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Solo class HD Sails Scottish Travellers at Royal Tay Yacht Club

by Ross Watson 25 May 18:10 BST 20 May 2023
Solo class HD Sails Scottish Travellers at Royal Tay YC © Ross Watson

The third event in the HD Sails Scottish Solo Travellers was at Royal Tay Yacht Club on May 20. The forecast was not good and the prospect of much wind seemed unlikely. The launching area at the club is several hundred yards along the esplanade which is quite a long pull but luckily the club has a handy little tractor to pull the boats along. Cars are left in front of the brand new clubhouse, a significant change for the club after over a century in the old building. The new clubhouse is beside the club car park so is more convenient.

As we rigged there was very little wind and with racing set to start in the middle of the flood prospects were not looking good. Many of us took advantage of the £5 offer in the galley which comprised a filled roll and tea before we launched and more tea plus pie and beans after sailing! The groups out in the coastal rowing skiffs seemed to have the right idea and looked to be going faster than the sailors were likely to.

This gave the opportunity for a tour round the new clubhouse which looks very smart inside. Walking alongside the wall one of the sailors glanced at the trophy cabinet and picked up a trophy engraved with his name from 1985! The fleet was depleted by the forecast and some late call-offs. Malcolm Worsley from the home club was unable to sail but his boat was sailed by Stuart Murdoch, his first time in a Solo.

A postponement was inevitable but a little wind arrived from the west and we started without much delay. With the tide under us everyone started at the outboard end of the line in the strongest tide. In the light wind avoiding overstanding the windward mark was an important tactical consideration. Ross Watson tacked onto port first but failed to clear the starboard tack boats and had to do turns. David Parkin led at the mark followed by Ross and Keith Milroy. Keith headed straight for the shore and ran downwind slipping into the lead.

The rest of the fleet followed amidst slow progress. The run took us through the start line to the leeward mark and the shortest beat I have ever seen to the finish line. In the light winds the boats stayed close together around the course. The race was shortened after two rounds with Keith Milroy in front followed by Dave Parkin and Ross Watson.

The wind for the next race was similar and again we all started at the outboard end of the line. This time Ross Watson led at the windward mark followed by Keith Milroy and Stuart Murdoch. Once again we all hugged the shore down the run. Halfway down the run everything changed as the wind quickly shifted from south west to east, albeit without any change in strength. The changed the leg to a beat against the tide, with the aim being to sail as far inshore as you dared.

Many of us can confirm though that the stones make a nasty grinding noise when you go too far inshore! On this leg Keith managed to pass Ross for the lead as he made better progress very close to the shore. The next leg was now a run with the tide which seemed slow due to the low apparent wind. Up the now second beat Ross found a lift which took him past Keith and he sailed away. Behind him was Hamish Whyte from the home club.

The course clearly needed to be changed for the final race as otherwise the beat was only going to be 30 yards long. The light wind meant that Malcolm was able to shout out the new course from the shore and we all managed to sail the correct course. The windward mark was just past the club moorings and meant deciding whether to start inshore, with less tide, or at the outer end which was favoured by the wind.

In the event with high water not far away the tide had eased and everyone started at the outer end. Hamish Whyte made his intentions clear in defending his position at the buoy. We all got away from the line and as the fleet approached the mark had to decide when to tack. Hamish and Ross slightly overstood and Keith judged it best and rounded inside them. The run down was again slow with little apparent wind. The wind was by now very light and progress on the next leg which, was a reach, against the last of the flood was very slow.

The shorten course signal went up to general relief but the sailing instructions gave us 20 minutes for the leader to finish which was beginning to look unlikely. In the event a little more wind arrived from the south east enabling us to finish although it did lead to some very late place changes near the finishing line. Keith held onto first place followed by Hamish and Ross.

With two first places Keith Milroy was the clear winner of the latest HD Sails Scottish Solo Traveller. Next was Ross Watson but only by a single point from Hamish Whyte. All were presented with a bottle of wine, an engraved club glass and a sponsors mug! Thanks to everyone at the club both on and off the water. The next event in the series is at Helensburgh on the Clyde which usually provides good sailing conditions for the fleet.

Overall Results:

PositionSail NoHelClubR1R2R3Pts
143Keith MilroyLargo Bay SC1212
25841Ross WatsonEast Lothian YC3134
35483Hamish whyteRoyal Tay YC6325
45889David ParkinAberdeen & Stonehaven YC2446
54517Robert TaylorDalgety Bay SC46610
65602Stewart MurdochRoyal Tay YC55510
74502Bruce BirrellLargo Bay SC77DNF14

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