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Scottish Optimist Travellers at Loch Morlich Sailing Club

by Iain Airlie 17 Jul 2007 11:49 BST 14-15 July 2007

Mid-July, and a round dozen oppies assembled at Loch Morlich for the sixth traveller of the series, with a further 3 in the regatta fleet. Under the brooding Cairngorms, with the funicular railway disappearing into the clouds, this is one of the most picturesque of the venues on the Scottish Traveller circuit.

Commodore Ian Ross acted as race officer, and explained the unique system of course management at the first regatta held under the auspices of the Loch Morlich Sailing Club (the club previously known as Spey Valley Sailing Club).

The old-handers are familiar with the system used here; marks are laid to form a trapezoid, courses are either a straight trapezoid or an outer loop, mark 1 is the windward mark, defined by the wind direction at the time of the start, with all marks port-hand, numbered anti-clockwise, all starts are committee boat starts, with the line from the mast on the committee boat to what will become mark 4, finish line is defined by the clubhouse mast and a mark laid off, forming a gate to be sailed through at the end of each lap. Keep sailing laps of the course until 'S' is flown.

Race 1 was a challenging light-wind outer loop, with Callum finishing first. Second place was a close-fought race to the line, with Andrew McG just pipping Drew to the place.

The promised breeze filled in for race 2, and saw Kae Clark get a cracking start to lead the fleet. She held on to the lead for half the race, only to cede the lead to George Thompson,(one of our overseas visitors from Guernsey). Callum fought his way from a poor start to take third place, with Ross a close fourth. The final leg saw George take first, followed by Callum, Kae and Ross.

Race 3 saw Andrew Mitchell take the lead, with Callum, Andrew McG, Ross and George chasing hard. The end of the outer loop saw the experienced hands capture the lead, with George and Callum fighting hard for the lead. Ross, Drew, and the two Andrews were challenging for the next 4 places. Callum triumphed as George couldn't quite lay the outer end of the line, with a virtual photo finish for the third-sixth places.

The good breeze persuaded the race team to run race 4 on the Saturday: hindsight proves that this was a wise decision. There was enough wind to make this a two-lap race. Young Jack Gillespie challenged hard, and was in the top three for most of the race. By the end of the first lap the fleet had split into three distinct groups: Callum & George fighting over the lead; Jack, Ross, Andrew Mitchell, Andrew McGowan and Drew challenging for third place; with the rest of the fleet following on.

Sunday dawned dry and sunny -- but not a lot of wind. Race 5 did get underway (once the sinking mark had been replaced), but the wind died, and the race was abandoned.

It did finally start - and presented a classic exercise in light wind sailing. The finish had to be seen to be believed: 7 boats in line astern crossed the line in a photo finish - in the reverse order to the line astern. Well done Alistair; hard luck (but well handled) Drew.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoat NameHelmClubPts
1st 4948 Tigger Too Callum Airlie StMLSC 
2nd 5650  Andrew McGowan CCC 10 
3rd 5088  George Thompson  11 
4th 5454 Ships Kat Ross Stanley-Whyte RNCYC 15 
5th 5708  Andrew Mitchell HSC 20 

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