End of Season Cruise 2019

So, by popular demand, this year’s End of Season Cruise is going to Tarbert Music Festival.

Plan is to head up asap to try and get a good spot. It will be a bit of a free for all as space is limited and I’ve been advised by the harbour master that it is not possible to book berths if you’re under 45 feet. Each boat should decide when they want to/ are able to go up (Friday or Saturday) and we can all stay in touch in case there’s the opportunity to cruise in company and/or stops on the way.

TSC committee chatted a bit about whether it would be worth booking somewhere for food especially on the Saturday night, but it was decided it was best to eat on board because it will be so busy in Tarbert. We may try and arrange something altogether on one boat closer to the time.

There has also been a suggestion of going to Portavadie on the Sunday for some spa therapy, but we’ll discuss that closer to the time.

If those members without boats (including kayakers) wish to join, its likely there will be spare berths. It might even be possible to pick  a limited number of kayakers up so that kayaking could be done at least part of the way. Let me know if any of this is of interest to you via tscsoccruisesec@yahoo.co.uk. All members are welcome – the more the merrier!

Let’s hope the weather improves…..we need one of those gorgeous sunny windy (but not too windy) autumn days…. Very excited about this final blast of sailing before the boats are hauled out!

Cruising update – Mid Season Cruise & End of Season Cruise

The Mid-Season cruise was booked for this weekend. Contact details if you wish to come but don’t have a boat are below. Unfortunately, given it’s holiday season, it transpires that potentially only one boat can make this date, but we shall see.

The End of Season cruise is still on the 21/22nd September. Current suggestions are: Portavadie (it was great fun last year) or Tarbert, since the Tarbert Music Festival is on that weekend too.

As always, location is weather dependent. It is unlikely (fingers crossed! 😊) that the weather will be so bad that it is cancelled entirely as closer sheltered locations can easily be found.

Weather for this weekend looks alright according to a selection of sources. Medium breeze Saturday. Slightly lighter Sunday. A few rain showers and a mix of cloud and sun.

If you want to go on a cruise but don’t have a boat, just let me know at tscsoccreuisesec@yahoo.com and we will see if we can arrange a berth for you.


Cumbrae 3:

Once again there was a brisk breeze on Thursday night as keelboats and dinghies gathered for the start of the third race in the Cumbrae series. There was a welcome return for Gimcrack which, after a long absence, was soon in the thick of it on the start line only just avoiding the stern of Katana. Keeping out of trouble, and getting a flying start, was Saorsa closely followed by Ellie’s Pico and Optimistic Oppi.
Making the most of their clean start Saorsa went on to extend their lead. On the second leg Gimcrack decided on different tactics from the other keelboats who all gooswinged their way to the Toward mark. Unfortunately this proved their undoing allowing Banshee to move into second place. As the race progressed Saorsa’s lead slowly began to shorten and despite still being some way ahead at the finish, when the handicaps were applied it was Banshee who came out the winner. In the dinghy fleet Ellie capitalised on her good start staying well ahead of the others. By the final leg, Tom was closing the gap however the race ended with Ellie still in the lead while Macy in her Oppi had done enough to hold on to second place on handicap.

Cumbrae 3 Keelboats
1st Banshee (Oyster 26), K. McDonald
2nd Saorsa (Moody 336), A. Finlay
3rd Gimcrack (GK24), D. Hillhouse
1st Pico, E. Judd
2nd Optimistic Oppi, M. Law
3rd Pico, T. McCrossan


Saturday and Sunday were two of the busiest days at the club with the annual regatta taking place. With classes for keelboats, fast and slow handicap dinghies and Flying Fifteens the race committee and safety boats were kept busy trying to keep track of everyone in what proved to be quite trying conditions. On the Saturday the keelboats set off for their longest race of the weekend while the dinghies fitted in two races in the same time. With a large spread of handicaps amongst the keelboats it was Nathan Forrester’s Etchells, Gelert, which led the way leaving everyone else in their wake.
The situation was similar in the fast handicap dinghy class with the Merlin Rocket of Alastair and Bernadette McMillan leading the way, although on handicap it was Callum McMillan’s Flying Fifteen that came out on top.
There was more of a level playing field in the slow handicap class with the Picos and Toppers sailing off the same handicap. Kriss Baird-Dean’s Topper Purple Pixie led the way in both races while Ellie followed close behind in her Pico. Third places were shared by Tom McCrossan in a Pico and Euan McMillan from Bute in a Topper.
The following morning the sailors were met with wet and very windy conditions. So much so that the Bute boats decided it would be wise to stay at home. Conditions were such that, in the morning, only the keelboats were allowed to race and even then only two went on to complete the course. By the afternoon conditions had improved slightly and, although the wind was forecast to increase again, the race committee took advantage of the favourable weather window to fit in another race for anyone who wanted to sail. Again it was the Etchells that dominated the keelboat class while in the slow handicap dinghies it was Ellie who took first place comfortably ahead of Kriss with Graham Bains putting in an impressive performance to finish third.

1st Gelert (Etchells), N. Forester, Royal Gourock YC
2nd Banshee (Oyster 26), R. Campbell, Toward SC
3rd Voila (First 29), D. Lyons, Toward SC
Fast Handicap Dinghies/Flying Fifteens
1st Ffire Bolt (Flying Fifteen), C. McMillan, IoBSC
2nd Mango-Tango (Merlin Rocket), A. McMillan, IoBSC
3rd Gentle Maid (Flying Fifteen), R. McTaggart, IoBSC
Slow Handicap Dinghies
1st Purple Pixie (Topper), K. Baird-Dean, Toward SC
2nd Pico, E. Judd, Toward SC
3rd Topper, E. McMillan, IoBSC
Overall Best Senior – N. Forrester
Overall Best Junior – E. Judd


The brisk wind on Thursday evening made for an eventful start to the second race in the Cumbrae Series. A heavily biased line saw everyone trying to start at the outer end resulting in a couple of near misses as well as one collision between a Pico and keelboat. Once everyone was finally away Saorsa quickly established a lead which they went on to increased throughout the evening. Behind them Banshee and Voila battled for second place with Banshee winning that personal contest. Unfortunately the crew of Voila then misunderstood the shortened course signal, taking it to mean the race had ended, and promptly retired.
Among the dinghies it was Tom McCrossan who showed the way in a club Pico while Macy in her Oppi Optimistic Oppi made the most of the blustery conditions to hold on to second place on handicap. At the other end of the fleet Alice and Graham, both new to racing, were on a steep learning curve in the challenging conditions, both doing well to finish.
Wednesday night was the first session for the new learners. Unfortunately it was blowing a ‘beginners’ gale’ so the evening was spent learning to rig the various boats as well as practising land drills in preparation for going afloat. Hopefully the weather next week will be kinder.

Cumbrae 2 Keelboats
1st Saorsa (Moody 336), A. Finlay
2nd Banshee (Oyster 26), K. McDonald
3rd Katana (Cutlass 27), F. McLean

1st Pico, T. McCrossan
2nd Optimistic Oppi, M. Law
3rd Pico, E. Judd


Cumbrae 1: Thursday’s short race was the first in the Cumbrae Series where handicaps are adjusted each week depending on results. With the outer end of the line being the place to start, it was Alasdair Finlay in Saorsa who took best advantage of this to establish an early lead. He was closely pursued by Katana but by the first mark Voila had moved into second place soon to be followed by Banshee. As the wind shifted into the North East, the third leg of the course, which had been a beat for the leading boats, turned into a reach for the back markers giving them a distinct advantage by enabling them to sail a significantly shorter distance. Further back, the dinghies were having their own battle with Ellie staying well ahead of her male competitors while Macy in her Oppi, Optimistic Oppi stayed in touch to win on handicap.


Round Cumbrae Race: Saturday was the annual Round Cumbrae Race where the Club’s keelboats race from the club, around Greater Cumbrae and back again. To accommodate the wide range of handicaps this race has two starts with the slower boats starting an hour before the faster ones. On this occasion this proved crucial as throughout the afternoon the wind significantly shifted and gradually dropped leaving the later starters struggling to catch up. What had been a spinnaker run from the club to Portacher for Banshee turned into a beat for Saorsa and Voila. With the lightening wind the inevitable holes began to appear trapping Voila and forcing the retirement of Tiff.



Cumbrae 1
1st Katana (Cutlass 27), F. McLean
2nd Banshee (Oyster 26), K. McDonald
3rd Voila (First 29), D. Lyon
1st Optimistic Oppi (Optimist), M. Law
2nd Pico, E. Judd
3rd Pico, T. McCrossan


Round Cumbrae Race
1st Banshee (Oyster26), R. Campbell
2nd Saorsa (Moody 336), A. Finlay
3rd Voila (First 29), D. Lyon


The start of the third pursuit race in the Arran Series was in stark contrast to the previous two weeks. The strong wind of last week had been replaced by a gentle breeze which was only just strong enough to take the early starters around the first mark before it began to fade. By the time the faster boats had got underway the wind had all but disappeared. This left them drifting around the Toward mark in the company of the two Picos who, despite their early start, had also ground to a halt. With twenty minutes to go the wind finally began to fill in. Unfortunately for Macy in her Oppi, Optimistic Oppi, it filled in from a completely different direction resulting in her substantial lead being completely overturned. The advantage of the new wind direction handed the lead to Katana. With the breeze finally reaching the rest of the fleet it was a tense final few minutes as Saorsa just managed to pass Voila while Banshee only just hung on to second place.
Next week the format returns to a normal 7.30pm start for everyone with handicaps being applied at the end to determine the results.

RESULTS – Arran 3
1st Katana (Cutlass 27), F. McLean
2nd Banshee (Oyster 26), K. McDonald
3rd Saorsa (Moody 336), A. Finlay

News from 2 May (Race Report – Arran Series 2)

The second pursuit race in the Arran series began with even stronger wind than the first. Once again Macy set off first, this week in her own new Oppi, Optimistic Oppie. Katana and Ellie, in a club Pico, followed soon after before the other four keelboats gave chase. With the wind continuing to increase Katana decided to reef while both Ellie and Tiff took the prudent decision to retire early. Optimistic Oppie did well to hold on to her lead for a considerable time but having not yet mastered the skill of bailing while sailing the others eventually caught up. With the time ticking away Saorsa passes Voila but just failed to catch Banshee who, in turn, couldn’t quite close the gap on Katana.

Results Arran 2
1st Katana F. McLean
2nd Banshee R. Campbell
3rd Saorsa A. Finlay

News from 25 April (Race Report Arran 1 & Starter Trophy, Cruising update and Open Day)

Thursday 25 April saw the start of the 2019 sailing season at Toward Sailing Club, the first race in the Arran series. This series comprises 6 pursuit races, and first off on Thursday night was Macy in a club Oppi. As the slowest boat in the fleet Macy set off at 7 o’clock before the rest of the boats tried, in turn, to chase her down. With the squally conditions at the start dying as the evening went on Macy held her lead until, 20 minutes before the finish, Katana finally managed to catch and pass her to take over the lead. Behind them came Tiff in its first race at Toward, who in turn was being pursued by Voila, Banshee and finally Saorsa. With less than two minutes to go Saorsa passed Katana to finish in first place winning, not only the race but also the Starter Trophy.

The pace was more leisurely the next evening as five keelboats from the club headed off for the Start of Season Cruise. It was a short hop across to Port Bannatyne on the Friday night before heading to Millport on Saturday. Arriving early to avoid the forecasted high winds everyone was safely attached to the visitors’ moorings before conditions deteriorated. By Sunday morning the weather was bright and sunny, and almost warm. Taking advantage of this, several members headed round the island on scooters stopping for ice cream on the way. By mid afternoon everyone was heading for home having had a thoroughly good weekend.

Members were looking forward to the next weekend which promised to be a busy one with the club holding its open day on Saturday 4th May. Weather permitting, this is an opportunity each year for members of the public to have a go at sailing, kayaking or powerboating as well as enjoying shore based refreshments from several local businesses.

Taster Sessions on Saturday – what to expect

Keel Boat rides – you are taken out to  one of the boats (Saorsa or Banshee) by Fiona in our smaller rib power boat. You transfer from the rib to the keel boat out in the water. Experienced sailors answer your questions about sailing while you move along just by the power of the wind in the sails. With any luck you will see some of the local wildlife.

Dinghy ride in our Bahia laser dinghy with Dave at the helm. The Bahia can take 3/4 people and it will give you an idea of what it is like to sail in a smaller boat. You will probably get onto this boat at the quay.

Sea kayak taster in one of the club boats in the relatively sheltered waters of the bay by the quay. You can try your hand at paddling and manoeuvring the kayak assisted by experienced coaches. You will need to be at least 10 years old to try one of our kayaks and wearing a pair of shoes you don’t mind getting wet is essential!

Rib rides in our bigger rib with Lesley is great fun and very popular. Keep your eyes open for the seabirds round about and if you are very lucky porpoises might make an appearance.

All above will be subject to change depending on weather conditions on Saturday. Bookings are taken on the day and the rides are usually booked up pretty quickly . There’s plenty to do while you are waiting at the Club or in the Memorial Hall next door – see previous posts.

If you get bitten by the water sports bug then come along to our training registration night Wednesday 15th May 7.00pm in the Clubhouse.