for the second leg to A, off the club. They were soon taken down. Teal was not to be caught, Catriona found a streak of pressure all her own to do to Dione what Dione had done to her on the first leg. Luna prospering in fourth.

The leg to the finish now almost a fetch. There was a little pressure from the shore so that the leading three, at least, were able to keep moving. Near to the line, they passed a Sonar. Close by but in a small, deep hole.

The rest, having ventured further out into the loch, were later. Luna lost a place to a single handed Halcyone.

1 Teal, 2 Catriona, 3 Dione, 4 Halcyone, 5 Luna, 6 Thia, 7 Thalia.

Sun 29th May

Report from Teal.

A Gareloch classic. Newer skippers might not have believed that the shifts were indeed going through 90 degrees at times.

Teal was RO and set a zigzag Gareloch course which in the lightish breeze would hopefully allow two good beats in the first lap. Starting to C off Clynder. The pin end out in the loch was favoured. Catriona went for it. Teal was a little slow with RO duties but just behind. In the end, both were slow and Halcyone made a brilliant cheeky start on port.

Catriona managed to play the shifts well – Gareloch experience showing (the loch rather the boat) – and emerged ahead of Halcyone. Teal tried to keep up with both Catriona and Halcyone but suffering a bit in their dirty air. The shifts became more random. And the strength varying too. Occasional holes of nothingness.

Circe also in the mix but Teal played the shifts better than her and was leading approaching the mark. At which point Circe conjured her own personal lane of superb wind and sailed straight past! Both could merely laugh. As Teal neared the mark and tacked to take the final port approach – as per Circe – the wind promptly did one of its shifts and moved from West to Northerly. The mark was now directly upwind! One of those days. It had been worse for Dione and Hermes who definitely hadn’t gone the right way.

Meanwhile Catriona was most of the way across the loch to G. Halcyone and now Circe following. Teal went high and set the kite quickly and gained a little but only really limiting the damage. All rounded the mark and started the beat to D. Practically all now laying it in a strengthening NWerly.

Down back to Z before a final lap with a beat to C. Which again could be fetched as the wind continued to swing NNW and further strengthen! Catriona in a good lead, followed by Halcyone and Circe. Teal just trying to hang on to their sterns in a now building sea. Teal couldn’t quite lay it and had some more tacking to reach the C mark. Again.

Catriona kept tight down the Clynder shore to the B mark off Silvers. Far enough ahead that her course didn’t matter too much. Halcyone and Circe followed that approach, while concentrating on each other. Their course did matter. Teal sensed an opportunity and gybed out to head out in to the loch – better wind and helping tide – while the spinnaker was being rigged. Then gybed back and launched the kite. And then swept rapidly past a slow Halcyone and Circe in much less wind inshore. Halcyone compounded things by luffing an overlapped Circe without realising that Circe was on starboard to her port. Turns dropped her to 4th. Catriona, then Teal, then Circe fought back up through the waves to the finish at Z. Halcyone followed. She perhaps deserved more from a mostly good race, but such is racing.

By the time we were all back on the moorings a solid 20+ knots of wind – with accompanying waves – was funnelling down the Gareloch. All were relieved when the mooring was secure and the sails dropped. The gentle breeze and occasional windlessness seemed a long time ago.

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

Garelochs at the RNCYC Regatta

Report from the Secretary [who is very modest since he gave a masterclass in close quarters match racing – Iain].

A magnificent day. Sunshine with wind on the East Patch sufficient for good racing and not so strong as to be over-tiring.

Only three Garelochs set out. Dione’s skipper had to work. It is hoped that gardening has not interfered with other’s sailing.

Race Officer Eilidh Millar aboard John Stanley-White’s Blue Jay overcame a mechanical problem with the mark laying RIB and set a true windward-leeward course. Four races and a great day of sailing.

In the first, Catriona badly misjudged her start and was early approaching the pin end of the line. She gybed out, taking Teal and Thalia’s counters and started on port tack. It turned out the right hand side of the course was strongly favoured. By the windward mark, she had enough of a lead not to rush with the spinnaker. On the second beat, she kept effective loose cover on Teal. Thalia forgot to sail through the starting line here and collected extra points.

The three knew to be at the Committee Boat end for subsequent starts. For the second, Catriona was weak again, too far along the line. Teal and Thalia were first to the windward mark. They fought each other at the start of the run to let Catriona through.

Another sub-optimal start from Catriona gave the advantage to Thalia and particularly Teal for the first beat of the third race. Teal was firmly in the lead for most of this race. Catriona’s last chance was a tacking duel approaching the windward mark for the second time. She was lucky with the wind. After passing close behind Teal on the last tack into the mark, she luffed determinedly as Teak tacked on top and got her nose in front. All this took long enough for Thalia to catch Teal at the mark, letting Catriona away again.

For the final rounding of the leeward mark there was dispute over a last minute inside overlap on Teal by Thalia. There was contact. Teal kept her second place at the finish. She retired from the last race with some damage.

Thalia led into the start of the last. She avoided being hooked and tried her best to luff Catriona the wrong side of the Committee Boat. Both started strongly with Thalia to leeward. She was unable, though, to keep a bow forward position.

For the series, 1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Thalia

Tue 24th May

Report from Teal.

The wind was forecast westerly but the local geography means the wind hits the mountains further north and funnels the wind down the Gareloch from the NW. And so it was: a classic NW wind and the Race Officers obliged with the classic NW course. A beat across and up to the D mark off Rahane (middle W side of the Gareloch), and then downwind to the finish via the G mark off Gullybridge on the E side (acting as a sort of wide spreader mark!). And then a short reach down to A off the moorings, followed by a wonderful long beat back to D, before finishing directly down to Y.

So, one of the best courses in the roster. But the fixed start line is biased with the shore end being favoured. And with a looming shallow shore and sea wall to intimidate those wanting to win it!

Thia is now jointly in the hands of jointly helmed by Michael Knox and Peter Brown [edit – Peter’s wife will be relieved to know that he has not bought a share in another boat!] and they’re gelling well – and getting more aggressively in the mix at the start (as well as often going well on the beat). And so it was with Thia taking on Catriona (who always like to lead in where possible!). Teal happily followed in close behind, slightly higher on the line but ensuring she could not be ‘hooked’ by Catriona (luffed up over the line). Thia dropped down. Teal chased Catriona in.

Catriona eventually called for room to tack, not leaving it too late. “You tack” responded Teal and Catriona did. Teal didn’t though. And instead ducked to squeeze the last out of the line before tacking so she was on top and controlling the beat on starboard. Halcyone did likewise and started well following Teal across the loch. Dione had started lower down the line, going well but lower and left of the fleet. Thia in the middle following Catriona.

Teal sailed high and fast and by the other side of the loch was clearly in the lead and in control. And that to some extent was that. Halcyone crossed Catriona but couldn’t make it stick and Catriona sailed well to cement a clear second by the D mark. It was now a game of sailing well and not making mistakes in good wind on a good course. A broad reach to G under spinnaker, gybe and down through the line to A. Plenty of spinnaker practice tonight for crews (or Charles single-handed in Catriona). Drop and round A for the cracking long beat back to D.

Teal stood on for a bit to tack and cover Catriona. Who surprisingly did tack and allow herself to be covered. Without much wriggling. Perhaps her skipper felt a good 2nd was ok and the series was wrapped up? Or merely packing her spinnaker (how he sails so well while doing this is a mystery)?

Halcyone kept going well – newish crew getting up to speed – and took a good 3rd. Dione will have regretted 4th after a good series so far.

1 Teal, 2 Catriona, 3 Halcyone, 4 Dione, 5 Circe, 6 Thia (Results provisional until confirmed by the official RNCYC ones)