Boats from as far as Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates will head to Scotland for the Bell Lawrie Scottish Series at the end of May

Entries are flooding in for Scotland’s biggest racing event, the Bell Lawrie Scottish Series, held in Tarbert from the 27 to 30 May this year. Traditionally boats travel from all over Scotland, Ireland and the south coast of England to take part, but organisers have received entries from further afield this year, including Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.

Exiled Scot David Cullen and his wife live in Hong Kong, but have fond memories of sailing on the west coast of Scotland and last took part in the Scottish Series aboard a Sadler 32 fifteen years ago. And here they are again in 2005 as Team Struan, made up of a crew of Hong Kong sailors and chartering a Marten 49 – a hew high tech cruiser/racer with a lifting keel designed by Reichel Pugh and built by Marten in New Zealand.

Another overseas-based crew making their way to Tarbert this May are a group of airline pilots based in Dubai. Jo Gillespie and his crew are members of the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club and each year choose an overseas event in which to compete.

Loch Fyne may not provide the warm winds and waters they’re used to in Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates, but top class competitive racing on the water, and the lure of Scottish seafood and good ‘craic’ ashore are enticing these foreign based sailors to take part in this year’s Bell Lawrie Scottish Series.

This year’s Series looks to be one of the most competitive ever. Last year’s Class 1 winner, Keith Miller will be back to defend his trophy aboard his Swan 45, ‘Crackerjack’. And this year the Swan 45 class has their own start line, with at least six Swan 45s confirmed as competing in the event this year. The Swan’s confirmed as racing in The Scottish Series are: Crackerjack, WISC, Murka, Fever, Piper and Hawk. The Bell Lawrie Scottish Series has for the first time been included as one of the regattas to count for their Area Championships and the Swans, which are normally based on the Hamble, are eagerly anticipating racing in the open waters of Loch Fyne.

Experienced campaigner Anthony O’Leary from Cork, overall winner of the 2004 Scottish Series Trophy with IRC class 2 boat Antix is planning to compete for the trophy again in 2005. Reflecting on his win in 2004 he said:

“The Bell Lawrie Trophy has been admired by all visitors to our home. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at Tarbert last year; the racing and calibre of race management were exactly as we have come to expect. We’re looking forward to defending our trophy in May this year.”