Category Archives: Race Reports ’15

Tuesday 21st July

Race Officer Neil Isaacs selected a little used course which took us back and forth across the loch. The first leg, a beat to C, at Clynder.

Teal and Catriona were trying for the favoured shore end of the starting line. Teal got a slightly better start and was then lifted on the tack across the loch. These two, in their private battle, lost sight of the others who took advantage of good wind on the Shandon shore to make progress up the loch. Not the first time that has happened. Hermes, Thalia and Zoe leading at the first windward mark. Thia was in the fray. Catriona had suffered from her duel with Teal, who had ventured into the fickle air (and it seemed strong adverse tide) of the Clynder shore and was nowhere.

There was no scope for overtaking on the reach across the loch to G although the leaders closed on each other. On the next beat, Hermes and Thalia fell back, Zoe cemented her lead with Thia second. So it remained on the downwind leg to the end of the round.

Upwind again, Catriona was consistent with her mistakes and ventured to the unfavoured Clynder shore again. This time trying to escape from under Thia.

Teal, meanwhile, lifted herself from last by passing Ceres, who was helmed by her crew whilst Neil was Race Officer. His feelings as she passed the finishing mark on the wrong side are not recorded on the score sheet.

1 Zoe, 2 Thalia, 3 Catriona, 4 Thia, 5 Hermes, 6 Teal. Ceres DNF.

Sunday 19th July

Garelochs were to have raced to Tighnabruaich on the Saturday, returning on Sunday. All but Zephyrus were dissuaded on account of strong wind. So as not to waste the whole weekend, we had a race in the Gareloch on Sunday.

On the Water Race Officer sent us on one of the longer courses, beginning with a beat to E, the northern most mark on the Clynder shore.

Teal, Thalia and Catriona all made a pitch for the favoured shore end of the line with an approach on Port. Catriona misjudged it badly and was forced to tack by Teal, who was running out of water. Sailing down the line on starboard tack, she spoiled Thalia’s start also.

Teal was away and in a streak of wind taking her to the mark. The rest seemed badly headed. It was one of those days to curse bad luck when all but you are lifted by the wind and take it as a personal right when you have a lift all to yourself. The good guys in the Flying Fifteen class, racing recently in their National Championship at the club, spoke of tacking in phase with the changes in wind. Too many of us, especially Catriona, were out of phase. She rounded the windward mark in 5th place although got one back quickly under spinnaker.

At the start of the second round, Teal and Thalia were comfortably first and second. Catriona attacking Athene for third place. She managed to gain advantage early in the second beat but was too greedy. She looked for the best of the wind in a vain attempt to get at Thalia and failed. Athene, who had not been covered, retook third. No justice, though. Approaching the windward mark, in line astern of Athene, Catriona was lifted outrageously in a line of wind which illuded the yellow boat.

Athene and Hermes battled each other downwind to the finish. Only a race officer on the shore could have called it.

1 Teal, 2 Thalia, 3 Catriona (subject to protest), 4th equal Athene and Hermes, 6 Thia.

Tuesday 14th July

An evening of good, if changeable wind. A large audience from the Flying Fifteen Nationals watched the start. The shore end of the line was favoured. Teal led in but was early and hence going slowly. Catriona approached with more speed and luffed Teal over. Thalia was also heading for the shore end but was too far below the line to be dangerous.

The first leg was a beat to D, north of Clynder. Wind backed and lightened on the approach to the shore. There was an element of chance in selecting the best tactic. Athene was leading at times, but slipped back a little. Catriona rounded first with Teal close behind. The next leg offwind to G off Shandon, the wind a little too fine on the bow for spinnakers. The Pipers showed us the mark. The leg back to the finish was downwind. Teal took the lead with superior handling of the spinnaker. Athene was battling with Thalia and benefitted from better handling of the third sail by crew Miriam Sutter. On a similar second round, Thalia was able to blanket Athene on the final leg and took the place. Ceres, also in the fray, delayed herself with a luff on Thalia.

After a good, competitive race, it was pointed out that we had rounded a wrong mark. The Pipers had taken us to the more northerly mark F, instead of G. They realised their error and left G on the correct hand. We did not, except for Hermes. The only Gareloch to get it right.

1 Hermes. Teal, Catriona, Thalia, Athene, Ceres and Thia RAF.

Sunday 12th July

On the water Race Officer Peter Proctor set one of the longer courses, beginning with a beat to E, the northernmost mark on the Clynder shore. Wind was changeable in strength and direction, but never died completely. At its strongest, boats were well heeled, but the side decks stayed dry. There was time for two rounds.

Catriona got the best start at the favoured shore end of the line. Zephyrus had a mix up over timing which compromised her. Athene became stuck between the riser and pick up of a mooring at just the wrong moment and had to take a turn to free herself. Seeking to do something different and get to windward of the fleet, she sailed for the Clynder shore when the rest were on a tack up the loch. It paid and she crossed in front of everyone. Wind approaching E was trying. Catriona, who had been behind and to windward, ducked Athene and somehow got around the mark first. Athene, Hermes and Thalia were all in contention. It was Hermes who made the best of her spinnaker and cemented second place. Athene battled Thalia for third. Places changed and there were critical inside overlaps at marks. In the end, Athene benefitted from superior spinnaker handling.

1 Catriona, 2 Hermes, 3 Athene, 4 Thalia, 5 Zephyrus.

Tuesday 7th July

It was another evening of light air. Race Officer Reay Mackay chose a course intended for lower strength of wind but incorporating 3 rounding marks and 4 trips across the Gareloch. Some competitors thought we should be lucky to finish but it turned out well.

Catriona, uncharacteristically, got the best start at the heavily biassed pin end of the line. Teal, second, suffered badly from air disturbed by the boat in front. Teal took a tack across the loch to clear her air and do something different. It brought her back into contention and she rounded the windward mark in third place just behind Thalia. Thalia and Teal took each other high on the downwind leg to G, off Shandon. For a time that looked faster than the direct route which Catriona had taken. They faded after a while.

Ancient charts used to say ‘here be dragons’ beyond the edge of the known world. It was the same at the C mark, a fetch from G. Ebb tide was fierce at C and the mark had very little wind around it. Catriona saw Pipers in front struggling and headed up to avoid the trap. Not enough. She was obliged to tack against the tide in light air and spent some time creeping up tide of the mark. Thalia, approaching in better air, did not absorb the evidence. She had a torrid time rounding C and dropped two places. Teal was now firmly in second for the spinnaker reach to the finish.

Thalia’s trouble was not over. Approaching the line, she was blanketed by a late running Sonar and was demoted to last by Ceres.

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

Sunday 5th July

Seven Garelochs drifted to the starting area. Wind was light and continually veering. Race Officer Peter Proctor changed the course twice in an effort to achieve a beat to windward. We ended up going to C, off Clynder. It kept raining, which stopped whatever bit of movement in the air there might have been.

Dying wind at the start caught out many. Athene started well but appeared to stop as she tacked up the Shandon shore. The rest set off across the loch. Thalia, blanketed, opted to follow Athene, her crew amused themselves by examining closely a moored boat.

Travelling across the loch, there were periods of pressure on the sails. Some good lifts, too, but no getting away from the adverse effect of the ebb tide. Eventually, Athene and Thalia prospered and crossed the rest of the fleet. Judging the tack for the approach to C was crucial. It paid to stay a little further out, in better air, for as long as possible. Catriona closed the gap to the leaders here.

On the offwind leg to the finish, Athene suffered from a failure of equipment and did not set a spinnaker. Thalia allowed herself to get to leeward of Athene and was unable to get the best of her spinnaker. Catriona took the lead.

Meanwhile, Teal was looking for advantage over Hermes at the mark. She lost concentration and was carried onto it by the tide. The penalty turn ended her challenge. Hermes caught Athene at the finishing line.

In the end, a much better race than we might have expected.

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

Tuesday 30th June

Race Officer Peter Proctor faced a problem. There was no wind on the Clynder shore. It was light elsewhere. With wind blowing from the Shandon shore, it was not possible to set a course which included a windward leg and gave a reasonable chance of finishing. As it was, he selected the shortest course, to A, off the club, and back. We got three rounds.

Fickle wind did for most of us at the start. In the final minute, there was both a large header and a reduction in strength. Thia, Zoe and Ceres got away. On such an evening, there were holes. Those who went further out on the way to A sailed in stronger adverse tide and got mixed up with the Sonars and Pipers (who started earlier) as they were sailing downwind. It was enough to let some of the late starters back into the fray.

Thia kept her lead for two rounds but was not setting a spinnaker on the return legs, which led to her dropping back in the end. Zoe faced a challenge from Catriona. She took advantage from a starboard tack approach for the final rounding of A to keep the lead. Soon after the mark, a luff prevented a pass. Then Catriona crept to windward sufficiently to be safe. Variable wind brought the two level. At the line, only the Race Officer knew the result.

1 Catriona, 2 Zoe, 3 Teal, 4 Thia, 5 Hermes, 6 Ceres

Sunday 28th June

There was sufficient wind for one of the longer courses. We were sent on a long windward leg to E, the northernmost mark on the Clynder shore. The fleet (eight Garelochs came to the start) was well spread for the start of the downwind legs, first across the loch and then back to the starting area. Catriona first then Teal. Thia did not suffer too badly from having found the famous rocks off Gully Bridge. They are always further out than might be imagined. Thia’s crew bumped uncomfortably against the edge of the coach roof as the boat suddenly decelerated.

The second round involved another long beat up the loch to a mark on the Clynder shore. Wind had become more variable now and the order was disturbed. Halcyone, sailed single handed, and Athene crossed ahead of Thalia who, along with Ceres, had looked strong.

Catriona got away from the shore before large and random holes appeared in the wind. Teal was swallowed in a flat patch which developed around her. Ceres, too, suffered. There was confusion at the mark between Thalia and Athene. Thalia gave mark room to Athene but thought she took far too much. Athene judged that she was obliged to give mark room to Thalia and so made a wide rounding. As wind filled in, determined work with the spinnaker brought Teal back into the fray. It was a closely fought finish between her and Athene.

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

Tuesday 23rd June

Race officer Jock Fleming read the changeable wind as well as anyone could have. As well as changing direction, there were light spells. Jock set a windward/leeward course across the loch. We got three rounds. It was a good race, the sun shone too.

Thalia made the best start, Teal was over the line at the start and lost time going back. Catriona had to pinch to clear the pin.

By the windward mark, Catriona was leading with Ceres on the pace, a strong second. Teal had gone left and was severely disadvantaged in the variable air. Zoe, who has pretensions, was last. Athene, recently afloat and in her first race of the season, was on the pace.

At the end of the second round, Thalia saw a flag sierra somewhere in the car park at Blairvadach, thought the course was shortened and went home. She took no notice of two boats in front continuing to race. The crew of Thalia is known for listening to cricket commentary whilst racing. That is why she seldom wins. The race did coincide with a cricket match.

In the third round, Catriona did what Teal had done in the first. Ceres dropped a place too.

1 Teal, 2 Catriona, 3 Ceres, 4 Athene, 5 Zoe, 6 Thia. Thalia DNF.

Sunday 21st June

Mid-Summer but that required some imagination in view of low
temperatures and strong winds. The West Coast of Scotland has endured its coldest June since 1972.
In a stiff NW breeze, Race Officer Peter Proctor set course L8 which
gave a testing beat from the start line to D mark. The wind direction and strength varied as only it can in the Gareloch. Teal (Iain MacGillivray) and Catriona helmed by visiting airline pilot Thad Burr chose rightly to head for the Rosneath shore and quickly built up a big lead. However, Hermes (Carol Rowe) did reasonably well persisting with the Shandon shore but Halcyone sailed single-handedly by Shane Rankin,
Ceres (Neil Isaacs) and Thalia (Peter Proctor) got the worst of both
worlds by repeatedly tacking in mid-loch. And the rule that those who round the windward mark first get the best down-wind applied as the fleet of six was divided in half – Teal, Catriona and Hermes with spinnakers set leaving Halcyone , Ceres and Thalia, almost becalmed for a few minutes, well behind.
The second lap again again proved that winning skill (luck?) is as much about choosing the best route between marks as it is about upwind sail-setting and responding to every lift. This time, the Shandon shore let Hermes down as she slipped to last place whilst Thalia found strong winds towards the west side of the Gareloch and moved from sixth to fourth place. Teal and Catriona continued to press each other at the front of the fleet. Positions remained unchanged on the final down-wind leg except that Thalia and Ceres passed Halcyone who was not flying a spinnaker.

Result: 1 Teal 2 Catriona 3 Thalia 4 Ceres 5 Halcyone 6 Hermes

Athene (John Blackie) made a welcome ‘guest appearance’ as the fleet
returned to their moorings.
Galatea is scheduled to launch on 30 June bringing the number of
Garelochs afloat for the season to eleven.