Category Archives: Race Reports ’22

2022 race reports

Sun 25th Sep – last race of the 2022 season

Report from the Secretary.

The last of the points series races this year. It was combined with a dog race for which a separate report is being prepared. The finishing order, uncomplicated by any time allowance for length of dog, constitutes the result of the points series race.

Race officer, John Campbell, set a course, beginning with a good beat to D, north of Clynder. The Gareloch was up to its usual tricks regarding strength and direction of wind. Sometimes there was very little, and sometimes there was enough for water to come into the cockpit. Some tried beating up the Shandon shore. Others ventured further out into the adverse ebb tide. Either way it was tricky. Catriona was at the mark first from Halcyone and Teal. Those two covered each other, allowing Catriona to get away and establish a lead, which she lost only briefly in the variable air of the second round.

No one fancied setting a spinnaker for the final downwind leg to the finish.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Zephyrus, 4 Halcyone, 5 Circe, 6 Athene.

Sun 18th Sep

Report from the Secretary

On the water Race Officer Shane Rankin chose one of the longer courses taking us to the northern most marks on the Clynder and Shandon shores. As often with fixed starting lines, there was strong bias. This time favouring the shore end.  Only Luna, Circe and Catriona went for it.

On the long windward leg to E, some found themselves in less wind. Catriona, Halcyone and Circe were at the mark first. Little changed on the reach across the loch to F, off Shandon Church. For the run back to the starting area, Catriona suffered a failure of her spinnaker halyard. Halcyone and Circe passed with ease.

There was time for a second round. Catriona found the best air to retake the lead at the windward mark and had sufficient margin to keep the others at bay downwind to the finish. Hermes was third at the mark, Halcyone had found poor air and Teal had recovered from a slow first round.

The first two places were settled.  Teal made good use of her spinnaker to take third.  Halcyone dropped back with a spectacular broach.  She got back two places near the finish.

1 Catriona, 2 Circe, 3 Teal, 4 Halcyone, 5 Hermes, 6 Zephyrus, 7 Dione, 8 Athene, 9 Luna.

Sun 11th Sep – no race

Report from the Secretary.

There was very little wind as we ghosted from the moorings to the starting area.  Then it started to rain.

No race but we sailed back and forth to A, off the club, to justify having turned out.

[Editor: I’m not sure that the passive “having turned out” does justice to the Secretary’s role in it 😉 ]

Sun 4th Sep (abandoned!)

Report from the Secretary.

The morning’s rain had gone away and the sun was shining. A steady breeze took us to the starting area. By the time the stragglers arrived and we went into a starting sequence, wind was very light.  By the start, speed through the water was judged against the flecks of debris on the surface.  Halcyone, Hermes and Dione made progress down the Shandon shore in a back eddy of the flood tide.  The rest of us stood still.

With intense concentration, sails were induced to maintain a semblance of the correct shape. Catriona insinuated herself past Thalia.  Luna, well back, found some pressure to ghost across the loch from the starting area on the way to B, off Silvers.

Hermes and Halcyone swapped the lead.  Catriona found a little momentum whilst the two leaders slowed each other.  At B, the order was Catriona, Halcyone, Hermes, Thalia, Circe, Dione, Ceres, Luna.  Zephyrus had become jaded and took a tow home.

It had taken an hour and 20 minutes to reach B. It looked unlikely we should reach the next mark, G (with the possibility of a finish after at least two legs)  before the time limit.  The decision was made to go home.  As ever, a breeze filled in (through the narrows) to take us to the moorings. Still patchy though. We should have been unlikely to reach G.

Sun 21st Aug

Report from Chris Beale (on board Catriona – but the new owner of Galatea which will be back in the water next season!)

A fine day with no rain, temperature 17°C and winds WSW 6Kts gusting 11Kts. Low tide at 14.22hrs.

Light wind course L7 was in use. Ten Garelochs mustered at the Y line, Catriona leading the beat across to the C mark. There followed a close spinnaker reach to the G mark then a beat to the D mark during which shifting winds unsettled some of the fleet. Catriona reached the line at 54 minutes, initiating the second lap. The beat to the C mark passed in short order however the wind dropped close to the shoreline and the incoming tide made the downwind spinnaker run to the B mark a slow affair in which some places were gained. Catriona rounded the mark ahead of the pack with thirty boat lengths in hand on the final reach to the finish line.

1 Catriona – Charles Darley and Chris Beale (a novice Gareloch sailor who took the Kings’ shilling and was pressed into service at the last moment). A rather clumsy performance by the cabin boy failed to upset the Cap’n and victory was gained none the less.
2 Teal – Iain MacGillivray and Ufo Sutter. Ufo had been away visiting friends in Germany leaving Iain short handed, however the return of the teutonic powerhouse has restored Teal to competitive form.
3 Thalia – Cmdr. Peter Proctor and Roger Kinns. Recently afloat again after repairs Light and clean below the water line.
4 Circe – John Campbell and Gareth
Atkins. Deployment of their secret weapon, a new robotic bottom cleaning device, did little to advantage Circe.
5 Hermes – Donald Aiken and Wendy Jones. Carol is away in Canada therefore after-race drinks was a generally calm affair.
Hermes overhauling Dione on the way to the line.
6 Dione – Lt Cmdr Barrie Choules and Jamie Grant. I’m told Barrie may have suffered a messy bottom – perhaps it was fear of the challenge from Hermes!
7. Athene – Prof. John Blackie and Michael Lapsley. Athene, approaching the C mark for the first time on the starboard tack, allowed the port tack Thalia and Circe, who had called for water, to round in front. I’m informed that he should have made them tack away, so make the call next time John!
8. Luna – Julian Forrester and Chris Ings. Leaking less than she did thanks to Chris and a bucket of sawdust. I have been given some notes on Luna’s performance but I’ll not repeat them here.
9 Thia – Michael Knox of whom I know little but hope to have the privilege of ribbing in future.

DNF Ceres – Paul Blackburn and a young crew. Bottom scrubbing very much needed Paul!

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Thalia, 4 Circe, 5 Hermes, 6 Dione, 7 Athene, 8 Luna, 9 Thia, DNF Ceres.

Tue 16th Aug – no race

We drifted to the start line on a NEerly which became a NWerly. The RO was persuaded that perhaps racing would best be abandoned. A good thing as what little wind there was promptly died.

We then drifted back as a hint of wind then arrived from the S. Before it decided to come from the SE. Before it decided – contrary to any forecast or reason – to come from the SW.

An early night and some drinks and dinner in the bar was perhaps for the best.

(No race!)

Sun 14th Aug

Report from the Secretary.

With more hope than expectation, crews went out to their boats at the usual time on Sunday.  It was a warm day, lacking even a sensation of wind.  As the last of us finished scrubbing below the water line, we noticed those first to drop their moorings were moving.  A steady breeze developed from the north.   If not quite Champagne wind, it was Cremant.

A course was set incorporating a beat up the Shandon shore, a reach across to Clynder and a spinnaker leg to the club.  The starting line had bias as is usual with fixed lines.  The shore end to windward but more strength at the pin.  Teal got the best of it, to leeward but well in front of those closer to the shore.  Halcyone and Catriona in the mix.

The order at the front resolved on the approach to the windward mark.  Catriona, on port, tacked to keep clear of Halcyone on starboard.  The two overstood a little.  Just as Catriona was bearing away to make room to tack behind Halcyone, Halcyone tacked.  After a while Catriona had an overlap to windward which would be the favoured inside position at the mark.  Teal had been a little closer to the shore.  She crossed the pair and tacked to windward.  Catriona had a bit of luck here.  Sandwiched between two boats, the usual outcome is to fall rapidly out of the back.  She was just able to get her bow forward of Teal, still accelerating out of the tack.  The order of mark room at G was Catriona, Teal, Halcyone.  With the next leg a reach, there was little chance to overtake.  Teal did her best downwind, under spinnaker, but was the outside boat at the leeward mark and covered on the next windward leg.

Meanwhile Athene and Thalia were fighting it out and swapping places.  Both recently afloat, light and clean.  Thalia won that one.  Dione was out of sorts, more thorough scrubbing no doubt needed.  Circe and Hermes suffering the same had a fight between them.  Circe won that one.  Both have done some cleaning but no doubt need more.  Luna, likely more market garden than racing yacht, was not in the hunt.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Halcyone, 4 Thalia, 5 Athene, 6 Dione, 7 Circe, 8 Hermes, Luna DNF.

Tue 9th Aug

Report from Teal (the Secretary was at Seawanaka YC!)

The forecast was for ok wind but dying later so RO Shane Rankin was faced with the usual difficult decisions. In practice with the wind from the NW he didn’t have too much choice. The classic L1 course to D and back to the finish via the G mark off Gullybridge was the logical choice and not really much longer than the S course to D and back. And a single lap – if shortened – felt do-able.

Teal got away first at the heavily biased and favoured shore end of the line. Leading from Thalia and Circe. Thalia tacked off up on the loch while Circe stood on towards the Rosneath side of the loch. And Teal just  covered both from the middle.  In the end Teal found she had covered Thalia well enough but Circe managed to squeeze up underneath to reach the D mark first. She seemed to be pointing incredibly well (Teal couldn’t match it!). Better wind or skill? Or both! Teal followed, with Thalia in third.

Across to G, Circe was a little slow with the hoist and Teal tried to sail above her – taking the reach-y wind. She succeeded (eventually). But Thalia just executed a very fast slick spinnaker hoist and sailed under both! Again, better wind or skill? Or both! She certainly made the most of it and arrived at G with a good lead for the run back to what – with winds lightening as forecast – was almost certainly going to be the finish.

Teal and Circe had some close quarters shenanigans (not aided by Teal’s skipper having a ‘moment’ when, showing his crew how to do a spinnaker gybe and looking backwards, he got port and starboard wrong! Doh.). Circe prospered inshore and Teal realised that  – given the biased line – was the place to be, so gybed back left behind Circe to nab second place.

Thalia crossed the line for a good clear win. Her second Tuesday in a row nonetheless! (Congratulations Thalia!). When the leading boats looked back they now realised that some behind were still at D – trapped in a hole! Athene escaped it sufficiently well to finish and take 4th but Ceres and Thia needed a tow back to the moorings in what was now a glassy calm Gareloch.

1 Thalia, 2 Teal, 3 Circe, 4 Athene, DNF Ceres, Thia.

Sun 7th Aug

Report from Circe.

Excellent! For the first time this season Gareth joined me as crew, my first adult crew that can sail and knows their way round a Gareloch and quite happy to spend time cleaning the hull prior to the race, after comments in the last race report!

Not a bad breeze from the west, down to the line, borrow Charles’ whistle to be RO, course H7, just about to start and the port jib fairlead block parts company! Quick…lash it up but the starboard tack will be compromised. How many boats? Athene and Thalia will still be quick with their smooth hulls, Catriona plus Fergus [Fergus? It’s unclear whether Fergus is a misspelt/autocorrected Gareloch boat name or a person or a dog – a clarification to follow! Yes, it’s a dog!], Dione and Halcyone…should be a good race.

Ok, start the sequence, not a bad start, but all the boats have a good start and, from the off, the field are competitive. The whole of the first beat up to C is spent criss crossing, many shouts of STARBOARD, round C and Catriona is just ahead, we’re second but only just, Dione close behind, Thalia and Halcyone, followed by Athene.

A run to G, I make a bad call and fail to get the spinnaker up as I thought to gybe onto starboard tack but every time I tried to get the boom over the wind seemed to veer northwards and I ended up far too close to Barrie, he did look a little worried, but with his spinnaker up he was soon clear ahead of me and the others were close behind. Back onto the beat and over to E, and everyone tacked to head across towards Clynder side. Nothing to lose then by trying something different, so we tacked up the loch and Thalia joined us. It appeared to be the better place, and then we almost got Charles on starboard! That was exciting and Circe had a bit more go about her despite the compromised jib. Dione had a moment thinking she was on L7 not H7, so Barrie said, and lost out… and this is the point of the race where I wish that Charles would nominate someone to write a race report BEFORE the race rather than after…it would make me pay more attention.

Round E, and in 2nd, from Thalia and Halcyone, then I think Dione and Athene. Across to G, and the wind was a bit beamy, no one else felt the need for a spinnaker, but Gareth thought to give it a go as Charles wasn’t that far away…it was bit hairy in the gusts, and only added a bit, but not enough so round E and back to C. Maybe keep the spinnaker up to catch Charles? Round the mark…even more beamy and gusty so no, get it down…QUICK!

Across to C Catriona still ahead, Thalia behind, but all still pretty close…round C and back to the finish. Spinnakers up…hang on, that feels like an easy hoist, oh no, the shackle wasn’t on the head properly so it was up by the spreaders without a sail, so we could only sit back and watch Thalia cruise past, and then worry as Halcyone bore down on us with full sail towards the finish line…but we just scraped 3rd, with the others close behind. Well done Gareth though, he retrieved the spinnaker halyard…excellent racing this evening…these are great boats!

1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Circe, 4 Halcyone, 5 Dione, 6 Athene.

Sun 31st Jul

Report from the Secretary.

It began with bright sunshine and sufficient wind for boats to heel, but not so much as to wet the side decks. Five turned out, some skippers are away at West Highland Week.

With wind from the south, a course was set down and up the Shandon shore. The shore end of the starting line favoured, Catriona got there first. She tacked out and crossed the others but became cautious as they hardened up and continued along the shore. She need not gave worried.

Downwind, there was reluctance to set spinnakers. Some boats were single handed. The third sail was essential and eventually all succumbed. Circe was way off the pace, no doubt a result of marine growth below the water line. Athene went well but her crew, sailing for only the second day this year, not rust free. As at the recent championship, Halcyone and Hermes fought each other. It was resolved on the last downwind leg. With wind dying, Hermes was inshore of Halcyone and unable to keep her spinnaker filled.

Boats were drifting with the tide on the leg to the finish. Athene found new air blowing from the north and set a spinnaker on what had been a beat.

1 Catriona, 2 Halcyone, 3 Hermes, 4 Athene. Circe DNF.