Sun 16th Jun

Report from Arke

The Gareloch was mostly glassy even as we walked down the pier but the forecast was for the wind to fill in and it did so just as we rigged the sails. And, barring a few lighter patches, it remained a good wind throughout an afternoon that also remained dry! (It was curious however – at least for aficionados of the Gareloch wind – that the forecast initial W wind was more NW and the later forecast NNW wind was often quite northerly!)

The class was missing a couple of key contenders in the season so far: Charles Darley (Catriona) and Barrie Choules (Dione). Both at our friends the FKY’s (Freundeskreis Klassiche Yachten – German Classic Yacht Club) ‘Classic Week’ event over on the Baltic. Dione still out with a ‘guest helm’. 

But more excitingly, while we were missing some, we were graced with the recently renovated and launched Iris! The Mucklow family boat – long sailed by our Honorary President Gordon Mucklow – now being crewed by his children on a shakedown ahead of the Worlds: Bess (on the helm) with John and his wife Kate. Tim Henderson – as with Dione – has done another superb job of renovation!  For those unaware of their class history, Tim Henderson is related to the Mucklow family and the old owner of Arke (or Teal as she was). Worth explaining that the renaming of Arke – promoted to a goddess for the 100th anniversary – was done very much with an eye to the Mucklow-Henderson family relationship and history: Arke is the mythological sister of Iris!

Anyway, with other likely candidates away and no-one volunteering Arke took charge of the race officer duties and picked – given the NW wind – the obvious classic L8 course. Good beats to D off Rahane on the Rosneath shore. Circe lead in but early. Arke spotted her slowing and went for a ‘hook’ (overlap to leeward with intent to push them up over the line). There was some  largely gentlemanly disagreement over interpretations of ‘room’ to ‘keep clear’! Boats headed out with Arke pointing higher but Circe footing lower but fast. In the end it paid for Circe and she reached some excellent wind on the Rosneath side first. She – and Ceres, going very well indeed – both passed Arke by a large margin once they tacked! Others were now playing catch up! Arke and Zephyus both attempted to chase down Circe and Ceres. But Circe if anything extended her lead – good sailing in good wind! And Ceres – most annoyingly! – was doing all the right things too. Zephyrus however managed to sneak past very deftly just before the mark when – covered by both Ceres and Arke – she very quickly tacked on a header which killed the other two!

So round D to G. Circe with a commanding lead, followed by Zephyrus, Ceres, Arke. The wind had swung more northerly making this a reach. Zephyrus and Ceres declined to put up their spinnakers which allowed Arke – who hoisted – to get past. Iris too raised and, over this and the next leg back to the start line, she too overhauled them in to third place. 

Back now up to D. Circe’s lead was commanding and she was only going to be caught by big holes or big mistakes.  Arke gave chase but the wind remained good and Circe didn’t make any. Iris retained her good third. Ceres too, solid in fourth. Zephyrus raised her spinnaker and held off Dione.

1 Circe, 2 Arke, 3 Iris, 4 Ceres, 5 Zephyrus, 6 Dione, 7 Luna, 8 Thia

Tue 11th Jun

Race report from Arke (ex Teal!)

A race with a LOT happening. (And indeed the results were still being decided in the bar afterwards!) So a slightly fuller report…

Race Officer Reay MacKay – assisted by Jean MacKay and Bill Molloy – was gifted a beautiful evening  to preside over – good wind from the WNW (ish) and sunshine – and set the classic L8 course to take advantage of it: a good beat up to the D mark of Rahane on the Rosneath shore, followed by spreader mark G on the Shandon shore and back to the start, and for the second round a straight beat back up to D and a run back to the finish.

The fixed start line was inevitably biased. And just as inevitably Catriona led in up the line with Arke chasing. Not quite as inevitably, Circe and Thalia also joined in the mix. Circe slotted in under Catriona to keep her pinned up on the line. Thalia was lower again (and going to need to tack when she hit the shore). But Catriona had judged it well and nailed the start with Circe having to tack earlier. Arke ducked the tacking Thalia (note ‘tacking’ – you can’t claim ‘starboard’ until you have completed your tack and are on a close-hauled course- see footnotes**) and tacked as close to the shore as possible. All headed out with Dione having started further back down the line but going well. Circe tacked early up the Shandon shore and Dione – covered by Catriona – did likewise. Catriona – knowing that Dione was their main threat in the series – followed to cover. Only Arke and Thalia continued across towards the Rosneath shore. Which usually pays with a good lift once reached. Usually…

But not today. In a repeat of Sunday the boats that headed up the Shandon shore appeared to benefit from much better wind (a shift of the wind to the N once they tacked or (less) tide, or both???). And once they tacked to head across to Rosneath, they crossed those who had first gone left by a mile. Arke gritted her teeth, continued right herself – hoping to take advantage of the magic there. Then tacked back towards D. Sure enough the other boats were still ahead, but she slotted in not far behind leaders Catriona and Dione on the lay-line to D.

Round D and off to G. Catriona leading. Dione didn’t put her spinnaker up and it cost her a bit. Arke caught her and got past at G with a good rounding and spinnaker gybe on top of her. Now Dione raised her spinnaker. Both Dione and Circe went right to get on Arke’s wind but Arke used a gap in between them both to keep some clear air – as well as the annoyingly placed yacht moored near the start/finish line to scrub off Dione!

Now. sadly, the first of the evening’s ‘events’ (or at least the first your correspondent was aware of!). Confusion over rules (mark-room!) perhaps contributed: Dione approaching on port (but actually having ‘inside’ mark-room rights – see rules footnotes*** and needing to gybe) and Circe approach ‘outside’ on starboard led to a bit of a prang. Partially due – despite the helms’ best efforts to avoid contact – to a mainsheet getting caught on another boat. Dione sadly retired. Other boats caught up due to the stramash.

Catriona rounded and headed back up D. Arke ignored the contretemps and concentrated. Strangely she seemed to be in a lane of much better wind than Catriona.  Pointing higher. Much much higher. (Again this strange wind with a much more northerly wind the further up and right towards the Shandon shore you went?). When Catriona tacked she crossed well behind. But – sigh – Arke didn’t tack and cover. When they crossed again Arke only just crossed Catriona. And when they crossed again on the lay-line to D, Catriona was ahead and tacked to lead in. But further strange goings-on: Arke managed to point and lay the mark while Catriona – her helm usually a master of weaving up close-hauled – fell off and had to tack from the shore back to the mark. At the mark Arke was ahead. And rounded and had – and held – the lead back to the finish.

Meanwhile Thalia had perhaps benefitted from the stooshie back at the Y start-finish line mark. She went left across to the Rosneath shore and just sailed well. Emerging in third.

However it transpired that Hermes had protested Catriona for a straight port-starboard incident during the first leg. After discussions in the bar afterwards, Catriona graciously retired without need for the protest committee! And Thalia – in one of her first outings this season – had thus nabbed a nice second!

1 Arke, 2 Thalia, 3 Luna, 4 Circe, 5 Hermes, 6 Halcyone, 7 Thia. DNF Dione, RET Catriona.


**Rule 13 WHILE TACKING “After a boat passes head to wind, she shall keep clear of other boats until she is on a close-hauled course. During that time rules 10, 11 and 12 [ie basic rules re port & starboard rights] do not apply.

*** Rule 18 MARK-ROOM: in post race discussions there seemed to be a wee bit of confusion over rules and disbelief that the “fundamental” port-starboard rule does NOT always take precedence. But it is indeed the case: at a downwind mark an inside overlapped port boat has mark-room even over a starboard boat (including room to gybe – but sail no further than she needs to do so). All covered in rule 18 MARK-ROOM in the Racing Rules of Sailing (2021-2024).

This article also covers mark-room rules with a good explanation of various scenarios – see Scenario #3: Rule 18.2 – Giving Mark-Room

Sun 9th Jun

Report from the Secretary (on Catriona)

A balmy afternoon, sun cream required. Seven of us raced.  Thalia was there too but treated it as a practice sail and did not compete.

On the water Race Officer John Campbell set a course beginning to windward towards the north of the Clynder shore and then back and forth across the loch.  The shore end of the starting line was favoured.  No one was in the optimum place at the gun, Circe and Catriona better than the rest.

As we set off across the loch, Circe felt the need to tack away towards the Shandon shore so as to clear her air.  She benefitted as wind veered further up the loch and was lifted towards the mark whilst the rest suffered the corresponding header on the opposite tack.  She was soon too far ahead to read her sail numbers.  Arke did the converse.  Luna, with Chris Ings sailing alone was on the pace and well placed at the windward mark.  Catriona was comfortably ahead of Dione until an entanglement with the spinnaker.  In the struggling, a clip on the guy attached to the forestay, trapped by a hank of the jib and too far up to reach.  She hardened up at the beginning of the second round just behind Dione (Circe still out of sight), tacked away for clear air and moved backwards.

At the finish, Dione was getting closer to Circe.  Arke had found the right way to go and made up places.  The wind was not kind to Luna.

1 Circe, 2 Dione, 3 Catriona, 4 Arke, 5 Hermes, 6 Luna, 7 Halcyone.  Thalia DNS

Tue 4th June

Report from Clare, the Assistant RO

Breezy start with wind force 5 coming from North West making rigging challenging as boats bounced about. A couple boats were put off sailing by the waves and direction and strength of the breeze. Catriona 3 was first to get to race area, with Halcyone 15  to follow. Race start was delayed slightly as we waited arrival of Luna 1 .

Catriona 3 was quick to notice the lowering of the class signal and was underway leaving Luna 1 and Haycyone 15. The wind calmed a little to make some great racing. H8 was the course with the windward mark being the furthest north on the west side and provided some oportunities to decide if spinnaker use was required. The wind eased to provide some lovely evening sailing.

Catriona 3 finished in 1st  place at 19:55:40. 2nd Luna 1 20:01:35. 3rd Halcyone 15 20:04:36. With wind dropped to force 4 from North West the course was shortened so everyone could enjoy a pleasant sail to the moorings.

1 Catriona, 2 Luna, 3 Halcyone

Sun 2nd June

Report from the Secretary (on Catriona)

It was warm and dry and there was wind.  It would be churlish to complain that  wind was not everywhere and there was caprice regarding its direction.  As another reporter said, snakes and ladders.

On the water Race Officer Barrie Choules selected a long course, beginning with a beat to C (off Clynder) and zig-zagging across the loch.  Plenty of work with the spinnaker, some were caught out.  Circe and Ceres set theirs in early offwind legs but not later ones.

The pin end of the starting line was favoured with those on the ball reaching out from the shore on starboard tack and hardening up at the gun.  Others (e.g. Hermes and Catriona) were early at the pin and had to dodge the fleet after tacking back.

The patchy wind resulted in most of the contenders being in the lead at some stage.  Also, changes in pace between boats approaching marks led to more than one stushie over mark room.

Arke had had large leads at some points before finding light air and being caught.  She was in front, though for the final leg, downwind across the loch.  Dione was close but could make no impression.  Catriona was too far back to make a difference.  Halcyone’s new owner, Ed Morris, was unused to vague Gareloch wind.

1 Arke, 2 Dione, 3 Catriona, 4 Zephyrus, 5 Circe, 6 Ceres, 7 Athene, 8 Hermes, 9 Halcyone

Tue 28th May

Catriona’s helm arrived early (uncharacteristically) so as to fit a new diaphragm to the bilge pump.  It was raining and there was wind.  When he lifted his head from the bilge, the rain had stopped and wind was gone.  Other crews arrived and waited.  Those with optimism were encouraged by ripples on the water moving slowly from the north.  Those without decided to call it a day.

Race Officer Craig Macdonald had an apprentice so was keen to go through the starting procedure.  Hermes put her sails up, Catriona and Dione followed.  There was wind to get to the starting area and there was wind to stem the ebb tide so as to sail up the loch to the windward mark, G, on the Shandon shore.  The rub was that pressure reduced around the starting area and Hermes was unable to make progress.

Catriona rounded G as wind there was dropping.  Dione suffered from the adverse tide.  Craig shortened the course to finish at A, off the club.

1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Hermes.


Sun 26th May

Report from John Campbell, Circe

There is a conspiracy theory on the internet that says that boats cannot be propelled by the wind (you cant see wind) but that they are really driven by rain (which you can see). Of course, we all know what conspiracy theories are like, but I cant help feel that I started to believe in this one. As the boats left moorings and headed towards Blairvadach, the wind dies, and the rain came down in a very visible and forceful downpour! Yet, the boats seemed to make slow progress, never quite coming to a complete stand.

Charlescalls for an on the water RO saw Ceres volunteering, but with no whistle, a transfer from Catriona to Ceres was organised, only to see Charleswhistle head to the bottom of the Gareloch. Others had a lack of stopwatches (see essential item list for racing), so Circe ended up with the role, even though sailing single handed. The sequence started, then stopped when it was realised that no boats would make it to Z in time!

Course L4 was optimistic in such light winds, but it was worth a go. Both Catriona and Circe were over the line and had to duck back, but the fleet made a fairly tight start together heading up to A. The wind lifted and Zephyrus and Ceres made good use of it, and at A Zephyrus rounded first, followed byCatriona, Ceres and Circe with the others not that far away. C was the next mark, although you could have thought that Catriona and Hermes thought otherwise as they headed straight down the Shandon shore. The tide had turned at 3pm and was heading out, so it could be argued that sitting in the middle in such light winds wasnt a good idea. Patchy wind continued, some spinnakers were hoisted (and hung, limply) but then, ever so imperceptibly the wind tried a bit harder. Those with the spinnakers up at the end of the run (Athene and Luna) benefitted and somehow, despite all the different courses and sails, the main fleet ended up close together at C. Athene took the lead at the mark, but had to give water to Catriona and Circe, and there was a general congregation which Ceres was involved in as well. Through it all, Luna arrived at C, rounded nicely and avoided the gaggle, whilst Dione and Hermes were a bit further back.

After the rounding, it was Catriona and Luna who were ahead as the fleet headed back to Y to finish. Circe tried for the single tack and almost managed it, leaving Luna behind who really overstood the mark. Incredibly, given the closeness of the boats at C, by the time they all got to Y they were very spread out. Obviously some of them had more rain hitting them than others!

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

Sun 19th May

Report from Julian Forrester, Luna

Weather: Fine, gentle breeze from (mostly) SE

As in any decent beauty pageant, and in recognition of Halycone’s new skipper, Ed Morris, the finishing order is given in reverse order. Thus:

Halcyone, Thia, Hermes, Luna, Catriona, Circe, Dione.

 The RO, on board Circe, issued a number of courses, hampered by wind shifts in the half hour before the start.  He settled on H5, a course avoiding the Clynder shore (we may never learn why) and which took us from Z to A, a long run along the Shandon side and up to F and back through Z and repeat except for F read G.

The fleet divided quite early on into the usual suspects in front and the other usual suspects behind. Your correspondent, part of the latter, was unaware of any shifts in the order of the former through the race, only of a fickle wind which blew and did not blow, and a falling tide.

It appeared from the back that better progress was to be made the further offshore.  At least such allowed Luna to claw back a place at Hermes’ expense and thus finish mid-fleet. Everyone else finished, it appears, pretty much as they began. Any corrections to this rather lazy assumption most welcome.

Also most welcome during the race was the sight of our erstwhile Convenor on Athene’s shakedown cruise during which it seemed that nothing was going wrong, not even with a shackle.

(Editor: The results in a less beautiful, more traditional form: 

1 Dione, 2 Circe, 3 Catriona, 4 Luna, 5 Hermes, 6 Thia, 7 Halcyone.)

Tue 14th May

The “Alternative” Race Report – a newbie’s perspective! Guest report from Keith Mitchell on Catriona

I had been invited along to try out Gareloch racing, as a fair to middling dinghy sailor and occasional race crew on Liverpool Bay Falcons on the upper reaches of the Mersey – but with limited keelboat experience. My anticipated easing into the class with a quietish ride with the ladies on Hermes rapidly transformed into a baptism of fire as I found myself teamed up with Charles and Fergus on Catriona, with high expectations of a winning performance. To overcome my inexperience in spinnaker handling, we agreed I would helm the downwind legs while Charles flew the kite.

Conditions were a fluky easterly with some very exciting gusts, drizzly to biblical downpour with low visibility. The race itself passed as a bit of a blur, ranging from very pleasant sailing to abject terror (flashbacks of heeling past the point of no return resulting in a turtled Wayfarer in a squall off Rosneath 18 months ago…) however Charles was a very patient teacher, quick to correct the error of my ways in words of few syllables… From what I can remember we spent most of the race trading places with Dione and Arke, but ultimately came in what felt like a very respectable third position, which I am sure with a bit more experience under my belt I could have helped improve upon.

Overall, an excellent evening’s sailing and introduction to the Gareloch One Design, with a great bunch of people with whom I look forward to repeating the experience whenever I am back home on the Clyde.

1 Dione, 2 Arke, 3 Catriona, 4 Circe, 5 Thia, 6 Ceres, 7 Hermes

Sun 12th May

Race report from Barbara McManus on Zephyrus

Variable winds in variable directions, did not dissuade 5 Garelochs from sailing on this Sunday afternoon, hopeful of an exciting race. Race officer, Arke set the L3 course. Circe was first across the start line sporting a new mainsail, crisp and white, followed by Catriona,  Zephyrus, Arke and Hermes. It wasn’t long before spinnakers were out as Circe, Catriona and Arke pushed on through towards the first rounding mark D. However as they crossed the loch the wind started to die and before too long Zephyrus had caught up with leaders. Catriona had a close encounter with Circe which casued her to drop back a couple of places. This resulted in Circe getting round the D mark first, followed by Zephyrus, Arke, Catriona and Hermes. It was back across the loch to the G mark, it was questionable as to whether spinnakers were helping as Zephyrus (without spinnaker) continued to keep up with Circe and Arke. As the boats were approaching the G mark Catriona seemed to squeeze through between Arke and Zephyrus to take the lead.

A push on through to Y with Catriona getting there first, at this point it was unclear whether the wind was tempting us to have another round, the race officer sensibly finished the race on the first round, enough frustration for one afternoon.

1 Catriona, 2 Zephyrus, 3 Arke, 4 Circe, 5 Hermes