A stunning summer evening – the last of a month of perfect weather – with sun, warmth and good wind. And also the last race of the spring Tue series with a good turn-out. It is a reflection of the competitiveness of the class that, with the arrival of Dione, there were three boats all in with a chance of taking the series. Whichever boat won tonight (or at least won out of the three) would also win the series! Not that Teal was entirely aware of that….
NNW wind and RO Linda Pender picked a classic course with a good initial beat to the D mark well up the Clynder shore. Also featuring the classic biased start-line that ends in the shore! Catriona’s tendency to ‘lead in’ to win the start is getting more risky as the class gets more competitive and aggressive. And so it proved with Ceres (helmed by Richard Reeves) chasing along the line, Thalia and Teal approaching from below (with Thalia herself having to bear off to avoid being ‘hooked’ by Teal). Catriona had nowhere to run and was OCS with no easy way back; Ceres was flirting with the line and being pushed by Teal; and Thalia, perhaps running out of water, attempted to tack and demand rights over Teal (but perhaps should re-read the rules!). Teal nailed the start, tacked on to starboard and was away across the loch with other boats nicely below. Halcyone and Dione the best in second and third after avoiding the starting fracas.
A cracking beat now up to D. Dione tacked away, Teal tacked to cover and Halcyone followed heading up the loch. Meanwhile Hermes followed by Catriona – having returned to the start-line – attempted to do something different and headed up the Shandon shore. Catriona abandoned this early. Despite crossing most sterns, Catriona tacked back on to port further left than most and managed to overhaul most of the fleet to complete a masterful recovery (albeit one aided by a failure of any of the class to cover her). Teal and Dione held on to lead in to the D mark. Teal tacked in too early and had to give room – and the lead – to a charging Dione coming in on starboard with good wind. Teal round next, Catriona following to the G mark. Teal managed to overhaul Dione due to faster spinnaker launching, but Dione kept inside rights over Catriona at the mark for the run back to the start-line. The order did not change as we passed the line for the second round to A and beat back to D. Spinnakers stayed up to an out-of-position A mark.
Dione and Catriona now both tacked to head up the Shandon shore, so Teal was obliged to tack and cover. The rest of the fleet followed! Catriona eventually tacked to try and break cover by Dione. Dione and Teal tacked to cover. Teal’s tack had the effect of covering Dione most and she tacked off again leaving Teal covering Catriona. It didn’t pay for Dione and Teal led Catriona then Dione in to D (where she did not make the mistake of going in too early!).
Downwind back to the finish, Teal now managed to find a fairly calm hole in the middle and watched aghast as Catriona and Dione caught up to leeward in a nice streak of pressure. At this point two things saved Teal’s bacon (can you make ham from a duck…?): firstly the wind steadied, and secondly Teal would hit the closer shore end of the line first. Not quite a photo finish but Teal then Catriona then Dione crossed for a very very tight finish to a classic race. Later in the bar we discovered that Ceres was OCS. And after discussions on getting in the way of Halycone while returning to the start Catriona, despite a lack of formal protest, did the sporting thing and retired.
1 Teal, 2 Dione, 3 Halcyone, 4 Thalia 5 Hermes 6 Thia – OCS Ceres, DNF Athene, RTD Catriona
(Guest report from Teal)