Great Oban Raft Race on the crest of a wave

The Oban Times - - Front Page - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­times.co.uk

EIGHT rafts lined up along a busy Oban Bay for the Oban Lions’ char­ity race on Satur­day.

‘The first id­iot back is the win­ner,’ ex­plained Ian Hall of Au­to­glass, who had re­turned for their fifth raft race with Juras­sic Ark, sport­ing a six-foot in­flat­able di­nosaur, which was auc­tioned for char­ity af­ter­wards.

Their ark faced the Oban Air Cadets’ pal­let stream­lined by a Vul­can bomber and a comfy stool. ‘The wreck­age will wash ashore,’ pre­dicted one of its three co-pi­lots.

The Camp­bell and Keys fam­i­lies from Ker­rera pinned their hopes on Jab­ber­wocky: a surf­board strapped to planks, flagons and buoy sta­bilis­ers. ‘A pow­er­ful force,’ skip­per Mo­ley Camp­bell called it.

The RNLI team sat on plas­tic chairs to power the Mora Less, dec­o­rated like the Oban lifeboat in the bay. Be­side them was TSL’s Ad­ven­turer, a first-time en­trant whose ‘con­struc­tive think­ing’ had de­ployed un­der­ground pipes for flota­tion.

Oban Dis­tillery’s Rafty McRaft­face reap­peared, ver­sus the Ledaig Loonies in their Yel­low Sub­ma­rine, which they hoped to keep afloat with strapped-on fence posts, but con­fi­dence was not high.

Last to ar­rive was a crew of Scot­tish pi­rates mak­ing fi­nal-sec­ond re­pairs to their galleon called Fawnti (pieces), as race com­modore Gra­ham MacQueen an­nounced the start.

The race, from Ge­orge Street round North Pier and back, ended de­ci­sively, with ‘un­sta­ble’ Rafty McRaft­face com­fort­ably pow­er­ing in first thanks to ‘good spir­its’ (a dram of 14-year-old whisky) in front of a ‘too heavy’ Mora Less.

The Juras­sic Ark came in third, fol­lowed by the Yel­low Sub­ma­rine, the Ad­ven­turer, the Fawnti (pieces), Vul­can and fi­nally the Jab­ber­wocky. All ves­sels stayed afloat and fin­ished in­tact.

So it was a vic­tory of sorts for all, but es­pe­cially for the Oban Lions who suc­cess­fully or­gan­ised their fifth race, and the char­i­ties who will ben­e­fit from the fundrais­ing to­tal, which will soon be added up.

The Rafty McRaft­face crew cel­e­brate their vic­tory.

The Ledaig Loonies were ‘def­i­nitely not’ con­fi­dent about their Yel­low Sub­ma­rine. 16_T32_ Raft race_ 04

The pi­rate ship did not fall to pieces as pre­dicted, and fin­ished sixth. 16_T32_ Raft race_ 05.

Oban Air Cadets’ ‘ Vul­can’ swoops ma­jes­ti­cally into Oban Bay. 16_T32_ Raft race_ 06

Ques­tions re­main whether Juras­sic Ark’s in­flat­able di­nosaur was a help or hin­drance. 16_T32_ Raft race_ 03

The Ad­ven­turer’s ‘con­struc­tive think­ing’ got it safely round the course on its first race, but only in fifth. 16_T32_ Raft race_ 08

The crowd cheered Jab­ber­wocky as she fin­ished last. 16_T32_ Raft race_ 07

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