Arran 6 Series – Race Report

DSCN9388The final Thursday night race of 2015 took place last week at Toward. Sunshine greeted the sailors for the last race in the Arran Series and, for once, the wind held throughout the race. Having already secured the series, Fiona Mackay decided to ditch the Topper and give her 29er a rare outing. Conditions proved testing for this tender boat and as a result several swimming sessions took place before the end of the race. The gusty conditions were also keeping everyone else on their toes, and with second and third places in the series still up for grabs there was no room for errors. Kriss, having set off first in her Topper, had established a lead of almost three legs before the next two boats started. A similar gap was established between them and the late starters before the handicaps gradually began to take effect. Katana, having passes the Pico before the first mark, eventually caught the Topper before herself being passed by Saorsa. Saorsa had in turn put a considerable amount of clear water between her and Gimcrack who was struggling in the stronger gusts. By the time the end of the race was signalled Saorsa was securely in the lead, a position which was enough to ensure second place in the series.

Away from the club, eight of Toward’s cadets headed to Holy Loch to take part in their annual regatta. In the Oppie class two firsts and a second ensured Lewis Oxland finished the weekend in first place ahead of Oliver and Rory in second and third respectively. In the Topper Class Beth Wilson finished a very credible second while brother Connor was forth. Well done to all of them in their first venture away from Toward.


Arran 6
1st Saorsa (Moody 336), A. Finlay
2nd Katana (Cutlass 27), F. McLean
3rd Purple Pixie (Topper), K. Baird-Dean
Arran Series
1st Topper, F. Mackay
2nd Saorsa (Moody 336), A. Finlay
3rd Gimcrack (GK24), D. Hillhouse

TSC Paddle Weekend – Junie & Lesley’s Experience

As part of feedback from the 5/6 Sept. “Paddle Weekend” we asked attendees for feedback. We received the following from Junie and Lesley who attended TSC on  Saturday 5th.

“What a fantastic day!! We spent the morning sailing, courtesy of Alasdair and his beautiful yacht.(The Moody 336) We learned quite a bit about how it all worked and how important the safety aspects were, plus had a turn behind the wheel. Truly a fantastic experience. Later in the afternoon, we went kayaking with David and John. Again, well delivered instruction, fun, a great way to keep fit and brilliant way of seeing the landscape.

The sun shone, the people were lovely and we couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Thanks so much Toward Sailing Club!”

Best Wishes Junie & Lesley

(Images courtesy of Junie)

Arran 5 Series – Race Report

DSCN9273a_1000There was a reasonable wind for the start of the penultimate race in the Arran series. Fiona Mackay in her club Topper was off first and made the most of the breeze. Katana,  being next to start, also benefited from the favourable conditions before the wind began to drop leaving the late starters struggling to make much way. As the minutes ticked by things were looking good for the early starters as the faster boats failed to close the gap. However, with ten minutes to go, the wind filled in and suddenly things weren’t looking so secure for the front of the fleet. The Topper was safe in
first place having already established a significant lead, however with just over a minute to go Katana was passed by Saorsa and only just managed to stay ahead of Gimcrack who had made up  considerable ground in the preceding few minutes.

Last Wednesday also saw the end of evening training at Toward. As is customary, this was marked by a series of races to decide the fate of the Dandelion Cup and Thistle Trophy. Designed to show how much the cadets have learned over the season, this year’s competition proved to be the closest ever. With the best four results from the series of races counting, both Lewis Oxland and Sandy Stuart finished on equal points and it was only when the ‘number of firsts” rule was applied that Lewis came out the winner. Although evening training is now finished there is still the chance to get on the water a few more times before the end of the season.

The Frostbite Series begins on Sunday 4th October and runs for four weeks. These races are preceded by a training session in the morning so there is still the chance to master a few new skills and get your hands on some silverware.


Arran 5
1st Topper, F. Mackay
2nd Katana (Cutlass 27), F. McLean
3rd Saorsa (Moody 336), M. Benson
Dandelion Cup (for cadets in Oppies)
1st Lewis Oxland
2nd Sandy Stuart
3rd Rory Oxland
Thistle Trophy (for cadets in Toppers/Picos)
1st Beth Wilson
Adult Learners
1st Eland Stuart

Arran 4 Series – Race Report

As the evening sailing at Toward nears its end, racing returns to the Arran series with its pursuit format ensuring a finish before dark. The race began in fair enough conditions with Sandy Stuart in his Oppie heading off first pursued some time later by the Toppers and Picos. By the time the faster keel boats had started conditions had deteriorated to such an extent that both the Oppie and one of the Picos decided discretion was the better part of valour and headed for the clubhouse.

For those remaining on the water the squally conditions were proving a bit of a challenge. So too for the Race Officer and safety boat crew who were finding it extremely difficult to keep track of the boats in the poor visibility. Could this also have been the reason for three of the remaining fleet rounding mark ‘S’ in the wrong direction, or was it the failing light which made it difficult to read the course card?!

By the time the end of the race was signalled only two boats had managed to successfully complete the course and, of them, it was Fiona Mackay in a club Topper who finished well ahead.


Arran 4
1st Topper, F. Mackay
2nd Gimcrack (GK24), D. Hillhouse

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 4 Series Race Report

Summer finally arrived at Toward on Thursday evening for the fourth race in the Bute Series. Sunshine, which was almost warm, accompanied by a good breeze enabled the fast handicap boats to complete all three rounds of the course while the slow handicap ones completed the requisite two rounds. At the first mark Saorsa was first round closely followed by Dr Feelgood and by the second mark the fleet had stretched out more or less according to handicap. This is how it stayed until the end of the race although once the handicaps were applied it was Saorsa who won by a mere 45 seconds. A steady race from Alasdair McLean in his Laser gave him third place both on the water and on handicap, putting him well in contention for the series.


Bute 4

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


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