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Sailability Scotland's Challenger Traveller Series at Castle Semple Sailing Club

by Arthur Logan 7 Jun 14:37 BST 3-4 June 2023
All competitors and volunteer helpers - Sailability Scotland's Challenger Traveller Series at Castle Semple © Joe Reilly

There were four visitors and two local Challengers for the third event in the Sailability Scotland Challenger series. Suncream, shades, hats and - for some reason - soup were the order of the weekend. We had a pleasant gathering on Friday afternoon building the boats.

Just as some drivers consult two or three satnavs before leaving home, the race officer looked at several forecasts trying to find the one with the best wind for the weekend. All of them told the same sorry tale, so we were surprised to discover a reasonable breeze when we arrived at Castle Semple SC, Lochwinnoch on Saturday morning.

It was agreed at the briefing to change the running order to try to take advantage of the breeze, so it was to be two back-to-back races before lunch, and one afterwards.

The Challenger fleet have tried hard to cultivate a reputation for being very relaxed, and we love them for it, but sometimes a few extra shots of caffeine wouldn't go amiss. Duncan Greenhalgh was well ahead in the first race, with Alex Hodge coming in Second. Local sailors Jon Hasler and Iain Hardy battled it out, with Iain getting over the line less than one second ahead of Jon.

The second race again had Duncan out front, but only by a couple of minutes this time. A large lunch was enjoyed by the sailors, the launch party and safety boat crew, all grateful for some shade, with the biggest surprise being how the soup (soup, I ask you) was devoured.

Another surprise of the afternoon was Ronnie Cameron being slightly less relaxed than suspected, and creating a gap in the start line where there wasn't a gap before he appeared. Maybe he had had his caffeine after all. A penalty turn takes quite a while in a Challenger with little wind.

The third race had Jon and Iain even closer to Duncan, with Ronnie coming in fourth. By the end of the first day, Duncan was on three points, Jon on eight points, and Iain on nine. That was close enough for Iain to cancel other plans and come back for the Sunday. Rory McKinna was also able to compete on the Sunday.

Unfortunately, the wind didn't play ball.

Sensible race officers would have abandoned the first race, but the boats were moving almost as fast as a speeding snail, and after forty-five minutes, all of the finishers were within two minutes of each other. Ronnie had his best result with a third in this, the final race, but the most exciting news of the weekend was Iain getting over the line five seconds ahead of Duncan, and two places ahead of Jon.

Ronnie was unlucky to just be one point behind Alex for the weekend. Jon was Third overall. Iain was Second and just one point ahead of Jon, so close racing throughout, except for Duncan who was the clear winner on three points.

It was a very sociable weekend for the club's volunteers. Thank you to Tunnocks and to O'Neill's Services in Paisley for the engraved glasses.

Overall Results:

1stDuncan GreenhalghBassenthwaite Sailing Club111‑23
2ndIain HardyCastle Semple Sailing Club‑33317
3rdJon HaslerCastle Semple Sailing Club‑42248
4thAlex HodgeClyde Cruising Club24‑5511
5thRonnie CameronClyde Cruising Club(DNF)54312
6thRory McKinnaClyde Cruising ClubDNEDNEDNE(DNF)21

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