Category Archives: Race Reports ’18

Vintage Race – Classic Keelboats – 19th May

Vintage Race – Classic Keelboats

The first Vintage Race for Classic Keelboats was hosted by the newly formed Clyde Classic Keelboats Association on Saturday 19th May at Royal Gourock.

John Blackie the Garelochs’ new Convenor committed Athene to attending and encouraged others. On the day, a dubious forecast promising no wind first thing, and strong wind for the sail back wasn’t promising.

A gallant trio comprising Zephyrus, Catriona and Halcyone set off at 9am, got all but stopped in Rhu narrows, and then fortuitously were taken in tow by Kelana. Athene was expected to emerge from the marina to join them but there was no sign of her.

After a warm, sunny crossing a RIB directed the boats to empty moorings, handed over sailing instructions and invited crews ashore for pre-race refreshments.

A substantial fleet had gathered – 5 Pipers, 4 Scottish Islands, at least one Loch Long, Kelana and the gallant Garelochs.

A decent breeze from the south west had established. A race along the shore using the Club’s fixed marks was planned. The start line was between a fixed mark beyond the moorings and the Clubhouse. Moored boats either side of the line made things interesting.

The boats spread themselves along the line at the start, Zephyrus towards the shore, Catriona and Halcyone at the pin. Zephyrus called it well and made good progress on the first beat to G just short of Cloch Point. The wind was shifty, much like the Gareloch, finding the shifts and not tacking too often was key.

By the first mark the Pipers were pulling away. The Scottish Islands boats were mixing it with the Garelochs, given their large sails, not getting covered was important. On the downwind leg to D at the north end of Gourock Zephyrus and Catriona and the lead Scottish Islands were in a tussle.

Halcyone rounded the windward mark just behind the other 3 Scottish Islands. The Islands were slow to get their spinnakers drawing. Nipping to leeward with her spinnaker pulling well Halcyone drew past. By the leeward mark she had opened a decent gap.

On the second upwind leg Catriona realised going inshore offered more favourable tide and caught Zephyrus.

The windward mark on the second round, F, was closer, just beyond the Western Ferries slip. A ferry was approaching as Catriona beat up. It looked like Catriona would have to give way, Halcyone took heart, here was a chance. At the last moment the ferry turned to pass astern of Catriona, was this out of respect for the skipper’s naval hat or a sensible precaution given his look of determination.

Running back to the leeward mark positions settled. The Pipers were well ahead. Catriona, Zephyrus and the first Scottish Islands in a group. Halcyone further back but ahead of the other Scottish Islands. Passing the start line a yellow Gareloch appeared to be beating up, was she racing, no – Athene had made it after engine troubles on her crossing.

At the finish Catriona looked to be nip and tuck with the first Scottish Islands. Their final positions would be settled with a calculator. Zephyrus was second Gareloch.

As they finished the gallant trio turned promptly for home. If they weren’t quick the tide would be turning in the narrows when they got back. But the freshening, following wind made for a rapid crossing.

It had been fun to sail in a mixed fleet on someone else’s patch. No boats were injured, no voices raised. It had been a good day out.

Sun 3rd June

Wind was off the Shandon shore again, which it has been for the last week.  On the water Race Officer, Peter Proctor, started us with a leg downwind to D, north of Clynder.  Catriona started well at the favoured pin end.  Teal was faster with her spinnaker after the necessary gybe onto port and took the lead.  Dione meanwhile appeared from below us all and with boatspeed.  She passed below Teal, luffed to clear her air and looked secure.  Zephyrus was swift for a while but faded.

Wind died on the approach to the mark and Catriona ghosted into an inside overlap on Teal and Dione.  That got her ahead of Dione but a poor mark rounding let Teal back.  Nothing could be done on the fetch across the loch to G, at Shandon.

Further back there was a stuchie between Thalia and Hermes at D.  Thalia had mark room but when she became windward boat, after gybing, she failed to keep clear.  There was a forceful protest from Hermes and Thalia later retired.

For the leg back to the starting area, wind lightened.  It looked a little better further out, but there was more adverse tide there.  Teal went in and Catriona tacked out.  Mainly so as to do something different.  Approaching a large, glassy patch of water, Catriona tacked in towards the shore whilst Teal by now was on her way out and crossed well in front.  Thence there seemed to be better air and less adverse tide further in.

Peter signalled to shorten the course because much of the fleet was now becalmed.  Otherwise the leaders would have sailed on.  Wind revived briefly but died again.  It was the correct call.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Dione, 4 Halcyone, 5 Zephyrus, 6 Hermes.  Thalia RTD.

Tue 29th May

Race Officer Jim Findlay was obliged to select a course beginning with a leg downwind.  In sunshine and a pleasant breeze, most made an effective start and set their spinnakers for the run to D, north of Clynder.  Catriona edged the lead from Teal. Her crew likes to think from superior skill handling the spinnaker but probably she was in a slightly better line of air.  The lead increased on the windward leg back across the loch to Shandon.  Dione established herself in third from Thalia.

Catriona ventured into the Shandon shore too early and was undone by contrary wind. She sat almost motionless as Teal found a streak of pressure further out, rounded the mark and was away.  A late running Piper caused Catriona further frustration.

There was time for a second, shorter, round but the Gareloch had not finished with us. On a broad reach up the Clynder shore, wind faded.  Teal got the best of it, Catriona fell back, the rest of the fleet more so.  Hermes read it correctly and went home after the first round.  No places changed after that, Thalia said she almost had Dione at the finish.

1 Teal, 2 Catriona, 3 Dione, 4 Thalia, 5 Thia, 6 Halcyone (if she made the time limit), Hermes DNF.

Sun 27th May

Our Convener had been looking at a Met Office forecast which showed isobars widely spaced so that he feared a lack of wind.  As it was, there was more than enough to keep us amused.  Any more and we might not have raced.  Halcyone’s helm was returning from holiday and noted, as we were beating across the loch from Rahane,  ‘from the road you could see spray flying off their quarters’.  The Convener’s boat Athene is still undergoing shakedown.  The strong wind did not help so that she decided to stay on her mooring.  Six of us went to the starting area.  

On the water Race Officer Peter Proctor selected a long course, beginning downwind to D, north of Clynder and then back and forth across the loch.  Our start was delayed so as to allow a submarine to make its way out of the loch.  Thalia and Catriona were on the starting line at the correct time although perhaps not as close to the pin end as they should have been.  Teal misread the first leg and set off across the loch on port tack, thinking a gybe would be needed to reach the mark and she would approach on favoured starboard tack with the fleet having had to gybe on to port.  By the time she realised the mark could be made by remaining on starboard, she was behind.  

At the mark, Catriona had edged into the lead with Thalia and Zephyrus fighting over the overlap for mark room.  These two were swapping places until a ferule splicing wire rigging on Zephyrus slipped and she was forced to retire.  Thia thought better of it after the first mark.  Hermes had had enough at the end of the first round,   Teal showed her speed to move firmly into second.  

It is good that it was a warm day, because we all got wet with spray.  Some of it incompletely atomised.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Thalia.  Zephyrus, Hermes and Thia DNF.

Crew’s Race – Thu 24th May

A superb evening of sunshine and breeze.  Where else in the world would you rather be.

Helms Fiona Baker (Thalia), Peter Brown (Thia), Lucy Forrester (Catriona) and Michael Milne (Dione) raced.  Peter had won last year and the confident body language on Thia was plain to see.  Michael, with Roger Kinns as crew, knew that Dione goes well.

On the Water Race Officer Michael Knox was constrained by wind blowing from the shore at the starting area to set a course beginning downwind to C, at the north of Clynder.  Dione and Thia got away well with Catriona selecting the wrong gybe.  She corrected that and was able to establish an inside overlap by the time the three reached the mark.  A better rounding by Dione led to luffing and Thia made hay to take first place.  Shortly after, Dione lost her main halyard.  The time it took to remedy did for her chances.

Gareloch wind, meanwhile, was unkind to our Race Officer.  The second leg, back across the loch to windward, was almost a fetch.  Only a short port tack approach to the mark was needed.  Thia was not to be caught.  Nor was she on the next reach across the loch to Silvers.  The leg back to the starting area was a fetch.  Thia made a tactical error by standing on unnecessarily at the mark.  Catriona tacked at once and edged into the lead.  There was a second round.  An enjoyable sail in good breeze but no places changed.

1 Lucy Forrester (Catriona), 2 Peter Brown (Thia), 3 Fiona Baker (Thalia), 4 Michael Milne (Dione)

Tue 22nd May

(Edit – results corrected to include Hermes!)

The race officer was faced with a light and somewhat variable breeze and opted for the short course to the C mark off Clynder and back.  A decision not immediately appreciated but with hindsight gave a good race. 

As ever it is not possible to set an upwind first leg with an easterly so the first leg was under spinnaker.  Teal and Catriona made a good start but protest flags were sighted as Catriona gybed in Teal’s water. Dione sat close on Teal’s stern all the way across with Catriona close by and Thalia pushing up.  Athene on her first race of the year was balancing the need to organise the boat with racing priorities.  Catriona did her penalty turns at the C mark before setting off after Teal & Dione with Thalia in close company.  Places were to be won and lost on this beat with some tidal advantage to be had on the Clynder shore but some favourable shifts further out.  Thalia suffered from the disengagement of her main halyard causing her to lose ground.  After much tacking and covering, Dione led round the Y mark for the start of the second round, closely followed by Teal & Catriona.  The run back to C was uneventful but places were again traded on the beat as Catriona found first a favourable shift and then an unfavourable one.  With the course shortened to 2 rounds, the final positions were as for the first round.

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

Sun 20th May

No wind*, no race.

(*Webmaster/editor: well there was a little wind but it was very light, very variable, largely from the opposite direction of the forecast SSWerly and completely outmatched by the strong tide!)

Tue 15th May

After a pleasantly sunny day with light breeze, the sky became angrier for our evening race.  Low cloud over the hills and the sort of strong, cold wind that makes you nervous as you walk along the jetty.

Teal stayed on her mooring, her skipper was Race Officer.  Five boats went out but Thia thought better of it and did not race.  Iain MacGillivray set a course beginning with a leg to windward up the Shandon shore.  Catriona set herself up for a good start but confusion over timing of the starting sequence led to her starting last, in a wind shadow from Hermes.  Dione was away first closely followed by Thalia.
Dione eroded her advantage by sailing for a mark too far up the Gareloch and hence overstood the windward mark.  She still had a comfortable lead though. Catriona had fought back to be overlapped outside Thalia as they rounded the mark.  Next was a reach to the north end of Clynder where Thalia fell back in wind shadow and the gap to Dione closed a little.  The third leg was downwind to mark A, off the club.  Dione played the angles, broad reaching down the Clynder shore before gybing for another broad reach to A.  In the strength of wind, boats were close to maximum speed anyway so that the direct route was fastest. Catriona could not quite make the pass but was close to Dione at the leeward mark.  A tighter rounding gave her the place on the windward leg back to the starting area.
There was a second round, Hermes had had enough, no places changed.
1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Thalia, Hermes DNF, Thia DNS.

Sun 13th May

What a superb afternoon.  There was sunshine and wind.  Weather forecasts on the television had been a little pessimistic, but that must have been for the south east of England.

On the water Race Officer Roger Kinns set one of the longer courses, back and forth across the loch.  The same one as last Sunday.

No one made a good start.  Teal and Catriona were early at the line, Dione (the other boat fancying her chances) was late.  Teal luffed and slowed, Catriona bore away down the line but managed to start with pace.  For a while, Catriona could not have tacked to cross ahead of Teal and the two stayed on starboard tack going down the Shandon Shore and trying to make to windward to B, off Silvers.  Eventually, Catriona picked her moment and tacked into a clear first place.  There was tacking and covering on the way to B but Catriona had enough of a lead at the mark to avoid having to deal with a wind shadow from Teal on the next leg.  Downwind to Shandon Church..  The rest, meanwhile, were blanketing each other.  Dione in particular found herself in Halcyone’s shadow and suffered on account of it.  Hermes did not set a spinnaker on this leg and lost 200 yards or more to Thalia.  Which she made up on the next windward leg.
That leg was to C, off the north end of Clynder.  Thence a reach back to the starting area.  There were thoughts of déjà vu all over again on Catriona.  On the previous Sunday, she was leading at this point and there was just enough time for a second round.  She lost her place in variable wind at B.  Again there was a second round.  This time wind was constant (by the standards of the Gareloch) and there were no mishaps.  A rash launching of the spinnaker on a blowy reach almost cost a place.  Teal set her spinnaker at the end.  It was not enough.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Dione, 4 Hermes, 5 Thalia, 6 Halcyone.

Tue 8th May

Race report to follow (having been delegated by Charles to the winner Zephyrus) once it is written! You think they’d be keen since it was their first race win – congratulations skipper Eric Boinard!

1 Zephyrus, 2 …