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Aldeburgh Boatyard and Gill Loch Long Week

by Jamie Bruce Lockhart on 3 Aug 2003
Action from Loch Long sailing week at Aldeburgh © Tony Pick, Coastal Images, Aldeburgh

40 boats participated in this unique event - the first occasion on which the annual national championship races of this 67-year old class of classic boat has been held away from the Association's home on the Firth of Clyde, and the largest gathering of Loch Long sail in one place for some forty years. The week produced fine racing conditions. The light, cyclonic summer airs common on the Alde were only rarely encountered, and came as a relief after two days of hard sailing, including a 14 miles race round Havergate Island, in rough water with winds of Force 5 to 6 over a strong ebbing tide.

Two races on Friday brought the 2003 Loch Long Association's championships to an exciting finish, and an emphatic victory, and the Clyde Cup, for Simon Fulford and his crew from Aldeburgh Yacht Club in Whim. Well deserved championship places, over nine races were won, in some very close matches, on net points after 2 discards, as follows: 1st Whim (with 8 points), 2nd Trya (Mark Bradshaw, CSC, 16 points), 3rd Dolphin (Murray Caldwell, CSC, 22 points), 4th Sonara (Karen Hall, CSC, 39 points), 5th Eden (Ian Liddell, AYC, 45 points), and 6th Zimmer (Patrick Gifford, AYC, 46 points). Of the 38 boats racing, the next six were: Pippin (Jimmy Robinson, AYC, 49 points), Wildka (Huw Semken, AYC, 51 points), Tik Hai II, (De Venny, CSC, 61 points), Ripple, (Phil Montague, AYC, 64 points), Boomerang (Graham Hutchinson, CSC, 66 points), and 12th Whisper (Jonathan Thomson, AYC, 81 points). In the interclub team racing for the Lawson Trophy, Aldeburgh Yacht Club's boats prevailed skilfully over teams from Cove Sailing Club and Royal Gourock Yacht Club. The cadets race for the Laidlaw Cup was won by Huw Semken (AYC) in Wildka.

The pattern of competition at the top was repeated in hard fought battles at all levels in the large fleet. Renovated old boats competed well with newly built boats; honours between Scots and Anglians were pretty much even, and the long trailer journey made by the 9 Scottish boats was richly rewarded; beginners kept pace with old hands, and in generation games, sons were for the most part ahead of fathers. In short, the results of an enjoyable week's racing reflected well the resurgence of this particular class of classic boat at a time when some classes of boats of comparable size, wooden or of modern materials, have been doing less well; and reconfirmed that the Loch Long is pretty yacht, easy to sail but hard to sail well.