Nine Garelochs took the opportunity to participate in the first race of the year, eager to show off their new paintjobs and test their over-winter tweaks under race conditions. Many arrived earlier than usual to remind themselves how to put up their sails and go fast.
John Campbell arrived as Supporting Race officer only to be immediately promoted to Race Officer (with last minute support from Julian Forrester who was ‘just passing’). The power didn’t go to his head and he set a very sensible course of L8, which suited the moderate force 2 blowing quite reliably from the North West. Rumour has it there was some idle chatter from the water around ‘flag recognition lessons’ being needed but this didn’t take the shine off the perfect execution of his role. He will likely be allowed to repeat this duty, especially as Circe is likely taking a gap year.
Fortunately, the new position of the Y mark closer to the shore was balanced with the high tide – which meant that there was plenty of water at the start line, although its oblique angle made it somewhat difficult to judge for some of us newcomers.
As the start horn blasted all boats pulled in tight for the beat over to Meikle Burn. Some chose to cross the water early, others decided that a plod along the east shore made more sense. There wasn’t much in it, although perhaps some did benefit from darting across early, with Ceres and Luna making some ground up here. Catriona made the mark first, closely followed by Dione (Dione making some very good ground after starting at the back). All other boats rounded the mark in quick succession and then it was time to see if the Spinnakers had been packed properly for their first outing. Most appeared to fly well, with only Ceres (limited by crew experience and helm confidence) and Luna (single crewed) deciding against it. Hermes sported a new and beautiful ‘Monocle’ arrangement to aid the flying of her big sail with ‘encouraging’ effect. Catriona gave up first place to Dione during this run, both helms competing not just for first place but also for winner of best hat.
The G mark soon loomed and Thia, Ceres and Hermes were all in close contention – and then it was a simple matter of passing the start Y on the way up to the moorings mark A. Simples. Only the lead boat (Dione) decided that they would take a short cut and skip A. Once they realised their error too much ground had been lost and Catriona laughed all the way around the correct course.
The second round saw the wind switch a little more to the North and the low sun made Catriona (and the D mark) almost invisible in the distance. Ceres found themselves in the incredible position of 2nd at this mark and decided it was crunch time and their spinnaker too must be raised for the final sprint to Y. Ceres was were only passed by Dione, although towards the finish line Teal almost made 3rd but couldn’t quite position to steal the wind or find the speed to pass.
1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Ceres, 4 Teal, 5 Hermes, 6 Thalia, 7 Halcyone, 8 Thia, 9 Luna