Great Oban Raft Race on the crest of a wave
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