Saturday 22nd June – Clyde Classic

The first race of the Clyde Classic regatta was designated as the points series race for Garelochs. A wonderful event featuring some magnificent classic yachts. Many designed by Fife. There was Camilla who lives at Shandon. Built in 1894 and still original. Kentra, 99 feet of Fife gaff ketch in superb order. Saskia, an 8 Metre from 1931, her stem sharper than anything you have seen. Tringa is a recreation of Clyde 19/24 from the 19th century. Even with a magnifying glass, you would find no flaw.
Race officer Hugh Normand divided the boats into three groups, according to size, and started us in Rhu bay at five minute intervals. The Garelochs in the slowest group along with the slightly faster Scottish Islanders and the 19th century gaff ketches. Some of the large boats of group 1, unused to racing, thought to start with the smallest in group 3. That concentrated the minds of Gareloch helms. Iris and Thalia got away well and immediately climbed to avoid being blanketed. Catriona and Zephyrus suffered. Catriona’s wind was taken by the 14 ton Gauntlet Class Isla Rose. Designed by HG May and built at the Berthon yard at Lymington. A man asked May to design him a yacht. When the design was finished, he no longer wanted it having commissioned another design elsewhere. Irritated, May built the boat anyway and challenged the man with his alternative design to a race. May won, hence the name of what became a successful class. Catriona’s skipper used the blanketing to bargain for a shot on the helm of Isla Rose on the Sunday (when there was too much wind for Garelochs).
Anyway, the course took us on a beat down the river towards Cove. Catriona and then Zephyrus were able to pass Thalia but Iris had first place firmly under control. Downwind, Catriona caught a little by setting her spinnaker early. She passed the leading Scottish Islander who was very slow to set the third sail. Iris, however, still out of reach. A wind shift meant the final leg to the finish, after hardening up at the Green Isle buoy, was about as fine as spinnakers like it. Rhu bay then took on some of the characteristics of the Gareloch. Wind became light and variable. The last of the good air brought Catriona up to Iris. The two fought to keep spinnakers full and crossed the finish line almoat overlapped. Catriona with her nose ahead. The two Garelochs were first and second on the water and on handicap in Group 3. Tringa the first of the gaff rigs.

1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Zephyrus, 4 Thalia.

Saskia got away from the 6 Metre, Valdai, on the downwind leg to take Group 1. Sule Skerry, the 1958 McGruer yawl who lives locally won group 2.