Sunday 3rd July – RNCYC Regatta

Club Regatta 2016 – Gareloch class race report

The club regatta consists of three races (with starts for each class) in a classic windward-leeward (‘sausage’) course. Today we were in the hands of Neill Ross as RO who, ably assisted by Howard Morrison and good wind (if almost a little too much at times), treated us to a cracking afternoon’s racing. Neill set up the start line in a perfect spot between the club mooring and Blairvadach with a start line which worked well in the, as we were to find out, veering westerly wind and allowed him to select a range of windward marks as appropriate.

Race 1 (and counting as Nyassa Plate race 1)
With the Sonars sorting their boats and crewing arrangements out, Neill sensibly got the Garelochs underway with a race to the H mark off the south end of the Clynder shore. Not a much used mark in anything other than a true westerly – which we have less than you might think – and hard to spot buried amongst some yachts and moorings. Slight but significant pin end bias. Catriona led in on starboard towards the pin – early as is her wont. And as predicted by Teal who followed in with good speed to chase her. Hopefully over the line or past the pin. Catriona eventually overlapped but, arguably, just keeping clear once the overlap was established. However Teal used her momentum to continue to luff and squeeze inside the pin. Catriona was not paying attention and keeping clear, and acquiesced to a second protest from Teal and the resultant penalty turns.

Now on the beat, Zoe and Thalia going well and Teal had to duck at least one of them as she tacked and headed up the loch on port. With hindsight it became clear that the wind was veering and Teal’s positioning on the right of the fleet paid dividends. Catriona though was busy limiting the damage and sailed a superb beat to climb back in to second by the windward mark.

Little changed on the run but then, rounding the leeward mark for the second beat, ominous dark clouds started to make their presence felt with strong wind and gusts. Good force 6 and borderline conditions but thankfully with little fetch in the Gareloch to build too much chop. Hermes had already bowed out of this race due to the conditions. Teal now covering Catriona and both headed towards the peninsula shore and some shelter before considering tacking. Catriona going very well in the strong conditions. Teal protected her lead round the mark and back down to the finish (once she had sorted her confusion about whether this was two or three laps and whether a shorten course signal was therefore required!).

1 Teal 2 Catriona 3 Zoe 4 Thalia 5 Ceres (Hermes DNS/DNF?)
(also as noted as Nyassa Plate 1)

Race 2
The RO now changed the course to the C mark to reflect the veering wind. Teal thought the pin end of the line was still just favoured and made a superb start on the line on the gun, with Hermes close and pushing. To no avail, as it became clear that a continued wind shift – veering to the NW – had given the committee boat end a substantial advantage. Zoe and Catriona called it right and were there. Zoe squeezing Catriona but both now clearly to windward of the fleet. Teal tacked across on to starboard – clearing Thalia and Hermes but had to duck Zoe (just) and Catriona (by a long way). Zoe tacked to cover Teal. Catriona tacked to cover both. Teal took this as the cue to tack again and get out from under Zoe.

The approaches to the C mark were ‘interesting’. Catriona leading but veering around ‘like a drunk on Sauchiehall Street on a Friday night’. Nothing to do with her (ginger beer-loving) skipper and everything to do with the shifty wind by the shore. Teal, followed by Thalia, suffered a continual lift that spiralled them around the mark. And then suffered the indignity of watching Ceres and Hermes screaming up to the mark from the inside – on the same tack but sailing 20 degrees higher! So, Catriona round first, followed by Zoe, Ceres, Teal, Thalia and Hermes.

The veering wind just allowed a port run without the need to gybe. Teal past Ceres. Wind strengthening again. Teal looking to limit loss to Catriona concentrated on Zoe ahead and climbed slowly to windward. Catriona ahead cannily tacking to protect herself against a header later in the beat. Catriona rounding C followed by Teal then Zoe. And in that order to the finish with some strong gusts blowing down the track. (And which caused Zoe to retire with her crew – perhaps understandably – not enjoying the rolling.)

1 Catriona 2 Teal 3 Zoe 4 Ceres 5 Thalia 6 Hermes

Race 3
To the C mark again with the wind now more clearly favouring the committee boat end. With Teal and Catriona both recording a win and a second (and with Zoe retired), it was now between the two blue boats. So it was surprising that Catriona approached on a reach and allowed Teal to easily shut the door at the start. Catriona having to follow over the line in her wake. Catriona tacked to head up the Shandon shore (perhaps staying out of the building ebb tide?). Teal covered and the wind did Catriona no favours. Teal had better wind – stronger and perhaps lifted. And that was largely that, with Teal making no mistakes on the maths and covering Catriona. Ignoring Thalia who had gone left and who now charged strongly up the loch (with her round-the-world-cruising Filipina guest – Cara – enjoying her day out). It was a bonus then that, despite ducking Thalia, Teal then managed to play some shifts and shortly emerge on top to lead in to the mark. Thalia going well though, followed by Ceres, then Hermes and Catriona.

Back to the start. Teal stayed on starboard to allow a gybe and port approach to the port rounding. Hermes defending well against Catriona and luffing strongly. With a clear race order and regatta result, and the risk of building winds, the RO blew for a shorten course which Teal happily took.

1 Teal 2 Thalia 3 Ceres 4 Hermes 5 Catriona (Zoe DNS)

Final results
1st Teal 1 2 1 = 4 points
2nd Catriona 2 1 5 = 8
3rd Thalia 4 5 2 = 11
4th Ceres 5 4 3 = 12
5th Zoe 3 3 7 (DNS) = 13
6th Hermes 7 (DNS/DNF?) 6 4 = 17

Many thanks to our race officer Neill and assistant Howard, for a grand day. Sitting in a rib for hours in strong wind and occasional squally rain is very much appreciated. Spot on job from our race committee and not taken for granted.