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Sailability Scotland Challenger Traveller 4 at Loch Earn Sailing Club

by Marion Edwards 24 Jul 2018 15:23 BST 21-22 July 2018
Sailability Scotland Challenger Traveller 4 at Loch Earn © Marion Edwards

Nine Challengers travelled to Loch Earn Sailing Club to join the one local boat for the fourth event in Sailabilty Scotland's Challenger Traveller Series. Generous sponsorship from Mr Boyd Tunnock MBE allowed the entry fee to be waived.

Saturday dawned fine and sunny, the wind was F2 westerly with a touch of south but with more south in the gusts. For the first race the race officer set a triangular course. The southerly in the wind made the start, which used the club's fixed line, strongly port biased such that only local sailor Craig Moffet (295) crossed the start line on starboard. Craig was first at the windward mark followed by Jessica Campbell (304) then Graham Hall (270). Graham overhauled Jessica on the run and gradually reeled in Craig to overtake him at the end of the second beat and hold the lead to the finish. Jessica sneaked past Craig on the beat to the finish. Ann Ritchie (235) finished a very respectable 4th.

The fleet returned to shore for lunch. For the afternoon races, the Challengers were joined by the club sailors, but had their own start. The wind was now westerly F3 with F4 gusts from the north. The increased wind strength and modified (but still triangular) course made for an exciting bottom reach which, for some sailors, was the highlight of their day.

At the start of race 2 Jessica was unfortunately OCS but returned. Craig went right and Graham went left: right was the way to go as Craig rounded the windward mark first and kept Graham at bay until the second run. However, at the leeward mark Craig got a lift inshore whereas Graham was headed, this was just enough to allow Craig to take control and gave him is first ever win against Graham - a cause for much jubilation in the Moffett camp!

Race 3 was one for hitting marks: Jessica hit the pin and Graham the windward mark and both suffered doing their penalty turns. This left Craig and Alex Hodge (240) rounding the windward mark in first and second respectively. Graham worked his way up the fleet to take the lead by the second windward mark. Craig held on to second and Alex third.

So the day ended with Graham having a narrow lead over Craig, with Jessica in third. Jim Donaldson (237), sailing his first Challenger regatta, showed significant improvement as the day progressed.

Most of the fleet remained at the club for an excellent meal organised and prepared by Mary Moffett. It wasn't so much a regatta dinner as a party for Duncan Greenhalgh (234) who was celebrating a significant birthday: there was a birthday cake complete with candles, fireworks and much alcohol was consumed especially by those who were camping at the club.

The first race on Sunday was scheduled for 10:30 but at 10:00 what little wind there was came from the south. However, the forecast westerly could be seen coming down the loch and by the time the Challengers were launched the occasional white horse was visible.

The race officer was faced with a request, which while a little unusual, was not a first for the Challenger fleet. Duncan was sailing Sailability Scotland Challenger 234 with a sail which was well past its best and Craig wanted to loan him his spare sail would the race officer agree? He did. In a ten boat fleet there was actually little scope for confusing the two 295s as Poppy Ann (the true 295) is red with white decks (scattered with red poppies!) and Scottish Flame (the imposter) is orange with yellow decks.

For race 4 the race officer set a trapezoidal course. Jessica led until the bottom reach when she was overtaken by Graham who covered her to the finish to take the win. Duncan repaid Craig's generosity by taking third and relegating Craig to fourth! Stephen Thomas Bate (238) had his best race to come fifth.

In race 5 Duncan was really getting the hang of the loaned sail and led at the windward mark followed by Steve Laycock (300). Unfortunately a poor gybe by Steve allowed Graham through but he held on to third place. At the leeward mark Graham led and set his beat for the second lap, what he (and everyone else) hadn't realised was that the race officer was going to have a senior moment and finish the race after one not two laps! Duncan had decided to play the beat differently and starboarded Graham just before the gate, where to his surprise, took the gun, and his first Challenger race win. Steve should have finished third but failed to go through the gate so went from hero to zero with one lapse of concentration. Ronnie Cameron (184) and Jim had their best races coming fifth and eighth respectively.

While Graham was the overall winner he had to work hard to keep the trophy and only four points separated second (Craig) to fourth (Duncan) with Jessica taking third. Duncan could be heard muttering about something not being fair but looking at the results, his change of sail on Sunday probably had no effect on the overall results and certainly increased his enjoyment of the event (thank you Craig).

Thanks are due to the Race Officer, Colin Tait and his team, to Mary Moffett and her team in the galley (especially for the homemade cakes) and to Loch Earn Sailing Club with apologies to all club sailors who found the route to their boat or the water blocked by one or more Challengers.

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1stGraham Hall270Rutland Sailing Club1‑21125
2ndCraig Moffett295Loch Earn Sailing Club312‑439
3rdJessica Campbell304Southwest Scotland Sailability23‑42411
4thDuncan Greenhalgh234/295Bassenthwaite Sailing Club‑5453113
5thAlex Hodge240Clyde Cruising Club653‑7721
6thAnn Ritchie235Loch Venachar Sailing Club4668‑924
7thStephen Thomas Bate238Annandale Sailing Club7‑985626
8thStephen Laycock300Southwest Scotland Sailability8876‑1029
9thRonnie Cameron184Clyde Cruising Club‑9799530
10thJim Donaldson237Fife Sailability‑10101010838

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