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Scottish Challenger Regatta at Castle Semple Sailing Club

by Stephen Laycock 13 Jul 2022 23:16 BST 9-10 July 2022
Scottish Challenger Regatta at Castle Semple © Sailability Scotland

What a fantastic weekend. First and foremost, our thanks go out to Castle Semple SC who hosted this event at very short notice, and in particular to Race Officer Arthur Logan and Vice Commodore Jules Whitestone who not only hosted two of our sailors at their own homes but also provided breakfast and lunch over the two days (with a little help from Jean Watson).

The weather when we arrived on the Friday to build boats was pretty warm and as we built boats, we looked forward to the predicted two days of sun and breeze.

Saturday saw clear blue skies and soaring temperatures AND A BREEZE, great day for our regatta. Race officer Arthur Logan indicated he would like to run two races before and after lunch and possibly the same on Sunday giving us eight races and two discards. A bit ambitious!

All on the water and at 11:22 the horn shouted out the 5 min warning. A light breeze saw the eight competing boats cross the start line together with Duncan Greenhalgh (DG) having a great start with John Hasler (JH) chasing, Rory McKinna (RM) in contention. Although Rory is a highly respected and successful Hansa 303 sailor this was his first sail in a Challenger.

The fleet had stretched out to cover two legs when the leader (DG) lost the wind, the rest of the fleet bunched up behind before also losing the wind and the tail ender caught everyone up like a steam train, but after eventually rounding the mark (DG) continued to stamp his authority on the race After two laps the positions had not changed much although Alex Hodge(AH) made up a lot of ground after a bad start to finish fourth. Positions second/third/fourth were all closely contested finishing within 9 seconds of each other.

Immediately the last person Ronnie Cameron(RC) crossed the finish line the 5 minute hoot was given to start the countdown for the next race. It shaped up into an overly competitive start which resulted in four boats over the line and a full recall. The restart was very confusing and resulted in some getting almost to the first mark before the rest set off. But the finishing positions were almost the same as the first race.

Lunch ashore provided jointly by Jules Whitstone (Vice Commodore) and Jean Watson (my better half). Sailors were not only provided with fab food but also sunscreen and umbrellas; it was hot out there!

Races 3 and 4 saw the breeze become a little more frisky (but multi directional) and (AH) & (RC) improve a bit with Dorothy Bennett(DB) and (JH) slipping a little.

At the end of the first day (DG) was in a clear lead with (RM) in a very creditable second. Only 17 points separated the rest, so the regatta seemed to split in a leaders race and the lower order positions. Everyone had something to race for on day 2.

Day 2 saw the same temperatures (23 degrees Celsius) but only a light breeze. Only two races planned today to give everyone time for lunch/prize-giving and packing up boats to take home.

With only enough breeze to enable the boats to cruise along the last two races were more dependent on skill. Perhaps the most exciting part was when, on the last race of the day (DG) crossed the start line first but then turned around due to a misunderstanding about flags not being lowered. This resulted in him crossing over the start line in seventh position.

What followed was a lesson in skill as (DG) gradually overhauled almost the entire fleet over the two laps to finish second.

Overall Results:

PositionBoat NameSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4R5R 6Pts
1White Knight280Duncan Greenhalgh11111‑25
2Great Scot237Rory McKenna‑32323312
3 252Jon Hasler244‑63114
4Western Challenger116Alex Hodge43234‑616
5Skean Dhu Too238Stephen T Bate5555‑6525
6Hot Scotch233Dorothy Bennett667‑85428
7The Glasgow Merchant158Ronnie Cameron‑88677836
8 253Iain HardyDNCDNC84DNCDNC 
9 253Arthur Black77DNCDNCDNCDNC 
10 253Jules WhitestoneDNCDNCDNCDNC117 

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