From the Beginning
1973 - To mark its 75th anniversary, Clyde Cruising Clubs' Association introduced a new Series for cruiser racers under the IOR. The first Comet Wheel Series was incorporated into the Clyde International Regatta at Rothesay - the short offshore race being from Rothesay to Bangor and the long offshore race round the Isle of Man back to Rothesay.
1975 - Clyde Cruising Club, through its Honorary Secretary Sandy Taggart, presented a proposal for a new Series based around its Tobermory Race in July.
1975 - Tomatin Distillers became sponsor of the Comet Wheel Series to create the Comet Wheel Series for the Tomatin Trophy. The Series started with a 200-mile race round the Mull of Kintyre via Belfast Lough to Crinan. After the second leg of the Tobermory Race, itself in company with the rest of the Clyde Cruising Club fleet, there were three Olympic triangle races in increasingly strong winds in the area north of Tobermory. The final race was the 90-mile short offshore race from Tobermory finishing at Armadale on Skye but was postponed to the following morning and shortened to only 60 miles due to severe weather.
1976 - The Comet Wheel Series was held in North Wales, but because the Tomatin Trophy had been such a success Clyde Cruising Club chose to run the event again, reduced in size with only one Olympic triangle at Tobermory and renamed the Tomatin Trophy Series.
1977 - The Series event was held on the Clyde in May for the first time. The long offshore race was reduced to one night, starting at Gourock late on Friday, racing round Ailsa Craig and finishing at Campbeltown. The short offshore race was from Campbeltown to Tarbert and the three Olympic triangles were held in Loch Fyne. For the first time the winning boat – Hydrodjinn - won all her races in the Series, sailed by Nick Stratton who is one of only a handful of people who can claim to have taken part in, or organised (or both), every Series to date.
1978 - A significant change to the present format took place with a Thursday night start and Tuesday finish. The Comet Wheel Series in its original form did not survive beyond the last Clyde International Regatta in 1979 but the Tomatin Trophy Series went from strength to strength.
1985 - Despite the lack of title sponsor, the Series was given invaluable support from the Highlands and Islands Development Board (HIDB) and Thomas Tunnock Limited, both of whom are still closely involved.
1986 - Scottish Brewers became title sponsors, and continued in this role for six years. For the first four years of their sponsorship they named the event the McEwans Scottish Series.
1990 - The McEwans Scottish Series name was shortened to McEwans Series.
1991 - Stakis Hotels joined as joint sponsors with Scottish Brewers and the event became the McEwans Stakis Series.
1992 - Leading car manufacturer Rover became title sponsor renaming the event the Rover Series. Rover sponsored the event for the following six years.
1998/99 - Relying once again on a range of key support sponsors, the event secured invaluable backing from Graham Technology, Clyde Marina, Tiso, Talisker (Diageo/Classic Malts), Luddon Construction and Tunnock's. Tarbert Enterprise Company organised and financed much of the shore side activity making the event firmly a co-operative effort.
1999 - Through the need for enhanced marketing of the event, regular helper to the Series, Ian McBain, renamed the event the Scottish Series.
2000 - Bell Lawrie White, one of the largest independent private client investment managers in the UK, took title sponsorship with the event becoming the Bell Lawrie Scottish Series. Bell Lawrie's initial commitment was for three years but 11 years on, the event is now known under the parent company - Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series.
2007 - Sailing supremos Charlotte Dobson and Luke Patience took part in the Scottish Series.
2009 - 160 boats took to the water over the bank holiday weekend and Double Olympic Gold medallist Shirley Robertson OBE became the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series event ambassador.
2010 - Clyde Cruising Club celebrates its centenary year and 36 years of the Series.
The Scottish Series Evolution
Although the format of the Series varies little from year to year, it is interesting to see some of the changes which the event has seen over the years:
- CYCA handicap class added to IOR (1976)
- IOR level rating classes to reflect the popular sizes and World Championships being held in the UK
- Separate one design class for Sonatas (1980 to date)
- Campbeltown dropped with offshore races direct to Tarbert (1982)
- Unique light displacement CYCA class - the forerunner of today's sportboats (1982)
- Computer results system introduced in 1982 and now recognised as the best in the UK
- Separate one design class for Sigma 33 (1987 to date)
- Separate one design classes in certain years for Impalas, Sigma 38, Melges 24 and Cork 1720
- Inner triangle to shorten courses for smaller classes (1986)
- Points loading for offshore race reduced from 2 to 1.5 to 1
- First racing in Scotland under Channel Handicap (1988)
- Second racecourse for smaller classes (1989)
- Discard introduced
- Windward leeward races - two per day (1993)
- Sportboat classes with no overnight races (1994)
- Marquee on quayside for main social events (1995-2008)
- Restricted Sail Class (1998)
- Third racecourse for sportboats with up to three races per day (1998)
- Day feeder races (2002)
- Overnight and day feeder races discontinued (2005)
- Stand-alone Tarbert Inbound and Outbound passage races introduced (2005/6)
With all these changes, some things have stayed the same:
- Huge support from Ireland every year since 1975
- A magnificent effort ashore and afloat from the volunteer helpers of the Clyde Cruising Club, Royal Scottish Motor Yacht Club and Tarbert Loch Fyne Yacht Club
- Results and communications service at the forefront of technology
- The best competition and the best social scene in the country
- An overall Series winner, the roll call including many of the top sailors in Scotland and beyond.