Regatta 2015 Update

****** UPDATE on TSC(SCIO) 45th Annual Regatta 2015 ******

“As a result of an extremely bad forecast for Saturday, the decision has been taken to cancel Saturday’s race. However it is hoped to race on Sunday as planned. Entries will be accepted up until 9.00am on the Sunday morning and there will be no late entry fee.
Hope to see you there.”

Cumbrae 1 Series – Race Report

There was a good breeze for the first race in the Cumbrae series and, for the first time in a long while, dinghies outnumbered keelboats on the start line. With a minute to go Fiona Mackay had parked her club Topper firmly on the start line and as the lights went out she got off to a flying start with Dave Baird-Dean’s Comet close behind. Despite having given away many metres at the start it wasn’t long before Saorsa with Alasdair Finlay on the helm and John Orr in his Contender overhauled the rest of the fleet to take the lead.

Close together, John led the way until a capsize just before the second mark handed the lead to Saorsa. By this time the remainder of the fleet had stretched out according to handicap and the only change there throughout the race was Fiona’s Topper getting ahead of the Comet. Meanwhile, back at the front, Saorsa was doing a good job of staying ahead of the Contender until, two legs later, John finally managed to regain the lead. Unfortunately a second capsize just before the Ardyne mark again reversed the positions and this was how it remained until the end of the race.

Once ashore, and with the handicaps applied, it was all change. Saorsa just managed to hang on to their win while Kriss Baird-Dean who had been 6th on the water found herself in second place a mere 40 seconds behind.


Cumbrae 1

1st Saorsa (Moody 336), A. Finlay
2nd Cosmic Debris (Topper), K. Baird-Dean
3rd Dr Feelgood (Contender), J. Orr


Arran 3 Series – Race Report

Saorsa about to overtake Gimcrack.The third pursuit race in the Arran series turned into a war of attrition on Thursday night as, for a variety of reasons, dinghy after dinghy retired leaving Fiona Mackay sailing a club Topper as the only non-keel boat to finish the race. Kriss Baird-Dean in her Topper Cosmic Debris was first off and managed to stay ahead of Fiona until a close encounter with the first mark sent her swimming. As Kriss struggled to untangle her boat from the mark Fiona sailed on into the lead.

Having started a few minutes after the Toppers, Dave Baird-Dean was going well in his Comet, Stacey. So well in fact that he just kept sailing, missed the first mark, and seemed to be heading for Largs until the safety boat set off to retrieve him.

Among the later starters Saorsa was revelling in the brisk conditions while Gimcrack was, at times, looking a little overpowered. With Gimcrack starting ahead of Saorsa, it didn’t take long for the bigger boat to close the gap on its smaller rival and by the time they had returned to mark ‘S’  Saorsa had just edged ahead.

Although the Topper was still well ahead of the later starters the gap was closing as both boats gradually reeled in the little dinghy. Fiona then went on to repeat the antics of the other Topper and by the time the first rounding of the course had been completed both keel boats had managed to overtake the dinghy and this was how it remained until the end of the race.


Arran 3

1st Saorsa (Moody 336), A. Finlay
2nd Gimcrack (GK24), D. Hillhouse
3rd Topper, F. Mackay

Arran 2 / Ailsa 1 & 2 Series – Race Report

Arran 2

A sunny evening and steady wind saw the second pursuit race of the season at Toward. From 6.45pm the dinghies set off at intervals followed by the keel boats all hoping to overtake everyone in front to take the lead before the 8.30pm finish.

Kriss Baird-Dean in her Topper was first off followed 10 minutes later by hubby Dave in his Comet who made up a lot of ground on his good lady before the sheet fairies tangled his main sheet causing him to capsize. By the time he got himself upright and sailing again the Toppers were well away. Kriss led the way for the first half hour before being caught then overtaken by Fiona Mackay in the other Topper who put her local tidal knowledge to good use. By that time the other dinghies and keel boats had all started and were strung out along the course. As the later starters began to gain on the leaders the Comet decided it was time to go for another swim, unfortunately this time breaking his tiller in the process. This gave the others the opportunity to overtake him and by the time he was once again up the right way he was in last place.

With 20 minutes to go the faster boats were gaining on the front runners and it was clear that it would be a close finish. On the last leg the boats bunched together so that only the first and last positions were clear. Approaching the last mark Gimcrack and Saorsa were close together and battling for third place but Gimcrack on starboard rounded first as Saorsa on port tack had to give way. The next four boats changed positions with 30 seconds to go showing how well this personal handicap system works.

As a finale the Comet had one last capsize ensuring his last place. Thank goodness for discards! (Out of 6 races in the series only 4 count – handy for when you’re having a bad day).

Ailsa 1/2

For the first Sunday race of the season only Alasdair McLean braved the conditions to arrive at the start line for the first two races in the Ailsa series.


Arran 2

1st Topper, F. Mackay
2nd Gimcrack(GK24), D. Hillhouse
3rd Saorsa (Moody 33), A. Finlay


Ailsa 1

1st Nae Loser (Laser), A. McLean


Ailsa 2

1st Nae Loser (Laser), A. McLean

Power Boating

Last weekend (9-10th May) was a busy one around the club. While 30+ volunteers conducted an extensive beach clean before being rewarded with a barbeque on the Saturday, a group from Both Toward and Isle of Bute Sailing Clubs were put through their paces by Advanced Powerboat Instructor, John Small, as they worked towards their RYA Safetyboat certificate. Toward offers this service to its near neighbour at minimal cost as part of its philosophy of raising the standard of all types of boating skills on an entirely voluntary, non-profit  making basis.

Saturday morning began with the theory of power boat driving before the candidates headed out to put this theory  into practice. Conditions were ideal – fairly flat water and plenty of sunshine – just like the images in the RYA training videos!  By the end of day 1 both skill and confidence had increased substantially.

Sometime between Saturday evening and Sunday morning summer changed back into winter. Sunday dawned gray and blustery – nothing at all like the RYA training videos! Some of the exercises of the previous day were repeated illustrating how different conditions can make a seemingly simple  task much more challenging. In the afternoon the candidates were given the chance to put their newly acquired rescue skills into practice as the only sailor who had turned up for racing volunteered (some would say was press ganged) to join them as “the casualty”. With the wind continuing to increase this gave them the chance to experience the reality of providing safety cover -nothing like the RYA training Videos!  Pleased to say they were successful!

First Arran Series 2015 – Race Report

Arran mountains behind ButeThe first pursuit race of the Arran Series took place in fairly challenging conditions last Thursday. The snow on Arran may have looked pretty but gave a clue to just how cold it was.

There was a definite advantage to being one of the slower boats in the fleet as this dubious honour meant  you got to set off early while conditions were still fairly good. Fiona Mackay, sailing one of the Club’s Toppers, was off first followed four minutes later by Katana. By the end of the second leg Katana had made up the deficit and just managed to break the overlap in time to round the mark clear ahead. Back over at the start the faster boats in the fleet were jockeying for position as, one by one, their start times approached. Despite starting two minutes ahead, Gimcrack was soon overtaken by Alasdair McLean’s Laser which in turn was being closely pursued by Alasdair Finlay in his Moody 336, Saorsa. By this time however the gentle breeze that had been around at the start was rapidly vanishing. With multiple wind shifts and holes in the wind appearing all around it took full concentration to keep the boats moving. With 20 minutes of the race remaining, the ominous black clouds which had been hanging over the Toward hills finally arrived. With them came a significant increase in wind speed not to mention some fierce squalls with just a hint of sleet in them. Racing down the Toward shore Fiona,  making the most of the conditions, even managing to get the little Topper up on the plane. As a result the Topper would fly past the keelboat before dropping back again as each squall passed. As the clouds moved away conditions settled again leaving behind a pleasant wind and beautiful sunset in which to finish the race. Unfortunately this came just too late for the late starters leaving Fiona to finish a few boat lengths ahead of Katana with the Laser in third still some way behind.


Arran 1

1st Topper, F. Mackay
2nd Katana (Cutlass 27), F. McLean
3rd Nae Loser (Laser), A. McLean

Starter Trophy 2015

The weather on Saturday 18th April couldn’t have been better for the launching of the keelboats at Toward Sailing Club. Sunshine and light winds provided ideal conditions for the eight boats to be craned into the water at Ardyne Basin before making their way round to the moorings at Toward.

The first race of the season took place the following Thursday and, unbelievably, the conditions remained the same. Eight boats, of eight different classes, arrived at the start line eager to get their hands on the Starter Trophy. The gentle westerly wind was ideal for the first race where everyone is still trying to find their way around – both their boat and the course. Alasdair McLean in his Laser got off to a good start closely pursued by Alasdair Finlay’s Moody, Saorsa ,and John Orr in his Contender.

John soon took the lead but the light conditions were never going to suit him as he failed to shake off the others. As is always the way at this time of year, as the sun set and the temperature rapidly fell, so did the wind. This left the slower boats falling further and further behind until Kriss in her Topper, not wanting to be sailing in the dark, decided to retire with two legs still to go.

Once the handicaps had been applied it proved to have been a close contest with the first four boats having little to separate them. Alasdair McLean came out on top finishing just over two minutes ahead of Saorsa.

Sadly the benevolent conditions couldn’t last forever and by Monday evening the hardy souls that turned up for the ‘Come and try it’ session were face with a Force 4 wind and decidedly chilly temperatures. This unfortunately meant that, in the interest of safety, the session had to be cancelled.


Starter Trophy

1st Nae Loser (Laser), A. McLean
2nd Saorsa (Moody 336), A. Finlay
3rd Dr Feelgood (Contender), J. Orr

Regatta 2014 – Results and News

Saturday and Sunday marked Toward sailing Club’s 44th annual regatta. With classes catering for everything from keelboats to Oppies there was a fine mixture of boats on show throughout the weekend. Saturday’s race began with plenty of wind, in fact a little too much for some, however shortly after the start of the Keelboat class it vanished completely. Just when the Race Officer was beginning to tear his hair out it filled in again and held steady for the rest of the race. A spell of spectacularly heavy rain arrived towards the end of the race but at least the sailors could come ashore to burgers and hotdogs provided by the hard working kitchen crew. Sunday dawned brighter and drier than the previous day but with even more wind. This time it blew from the south adding waves to further test the already challenged dinghy sailors. What proved to be a cracking sail for the keelboats turned into a war of attrition for the dinghies with less than half the starters making it to the finish. In all the classes consistency proved to be the key factor. In the keelboat class Ruairidh Campbell in his First 29, Voila notched up three firsts to secure first overall. Similar results were achieved by Neil Towart in the Fast Handicap class, Alasdair Ireland in the Flying Fifteens and Yasmin Price in the Oppies. It was only among the slow handicap dinghies that wins were shared around. The weekend ended with a splendid spread of baking provided by the members, followed by the prize giving.


Class1 – Keelboats

1st          Voila (First 29), R. Campbell, TSC

2nd        Saorsa (Moody 336), G. Finlay, TSC

3rd         Gimcrack (GK 24), D. Hillhouse, TSC

Class 2 – Flying Fifteens

1st          Ragamuffin, A. Ireland, HLSC

2nd        Gentle Maid ,R. McTaggart, IOBSC

3rd         Effortless, A. Marshall, IOBSC

Class 3 – fast Handicap Dinghies

1st          Stubborn Tart (ISO), N. Towart, HLSC

2nd        Dr Feelgood (Contender), J. Orr, TSC

3rd         Nae Loser (Laser), A. McLean, TSC

Class 4 – Slow Handicap Dinghies

1st          Topper, D. Baird-Dean, TSC

2nd        Lucky (Topper), K. Baird-Dean, TSC

3rd         Topper, N. Campbell, TSC

Best Senior Result – Neil Towart, IOBSC

Best Junior Result – Y. Price, IOBSC