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GP14 Scottish & Borders Bell at Loch Lomond Sailing Club

by Arthur Logan 15 Sep 2023 17:51 BST 2-3 September 2023
GP14 Scottish & Borders Bell at Loch Lomond © LLSC

What a great event at the beautiful Loch Lomond SC, for the final Scottish & Borders Bell Travellers. There were many different starts for the mixed fleet of 75 boats, with 14 boats in our slow handicap fleet.

Racing on Saturday was postponed until mid-afternoon, but the locals reassured us that the wind would come, and it did, with enough time for three races before the substantial BBQ.

It was good to see Alan Jones and Sue Watson being made to work hard by Stephen Harrison and David McFadyen for their three bullets. The course was windward/ leeward laps, until the last lap which was trapezoid. The wind came from Hell's Gate, a channel between two islands. There wasn't anything dramatic about it on Saturday, but it started to show its teeth on Sunday.

Strangely, the handicap results for the Saturday showed Arthur Logan and Iain Hardy just ahead of Stephen and David but the results for the GP fleet showed Stephen and David ahead of Arthur and Iain. With Alan and Sue fairly secure with their three firsts, battle lines were being drawn for second place.

The weekend was picture perfect in so many ways, and in honour of GP14 Past President Ann Penny, who was crewing for Paul O'Neill, even the infamous midgies stayed away. Sunday brought a Force 4 to 5. Arthur and Iain were hiking extra hard to stay ahead of Stephen and David, but they found that due to the additional effort, they were able to create problems for Alan and Sue.

A couple of firsts for Arthur and Iain put second place beyond doubt, but it was too little, too late to beat Alan and Sue. Alan and Sue won the last GP14 Scottish Travellers event of 2023, with Arthur and Iain being second, and Stephen and David third. Alan came second overall in the slow handicap fleet, and the quality of the GP14 sailors came through in that there were four GPs in the top five boats.

Obviously one design racing is hard to beat, but we have thoroughly enjoyed being part of friendly regattas held in holiday destinations.

Taking the high road to Loch Lomond concluded the 2023 Scottish Travellers series. Three events were needed to qualify, with one discard.

For the 2023 Travellers, Paul and his various crews were third with 16 points, Arthur and Iain were second with eight points, and Alan and Sue were first, again, with five points. Someone needs to knock them off the perch next year.

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