Category Archives: Race Reports ’22

2022 race reports

Sun 7th Aug

Report from Circe.

Excellent! For the first time this season Gareth joined me as crew, my first adult crew that can sail and knows their way round a Gareloch and quite happy to spend time cleaning the hull prior to the race, after comments in the last race report!

Not a bad breeze from the west, down to the line, borrow Charles’ whistle to be RO, course H7, just about to start and the port jib fairlead block parts company! Quick…lash it up but the starboard tack will be compromised. How many boats? Athene and Thalia will still be quick with their smooth hulls, Catriona plus Fergus [Fergus? It’s unclear whether Fergus is a misspelt/autocorrected Gareloch boat name or a person or a dog – a clarification to follow! Yes, it’s a dog!], Dione and Halcyone…should be a good race.

Ok, start the sequence, not a bad start, but all the boats have a good start and, from the off, the field are competitive. The whole of the first beat up to C is spent criss crossing, many shouts of STARBOARD, round C and Catriona is just ahead, we’re second but only just, Dione close behind, Thalia and Halcyone, followed by Athene.

A run to G, I make a bad call and fail to get the spinnaker up as I thought to gybe onto starboard tack but every time I tried to get the boom over the wind seemed to veer northwards and I ended up far too close to Barrie, he did look a little worried, but with his spinnaker up he was soon clear ahead of me and the others were close behind. Back onto the beat and over to E, and everyone tacked to head across towards Clynder side. Nothing to lose then by trying something different, so we tacked up the loch and Thalia joined us. It appeared to be the better place, and then we almost got Charles on starboard! That was exciting and Circe had a bit more go about her despite the compromised jib. Dione had a moment thinking she was on L7 not H7, so Barrie said, and lost out… and this is the point of the race where I wish that Charles would nominate someone to write a race report BEFORE the race rather than after…it would make me pay more attention.

Round E, and in 2nd, from Thalia and Halcyone, then I think Dione and Athene. Across to G, and the wind was a bit beamy, no one else felt the need for a spinnaker, but Gareth thought to give it a go as Charles wasn’t that far away…it was bit hairy in the gusts, and only added a bit, but not enough so round E and back to C. Maybe keep the spinnaker up to catch Charles? Round the mark…even more beamy and gusty so no, get it down…QUICK!

Across to C Catriona still ahead, Thalia behind, but all still pretty close…round C and back to the finish. Spinnakers up…hang on, that feels like an easy hoist, oh no, the shackle wasn’t on the head properly so it was up by the spreaders without a sail, so we could only sit back and watch Thalia cruise past, and then worry as Halcyone bore down on us with full sail towards the finish line…but we just scraped 3rd, with the others close behind. Well done Gareth though, he retrieved the spinnaker halyard…excellent racing this evening…these are great boats!

1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Circe, 4 Halcyone, 5 Dione, 6 Athene.

Sun 31st Jul

Report from the Secretary.

It began with bright sunshine and sufficient wind for boats to heel, but not so much as to wet the side decks. Five turned out, some skippers are away at West Highland Week.

With wind from the south, a course was set down and up the Shandon shore. The shore end of the starting line favoured, Catriona got there first. She tacked out and crossed the others but became cautious as they hardened up and continued along the shore. She need not gave worried.

Downwind, there was reluctance to set spinnakers. Some boats were single handed. The third sail was essential and eventually all succumbed. Circe was way off the pace, no doubt a result of marine growth below the water line. Athene went well but her crew, sailing for only the second day this year, not rust free. As at the recent championship, Halcyone and Hermes fought each other. It was resolved on the last downwind leg. With wind dying, Hermes was inshore of Halcyone and unable to keep her spinnaker filled.

Boats were drifting with the tide on the leg to the finish. Athene found new air blowing from the north and set a spinnaker on what had been a beat.

1 Catriona, 2 Halcyone, 3 Hermes, 4 Athene. Circe DNF.

Tue 26th Jul

A race to forget. No race report.

Gareloch Championship – 23rd & 24th July

Report from the Secretary.

The Premier sporting and Social event of the season. Superb lift off party on Friday evening, thrown by Paul Blackburn. Incomparable barbecue at Carol Rowe’s Kilarden on Saturday evening. The barbecue first of all would not light, then burned with more vigour than was strictly necessary.

Race Officer Tim Henderson, aboard Dave Parkins’ Aquarius and assisted by Roger Kinns and Peter Proctor was pleased with the consistent direction of wind. Crews, though noticed variability. Especially near to the Clynder shore. Anyway, it was Champagne wind all weekend. Even if the rain lacked sparkle.

That variability led to a pin end bias for the first start. Catriona got the timing right and was away whilst the rest, all trying to start at the pin, were blanketing each other. Dione finished a strong second from a charging Hermes.

For the second race, the peloton had learned to start so that places changed on the first beat. The order was soon established with Dione second from a strong Teal, then Hermes. Sadly, Teal’s crew suffered acute back pain so that she was unable to finish that race or to continue in the event. It was clear now that something was amiss with Ceres, She had been last by a margin in the first two races. That problem was marine growth around the keel. Not helped by a technical issue with her main halyard which affected luff tension.

The third race had just one round. Dione started well and held the lead at the windward mark. Downwind she had an issue with the spinnaker. Its effect compromised, Catriona was able to get on her air and sneak past approaching the line. Halcyone made progress against Hermes, who had beaten her to third place in the first races.

For the fourth and last of the day, the Race Officer changed to a normal Gareloch course, started from the C mark. Thus, he was able to finish us at A, off the club. The fleet became spread. Dione and Halcyone tussled going downwind. Dione had the lead at G, which began a reach across the loch to C. With no scope for overtaking her lead became secure. Halcyone evened her score against Hermes.

More precipitation on Sunday morning, still good wind though. Athene was forced to withdraw, a shroud having come adrift from its crosstree. Afloat just before the event, she was laying a creditable sixth on Saturday evening.

Tim Henderson sent us from G, a little up the Shandon shore, to B, off Silvers. The direction of wind indicated the shore end of the line was favoured. Only Catriona went for that, the rest at the outer, committee boat, end where wind was a little stronger. Catriona was faced with having to duck some of the fleet when she tacked out from the shore. The long tack to the Clynder shore was not good for confidence, there were some large headers, but it paid. Similarly the changeable air off that shore should have been a disadvantage but it turned out not to be. Those who stuck to the Shandon shore needed binoculars to see the leaders.

Downwind, there were gusts and much of the time wind was dead astern. Some did not set spinnakers and had a good view of spectacular rocking and rolling. Dave Perry advises, in his excellent Winning in One Designs, if the rocking becomes too much, head up a little, ease the spinnaker pole forwards and pull in the main. If you want to go fast, reverse the above.

At the end of the first round the order at the front, as in other races, was Catriona, Dione, Hermes, Halcyone. Halcyone had the bit between her teeth, in the second round she battled with Dione downwind to the finish. Dione thought she should have defended more to keep her air clear. Anyway, Halcyone finished ahead by one second.

The course was the same for the sixth and final race. Wind had backed a little so that the inner end of the line was more clearly the place to start. Catriona, in the charge of Lucy Forrester, was in pole position with the fleet closer this time. She was considering calling for room to tack away from the shore when Halcyone, on her hip, tacked anyway. Then she was to windward of the fleet and the lead was more or less settled. There was a second beat to B, where Tim finished us. Dione found some large lifts on the way to the Clynder shore which eluded Catriona. She did the same along the shore and at one point looked to have the lead. That was just for the moment, though, when the swing was to Dione’s greatest advantage. Halcyone kept Hermes at bay to take third.

1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Halcyone, 4 Hermes, 5 Circe, 6 Thia, 7 Athene, 8 Ceres, 9 Luna, 10 Teal. The fine silver rowlock, awarded to the last placed boat which had finished all the races, went to Ceres.

Sun 17th Jul

Report from the Secretary.

On the water Race Officer Barrie Choules selected a course beginning with a true windward leg to B, off Slivers, downwind to F, the northernmost mark on the Shandon Shore, a zig-zag to the Clynder shore thence to the finish. Ideal for the conditions. There was wind but not too much.

The pin end of the starting line was strongly favoured. Dione, Hermes and Catriona all thought to get there first, all were early and made compromised starts further down the line. Catriona the worst. Teal from Halcyone got it right.

Wind and tide in the Gareloch so often confounds what should be good tactics. Dione in particular suffered by sailing into the club moorings, out of the adverse flood tide.

By the windward mark, Teal and Halcyone had maintained their strong position from the start. Catriona, quite by accident after starting at the back, found some good wind which she used to catch up.

Downwind, Halcyone and Catriona got their spinnakers drawing promptly. Halcyone took the lead on the right hand side of the leg, Catriona fought with Teal to avoid being blanketed.

Halcyone reached F first but compromised her rounding with a late drop of the spinnaker. She then found herself defending against Teal with a tack down the Shandon shore. Catriona, from further out, tacked to cover them. The rest simply hardened up at D and were almost laying the next mark. Wind on the Shandon shore was not kind to Teal, even worse for Halcyone.

Dione did well going across the loch and began the last leg in a strong second place. Hermes too was on the pace although had to give mark room to Teal.

On the approach to the Clynder shore, many thought a spinnaker would work on the last leg. It was just too fine, particularly with the usual fickleness of Gareloch wind. Teal went high, perhaps to allow for the kite later on. Hermes was able to sneak past.

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

Tue 12th Jul

Report from the Secretary.

An evening of sunshine and fair wind.  Race Officer Linda Pender selected a course which gave good windward legs to D, north of Clynder, in both first and second rounds.  Teal pushed Catriona along the line for a favoured shore end start.  The two, along with Halcyone,  were close together for the first part of the beat to D.  Teal then found herself a little further out on  a tack up the loch and was on the wrong side of the shifts.  Halcyone went further in and suffered more variable wind.  Dione had stayed nearer the Shandon shore and it did not pay.

By the start of the next beat to D, Catriona had a substantial lead over Teal and hardened up towards the Clynder shore.  Thinking she had loose cover, she tacked when Teal tacked.  When the two came together again for the approach to the windward mark, they were close.  No places changed though.

1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Halcyone, 4 Dione.

Sun 10 Jul

Report from Teal.

When the Secretary isn’t racing (umpiring at the Two Boat Team Racing?) then the winner often writes the report. But the winner was too far ahead to see much of the race behind! So it falls to one of those that suffered the slings and arrows of the wind…

The usual roster had further changes on this perfect summer day. Teal was missing regular crew Ufo Sutter – down with a good old fashioned (non-Covid) virus – but had the pleasure of Roger Kinns while Thalia is being repaired. Hermes being helmed by Carole’s nephew Donald – who always makes her go well – accompanied by his wife. There were light-hearted mutterings about whether the marriage would survive the race.

Teal took on RO duty – in Roger’s capable hands – and selected a classic NW course: L8. Beat to D. Reach to G off Gullybridge, the down-wind to A via Y. Then a classic long second round beat to D and back to Y. Teal started well at the favoured shore end. Well clear of other boats. But became quite headed. Zephyrus who had started well to leeward suffering the same. Halcyone started slightly late at the favoured shore end – confusion about the start – but didn’t seem to run in to the same header and climbed slightly. And that skilful helming took in her to a persistently better lane of wind higher up the loch. She pulled up and ahead. And mostly never looked back. Behind now, Teal tacked to try and get up into the good wind and it worked to some extent. Zephyrus did the same further down. Those who did not – and stood on into the Clynder shore – did not have a good afternoon. More on them later.

Halcyone rounded the D mark. Teal not far behind but then headed as Halcyone escaped. Further misery followed after rounding as she found a hole. And then watched both Halcyone disappear and Zephyrus round and catch up on her own personal wind. Zephyrus however merely joined in to the going-nowhere-gang. Both then watched Hermes and Luna sail over them 50 meters to windward on their own wind. The ignominy exacerbated since the becalmed boats had raised spinnakers and the overtaking boats cruised past with white sails only. Teal eventually managed to work to windward and get some of the wind. Followed by Zephyrus. Both started to chase down and eventually pass Luna on the run to Y. Hermes still too far ahead, and Halcyone unthinkable! The only thing easing their pain was schadenfreude: Dione and Ceres – the boats that had stayed left in to the Clynder shore on the beat – were STILL stuck in a worse hole at the D mark. Both – perhaps understandably – retired after the first round. Perhaps concluding that, on such a beautiful sunny afternoon, they could be drinking cold beer in their gardens?

The long final beat to D. Halcyone majestically far ahead. Daughter of Aeolus – god of the wind – indeed. Hermes too made no mistakes. Teal had to keep an eye on and cover Zephyrus who had chased doggedly on the run. Until the wind shifted back to the SW and suddenly she also had to keep any eye on Luna who, having gone left, was roaring back in to contention. 

On the final run Halcyone was so far ahead she had time to mistakenly add in the G mark without it mattering a jot. Teal hoped her spinnaker might allow her to catch Hermes. She did for a while but in the end she found another partial hole and watched both Hermes pull ahead and Zephyrus catch up (again). The wind steadied; no places changed hands. Halcyone took a fantastic win in the sun followed by a good second from Hermes (with much smiling and marriage intact!).

1 Halcyone, 2 Hermes, 3 Teal, 4 Zephyrus, 5 Luna. DNF Dione, Ceres 

Tue 5th Jul

Report from Teal’s crew

And is it not a deceptive Loch! The weather forecast promised steady and true wind. Alas, the Gareloch had other ideas.

Race Officer Neill Ross did a wonderful job using the starting preparations to take some of his wonderful sailing photographs while carefully choosing one of the classic westerly courses L8. The fleet had come out with several stand-in helmsmen: Catriona with Tristan Somerville at the helm, Teal with Reay MacKay.

Catriona led the field with a well-timed start and it did not seem as if she would have to look back at all. Yet the wind proved much more fickle and boats started changing places. Catriona managed to fend off any attempts by Dione to pass her but closer to D the wind was variable and Dione rounded just ahead of Catriona. Teal was not far behind.

Thia coming across the Loch on starboard managed to force Luna tacking for the shore. Inshore alas did not pay. Thia widened her lead on Luna towards the D mark. Hermes had banked on fair winds and no adverse tide on the Shandon shore. But coming across in one long tack to D she was behind.

Spinnaker manoeuvres were reasonably sleek, Catriona chasing Dione, Teal aiming a bit higher to come in on a more favourable gybe to the G mark. The third sail was a bit fine on the way back to the line but it still pulled. Thia held her ground in a solid fourth. Hermes chased Luna.

His tactician did not always aid Catriona’s stand-in helmsman. We use boards with a fairly visible signal ‘S’ painted on them to signal shortened course. None was out. Yet with the wind fickle and not always strong, Catriona decided that – surely – this might be the end. She went for the favoured shore end of the line and a finish that was not. Teal went straight for the Y mark for the next round. Catriona’s advantage melted like ice cream on a hot summer’s day.

From Y to A the spinnaker was of no use, boats heeling badly with little pull for it. Some took it down earlier some later but down they came. Rounding A, Dione was firming on her lead. Catriona, just ahead of Teal tried to force her into a tack but subsequently suffered in Teal’s wind and had to tack again. Thia was following the pack but a stretch of light wind had left her trailing behind.

Trailing further behind, Luna and Hermes decided that one round was just what was needed to deserve dinner and headed for the moorings.

Rounding the D mark, boats were still close enough to make for interesting racing. Torn between chasing Dione and tackling Catriona for points, Teal went tactical and tried to bring misery to Catriona. That worked. She carried her adversary past the layline … and further still. Catriona tried to untangle herself gybing to port but there was no room to get past and so she gybed back. Sounds of displeasure rang out across the water.

Dione sailed home an uncontested first. Teal gybed for the mark at the last possible point for her spinnaker to hold and pull and she never looked back. Catriona took third with Thia coming in later still.

1 Dione, 2 Teal, 3 Catriona, 4 Thia. DNF Hermes & Luna.

Sun 3rd July

Report from the Secretary.

There was good wind and a large grey cloud at the north end of the Loch. As it was, there was just the merest smattering of rain.

On the water Race Officer Carol Rowe selected an excellent long course, zig-zagging across the loch.

No one started promptly, Zephyrus got away first and was given free rein as Dione and Catriona concentrated on each other. Zephyrus and Catriona swapped the lead several times. Off wind from E to F, the northernmost marks on the Clynder and Shandon shores, Zephyrus was confused by F being badly out of position. It is where G should be. That cost her the lead, the want of a spinnaker did not help.

Hermes and Thia had a close race. Their tactics different approaching the windward marks on the Clynder shore. Hermes tended to overstand so as to allow for big headers approaching the shore. Thia cut it finer and sometimes put in extra tacks. There was little to choose in the end.

The direction of wind was always variable close to the Clynder shore. As the race progressed, the variability spread across the loch. Gybes were needed on the last two downwind legs which felt like broad reaches to begin with. Dione had a glimmer of hope as she gybed early for the finish but Catriona responded and was lucky to find some pressure. Zephyrus dropped another place on account of not setting a spinnaker.

1 Catriona, 2 Dione, 3 Zephyrus, 4 Thia, 5 Hermes.

Tue 21st June

Report from Circe.

A lovely Tuesday evening, wind blowing ENW, and for once what could (almost) be considered a (reasonably) constant (ish) wind for the Gareloch.

On the line there was a gradual dawning that the Invisible Man was the RO, so a quick decision was made to sail course L1, heading upwindish to mark G first. The Sonars left, followed by the Garelochs, and they were just close enough to be able to see the Sonars going round the upwind mark. Perhaps – was a trick of the light? The squashed up spacing of marks F and G? Or that the Sonars went round mark F instead of G (!) But it was enough to lure those at the front of the Gareloch fleet (well, Catriona anyway), up towards F. Halcyone (single handed) was speeding along and took the lead, followed by Teal, Circe, Dione, Ceres and Thia. Across the loch and on rounding C, a look back found Catriona skulking back downwind to correctly round mark G. Circe had a shocking spinnaker launch allowing Dione and Ceres past, and on the downwind leg, Teal (with spinnaker) cruised past the white-sailed Halcyone.

Down to A, back to Z and round again for the second lap. Circe made some good ground and moved back into 3rd position by the time G was reached again, but then lost a position back to Dione following another spinnaker mare! Meantime, Catriona had finished skulking and was climbing back up through the fleet, managing to overhaul both Thia and Ceres.

1 Teal, 2 Halcyone, 3 Dione, 4  Circe, 5 Catriona, 6 Thia, 7 Ceres