31 May 2019
With the sun creeping out from behind clouds as the sailors arose for day one of the Clyde Cruising Club Scottish Series 2019 the early signs of a good breeze were promising. As the restricted sail fleet started from Largs the conditions saw the fleet off to a great start. As the larger yachts benefitted from the breeze the largest in the 2019 fleet, Taeping led the way for the majority of the race until lighter winds saw her pipped at the post for line honours. Not long after the restricted sail fleet had started Tarbert saw fleets under IRC (1, 3, 4 and the Makers Mash RC35), CYCA 5 and 6 starting their races. With one design fleets comprising the Sigma 33's, Sonatas, Etchells and Hunter 707's joining the racing at Tarbert the sea of Loch Fyne came alive with colourful spinnakers and the occasional shout of "Starboard"!
With a flurry of rib activity laying and moving marks it wasn't long before the CYCA 8 passage race fleet were approaching the finish line as the Tarbert based fleets racked up the races. With fleets getting in their three races in plenty of time there was time to enjoy some of the valued sponsor products and complete any registration activity before prize giving.
With Tunnocks Tea Cakes and Botanist Gin being enjoyed in the sunshine whilst some cold headed competitors sported bright orange beanies courtesy of Luddon Construction it wasn't long before protest hearings were under way, courtesy of the International Jury. With teams catching up in the bar day One Prize giving saw new chairman Glenn Porter welcome all to Tarbert. With thanks to hosts, volunteers and sponsors from the Clyde Cruising Club Commodore John Readman it wasn't long before the prizes were making their way into the hands of proud skippers and crews. Mind you with a number of races omitted due to protests it was a nice easy start for the new event chairman!
With El Gran Senor leading the way in Friday's IRC Class 1 the Makars mash RC35 and IRC 3 classes reported only one race each due to protests. In the Etchells One Design it was Mayhem which lead the board. In the Sigma 33 offshore One Design Class day one saw Leaky Roof 2 take the biggest haul of wins. The Hunter 707's and Sonata's both saw a wide spread of results over their fleets after some competitive and close racing with the CYCA class 8 fleet on the Largs passage race being won on corrected time by Celtic Spirit. With additional prizes being awarded to Encore for the passage race line honours and Shona of Ashton for toughing it out at the rear of the passage race there was a jubilant atmosphere in the marquee rounding off a perfect day of champagne sailing.
Saturday proved to be a much more challenging day on the water for very different reasons. With a light wind and drizzle combination, it was officially a "Dreich" day. A tough day for the race committee they managed to get two races in for a number of the fleets. With soaked through sailors drying out before prizegiving it wasn't long before the band were setting up.
Of course, with Friday racing protests concluded Saturday's prize giving was able to announce the remaining results from Friday. This showed 2018's winner and RC35 Makars Mash class yacht Storm looking strong with a first place. It was Chimaera that showed early signs of being a threat to the Scottish Series crown taking a first in Friday racing. With no immediate showing of a dominant yacht in the IRC Class 3 fleet from Friday's races it was IRC class four that showed a brewing battle between Lady Ex and F'n Gr8. In the CYCA Class 5 fleet First by Farr surfaced with the highest number of race wins from Friday. Not to be outdone CYCA Class 6 saw the final results dominated by Cool Bandit 2 before the Saturday results were announced. With the weather mixing up the league table for Saturday there were a lot of yachts taking home prizes. Mixed in with the usual names were some less heard yachts who had made the most of the challenging conditions.
Saturday evening saw the return of "Big Vern and The Shootahs" to Scottish Series for another year and a spectacular fireworks display in celebration of Valhalla of Ashton's 50th year on the water.
Sunday saw yet another big weather shift with forecasts up to 40 Knots. Of course, Loch Fyne likes to mix it up a bit so the fleets ventured out into somewhat more sedate conditions than were forecast. However, not wanting to create un-necessary risks as weather built the race officers decided to shorten the traditional round Inchmarnock passage race. With an earlier than planned return to shore crews were able to enjoy the new shoreside facilities at Tarbert Harbour before Sunday prizegiving.
With Sunday prizes seeing an additional prize for the best performer in each fleet there was an eager anticipation building as event chair Glenn Porter started proceedings with a special award for "assisting mark layers" to the competitor that got tangled up in one of the race marks! In IRC Class 1 it was El Gran Senor and Forty Licks shining through. The Makars Mash RC35 class saw Hijacker leading the prize haul. In IRC Class3 it was Mata taking the "extra" prize. IRC class four saw F'n Gr8 take a clean sweep of firsts in both races. With only one race in CYCA 5 and 6 it was Reflection and Salamander XXII taking home the wins. In the Etchells One Design Hero took a win in both races with Squawk leading the way in the Sigma 33 One Design Class. In the Hunter 707 fleet Miss Moneypenny was the only yacht placed in both races taking home the best performer of the day for the 707's. With two firsts in the Sonata one design Fiddlesticks made the most of the Sunday conditions. Finally, the CYCA restricted sail fleet saw Celtic Spirit take first place.
New for 2019 the event then saw the marquee remain open for the Sunday evening with a traditional Ceilidh hosted by the Bell Rock Ceilidh band. As part of the additional shoreside activities supported by Event Scotland the dance floor was dominated initially by those who were already up past their bedtime. However, it wasn't long before competitors decided to see if their manoeuvring skills on the water could translate into a Gay Gordon's!
With an earlier start on the Monday Loch Fyne was greeted with sunshine and, yes, you guessed it, no wind. Four days of different weather. This time the challenge was just too much for the race officers who had to abandon racing for the day. Despite a number of the competitors making the most of the early finish and heading home the final prizegiving was one of the best attended in recent years.
Taking to the stage for the last time Commodore John Readman paid special thanks to all the valued participants, sponsors, supporters, volunteers and locals without whom there would, quite simply, be no event. With no day prizes to award it was straight into the series winners;
Overall and Trophy Winners
Scottish Series Trophy and overall winner Chimaera
Joe Deane Cup Salamander XXII
Tunnocks' Cup Reflection
Crinan Cup Celtic Spirit
Crawford McInnes Trophy (Hempel Youth Winners) Reflection
Lemarac Tankard and Knox Anchor Celtic Spirit
Causeway Cup F'n Gr8
Alfred Mylne Trophy Hero
Clyde Bowl Celtic Spirit
Valhalla of Ashton Salver for volunteer The Tech (Or, Raynet) Team
La Rochelle Trophy Lyrebird
The McIver Salver (Mudhook YC) F'n Gr8
IRC1 Forty Licks
IRC4 F'n Gr8
CYCA5 First by Farr
CYCA6 Salamander XXII
CYCA8 Celtic Spirit
Sigma 33 OOD Leaky Roof 2
Sonata OD Fiddlesticks
Hunter 707 OD Seaword
Etchells OD Hero
Boat of the Day Winners
IRC Something Else
CYCA First Edition
One Design Miss Moneypenny, 707 Class Assocn
Summarising and bringing the Clyde Cruising Club Scottish Series 2019 to a close chair of the event Glenn thanked all those involved and introduced the dates for the 2020 event as the 22nd to 25th May 2020. With 2020 being a celebration of Scotland's Coasts and Waters we look forward to seeing the fleets return for another Scottish Series event and perhaps a few extra special twists to celebrate Scotland's year of Coasts and Waters.