Garelochs @ the Mudhook YC Saturn Sails Regatta (Sat 12th Jun)

The annual Mudhook regatta, a prestigious event, is a two day affair.  It took place on the East Patch, with a starting line between Helensburgh and Craigendoran Piers.  The Garelochs decided to take part only on Saturday, so as to be able to have the usual points series race on Sunday.

A superbly well attended event.  In particular there were large fleets of Etchells and 707s. 4 Garelochs turned out, Catriona, Thalia, Teal and Dione.  We were given our own start. Three good races on the same  course with a long beat to windward, to a navigation mark south of Rosneath Point.

A Gareloch owner watching from the shore thought it a sunny, mild day.  For those on the water, it was blowing.  Side decks were wet.  Significant chop, too.   Unless you have spent a lifetime sailing there, the winds and currents on the east patch are a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.  For the first two races, tide was flooding.  The favoured path to windward was towards the north side of the course with a tack at the key place near the Rosneath shore.  Too soon and the adverse tide set you back.  Too late and there was wind shadow from the land.  Those who got it wrong could not read the sail numbers of the leaders.  Sailing to windward through the short seas another skill which could do with improvement.  In retrospect, none of us were good enough at shifting weight in the boat.  Sitting to windward is the obvious bit.  We could have gone a cat’s whisker faster moving weight back when surfing downwind.  The official Gareloch Coach, Mark Greenhalgh, would have been frustrated.  Its not as if he hasn’t told us before. It was strong enough wind to test our spinnaker handling.  The third sail was essential on the off wind legs so there was no avoiding it.  None of us were fault free.

Anyway, by the third race, tide had turned.   Catriona, thinking to be a smart alec, stayed further south on the beat so as to get more benefit from the ebb.  It made no difference.

The Garelochs are used to lower budget events, where the same line is used for starting and finishing.  Some, in the first race, thought to go through the starting line at the end of the first round.  That was not necessary and set back those who had not read their sailing instructions.  The Mudhook benefitted from two committee vessels and set up a finishing line away from the start.

It was unquestionably close racing. The top three, Catriona, Teal and Dione each beat each other in at least one of the races.  Right up until the end, the three might have been equal on points.  Downwind to the finish Dione had a problem with the cleat of her spinnaker halyard so that whilst close, she was out of it.  Teal was leading with Catriona catching quickly on the surf.  That did not last, so Teal took the win and with it, the regatta.

1 Teal, 2 Dione, 3 Catriona, 4 Thalia.

(PS Detailed results via Mudhook YC regatta event page

…or direct at )