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Osprey Class Scottish Tour 2023 - Preview

by Huw Pearce 3 Apr 2023 12:11 BST
Kielder Water SC run the annual Dam to Dam race © Angela Mamwell

Six days of Osprey class racing packed into a week. That is the mouthwatering prospect this May in the Osprey 70th Anniversary Tour of the North, taking in some of Scotland's most scenic and varied venues.

The Tour starts in the Scottish Borders, moves up to Fort William in the Highlands, then traverses the country to the East Coast, near Dundee. The Tour packs in three two day regattas inside the first week of May, giving the eager Osprey sailors an action packed programme, with a fantastic variety of sailing waters.

The Tour starts at Kielder Water SC, holding its annual Dam to Dam Challenge on Sunday 30th April and Monday 1st May. This friendly club also welcomes the Skiff class, so the Ospreys will race from end to end of the Lake amongst other fast classes. Kielder Water is the biggest man-made lake in Northern Europe, and the fleet will thoroughly explore every corner and bend of the reservoir on the two successive days, in a regatta which provides a refreshing contrast to routine round the cans open meetings.

The Tour competitors will then travel North on the Monday evening, passing the Bonnie, Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond, then through atmospheric Glencoe to Fort William, the Outdoor Capital of the UK. There Lochaber YC host the second regatta, on the 2/3 May on the tidal waters of Loch Linnhe, overlooked by Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain.

There will be a lay day on the Thursday. Early risers may tackle the mighty peak they have viewed from the water, while others will enjoy the cultural experiences available at Dundee Waterfront, such as the Antarctic explorer ship the Discovery, or the V & A exhibition.

Sailing resumes on the Friday at Royal Tay YC, which hosts its Osprey Coronation Regatta on the 5/ 6 May. Royal Tay, at Broughty Ferry near Dundee, is a vibrant club with a proud history of hosting many Osprey events. Royal Tay is blessed(!) with the fastest tides at any Scottish club, adding a dollop of intellectual challenge for the Tour's participants. Royal Tay also host a one day event on Sunday 7th which visiting Ospreys can join, to notch up a seventh (though non series) day's sailing!

The six days of series racing are bookended by the travel days of April 29 and May 7, creating travel time for those driving from the South. These beautiful venues will make an excellent holiday for accompanying families or partners. Osprey sailors with campervans will enjoy easy parking and camping within walking distance at all three venues. But if competitors need beds we will do our best to assist, so enter early.

Interested sailors should notify the class association's Alex Willis and/or Viola Scott, to receive latest Tour news. If you lack a crew or helm we can help put teams together.

The Tour is the brainchild of Lochaber's Viola Scott who said, "When a couple of Osprey sailors moved up to Fort William they started dreaming of seeing other Ospreys on the water, making use of the great open space and enjoying the sight of Ben Nevis nestled amongst the clouds. This dream was shared, and grew, and is now a reality with the Osprey 70th Anniversary Tour of the North."

This event will never happen again - seize the day and come up North! What other class offers a Tour anything like this? If you like the sound of this, it's time to buy an Osprey! Contact the Association via the website, or for new boats contact sole builder Hartley Boats. Don't forget this very seaworthy class also offers an equally challenging Round the Isle of Wight race in September, which will complete the 70th Anniversary celebrations.

Further information on the Osprey class and its 2023 fixtures at www.ospreysailing.org

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