Fam­ily friendly

The Oban Times - - West Highland Yachting Week -

Although the ear­li­est days of WHYW saw the tra­di­tion of male- dom­i­nated rac­ing, the later in­clu­sion of white sail classes al­lowed women and the fam­ily to come along and be part of the week. To­day WHYW is noted as one of the UK’s leading fam­ily-friendly events with sev­eral boats boast­ing three fam­ily gen­er­a­tions that have taken part.

This pop­u­lar mix of the se­ri­ous and the not so se­ri­ous con­tin­ues the tra­di­tion be­gun at the very first re­gatta in 1882 when, in ad­di­tion to yacht rac­ing, the event in­cluded row­ing races and ended with a ‘duck hunt’ – a sort of pur­suit race.

In the evening, yacht own­ers and their guests at­tended a huge High­land ball that mir­rors the prize-giv­ing dances of to­day. This is per­haps not quite the daz­zling event of those early years, with the guests in their full fin­ery, but it is not so easy to carry full High­land dress aboard to­day’s some­what smaller yachts.

In days of yes­ter­year, it would only have been the own­ers at­tend­ing the ball – the paid crews would have en­ter­tained them­selves at the lo­cal public house. The pub tra­di­tion still con­tin­ues – now for own­ers and crew alike – with the added en­ter­tain­ment of a wide-rang­ing so­cial pro­gramme to ac­com­pany the ‘craic’ and ca­ma­raderie that is so much part of WHYW. The re­gatta cel­e­brated a golden and di­a­mond ju­bilee with more than 200 yachts com­pet­ing in these mem­o­rable events. Now, hav­ing been on the crest of a wave for 70 years, the JRC ea­gerly looks for­ward to cel­e­brat­ing the plat­inum ju­bilee.

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