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.

RESULTS

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.

RESULTS

Arran 2

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

RESULTS

Ailsa 1

1st Nae Loser (Laser), A. McLean
2nd
3rd

RESULTS

Ailsa 2

1st Nae Loser (Laser), A. McLean
2nd
3rd

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.

RESULTS

Arran 1

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