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Craftinsure 2023 LEADERBOARD

HD Sails Scottish Solo Travellers at Chanonry Sailing Club

by Ross Watson 16 May 14:44 BST 11 May 2024

After a delayed start to the season the HD Sails Scottish travellers series got under way at Chanonry SC on May 11. The season opening event at Bardowie in late April was abandoned due to lack of wind.

With the last event of the previous season being cancelled due to flooding it had a been many months since the Scottish solo fleet had sailed together. Chanonry is a long way North being slightly beyond Inverness. The sailing water at this friendly little club is excellent with sailing on the sea but sheltered from the Moray Firth. It is home to the most northerly Solo fleet in the country and it was time for us to visit them. For some of us it was the first time we had sailed there and we were not disappointed.

It was a long drive to get there but the roads were quiet and the scenery superb on the journey up the A9. On arrival it was hot and sunny with only one thing lacking - wind. For a few minutes I wondered if the long drive had been in vain. The sea was calm and things did not look promising. However, Robert Taylor was confident there would be wind. How so I asked? 'Because I was born here' was the reply and he was right. By the time we launched a nice force 2 easterly had arrived. Patrick Burns discovered that the forestay on his boat was far too long so after a few minutes faffing we removed part of the adjuster and cobbled it together - telling him not to pull the kicker too hard!

The briefing from PRO Ben Yeats was quick and the only issue for sailors was to remember which flag indicated either a windward/leeward course or a triangle/sausage. The committee boat was called Havana Breeze, appropriate given the hot sunshine. The slipway was narrow with only one boat able to launch at a time and Robert Signer volunteered to be the trolley dolly for the first few boats.

Ten visitors had travelled to join five local boats which meant plenty of close sailing all round the course for everyone. With the wind a relatively steady force 2/3 all day and flat water and sun the fleet stayed relatively close throughout. Once the course was set PRO Ben Yeats did not hang around. The start line had a port bias. The first start had the most action with Malcolm Worsley and Willie Todd over early and Ross Watson failing to lay the start mark.

Before we launched David Parkin had told me it was to be his last day racing the Solo after 15 years. He finished in style by getting the first beat right and leading the fleet round the windward mark! Despite being over early Willie Todd worked his way through the fleet and was leading on the second round and pulled away for a comfortable win. Behind him Charlie Brecknell and Malcolm Worsley had a close battle for second with Malcolm coming out on top. These two were seldom more than three lengths apart all afternoon. Bruce Birrell was well up the fleet and would have been lying second midway through the race had he not managed to capsize near the windward mark.

For the second race a couple of sailors donned spray tops as the water this far north is not warm. The start line was again port biased with Ross starting at the pin with Wille Todd above him and just managing to avoid a lee-bow. Willie just got round the first mark ahead of Ross and Robert Taylor. This race was a triangle/sausage and Ross got past on the first reach in marginal planning conditions. Ross and Willie had a very close race after this with the lead changing five times with Willie finally getting ahead on the last broad reach. Behind them Malcolm and Charlie had another close race with Charlie in front this time.

With two first places Willie Todd had already won the travellers event but the Ben Ledi trophy counts every race so he still had to avoid mistakes in the last race. The last race was a close one between the top four boats. Willie led throughout but never by more than three lengths. Ross almost got an overlap down the first run but Willie defended firmly. Down the last run the leading four were all overlapped but crucially Willie was on the inside. At the finish Malcolm just crossed ahead of Charlie to take second place overall. Robert Taylor was fifth again, just behind the leaders.

Willie Todd was the clear winner of the HD Sails Scottish travellers event and also took home the Ben Ledi trophy. Malcolm was second overall and Ross third. The fleet gave a hearty round of applause for David Parkin. In his 15 years sailing the Solo he has surely covered more miles than anyone else travelling round Scotland from his home outside Aberdeen. As well as Scottish events he travelled to Holland to sail his Solo and to National championships. Off the water he had also served as the Scottish rep and organised the HD Sails Scottish travellers series. He will be missed from the fleet!

The next event in the series is at Helensburgh on June 8. As always we look forward to a warm welcome and good sailing. As well as being part of the HD Sails Scottish travellers Helensburgh is also part of the National Solo Sea Series so we hope for a good entry.

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoClubR1R2R3Pts
1Willie Todd5801Largs Sailing Club1112
2Malcolm Worsley5602Royal Tay Yacht Club2424
3Ross Watson5841East Lothian Yacht Club4226
4Charlie Brecknell4975Chanonry Sailing Club3336
5Robert Taylor4517Dalgety Bay Sailing Club55510
6Bruce Birrell4502Largo Bay Sailing Club106713
7David Parkin5889Aberdeen & Stonehaven Yacht Club78613
8Robert Signer4856CCC Bardowie & Loch Ard SC69814
9Nigel Orkney6046Largo Bay Sailing Club147916
10Donald Aitken4850Largo Bay Sailing Club12101020
11Chris Taylor5229Chanonry Sailing Club8131220
12Patrick Burns5906Dalgety Bay Sailing Club9121120
13Mike Wilson5321Chanonry Sailing Club11111422
14Roddy Henry4731Chanonry Sailing Club13141326
15David Vincent3976Chanonry Sailing ClubRETDNCDNC36

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