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Scottish Skiff Series at Aberdeen & Stonehaven Yacht Club

by Ian Pittendreigh 8 Sep 2009 10:15 BST 29-30 August 2009

The Scottish Skiff Grand Prix made its debut at Aberdeen & Stonehaven Yacht Club during the last weekend of August. The forecast was good, but things don’t always turn out as expected when the weathers concerned, and Saturday made no exception. Nine skiffs enlisted for the event including six Musto Performance Skiffs (MPS), one Vortex, one 49er & an International 14. Unfortunately the event coincided with MPS European Championships (Lake Garda) and a number of Scottish circuit regulars were absent.

Saturday dawned blowing a Westerly from the shore which steadily increased through the morning. As time came for boats to launch concern was building as to wind strength, which was now quite strong. As the class flag dropped to start the first race few skiffer’s crossed the line in the first minute! Others started a little later, some much later, but by the time the windward mark was reached the fleet was all in close quarters. With the wind now blowing around 20 knots or more many were from time to time admiring the scenery from their upturned hulls. Downwind places were changing by the minute! The race ended with only two finisher’s i.e. first place Angus Winchester (Vortex 1181) & second place Steve Porteous (MPS 164). The conditions were keeping the rescue team on its toes and they did an outstanding job in keeping the event under control. Due to the now increasing extreme conditions however, racing was cancelled for the rest of the day.

Later in the afternoon the skiffers enjoyed a barbecue and the usual refreshments while contemplating the day’s events. Hospitality was very friendly and inviting and the facilities were very accommodating.

With only one race so far many competitors were hoping Sunday would grant better conditions. It arrived with a little sunshine and more manageable sailing conditions.

Eight boats made their way to the race area for what was sure to be a great day’s sailing. The race area was a little choppy with the wind now blowing from the South alternating between bft 3 & 5 from time to time.

Race 2 started with a strong line presence. Those who stuck to the left side of the course until laying the windward mark were fairing best. Martin Wilkie (International 14, 1473) finished first with Stuart Urquhart in his 49’er trailing second. The MPS sailors were changing places regularly.

Race 3 started with the wave-size distinctively increasing making downwind legs trickier. M. Wilkie held the lead from start to finish showing good boat control in difficult conditions. A. Winchester followed closely and took second place. Again there was a lot of place changing between the MPS sailors.

The wind had now backed a few degrees and some course adjustment was made by the Race Team.

Race 4 started in a strengthening wind and Bob Yeamans (MPS 274) was making the best of it setting the pace for the rest of the MPS fleet and led the MPS fleet throughout most of the race but was passed by Ian Pittendreigh shortly after turning the leeward mark prior to the final lap. I. Pittendreigh held position to take a third place. It was again M. Wilkie who took the lead from start to finish, while A. Winchester retained his position exceedingly well throughout to seal a second place.

Congratulations were in order for the Race Team and its impeccable rescue cover for carrying through all Sunday’s schedule Races to what can only be described as perfectly. The Skiff fleet at Aberdeen & Stonehaven Yacht Club is fast growing and probably boasts the largest MPS class in Scotland. With this and the clubs excellent open sea sailing area and facilities it’s sure to be a regular venue in coming seasons.

Thanks go out to Scottish Skiff Racing & Aberdeen & Stonehaven Yacht Club for a great event.

Overall Results: (top 3)

1st Martin Wilkie & Iain McCafferty, International 14, 1473 (Dalgety Bay S.C.)
2nd Angus Winchester, Vortex 1181 (Castle Semple S.C.)
3rd Ian Pittendreigh, MPS 265 (Aberdeen & Stonehaven Y.C.)

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