Garelochs 30th September to 3rd October

A fitting end to the season. The Gareloch class flew to Germany to compete against the Freundeskreis Klassische Yachten. The Friday flight to Hamburg is well known for stag parties. For once, the Garelochs were not the worst behaved.

There was team racing on the Schlei in Nordic Folkboats. The Folkboats had been chartered by our hosts. In the past we have raced in Knarrs but one has been sold and a fleet of six was not available.

The two owners of the Folkboats watched the racing with interest. It is not clear whether of not our hosts had mentioned that the boats were to be used for racing. Let alone team racing. Despite a few anxious moments, the owners must have enjoyed the event, photographs are to appear in one of their calendars.

There were four races on the Saturday, which were split between the two teams. Crack German helm Sven Foerst taught us how to make the best of the starting line and then sailed into the distance. We were left to concentrate on his team mates.

Three shorter races were planned for Sunday morning so as to break the tie and allow time for a fleet race where crews could helm. We have come, over the years, to realise that the stereotype of ruthless German efficiency is not necessarily accurate. Different instructions had been given to the two teams regarding the course. It was only fair to abandon the first race and we shared the other two. The match was declared a tie.

The fleet race was sailed in dying air. Eventually a result was declared at a rounding mark. Race Officer Klaus Birkhoff (who had no hand in the dichotomy of sailing instructions) awarded the prize of a bottle of rather over proof rum to Eric Boinard. A surprise to Iain Macfarlane who led the race. After some of the rum, he was past caring.

It would be remiss not to mention the entertainment of Saturday evening. Oliver Berking of top line Silversmiths Robbe and Berking opened the Yachting Heritage Centre in Flensburg which bears their name. The opening exhibition was of Royal Yachting. The Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club has lent various exhibits, including our fine silver model of Britannia and one of her racing flags. One of three thought to exist. We were able to swing an invitation.


It is not possible to list all the delights of the exhibition and of the Heritage Centre. Curator Eva Nielsen has done superb work. The workshop, where 12 metres can be built, had treasures wherever you looked. A 6 metre and a 12 with immaculate varnish. Charming clinker dinghies. My favourite, a Skerry Cruiser. Out of the water, her ends look unfeasibly slender.

The star of the evening, for me, the 6 metre which had belonged to the King of Norway. Her keel was set into a pit in the floor so the deck was at a convenient height. Champagne was served from the cockpit.