Cumbrae Series / Round Cumbrae Race Report

The final race in the Cumbrae series on Thursday night turned out to be a complete non-starter as the total absence of wind caused the race officer to cancel the race. Even the most optimistic competitor had to concede that this was definitely the right decision. With the series now concluded and the points totalled, the first series trophy of 2016 goes to Alasdair Finlay’s Saorsa.

Saturday’s conditions proved to be much more agreeable with a light breeze and sunshine giving a gentle start to the keelboats in the Round Cumbrae Race. For the first time this race had two start times in an attempt to bring the boats closer together at the finish. This appeared to work well as less than 20 minutes separated the first and last boats to cross the finish line. Once the handicaps were applied it was Gimcrack who, despite being the final finisher, came out well ahead. Only 80 seconds separated the second and third placed boats which, in a race lasting over 5 hours, is remarkable close.

While the big boats were away there was still racing at the club for the dinghies. The cadets took advantage of the benign conditions to take their Oppies around the buoys. On this occasion it was Ellie who triumphed ahead of Oscar.


Round Cumbrae Race

1st Gimcrack (GK24), D. Hillhouse, TSC

2nd Katana (Cutlass 27), A. Mulholland, TSC

3rd Parallel Motion, A. Marshall, IoBSC

Cumbrae 5 – Race Report 2016

Right from the start, the penultimate race in the Cumbrae series was a bit of a drift. Twenty minutes after the starting gun only Saorsa and Gimcrack were heading in the right direction. Katana was drifting back from the line and towards the rocks forcing use of the engine and immediate retiral.

Meanwhile the dinghies, having crossed the line earlier, were recrossing it for a second or, in some cases, a third time. Once free from the magnetic attraction of the start mark the remaining two keelboats managed to catch just enough air to creep slowly around the course. These two boats finally finishing the substantially shortened course just as the tenacious dinghies eventually got going. In what was becoming a test of endurance for the race officer as well as the sailors the remaining boats finally made it to the finish, taking just under two hours to get round two marks.

Cumbrae 5
Fast Handicap
1st Saorsa (Moody 336), A. Finlay
2nd Gimcrack (GK 24), D. Hillhouse
3rd 29er, F. Mackay
Slow Handicap
1st Purple Pixie (Topper), K. Baird-Dean
2nd Stacey (Comet), D. Baird-Dean


Race Report – Cumbrae 1, Ailsa 3, Ailsa 4

Cumbrae 1 start It’s well known that any class of boat is welcome to race at Toward and this was well illustrated on Thursday night when 7 different classes took to the start line. An almost perfect start from Saorsa in the first race of the Cumbrae series saw the Moody 336 lead the fleet at the first mark almost a minute ahead of Fiona Mackay in her 29er. She was closely followed by the Laser, Nae Loser, then Banshee who squeezed inside Gimcrack as they rounded the mark.

The second leg allowed the 29er and Banshee to give their kites an airing. Despite the extra sail area Gimcrack passed Banshee and Saorsa held her lead. A broken tiller extension on the Laser forced an early retiral while an unrecoverable capsize by Kriss Baird-Dean in Purple Pixie saw the dinghy fleet reduced to two.

RIMG0010_800Saorsa proved to be untouchable and continued to extend her lead throughout the race eventually finishing four minutes ahead of her nearest rivals. Once the handicaps had been applied Saorsa was still the clear winner. Amongst the slow handicap boats the war of attrition left Ruairidh Pringle in a club Topper as the only survivor and therefore the winner.

Sunday morning dawned sunny and fairly warm with a pleasant easterly wind – perfect for the cadets. After last week’s stoorie conditions this was much more conducive to getting back to grips with the basics of boat handling. After 45 minutes afloat the cadets headed in for lunch. During this short break the wind shifted 180o and increased considerably in strength. By the time racing was due to start it was only the adults who took to the water. In a close fought first race it was Ruairidh Pringle who came out ahead while revenge was sweet for Eland Stuart who took the second one.


Cumbrae 1

Fast Handicap

1st Saorsa (Moody 336), A. Finlay

2nd Gimcrack (GK24), D. Hillhouse

3rd Banshee (Oyster 26), R. Campbell

Slow Handicap

1st Topper, R. Pringle

Ailsa 3

1st Topper, R. Pringle

2nd Pico, E. Stuart

Ailsa 4

1st Pico, E. Stuart

2 nd Topper, R. Pringle

Frostbite 1 Series – Race Report

Frostbite Begins!

Sunday 4th October saw the first of the Frostbite Series take place at Toward Sailing Club. With the keel boats safely hauled out, the whole area was open for the dinghies to play in! It was good to see 4 of our Oppie cadets turn up to have a go at their first race on the big course! Unfortunately the conditions proved to be just too much for them and all 4 Oppies retired, some with mast problems. Hopefully they will come along for another go next week!

The rest of the field progressed to the start line. There was a moderate easterly breeze which was whipping up the waves making the going very choppy! Everyone got off to a good start in the first race with John Orr in Dr Feelgood taking the early lead which he maintained finishing well ahead of the rest of the field. Second and third place was fought out between Jan Oliver in Mayfly and Kriss Baird-Dean in Purple Pixie. It was a close call with both dinghies making good progress in the fresh breeze. However, both made for the wrong mark down towards the club house resulting in time loss for both helms as they corrected their course. In the end, despite finishing ahead, Jan Oliver & Mayfly were beaten into 3rd place by Kriss Baird-Dean and Purple Pixie who took 2nd place on handicap. Alastair Noble took 4th place in both races which was an excellent result for his first outing. Dave Baird-Dean and Rhuairidh Pringle both capsized in the trying conditions and also went round the marks the wrong way so both recorded DNF. Rhuairidh also had problems with a broken tiller extension which caused him to retire for the afternoon.

The Second race got underway to a significant drop in the wind resulting in John Orr and Jan Oliver getting well ahead of the rest of the competitors in their faster boats. The choppy conditions also eased somewhat making the second race a much slower affair. This was enough along with the cold temperature for the race officer to shorten the course. Everyone enjoyed the afternoon and the frostbite series got off to a great start!


1st Race
1st John Orr – Dr Feelgood
2nd Kriss Baird-Dean – Purple Pixie
3rd Jan Oliver – Mayfly
2nd Race
1st Jan Oliver – Mayfly
2nd John Orr – Dr Feelgood
3rd Kriss Baird-Dean – Purple Pixie

Crew’s Race / Round Cumbrae – Race Report

Crews Race

No wind and adriftThe Crews Race, the annual race where the crew has a go at Helm, took place last Thursday night (13 Aug 2015).

Only 2 Keel boats were brave enough to let their crew loose on the waves this time. Saorsa and Gimcrack headed out on a fine evening with light winds and sunshine. Gimcrack had the lead early on and being a smaller craft managed to hold on to the lead right through to the wind dropping completely. Saorsa failed to finish with the total lack of wind.

Meanwhile the Dinghies that went out were having similar problems. A nice breeze saw all 3 round the first 2 marks, thereafter it was a pleasant evening drift with the seal’s and porpoises for company! A nice night to be on the water, rubbish for racing! Purple Pixie finished the slow handicap race leaving Mayfly and Stacey to drift in having not finished.

Round Cumbrae

On Saturday 15 Aug 2015 the Round Cumbrae race took place with a good turnout of 5 Yachts taking part including 2 visitors from Bute, Alan Marshall with Parallel Motion and Robin Taylor with Avanti Mhor. The race was set for good weather and fine winds of F2-3 from the west. However, upon starting the race, heavy squalls came in and 30mph gusts were recorded by Alastair Lennie on Chantilly. However, the squalls soon passed and a pleasant sail was undertaken round Cumbrae Island. Saorsa and Parallel Motion came round the island first and had a good race to the finish.

Parallel Motion pipped Saorsa to the winning post in just over 3hours. Following on around 45 minutes later were Gimcrack and Avanti Mhor. Gimcrack took a line close in to shore giving her an advantage on the finishing tack to give her 3rd place over Avanti Mhor after corrected time. Chantilly had become becalmed on the other side of Cumbrae and consequently abandoned the race to a pleasant sail back to Holy Loch!


Round Cumbrae
1st Parallel Motion (Alan Marshall)
2nd Saorsa (Alasdair Finlay)
3rd Gimcrack (Douglas Hillhouse)
4th Avanti Mhor (Robin Taylor)


Bute 6 Series – Race Report

Would you believe it? Summer-like conditions two weeks in a row for racing at Toward! Sun and a pleasant 8mph breeze saw a reduced fleet line up for the start of the final race in the Bute Series.

Having spent the previous training evening discussing how to tactically apply the rules of racing, Kriss Baird-Dean in her still-shiny new Topper showed everyone else how it should be done by getting by far the best start of the entire fleet. Saorsa, on the other hand, illustrated why starting on a port tack can be a risky manoeuvre.

Once again the boats stretched out according to handicap, and with the westerly wind dropping as the sun went down, it was a prudent decision by the Race Officer to shorten the race to one round for the slow handicap class and two rounds for the fast ones. Having recovered from their slightly fraught start, Saorsa went on to record their second win of the series just over a minute ahead of Jan Oliver’s Mayfly.

In the end this proved to be a crucial result as both boats finished the series on 14 points. This meant when the ‘most firsts’ rule was applied it was Saorsa who took the series. A third place for Dave Baird-Dean consolidated his consistent performance throughout the series giving him third place overall.

Fast Handicap
1st Saorsa (Moody 336), A. Finlay
2nd Mayfly (Laser radial), J. Oliver
3rd Stacey (Comet), D. Baird-Dean
Slow Handicap
1st Purple Pixie (Topper), K. Baird-Dean


Bute 5 Series – Race Report

Bute 5The penultimate race in the Bute Series began in a pleasant Force 3 westerly which, as is always the way, gradually dropped throughout the evening. Once again Saorsa took the lead closely followed by John Orr’s Contender, although by the second mark these two boats had swapped places. This was how it remained throughout the race with both boats continuing to extend their lead over the rest of the fleet. Back in the pack the Comet, Cutlass and Laser Radial passed and re-passed each other until the dropping wind gave the advantage to the lighter dinghies. Unfortunately, at the end of the second round, the Laser passed the ‘S’ mark on the wrong side and was subsequently DQ’d by the eagle eyed race officer. Meanwhile Dave Baird-Dean in the Comet made the most of the lightening conditions to squeeze Gimcrack out of the third place slot by a mere eight seconds on corrected time. The only boat in the slow handicap class was Kriss in her shiny new purple Topper with its shiny new purple and white sail. Despite being some way behind the rest of the fleet she seemed quite happy to be able to give her new boat an outing and was rewarded with a first in her class.


Fast Handicap
1st Dr Feelgood (Contender), J. Orr
2nd Saorsa (Moody 336), A. Finlay
3rd Stacey (Comet), D. Baird-Dean
Slow Handicap
1st  Purple Pixie (Topper), K. Baird-Dean

Bute 3 Series – Race Report

Wild and Windy at Toward

TSC SailingThe 3rd race of the Bute series got underway to plenty of wild weather on Thursday night with a strong easterly wind whipping up the waves! 5 dinghies and 1 Keel boat were the brave souls who decided to give it a try, only 4 finished!

Of the 2 that retired 1 was brave Sandie Stuart only out on his 2nd race! He made it to the start line but decided that conditions were too much for the little Oppie and headed in. But well done to Sandie for giving it a try! Meanwhile Fiona MacKay and Isaac Lines made a good attempt at starting with Fiona’s 29er but even these 2 seasoned sailors found conditions too trying for the 29er and spent more time in the water than on the boat! They also retired after several dips in the water much to the relief of the safety boat crew! The remaining 4 set off from the start with Simon Howard in Serendipity and Alistair McLean in his Laser getting well ahead of Dave Baird-Dean in his Comet “Stacey” and Eland Stuart in a Club Pico.

TSC SailingThereafter the race was in two parts between the front 2 contenders and the 2 at the rear. Simon Howard and Alistair McLean furiously trying to stay ahead of each other were almost a whole section in front of the rear 2 racers when the Race Officer decided to shorten the course due to worsening conditions. Serendipity crossed the line first but Alistair McLean won the race on handicap adjustment. Meanwhile at the rear of the field Dave Baird-Dean and Eland Stuart struggled to get round the final T mark, both capsizing several times on the way back to the finish line with Dave Baird-Dean spending precious minutes retrieving his hat! Eventually both bravely finished what had been an exhausting but invigorating race!

Bute 2 Series – Race Report

The second race in the Bute Series turned into a test of everyone’s patience. The light wind which  had been blowing prior to the start quickly died resulting in Gimcrack, the fastest boat in the fleet, taking 45 minutes to reach the first mark. Initially the dinghies kept up well although Sandy Stuart in  his first ever race was finding that Oppies are not at their best in such light conditions. Meanwhile dad Eland, also making the transition from training to racing, initially kept up well with the much more experienced Topper, however two hours in a Pico isn’t much fun for anyone and he eventually threw in the towel.

With a two hour time limit on the race it was with just over 10 minutes to spare that Gimcrack finally crossed the line thus giving everyone else an additional 45 minutes to get round the course. This was just enough for both the Topper and Katana to get to the finish line. Unfortunately for Sandy, despite showing great tenacity, he was never going to finish in time so accepted a welcome tow back to the clubhouse.


Bute 2

1st Gimcrack (GK24), D. Hillhouse
2nd Cosmic Debris (Topper), K. Baird-Dean
3rd Katana (Cutlass 27), F. McLean


Cumbrae 4 Series – Race Report

There were near perfect sailing conditions for the fourth race in the Cumbrae Series last Thursday evening. Both John Orr in his Contender and Alasdair Findlay in his Moody 336 got off to a good start and immediately led the way while at the other end of the fleet Katana, off her mooring for the first time in several weeks, brought up the rear.

With a steady breeze there were no changes in position as the boats sailed to their various handicaps. By the end Saorsa had extended her lead by taking the inshore tack to the Ardyne mark while John’s offshore route saw him drop back a considerable way.

As is always the way, the westerly wind dropped as the evening went on, causing the slower boats to fall further behind. In this series there is some consolation however as handicaps are adjusted after each race and those penalised by the falling breeze will be recompensed with a more generous handicap next week.


Cumbrae 4

1st Saorsa (Moody 336), A. Finlay
2nd Stacey (Comet), D. Baird-Dean
3rd Dr Feelgood (Contender), J. Orr