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Plas Menai 2015

Bumper 95 boats compete at Dalgety Bay SC Annual Regatta

by Keith Bedborough on 7 Sep 2-3 September 2017

Dalgety Bay Sailing Club hosted its annual regatta on the weekend of 2/3 September and a bumper entry of 95 boats saw the club firmly back at the top of the game for regatta management.

This event included Scottish Championships for the Musto Skiffs, Europes and RS Teras and the club were delighted to welcome 33 boats who had come from all over the country including Weymouth and the Isle of Man. It could be that the opening of the new Queensferry crossing is what tempted people to travel, but we'd rather believe it's the clubs reputation for top class racing, a highly panoramic venue, free on-site camping and the friendly club atmosphere which actually do it.

All that said, Saturday started with an early Duckhams nomination for the regatta manager when the clubhouse was locked and no-one on the organising committee had the keys. Once that minor obstacle was overcome the galley was fired up, the entries flowed in and the car park attendants were busily directing the traffic to the various parts of the site. There was however one minor issue and that was the complete lack of breeze which contrary to the forecast, had decided not to play.

This allowed for a good degree of boat fettling, comparing of tall stories from recent national champs, lazing around in the sun, a Tera crabbing competition and general enjoyment of the views to the 3 bridges and across to Edinburgh.

After a 1.5 hour postponement a light southerly materialised and this was enough for the PROs to leap into action and get the 2 courses setup and the start guns firing. The ebb tide caught several out on the first start and the 400s earned the prize for having most kites up at 1 minute to go as several hopefuls were caught the wrong side of the line. The breeze stabilised and built somewhat for the 2nd race and with the fleet more canny to the tide the starts got away cleanly. At 5.30pm after 2 races on the big course and a dying breeze PRO Sandy McPhail called it a day – only to be put to shame by the Teras where PRO Gavin Homer kept them out another hour and managed to fit in 4 races – respect to the kids ! The inclusion of on the water coaching for the Tera sport fleet worked really well and with such a big fleet it was noted how quickly some of the less experienced kids were progressing as they followed and copied others to improve their boat-handling techniques in the big fleet.

At the end of quite a challenging day on the water the inclusive 3 course meal went down extremely well with the competitors and thereafter the clubhouse remained open for the evening disco. There was rumour of some dark'n'stormies and thereafter a dads-dancing-dance-off between Tera dads and 400 dads (you had to be there apparently – all photos have been destroyed).

Sunday dawned with a fresher breeze and some major shifts and both PROs showing they meant business starting on time. The big course moved round the corner into St David's Bay which took it out of the tide somewhat and gave some useful separation from the Tera course. However with starboard line bias generally, very variable pressure and some big right hand shifts the starts and first beats were key. The big fleet got all 4 races in at 45-55 minutes each so enjoyed a full days competition with PRO McPhail and his team managing slick turnaround between the races. However again they were put to shame by the Teras who were still sailing hard as the "big" fleet sailed in – and it transpired they had completed 5 races on Sunday for a series of 9 races overall. Credit to the kids for putting in the effort and determination to complete the series and still come off the water smiling.

As boats were hosed down and packed away the prize giving was held soon thereafter to allow the many travellers a prompt departure and despite a few clouds gathering the rain stayed away and prizes were presented on the grass foreshore. Regatta Manager Richard Haydock thanked the numerous volunteers who had given up their time to make the event such a success, in particular the 2 Race Management Teams and the 10 rescue boat crews who were vital with so many young sailors on the water. Thanks also were given to the galley and bar teams who kept us amply fed and watered over the weekend and various others. Jono Shelley the winner of the Musto Skiff Scottish championships was gracious in his thanks for the club on behalf of the competitors, and gave an extra mark of respect to the Tera kids for outlasting all the adults!

Congratulations from Dalgety Bay Sailing Club to all prize-winners across the 9 classes, and a special mention to the winners of the RS Tera Scottish Championships Theo Stewart from Windermere School SC (Tera Pro) and Teddy Dunn from Isle of Man (Tera Sport). All class results are available at sailwave.com/results/DBSC.

Next up for Dalgety Bay is the Barts Bash on Sunday 17th September and then the Autumn / Winter Sunday Series racing which runs through to mid December brrrrr...

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