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GJW Direct 2024 Dinghy

Sailability Scotland's Challenger Traveller Series at Loch Earn Sailing Club

by Chris Keats-Hannan 31 Aug 2023 14:25 BST 26-27 August 2023
Sailability Scotland's Challenger Travellers at Loch Earn © Stephen Phillips

Loch Earn Sailing Club was the venue for the last event in Sailability Scotland's Challenger Traveller Series which took place over the weekend 26-27 August.

Nine sailors entered, three of them making the journey up from England. David Driffill (275) and Chris Keats-Hannan (5) had sensibly left their boats at Loch Earn following the Scottish championship at Loch Venachar SC earlier in the month (the report of that event is here). Val Millward's boat, Legless Jester (312) took a convoluted route from Loch Venachar to Loch Earn via Wigan SC (see this report) and short holiday in Ecclesfechan. She was aided and abetted in her travels by Steve Laycock (223).

Friday afternoon saw the boats assembled and tents erected by an army of willing volunteers. These exertions were followed by a meal at the nearby St Fillans Golf Club and an enjoyable evening was had by all with good food and excellent service.

Saturday morning saw the nine sailors launch. A NNW wind (not the best direction for Loch Earn) with speeds between 4 and 7kts made for a slow start.

In the first race, light wind specialist Val found the wind and rounded the windward mark first with David hot on her heels followed by Duncan Greenhalgh (280). Val maintained her lead and came home first.

At the back of the fleet there was a very close game of cat and mouse between Ronnie Cameron (184) and Chris, with Chris managing to cross the line ahead of Ronnie by only a couple of seconds.

Further up the fleet Stephen Thomas Bate (238) and Steve battled it out to see who would take fourth place. Stephen managed to get the upper hand over Steve.

The second race saw a little better wind on the water. The order of the first three boats was reversed with Duncan coming first Dave second (again) and Val third.

At lunch these three sailors were all on 4 points and it was clear no one was going to have it all their own way.

A lovely lunch was provided but there was no time to relax as the race officer decided to call the sailors back on the water earlier than planned as the wind had started to pick up.

In race 3, a good start saw David take the lead, way ahead of the fleet and he was first over the line by one and half legs! Unfortunately Chris KH had to retire early and was unable to complete the last race of the day.

The final race on Saturday saw another win for Val. Second for Duncan and David in third. This time the tables were turned with Steve taking fourth from Stephen.

So at the end of the day Val had a slender (one point) lead over David who in turn had a one point lead over Duncan. Stephen was fairly comfortable in fourth but Steve was being chased hard by Alex Hodge (116).

The sailors enjoyed a takeaway meal at the club and an impromptu musical jam session by two of our talented sailors: Val and Stephen. A wonderful evening was had by all.

Sunday dawned with better winds. In the first race of the day Dorothy Bennett (234) went up the beat in one tack, to be first around windward mark. Unfortunately she couldn't maintain her lead, and was overhauled by the usual suspects (Duncan, Val and David) but still managed to finish with a respectable fourth place.

Going into the last race Val had maintained her slender one point lead but both Duncan and David could snatch the overall win off her if they played their cards right. They did not. Although David won the race, second allowed Val to take the event win. It was most foolish of Duncan to engage Val in a tacking duel as this relegated him to third. Dorothy had clearly found her groove and had another fourth but this was not sufficient to deprive Stephen of fourth overall.

Ronnie, at 93 years young, has completed all six events in the Traveller Series and, on the last race, he was escorted across the line by the other boats, to a round of applause and cheers. What a fine achievement. When asked Ronnie said his highlight of the weekend were the caramel wafers and the splendid lunch. He certainly wasn't wrong as the galley team were amazing with all the homemade treats.

So Val was the overall winner with David and Duncan in second and third respectively. Steve won the silver fleet.

The Commodore of the club, Susan McGeorge, kindly gave out the prizes and congratulated the sailors for a great weekend of sailing.

Thanks were given to the race officers: Tim Parkinson (Saturday), David Cunningham (Sunday) and Craig Moffett (both days). They did an excellent job of setting good courses despite the difficult wind conditions.

A big thank you was also given to the volunteers in the lead boat and safety crew, plus the shore volunteers who organised the boats launch and recovery so efficiently.

Thanks are also due to Sir Boyd Tunnock whose generous sponsorship subsidised entry fees throughout the Traveller Series.

The weekend's racing provided a very successful conclusion to Sailability Scotland's 2023 Traveller Series. The Challengers look forward to return to Loch Earn Sailing Club next year.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st312Val MillwardRutland Sailing Club1‑321228
2nd275David DriffillOgston Sailing Club221‑3319
3rd280Duncan GreenhalghBassenthwaite Sailing Club‑31321310
4th238Stephen Thomas BateAnnandale SC4445‑8623
5th234Dorothy BennettClyde Cruising Club775‑84427
6th116Alex HodgeClyde Cruising Club6566‑7528
7th223Steve LaycockSouthwest Scotland Sailability5‑8745829
8th184Ronnie CameronClyde Cruising Club‑99876939
9th5Chris Keats‑HannanOgston Sailing Club86(RET)DNS9740

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