Double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson has announced she'll be racing a Swan 45 at this year's Scottish Series

Double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson announced, at the London International Boat Show, she’ll be racing at the Bell Lawrie Scottish Series in Tarbert in May aboard a Swan 45. As well as her own sailing Robertson will also be there to promote the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme participating in match racing aboard one of the RYA’s J/80s.

Chatting about her commitment to the event Robertson said: “I’m really excited about coming up to Tarbert and racing in the Scottish Series for the first time. I grew up sailing on the west coast of Scotland and am looking forward to racing in the clear waters of Loch Fyne. After the last few years’ hard work and training abroad for the Olympics, it’ll be great to sail in Scotland again.”

Robertson is not alone in making her debut appearance at the Scottish Series. The Swan 45 class will have its own class start in Tarbert for the first time and the regatta will count for the Swan European Championship circuit. While it is currently unclear at this stage how many Swan 45 will take part there will possibly be 8-10 who will make the passage up from the south coast.

According to Keith Miller, owner/skipper of the Swan 45 ‘Crackerjack’, and overall winner of Class 1 at the 2004 Scottish Series, the Swan 45 Class will be using the series as one of the regattas to count for their Area Championship.

The major change to the regatta this year however, is the new race format to include four days’ racing including two ’round the buoys’ races each day. This will remove points anomalies that were an inevitable feature of running overnight feeders from Gourock and Bangor and a day feeder race from Kip. IRC classes will have up to eight races, the one-designs up to 10 and the CYCA classes 7. All racing will take place on Tarbert, Loch Fyne with three separate course areas being set.

Clyde Cruising Club has also announced that there will be two cash prizes of £500 for the winners of the new ‘Tarbert Outbound’ passage race, which is a stand alone race starting from Tarbert on Tuesday 31 May with finishes in both Largs and Bangor. Bell Lawrie has kindly donated a trophy for the Bangor Finish and the Tarbert Shield will be presented for the Largs Finish. The £500 cash prize will go to the winner of each race on corrected time.

Amongst the other classes expected to attract big numbers are the 1720 Sportsboats and the Impala 28s. Colin MacDonald of the Scottish 1720 Class Association predicts that over 20 1720s will be on the start line in Tarbert, including former Flying Fifteen world champion and previous Scottish Series overall winner, Steve Goacher, of Goacher Sails in Windermere, who has bought a 1720 and intends to campaign it throughout 2005.

The Impala Class Association has devised a radical new championship – the GAP Communications Impala Celtic Championships running at both the Scottish Series and the Bangor Week with the boat that has the best overall results from both events winning the championship. There is already considerable interest from owners in Scotland and Ireland and it is hoped that some Cornwall and Welsh boats can be persuaded to make the journey north.

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