Seven Garelochs moved from their moorings to the start area in a light southerly breeze. At least there was some wind after the flat calms of past weeks. A course from Z to A and then to G in a weakening flood tide looked like a safe bet, at least in the eyes of Race Officer Roger Kinns.
We entered the starting sequence with the wind beginning to veer to the west, so that only a starboard tack to A was needed. Never mind, we could anticipate a good spinnaker run to G. Thalia, Catriona and Dione got away first, but Ceres did well by going further inshore. Hermes and Halcyone were catching up. The wind almost died as boats approached the A mark, then quickly veered to the north and strengthened, so a run became a beat.
Athene was still approaching A on starboard as other boats rounded the mark. She had to take avoiding action to miss a rampant Hermes who did her turns, but then had to spend the rest of the race trying to recover some places. Tacking to G was the next challenge, seeking to take best account of wind and tide variations across the loch. Catriona and Dione, both being sailed single-handed, did best and showed consummate skill in raising and gybing spinnakers during the subsequent runs to Z and then to A.
There was time for a second round and more spinnaker handling in the sustained northerly breeze. It was almost the perfect course after all.1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Halcyone, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes, 6 Ceres, 7 Athene