Address to a (GOD) Haggis

Sadly, in the interest of time, Jim Findlay had to cut some material from his speech at the Gareloch Dinner. The new Convenor thought you might all appreciate still being able to appreciate his Burns-inspired ‘Address to Peter (with haggis overtones)’.

Happy New Year! And it is nearly time for Burns Supper… (I heard the club have one!).

Cultural note (mindful of our international audience and friends in the FKY!): ‘Address to a Haggis’ is a poem by Robert Burns – Scotland’s national bard (poet) – which is read out at a Burns Supper. It celebrates the haggis which is the king of puddings (sausages rather than desserts).

Address to Peter (with haggis overtones)

Fair fa Thalia’s sonsie face

Convenor’s yacht o’ Gareloch Class

Around the marks you take your place

Second, first and never last

Weel are ye worthy o’ a dram

As langs my arm


The Helmsmans place you occupy

Below the coaming, ‘cept your eyes

Your tiller held above your heid

Just in case a tack you need

While through your veins the red blood roars

Like tidal flows


His Ensign, see Commander Peter raise

My yacht is long enough for this he says

When underneath the Club Burgee

His pride in Navy and the sea

Oh what a glorious sight

Golden hull and varnish bright


Then bow to stern they tack and gybe

It’s Deil tak the hindmost on the Clyde

Til all the boats are scattered wide

And spinnakers in tatters lie

Auld Charley D, maist like to win

his red flag flies


Is there that ower his post-race brew

Or protest meet to mak him stew

Or starboard boat that came too close

Or crew that points the rightful course

Talks down the fine points of the rule

To win at any cost


Poor devil, see him hold his course

The wrong decision, oh how rash

His guid topsides at risk o bash

No rights at mark

Tho’ water called and red flag flies

Poor grasp of rules the space denies


But mark Thalia’s canvas spread

Her wily crew, refreshed and fed

No confrontation, need for rules

Clear air and water are the tools

That give the boys their right of way

And sometimes well-earned victory


Ye G.O.D.’s wha sailors love so much

On Tuesday nights and Sunday lunch

The Gareloch wants no reaching course

With long procession

But if you wish a beat that’s best

Gie them force 4 out the west


Dione Restoration – Stage 4 – Completion and Launch!

A final report from Bill McLaren and Tim Henderson to conclude their successful and hugely appreciated 3 year project!

Stage 4 – Completion and Launch

This final report tells the story of the end game of the Dione restoration project and covers the period from December 2016 through to her launching in July 2017. It was an exciting and busy time as three years of hard work finally came to fruition.

The first step was to complete the deck by fitting covering boards around the deck edge.

The deck awaiting the covering boards to be fitted.

Photo 1

The sheer strake, or top plank of the hull, was doubled with filler pieces between each rib, to which the covering boards were screwed with a mastic bedding. The joint between the inner edge of the covering board and the deck was made with epoxy. This required precise wood work to get a good fit and the result was very pleasing.

The covering boards at the bow.

Photo 2

We then turned our attention to the construction of the cockpit and cuddy. We first had to design the cuddy to meet the class rules and to form an elegant and strong structure. The first step was to shape and fit the cockpit sides

The port cockpit coaming is screwed into place

Photo 3

We then fitted the forward and aft cockpit coamings with corner bracing pieces to strengthen the structure.

The main structure comes together

Photo 4

The cuddy deck beams were laminated from strips of mahogany and moulded over a former to give the design curvature.

Detail of the cuddy construction

Photo 5

The cuddy deck was laminated from two sheets of 6mm plywood and screwed and glued to the cockpit edges and cuddy deck beams. This created a very strong and stiff structure.

Finally the cockpit and cuddy was varnished in preparation for fitting the deck hardware.

The completed and varnished cuddy structure.

Photo 6

There was a lot of deck hardware and we had underestimated the cost and time involved in procurement and fitting. Tim took the lead and we tried to follow best practice from the most successful boats in the fleet, using modern equipment.

Dione’s mast had been in storage for many years and appeared to be sound. However more detailed examination showed serious flaws and rot in critical places and we were forced to condemn it. Due to short timescales, a mast ‘musical chairs’ resulted, and Dione finished up with a brand new mast which had been built for Iris but not used. A second unfinished mast made at the same time as the one for Iris was completed and went to Iris. Finally Dione’s original mast was rebuilt in slow time and now forms a class spare.

Having overcome this last minute crisis we had only to complete the final painting and varnishing and the job was done.

As the shed was dismantled it became possible to see Dione in full perspective for the first time since work started three and a half years ago.

At the marina she was rigged and prepared for her return to the water after some 30 years.

And most importantly her name was painted on the transom

Photo 11

She was launched and floated to her marks. She took up quickly and after about two days was scarcely making any water. It was good to see her afloat.

Finally, a copy of the slides and photographs used during the Dione launch party. (NB. for download but approx. 156MB!)


Tue 26th Sep

The last race of the year.  As the light faded, the Gareloch was delightfully atmospheric.

On the Water Race Officer Michael Knox avoided the shortest possible course (a temptation given the limited time) and sent us upwind to A, off the club, then downwind to Clynder.

Catriona got away best at the favoured shore end of the starting line with Dione and Thalia in pursuit.  As we rounded the windward mark, it was necessary to head up the Shandon shore so as not to impede a frigate on her way to Faslane.  It did not interfere with the racing.  Dione tried to pass Catriona to windward, but helm Lucy Forrester responded to protect her position.  Ceres, meanwhile, was affected by underwater growth and not on the pace.

Back at the line, Catriona would have been happy to finish but there was time for another round and Dione pressed on.  It was a good sail, wind was steady, no places changed.

1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Thalia, 4 Thia, Ceres Rtd.

Sunday 24th Sep

(Guest report from Teal.)

The forecast was for steady wind from the SE and rain. One of these was, with the benefit of hindsight, accurate. But let’s go back to the beginning.

Teal, Thalia (with Peter and a guest-starring crew) and Hermes (helmed by Mike Lidwell since Carole was on holiday) turned up to race. A good few other helms were on a jolly – sorry, at a regatta – to Seawanhaka YC near New York. The series was all to play for with Teal and Hermes on level points. Teal offered to act as the on-the-water Race Officer and so with the SE wind, and a preference from others for avoiding a downwind start, selected course H4 which would take us from Z on a fine reach to A, then a long run to D (N of Clynder), then – with good luck – a good beat back from D to the start line. At Z. Remember this. Z.

Thalia and Teal both hit the line well but with Thalia just upwind and ahead but with Teal possibly having the advantage of the inside if she could maintain the overlap. In the end Thalia’s position paid off and she broke clear to reach A with Teal following. Hermes following. Teal however rounded wide and got on top of Thalia and hoisted early to pass to windward. At this point however the steady wind seemed to abandon us and perhaps swing to the S. Difficult to be certain however as it became almost non-existent and D started to look very far away indeed. Teal gybed – thinking to perhaps get better wind and tide and headed across towards Clynder. Thalia then managed to get some good wind and looked very good and clearly ahead although a long way to the right. Hermes continuing to follow. At this point the wind decided to completely forget the forecast. Perhaps due to the rain front and a very cold mass of wet air approaching from the west? In any event the wind swung to the SW and Teal was clear on a fine reach to D. The wind shift was enough that Thalia had to eventually take down her kite early just to get there. She still rounded just ahead of Hermes.

It looked as if the excitement was over and a slow, long, wet reach in procession back to the finish was in order. However there were two further developments before we were finished: one natural and one man-made! The first (natural one) was that the wind kept swinging slowly S and eventually re-established back from the SE. Teal however still had the others covered and kept herself between them and the finish. No issues. You’d have thought. The second (man-made) development however was that Teal checked the finish and read that it was Y. Which made sense since that gave a fairly square finish line. At some point well past Z on the way to Y, Teal’s skipper decided to double-check and spotted that it was not Y but Z! (The confusion coming from the unique situation that the Light-wind course which went to C then finished at Y but the High-wind course – which we were on – went from D to Z.) After a sharp bear away and now reaching, Teal and Thalia were both going to get to Z at the same time. Teal had in the end realised her error just in time to make it inside of Thalia (with mark-room rights if necessary) and a sharp turn took her over the line ahead. So close to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory (of both the race and the Sunday series!).

1 Teal, 2, Thalia, 3 Hermes

Sun 17th Sep

The forecast was for very little wind but as it turned out there was enough for a good race.  Finding the best of it was key.

On the water Race Officer Roger Kinns set a course up and down the Shandon shore.  As is so often the case, there was a compromise between being far enough out to get good wind and close enough in to get the best of the back eddy as the tide ebbed.  This is usually a speciality of Hermes,  This time, she ventured too far out and let Dione have it all her own way.  Teal went out with the intention of covering Hermes.  To no avail.  Halcyone looked strong initially but found a hole close inshore which let Hermes into an unassailable second place.

Halcyone and Teal had a torrid time rounding the windward mark, fighting the tide as the wind died away.  Halcyone made it round first but Teal took the place with slicker spinnaker handling downwind.

The leaders crossed the start/finish line with time for a second round.  Thalia got in front of Halcyone by omitting the start/finish line and staying in better air out in the loch.

1 Dione, 2 Hermes, 3 Teal, 4 Halcyone.  Thalia RTD.

Tue 12th Sep

A wet night, but there was good wind.  On the water Race Officer Iain MacGillivray selected a course to B, off Silvers, and back.  It was a good leg to windward.

Catriona set out to cover Teal at the start and got the best of it at the favoured pin end.  Others who were earlier were obliged to bear away down the line.  Teal was blanketed by Halcyone and suffered badly, she never fully recovered.

As Catriona set off across the loch in response to Teal, Dione prospered on the Shandon shore.  It was soon clear Dione was leading with Catriona chasing.  As the pair crossed tacks, Catriona ducked twice but on the third occasion she had had the best of a lift was able to cross ahead with starboard advantage and tack into a covering position.

There was time for a second round, although some were not enthusiastic.  Athene strayed too far to the Clynder shore too early and lost her third place to boats which approached the shore close to the layline for the mark. Downwind, she had a crack at Hermes.  She slowed her opponent by getting on her air but tried to pass too close to windward.  Hermes’s luff did for her.

1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Teal, 4 Halcyone, 5 Thalia, 6 Hermes, 7 Athene, 8 Thia, 9 Ceres

Sun 10th Sep

Wind again from the Clynder shore, this time more of the south in it compared with the previous Tuesday.  On the water Race Officer Iain MacGillivray chose a course zig-zagging across the loch, beginning with a leg to windward to B, off Silvers.  The south end of the starting line was the place to be.  Teal benefitted from a lull in the wind which caught out the others and got the best start.  She was not to be caught thereafter.
After a downwind leg to the Shandon Shore, there was a second leg to windward to Clynder.  Hermes and Dione went the right way and left Catriona behind.
On a day when there was wind, the Gareloch could not have produced more variable conditions.  We seemed to be going to windward to reach the Clynder shore and to windward again to get away from it.  When the wind went aft, only Hermes avoided drama by eschewing the spinnaker.  The rest had spectacular broaches and, in Catriona’s case, an unintended gybe.
1 Teal, 2 Hermes, 3 Catriona, 4 Dione.

Tue 5th Sep

The first of the Series of the Ancient Mariner.  Named after Douglas Young, who passed away in 2013.  He was latterly the owner of Galatea and a great friend of the class over many years.
Wind was blowing from the Clynder Shore and especially changeable.  Thalia, Hermes and Dione set off up the Shandon Shore and it paid handsomely.  Most of the rest ventured out into the loch early, On the approach to D, the windward mark, the second bunch could not read the sail numbers of the first.  Two legs offwind to the finish were not enough to make up the difference.  Halcyone had gone up the middle of the loch between the the two groups. She rounded the D mark in first position just ahead of Thalia, but slick spinnaker handling on Thalia allowed her to take back the lead. Halcyone was unable to hoist her spinnaker and Hermes overtook as well. Halcyone held her position over the next two legs having escaped D and the rest of the Fleet.
1 Thalia, 2 Hermes, 3. Halcyone, 4 Teal, 5 Catriona, 6 Athene, 7 Ceres, 8 Thia.

Sun 3rd Sep

Wind had an easterly element so that Race Officer Roger Kinns was unable to set a course starting with a leg to windward.  On a wet afternoon, we set off for A, off the club.  The shore end of the starting line was favoured, Catriona got the best of it with Teal and Zephyrus well placed.  Zephyrus had the favoured inside position at the mark.  Teal used her spinnaker to move into second on the run to D, north of Clynder.  An inefficiently wide mark rounding by Catriona let Teal in.  At the start of the windward leg to the finishing area, Catriona luffed and Teal tacked away.  Which made her the give way boat against the rest of the fleet approaching he mark.

There were incidents galore.  On account of Teal, Hermes passed the wrong side of the mark which put her close to Dione, hardening up having just rounded.  Athene and Zephyrus had a stooshie about mark room.  Athene, on the inside, could not avoid contact with both Zephyrus and the mark.
There was time for a second round, as the forecast sunshine did not appear.  The order at the front was established.  Dione damaged her chances by being on the wrong end of a port/starboard incident with Halcyone on the downwind leg.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Zephyrus, 4 Thalia, 5 Halcyone, 6 Hermes, 7 Athene, 8 Dione.

Die Göttin DIONE kehrt zurück

Die Göttin DIONE kehrt zurück – The Goddess Dione returns

Our good friends in the Freundeskreis Klassicher Yachten (FKY) – the (German) Classic Yachts Association – and who we team-race against regularly, are as excited as we are about a classic yacht being restored and published a piece too.

Good practice for one’s German. Or use Google Translate!