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CoastWaterSports 2014

New Scottish Keelboat Championship

by Ian McKay 5 Apr 2015 14:01 BST 5 April 2015
The fleet streams away from Iona during Oban Sailing Club's Round Mull Race, part of the West Highland Offshore Series. © Murray MacDonald

June sees the start of a new championship for Scottish keelboat racing sailors; the West Highland Offshore Series. Billed as Scotland's only season-long, passage race sailing championship, the series will collect results from nine keelboat race events and use the five best results for each boat to derive a winning yacht for the season.

Five west coast sailing clubs have come together to create the series with races starting in Gairloch, Kyle of Lochalsh, Oban, Plockton and Portree and, best of all, it costs nothing to enter. Participation in any of the qualifying races automatically enters the yacht... no paperwork, no fees, no hassle – just enjoy the racing and the stunning Scottish west coast scenery.

The top three boats will receive prizes sponsored by the mutli-award-winning Duisdale House Hotel in Sleat, Isle of Skye. These include a weekend break with dinner and meals for runners-up. Series co-ordinator Ian McKay, "We are fortunate that the owners of the Duisdale are keen sailors themselves, the hotel even has a yacht and moorings for guests' use, and when they heard about the concept of the West Highland Offshore Series they instantly jumped onboard to help. When you remember that there is no fee to enter this championship, it's a fantastic return to competitors for just taking part!"

The races included in the series are:

  • June 5 – Oban to Glencoe Passage Race
    Annual feeder event to the Glencoe Regatta which is held on Saturday 6th June – www.glencoeboatclub.org
  • June 19 – Midsummer in the Minch
    Overnight race from Portree to Gairloch via the Shiant Isles - www.skyesailingclub.com
  • June 27 – Gairloch Boat Club Big Boat Race
    Around islands and bouys from Gairloch - www.spanglefish.com/gairlochboatclub
  • July 3, 4, 5 – Round Mull Race
    Oban to Oban, Mull to port (scores half points) - www.obansailingclub.org
  • July 11 – Over the Sea to Skye (Kyles' Cup part 1)
    Kyle of Lochalsh to Portree – www.skyesailingclub.com
  • July 12 – Over the Sea from Skye (Kyles' Cup part 2)
    Portree to Kyleakin – www.skyesailingclub.com
  • July 25 – Round Raasay Pursuit
    Portree start and finish. Staggered start based upon CYCA handicap. Mass Finish and knees-up – www.skyesailingclub.com
  • August 1 – Frithard Trophy
    Plockton's keelboat race and part of their Regatta Fortnight - www.plockton-sailing.com
  • September TBC – Last Gasp Trophy
    A day of round the cans racing in Churchton Bay, Raasay (in front of Raasay House) - www.skyesailingclub.com
The series will use a low scoring method with longer events scoring half points.

It is hoped that following a successful launch and inaugural season, funding will be secured for the creation of an event specific website and prize fund which will further enhance the initiative.

The West Highland Offshore Series is administered by the Skye Sailing Club (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation) with the support of Oban Sailing, Glencoe Boat Club, Plockton Small Boat Club and Gairloch Boat Club. We welcome the proposition of additional races for the 2016 calender and any sponsorship support.

Results, format terms and details via www.skyesailingclub.com

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