Category Archives: Race Reports

Tue 14th May

The “Alternative” Race Report – a newbie’s perspective! Guest report from Keith Mitchell on Catriona

I had been invited along to try out Gareloch racing, as a fair to middling dinghy sailor and occasional race crew on Liverpool Bay Falcons on the upper reaches of the Mersey – but with limited keelboat experience. My anticipated easing into the class with a quietish ride with the ladies on Hermes rapidly transformed into a baptism of fire as I found myself teamed up with Charles and Fergus on Catriona, with high expectations of a winning performance. To overcome my inexperience in spinnaker handling, we agreed I would helm the downwind legs while Charles flew the kite.

Conditions were a fluky easterly with some very exciting gusts, drizzly to biblical downpour with low visibility. The race itself passed as a bit of a blur, ranging from very pleasant sailing to abject terror (flashbacks of heeling past the point of no return resulting in a turtled Wayfarer in a squall off Rosneath 18 months ago…) however Charles was a very patient teacher, quick to correct the error of my ways in words of few syllables… From what I can remember we spent most of the race trading places with Dione and Arke, but ultimately came in what felt like a very respectable third position, which I am sure with a bit more experience under my belt I could have helped improve upon.

Overall, an excellent evening’s sailing and introduction to the Gareloch One Design, with a great bunch of people with whom I look forward to repeating the experience whenever I am back home on the Clyde.

1 Dione, 2 Arke, 3 Catriona, 4 Circe, 5 Thia, 6 Ceres, 7 Hermes

Sun 12th May

Race report from Barbara McManus on Zephyrus

Variable winds in variable directions, did not dissuade 5 Garelochs from sailing on this Sunday afternoon, hopeful of an exciting race. Race officer, Arke set the L3 course. Circe was first across the start line sporting a new mainsail, crisp and white, followed by Catriona,  Zephyrus, Arke and Hermes. It wasn’t long before spinnakers were out as Circe, Catriona and Arke pushed on through towards the first rounding mark D. However as they crossed the loch the wind started to die and before too long Zephyrus had caught up with leaders. Catriona had a close encounter with Circe which casued her to drop back a couple of places. This resulted in Circe getting round the D mark first, followed by Zephyrus, Arke, Catriona and Hermes. It was back across the loch to the G mark, it was questionable as to whether spinnakers were helping as Zephyrus (without spinnaker) continued to keep up with Circe and Arke. As the boats were approaching the G mark Catriona seemed to squeeze through between Arke and Zephyrus to take the lead.

A push on through to Y with Catriona getting there first, at this point it was unclear whether the wind was tempting us to have another round, the race officer sensibly finished the race on the first round, enough frustration for one afternoon.

1 Catriona, 2 Zephyrus, 3 Arke, 4 Circe, 5 Hermes

Tue 7th May – no race

… due to an exceptionally low tide preventing safe pier access. It was 0.4m below chart datum right at about 6pm last night (exactly when we needed to get to the boats). With a glass half full take, it’s worth noting that it was an almost windless evening so we didn’t miss too much!

Sun 5th May

Report from Dione

The first Sunday race of the Centennial season presented a fairly grey day with light to moderate E/NE winds. On the water race officer, Hermes, set the L8 course across to the Clynder shore and back to Shandon.  The wind direction was not ideal for a classic Starboard approach to the line which led to some trying a Port approach, words were said with some boats being a bit pushy. Dione was not prompt at the start but that, perhaps, allowed her to identify slightly better pressure to the left. Hermes was less fortunate on the right. Those in the middle started well but with the inevitable shiftiness towards Clynder lost out in the second half of the leg. Dione led from the first mark, breaking in a new crew but also benefiting from a smooth bottom and new sails.

Passing Blairvadach, it was good to see everyone having registered the new configuration of the second round giving another reach to Clynder and reach back. Maybe the wind didn’t favour L8 after all.

There was a tussle for last place between Luna and Hermes with Luna just squeezing ahead at the end.

Getting ashore was challenged by a spring low tide and a missing grating on the jetty stairs but all safely managed, Fergus without too much dignity.

1 Dione, 2 Arke, 3 Catriona, 4 Thia, 5 Circe, 6 Luna, 7 Hermes.

Tue 30th May – first race of the season

Report from the Secretary.

The first race of the year.  Seven of us turned out with enthusiasm and were rewarded with moderate wind, steady by the standards of the Gareloch.

Steve Tidee had met John Blackie at a lecture and found himself crewing on Catriona.

Race Officers Hugh Normand and Robin Young sent us down, then up the Shandon shore.  Two rounds.  Arke (the boat formerly known as Teal), Dione and Catriona approached the starting line in a leading group, in that order.  The shore end was favoured.  Arke was a little early, Dione à point, Catriona distracted by tangled lines and negligently late.  Dione got away well and was not to be caught.  At the windward mark, A, it was Dione from Catriona with Arke needing to work with her spinnaker on the downwind leg so as to get clear of Circe and become secure in third.

On the moorings afterwards, there was talk from Ceres of gear failure.  it is unclear what that was, but she claimed it delayed her.  Hermes found herself off the pace, caught out by changes in direction of wind.

There is a rumour Dione has new sails.

1 Dione, 2 Catriona, 3 Arke, 4 Circe, 5 Thia, 6 Ceres, Hermes DNF

Sun 24th Sep – final race of the season & combined Dog Race! (corrected results)

Report from the Secretary.

We were all back on moorings before wind built.  It was wet.  There was little wind and lots of tide on the Clynder shore.

1 Teal, 2 Catriona, 3 Zephyrus, 4 Halcyone, 5 Dione, 6 Athene


The event was run in parallel with the Gareloch Dog Race.  Catriona (Fergus), Zephyrus (Jasper) and Athene (Archie) had dogs.  Although Athene’s dog may have been a grandson.

The complicated rules regarding handicaps and dogs (2 seconds of time for every cm of dog, The Dougal Docking Correction was not applied) did not change the canine finishing order.

Dog Race 1 Catriona, 2 Zephyrus, 3 Athene (possibly!)

Sun 17th Sep – updated (report and final positions)

Report from Teal.

September continued to be a poor month and the wet easterly allowed only for a downwind start so Teal – as on-the-water RO – selected the standard but rarely sailed Easterly course: H3 – yDgeY. Which would give two good true downwind legs y-D and g-e as well as two good beats back firstly back from D to g and then a long haul back down the loch from e to the end of the first round (or finish) at Y.

Catriona made the best start but close in shore in lighter wind. Teal and Halcyone started further out at the Y mark. Teal a little late as she concentrated on RO duty as well as starting and spinnaker hoisting. Halcyone luffed up to follow Catriona. Teal gybed to get further away from the shore reckoning on better wind. And it paid. Gybing back they were ahead of Catriona. Crossing gained the inside for the mark. But then the wind – forecast to be good if gusty – died. When it re-appeared it was now southerly and Catriona had the best of it! Catriona ahead at D, with Teal following and then Halcyone still. In light winds however and with the wind back behind from the east. As we were rounding however the wind went back S again and Teal managed to gybe quickly and used it to round wide around Catriona and in to pole position for the beat across the loch to the G mark. And leading out in to better wind which had reverted to the prevailing easterly.

Catriona, following in Teal’s dirty air, tacked off down the Clynder shore. It did not pay and at G she had given up another place to Halycone. On the beat up to E however Catriona kept low and left – protecting the inside – and another shift to south gave her the edge over Halcyone.

Back from E to the finish and the wind strengthened – good sailing. Catriona went high across to the Shandon shore – hoping to pick up a good shore lift and gained some ground back on Teal but it wasn’t enough. Behind Hermes was charging and challenging Halcyone and only a very well judged tack for the line put Halcyone in the clear. Meanwhile others weren’t enjoying the wet shifty gusty conditions. Circe’s skipper decided he might need new sails…

1 Teal, 2 Catriona, 3 Halcyone, 4 Hermes, 5 Circe, 6 Dione, 7 Athene

Tue 5th Sep – corrected results

Report from the Secretary.

An evening of changeable wind.  As we sailed to the starting area, we commented on how wind had dropped from the afternoon.  We need not have worried.

Race Officer Barrie Choules selected what is listed in the sailing instructions as a short course.  It took us to D, north of Clynder, and back.  A good long leg.  With wind from the Shandon shore, it was a running start.  There were the usual strong patches of wind with lighter air between them.  Teal and Circe found good wind at the start.

Catriona had been overlapped to leeward of Circe for much of the first leg.  She was unable to pull ahead and so was outside boat at D, giving mark room to Circe.  The upshot, she was below both Circe and Teal at the start of the windward, return leg.  She tacked away to travel down the loch nearer the Clynder side and it did not pay.  At the end of the first round, after half an hour of sailing, Teal and Circe had established themselves first and second.

The second downwind leg was a workout for the spinnaker handlers on the leading three. The others left their spinnakers below deck.  Gusts were strong enough to cause broaches.  A cleat on Circe failed under load so that she dropped her spinnaker early, allowing Catriona to catch up.  Still overlapped outside at the mark though.  This time Circe tacked away, delighting Catriona.  Circe found the Clynder shore had not improved since the first round.

Luna and Halcyone had a close race.  Luna leading by 9 seconds at the end of the first round.  Losing by 4 at the finish.

1 Teal, 2 Catriona, 3 Circe, 4 Luna, 5 Thia.  Hermes and Halcyone RTD

Sun 3rd Sep – corrected results

Report from the Secretary.

A day for sailing.  Sun, Goldilocks wind.  It was sometimes light on the Clynder shore with direction variable but to complain about that would be churlish.

The Garelochs have discovered a taste for courses intended for Sonars.  They prefer windward/leeward legs and dislike reaching.  So it seems do we.  With wind from the west, on the water Race Officer John Campbell selected a Sonar course zig zagging across the loch.  A further refinement was a Boinard start, after Eric Boinard who first thought of a starting line parallel with the shore,  between the two outer starting marks.

There was congestion at the favoured Z end of the line.  Those who started in clear air with speed, a little further towards Y, did well.  Zephyrus, who has not been a devotee of the scrubbing brush, bucked the trend and was a close second to Catriona at the windward mark.  (Thia and Luna have not been so fortunate).  Zephyrus’s crew has an aversion to the spinnaker, so that she dropped a couple of places downwind to Teal and Circe.

The Z mark has been a frustration.  It became almost submerged at high water and so its mooring line was extended.  For the same thing to happen again.  At the end of the round (there was time for a short second round) the leader could not see it and selected a mooring as alternative.  An eagle eyed crew in the peloton spotted the very top of Z, just breaking the surface.

Thia, off the pace no doubt as a result of growth, elected not to sail the second round.  The others had a frustrating time at the windward mark, off Clynder, where wid had become especially vague.  Out in the loch Teal looked strong.  She appeared to be laying the mark and about level with Catriona, well to windward, who seemed to have overstood.  It was not to be as Teal was obliged to tack in the illusive wind near the shore.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Circe, 4 Zephyrus, 5 Dione, 6 Halcyone , 7 Luna, 8 Ceres.  Thia RTD

Crews Race (Thu 31st Aug)

1 Catriona, Niki Horn.  2 Thia, Peter Brown.