The competitors in this year’s Scottish Series were greeted with blue skies and a gusty 25 knot breeze, blowing 30 knots of the land in places. Three start lines and courses help to reduce the congestion that is so often typical of events such as this, and in so doing, minimises the risk of collision. Speaking of which, the 200-strong fleet appears to have come away lightly in regards to damage and breakage, the tally simply accounting for the odd shredded spinnaker.
Unusually, each of the classes managed a relatively clean start, only one or two boats having to go around after either being over the line or missing it altogether. The racing was particularly close giving the spectator flotilla at the windward mark an indication of how competitive the classes are, and a good opportunity to witness how to and how not to handle the kite. Just beyond the windward mark, and on the line to the leeward buoy, a valley channelling the wind onto the water took many by surprise. More than several boats caught unawares by this phenomenon rounded up broadside to the wind, their crews watching on helplessly as the spinnaker backs and the spreaders tickle the water.
Just one race was scheduled for today so that the committee has plenty of time to settle protests before the prize giving later this afternoon. Rather in contrast to the norm, and to the committee’s surprise, there was little work for them to do before releasing the overall results for the event.
The results for the IRC Class 1 were pretty much as expected. Colm Baarringon’s Gloves Off has been dominating the field since the event began with a row of firsts and seconds, and took an overall win. French entry, Courrier Nord were the only serious threat to Gloves Off, but after receiving a disqualification yesterday morning for having one too many bod’s aboard, their hopes for a win were dashed, and have had to settle with a close second. Bob Stewart’s Azure managed a comfortable third overall after notching up a row of good placings.
In the IRC Class 2 overalls, it was a very close run for first and second, Jacana from Ireland just managing to get one over her counterpart, Wing & A Prayer, whose angel-faced crew had to make do with second. Some eight points behind, Pinocchio VII snatched a third from yet another Irish entry, Bengal Majic.
Straight out of the box and only launched a day before the start of the event, Silver Darling, an Elan 362, showed the rest of the IRC Class 3 up, as she proceeded to take five straight wins over the past few days and an overall win, a clear ten points ahead of Lethal Weapon in second. Taking third, Salamander XV, an Elan 333, was the only boat to topple Silver Darling’s reign at the front of the fleet, taking first on the first and last races of the event.
In the Cork 1720s fleet, the top three were separated by just a few points in what is becoming an increasingly competitive class. Stewart Hawthorn’s team stole a very close first from Ireland’s David Maguire. Chris Ducker’s team aboard their boat,, Goacher Sails, from Royal Windermere Yacht Club, adapted to racing in coastal conditions very well, and took a commendable third. The local entry, King Quick, sailed by Graeme Scott’s team, did not hold up expectations, and only managed to come up with a fourth overall.
If anything was more surprising than the local lads being outdone by some inland sailors, was the number of Irish entries finishing in the top three. Whether it’s down to a hearty Guinness before leaving the dock is unclear, but nearly every class had at least one Irish sail number in the top of the rankings.
Perhaps it can be argued that it is a long way to travel for a five day event, but it is certainly worth the effort when you are greeted by some of the friendliest sailors, most welcoming locals and impressive scenery you could come across. Even if you don’t have a boat, or a place on a crew, there are always entries looking for an extra hand ab