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Sailability Scotland SCIO T3 & SOCC at Loch Venachar Sailing Club

by Dik Toulson 12 Jun 13:51 BST 8-9 June 2019
Sailability Scotland SCIO T3 Challenger Open at Loch Venachar © Dik Toulson

The third regatta in our traveller series took place over the weekend of 8/9 June 2019. It also included the Scottish Open Challenger Championship and the event was hosted by Loch Venachar Sailing Club near Callander.

The boats began arriving on the Friday afternoon and were prepared for racing. The SOCC event attracts more Challengers than usual and some boats even made their way up from England. It was going to be a busy weekend for the foreshore volunteers and those on kitchen duties. Thanks must be given to these unsung heroes for doing such a great job all weekend.

As we all know, we are victims of the weather, and when all you want is a steady breeze but you get virtually no wind, you know it is going to be a long day on the water. It is lucky to be sailing in such nice surroundings and it lets you think about what you need to be doing to try and move forwards.

Race one was a slow start to the first mark, and then a painfully slower leg to the second mark and the race was shortened after about an hour before 1 complete lap had been completed. But as we also know, the cream always rises to the top, and the 'winner' of the first race was Duncan Greenhalgh.

After lunch, we launched again, and the excitement of seeing flags move was indeed a false promise. No wind again and the fleet was split into two, a small group managed to get to the second mark and the rest left behind struggling to move in a forwards direction. The race was again shortened with David Driffill from England taking the race win. No sooner was it called off a constant breeze came in.

The third and final race of the first day had wind and the Challengers moved. Thank goodness. The wind was shifty and gusty, and there were periods of slowness followed by moments of acceleration and speed. It was David Driffill that took the spoils of that race again.

Loch Venachar Sailing Club up held their reputation by supplying a free evening meal for all the competitors and helpers in the clubhouse. Conversation was rife with everyone's spills and gains during the days sailing. A tired bunch of sailors retired, looking forwards to Sunday sailing with the promise for better wind forecast.

Sunday morning dawned with the loch looking like a mirror with mist hanging around the hills, very atmospheric and scenic for any photographers but a nightmare view for sailors. The RYA Transition Youth Squad started planning shore work and a few hopeful Challengers started to rig sails more in hope than expectations. However right on cue a force 2/3 breeze came creeping down the water from the west to stay for the duration for the days racing. Except a shift to the south from the clubhouse routed the breeze over the hills and trees, yes you guessed right, shifty and big windless holes along the lee shore where most of the course was positioned, making for some interesting sailing.

Unfortunately the fleet was reduced by 2 boats overnight, result of an unfortunate accident meaning the 2 English visitors from Ogston SC planned to make an early start for the long journey home. In spite of only sailing Saturday Chris Keats Hannan managed to accrue enough point to win the silver fleet trophy, congratulations and hope you make a speedy recovery. Travelling companion David Driffill favourite for the Championship unfortunately missed out, better luck next time.

Race 4 started with the fleet massed at the pin end planning a quick tack on to port and fetch the first mark this is almost where the race was decided with first few boats round got an unassailable lead, Duncan Greenhalgh led until the last buoy when the wind decided to favour Alex Hodge who got through to take the race. Closely following the first 2 boats John McPartlin came in 3rd to made his weekend.

Race 5 was sailed around the same course in perhaps a slightly steadier breeze, same orders applied first round the pin had a big advantage and again Duncan Greenhalgh got a flier and wasn't challenged until the final gun and enough to take the Scottish Challenger Championship honours. The battle for other the places continued right to the end with Keith Wilson taking 2nd in the race but not enough to beat Alex Hodge in 3rd to take the Championship runners up place.

There were two fleets sailing, Gold for the experienced sailors and Silver for novices. There we no Bronze fleet sailors who require a buddy taking part.

Overall Results:

Gold Fleet
1st Duncan Greenhalgh
2nd Alex Hodge
3rd Keith Wilson

Silver Fleet
1st Chris Keats-Hannan
2nd Dik Toulson
3rd Jim Donaldson

For a full set of results please visit www.sailabilityscotland.org.uk. The Challenger boat is a stable and fun boat to sail for the solo sailor. Please visit our website for more information or contact us via . Our next regatta is 3/4 August and hosted by Loch Earn SC.

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