Category Archives: Race Reports ’15

Sunday 23rd August

The forecast spoke of 20 plus knots with gusts well over 30 knots.  That was accurate but wind was from the east so that there was some shelter in the lee of the Shandon shore.  The on the water Race Officer checked wind towards Clynder and realised wind further out in the loch was too strong to race to windward.  A course up and down the shore was chosen.  Notwithstanding the lack of a windward leg, it was a good race.  Warm sunshine too.

Five Garelochs came to the start, including Teal with guest helm Thad Burr and Lens Sutter crewing.  Hermes reefed.  It seemed to make no difference to boat speed.

There were lulls where a spinnaker would have worked well, even with wind forward of the mast.  There were also ‘cat’s paws’ which, if not tiger’s were definitely not those of a domestic mog.  A Scottish wild cat, perhaps.  Constant playing of the main sheet was needed.  The direction of gusts was unpredictable and the pattern on the water was not a reliable indicator.  Rapid trimming of the main sheet was needed.

Thad did not make the best start, that went to Catriona who kept her lead throughout.  Teal insinuated herself past Hermes and Thia, but could not catch Thalia.  It might have been different with a more prompt start.

1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Teal, 4 Thia, 5 Hermes.

Thursday 20th August – Ladies’ Race

The forecast was for too much wind and it looked like rain.  It was, though, a superb race with the right amount of steady wind.  Three Garelochs came to the start.  Elizabeth Henderson on Thalia, Penny Davidson on Catriona and owner Carol Rowe’s sister Marjorie at the helm of Hermes.

On the water Race Officer Peter Proctor sent us on two rounds of a short course.  A beat to A, off the club, run downwind to C off Clynder and back.

Hermes made a good start and led with Thalia close behind.  Catriona started early, her crew’s advice to the helm louder than it was erudite.  Time was lost in going back.  She was back in contention for the run, but it was only at the end of the round that she was able to catch Thalia in a port/starboard and move up a place.

Downwind again, the spinnaker told.  Both Catriona and Thalia insinuated themselves past Hermes.

1.Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Hermes.

Tuesday 18th August

Four Garelochs came to the start. Race Officer Iain MacGillivray wisely chose a course up and down the Shandon Shore, beginning with a beat to G, off Shandon. Catriona thought she was being very clever with a start on Starboard tack at the favoured pin end of the line. She was early and had to lose way, resulting in the rest climbing over the top. Then she hit the mark.

It took until the second round for Catriona to be in contention with Zoe (who started well and led the first round) and Thalia. The wind was true in direction but there were peculiarities of intensity and, of course, tide. The lead changed a few times. On the final run, Thalia began in third place but took the most advantageous line to be first at the leeward mark for the fetch (a tack was required right at the end) to the finish.

1 Thalia, 2 Catriona, 3 Zoe, 4 Ceres. 2 and 3 subject to protest.

Sunday 16th August

It was a sunny afternoon with a good strength of wind.  To complain about the variability of its direction or the occasional light patch would be churlish.  Eight Garelochs came to the start.

The first leg was a beat across the loch to B, off Silvers.  Catriona concentrated on squeezing out Halcyone at the favoured pin end of the line.  She concentrated too hard on aggression and started prematurely.  Thalia, Hermes and Teal started with pace a little further down the line.

Thalia was first to the windward mark, closely followed by Catriona and the rest.   Downwind, the fleet split into two groups.  Teal took Athene and Catriona high.  Thalia, Hermes and Ceres took a more direct line towards the leeward mark, G on the Shandon shore.  The direct group crossed ahead but tripped over each other as they gybed.  Catriona rounded first which helped her cause.  The  rest were calling for mark room, Thalia in particular was obliged to take a long way round G.

Upwind to C at Clynder, Hermes found a good route and held her second place to the end of the first round.  The second round took us to B again, Thalia regained her second place with Teal close and Athene in contention.  The leg from B to C was fine for spinnakers. Thalia kept hers with Teal chasing.  The Gybe at C was from reach to reach which always makes the spinnaker gybe tricky.  Teal made a better job of it and passed Thalia to windward.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Thalia, 4 Athene, 5 Hermes, 6 Ceres, 7 Thia, 8 Halcyone.

Sunday 9th August

Just four Garelochs came to the starting line.  Hermes benefited from Tim and Elizabeth Henderson as crew.  Tim has a large reservoir of experience  of racing in the Gareloch.

The first leg, a beat to B, off Silvers.

Catriona, with Penny Davidson at the helm, started well and was faced with the choice of covering Thalia (who tacked across the loch) or Hermes and Halcyone on the Shandon shore.  Thalia, alone, found wind on the Clynder shore and took a good lead.  Catriona chased hard and came close as she approached the finish.

1 Thalia, 2 Catriona, 3 Hermes, 4 Halcyone.

Tuesday 11th August

Race officer Carol Rowe knew that wind was light and set a short course up and down the Shandon shore.  Wind had diminished even more by the time we started.

Tide was flooding, which should have helped on the way up the loch.  There is a strong back eddy near the shore at the starting area.  Ceres, Thia and Teal found themselves going backwards in very light air.  They lost heart and went home.  Catriona happened to make a good start at the pin end of the line and got the benefit of the flood.  Thalia suffered in the back eddy before making meaningful progress.

Later, there was a little offshore breeze so that we were able to complete the round.  Catriona, untroubled by Thalia, amused herself by racing Pipers.

1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, Ceres, Teal, Thia DNF.

Tuesday 4th August

It was a dull night but that should not have mattered because there was wind.  Although it held no firm view regarding strength or direction.  Only three Garelochs came to the starting line.  People are on holiday and Thia’s Michael Knox was Race Officer. He sent us on a beat to B, off Silvers.  Wind near the mark was especially trying, but nothing compared to the run across the loch to G.  Thalia rounded close behind Catriona and soon took the lead.  There was a moment immediately after wind was directly aft that the racing flag indicated we were head to wind.  Thalia was caught in a puff and broached whilst Catriona, nearby, was hardly moving.

Catriona retook the lead shortly after the leeward mark and made sure of covering thereafter.

1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Hermes.

Sunday 2nd August

A day to tax the race officer.  Wind was light and from the Shandon shore to begin with so that a short leeward/windward course was chosen.  It built a little during the race so that three rounds were completed.  It also backed so that the beat became a fetch and spinnakers could no longer be carried on the last outward leg.

Catriona started well and got away.  Thia was strong for most of the race but faded towards the end.  Thalia was never on the pace and looked in vain for flyers to try and catch up.  Zephyrus and Ceres lost out by not setting spinnakers to begin with but fought their way back.

1 Catriona, 2 Zephyrus, 3 Ceres, 4 Thia, 5 Thalia.

Tuesday 28th July

An evening of light wind.  The course was one of the shortest possible, to A off the club and back.

Tide was flooding so that a compromise was needed on the windward leg to A.  Closer to shore, less adverse tide but even lighter air.

Thalia made the best start but Catriona, with guest helm Thad Burr, maintained boat speed and soon took the lead.

We managed two rounds as wind lightened even more.  The final leg to the finish was spent teasing the spinnaker to fill.  If the tide had been against us here, we should still be out there.

1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Ceres, 4 Hermes.

25th – 26th July – Gareloch World Championships

Saturday 25th July – Day 1

The first day of racing of the Gareloch Championship Weekend. Ten boats competed in the four races of the day.

Race Officer Dick Taylor, aboard The Dicken Family’s Tegwynt, set courses with first legs beating to windward up the Shandon Shore. In the morning, tide was ebbing so that a fine balance was to be had between better wind in the loch and less adverse tide on the shore. Variability in strength and direction of wind complicated the issue. Galatea, Zoe and Catriona were on the pace and finished the first race in that order.

The second race included a reach to C, off Clynder. Catriona rounded the windward mark first with Galatea and Zoe following. Not for the first time, Catriona sailed for the wrong mark, a mooring a little up the loch from C. Galatea followed but Zoe got it right. Lighter wind in shore allowed Zoe to overtake to leeward and take the lead.

In the afternoon, American Pilot Thad Burr joined Catriona. The third race began with a beat to D, north of Clynder. As Catriona sailed towards the Clynder shore, Thad warned her helm of the rest of the fleet being lifted further out in the loch. To no avail. She rounded D at the back of the fleet. Teal in the lead. There was no overtaking on the reach across the loch but boats did close on each other. Downwind back to the starting area some benefited from their spinnakers more than others. The first leg of the second round was a little fine for spinnakers. Teal made hers pay but all the rest who tried to keep their third sail lost by it. Particularly Galatea and Athene, who compromised her second place. Catriona somehow got back into the fray and finished second behind Teal.
Before the last race of the day, Zoe was leading with Catriona one point adrift and Galatea a further point back. All knew the importance of the fourth race. The tide had turned now but tacking up the Shandon shore was still not simple. There was still advantage to be had by going inshore. Catriona rounded first for the run to the finish. This turned out to be key. Further back there was blanketing and judgement needed over the timing of gybes. Thalia found speed near the finish to take second. Teal third. Galatea and Zoe, who were strong for most of the race slipped to fourth and fifth.

Sunday 26th July – Day 2

It was much better weather than was forecast. Good wind and the rain stayed off until we had gone in for lunch.

For the two races this morning, Dick Taylor took Tegwynt to C, at Clynder, for a windward-leeward course to the club and back. In the first, Catriona was taken past the windward mark by Galatea. She should have been conservative and have gybed out, but leopards do not change their spots. Anyway, she luffed to try and force the issue and was protested by Galatea for tacking. The penalty turns were taken in light air with the rest of the fleet approaching. She finished that race sixth.

In the final race, some played the changeable air better than others. Notable was Teal who gained places on the final windward leg (to a finish of the club) and took another first place.

Athene had been battling with Thalia. She was in contention on Saturday evening but two poor results on Sunday put paid to that.

Overall, the results were:

1 Zoe, 2 Galatea, 3 Teal, 4 Catriona, 5 Thalia, 6 Athene, 7 Ceres, 8 Hermes, 9 Thia, 10 Zephyrus



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