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HD Sails Scottish Solo Travellers at Loch Ard Sailing Club

by Ross Watson 11 Oct 2022 12:09 BST 8 October 2022
HD Sails Scottish Solo Travellers at Loch Ard © Robert Signer

The Scottish Solo fleet gathered at Loch Ard Sailing Club on October 8 for the last of this season's HD Sails Travellers Series. The travellers series looked set to be decided at this event as the three leaders, Kevan Gibb, Keith Milroy and Charlie Brecknell, had only a few points between them.

Whilst the wind forecast for the day looked reasonable with a westerly breeze expected the weather had another impact. Heavy rain meant that the club emailed me the day before to say that the drive into the club was flooded and we should bring our wellies. They were right and the changing room chat was full of moans about leaking wellies! Most of the fleet rigged in the carpark but the contingent from Largo Bay SC arrived with a triple trailer pulled by a 4WD and drove straight to the club. There were twelve entries for the event and we welcomed Robert Taylor from Dalgety Bay SC for his first travellers event.

On arrival we were greeted by a light easterly breeze, the opposite to what was forecast, and ominous as Loch Ard is set in a bowl amongst the Trossach hills and prone to variable winds. There was time for a chat about venues for next season with numerous options discussed. Before we launched the wind had shifted round to the west and slowly strengthened although there were plenty of shifts and gusts to keep us on our toes.

Before race 1 Kevan Gibb was seen with the sailing instructions in his hands discussing the course with the race committee which led to a slight change. Your scribe pointed out that we could lay the first mark. Local sailor Robert Signer replied saying 'no you won't' and proved it by taking the left side of the beat and leading the fleet to the mark as the wind shifted left. Kevan Gibb recovered from a slow first beat and got into the lead on the last long beat, only to miss a gust down the reach and capsize. Despite inverting his recovery was rapid and he only lost a single place to Keith Milroy with Stuart Gibson third.

For the second race the course was changed giving a shorter beat. Kevan Gibb judged the shifts up the first beat best and led to the windward mark, which he held to the finish. There were some decent gusts in this race with some good planning on the reaches. The gusts caught out a few sailors and your scribe spotted Robert Taylor and Donald Aitken going for a dip. Behind Kevan Stuart Gibson came in ahead of Keith Milroy.

The wind shifted to the right for the last race and with a heavily biased line and a fetch to the first mark a recall looked inevitable. In the event we had two general recalls - no-one could remember the last time that happened at a Scottish travellers event. Keith Milroy led off the line and was followed by Kevan Gibb and Ross Watson. These positions remained the same until the last short beat. A lift just as Ross rounded left the three boats much closer together leaving Keith in a tricky position. He tacked away from the shore first but at the finish had dropped behind Kevan and Ross. Behind them positions were very tight with the next three boats crossing within seconds of each other.

Everyone in the fleet had close racing in each race and the shifting wind meant no lead was ever secure. With two first places Kevan Gibb was the clear winner on the day followed Keith Milroy and Stuart Gibson. The series result for the HD Sails Scottish Solo travellers are decided on the best four results from the eight scheduled over the season, of which at least one must be either an inland or sea event. The result was a tie between Keith Milroy and Kevan Gibb resolved in favour of Keith as a result of one more first place. Stuart Gibson was third. This year the winner of the Travelling Trophy was awarded to Bruce Birrell from Largo Bay SC.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st6043Kevan GibbLargo Bay‑2112
2nd5602Kieth MilroySt Marys SC1‑334
3rd5948Stuart GibsonCCC Bardowie32(DNC)5
4th5841Ross WatsonEast Lothian‑4426
5th4975Charlie BrecknellChanonary SC6‑7410
6th4766David WhyteCCC Bardowie‑115611
7th4502Malcolm WorsleyRTYC56‑911
8th5889David ParkinASYC7‑8512
9th4856Robert SignerLASC‑109716
10th4517Robert TaylorDalgety Bay SC8‑10816
11th4850Donald AitkenLargo Bay9(RET)DNC22
12th561Bruce BirrellLargo Bay1211(RET)23

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