Great sailing at West Highla
A mix of all weathers made for a variety of exciting sailing for this year’s West Highland Yachting Week (WHYW). And storming through to take not only a class win but the overall Peter Cocks memorial trophy was a new ‘out the box’ Elan GT5 Reflection.
Revelling in a variety of conditions to take five first places over the course of the week, owner Jim Dick said: ‘Clearly, we are absolutely delighted with this performance – the first regatta the boat has competed in and I am really pleased for the boys who sailed her.’
Jim was unable to race his boat for the regatta due to injury so Reflection was crewed by Great Harbour Yachts and helmed by Peter Cameron, who runs the company.
Jim said: ‘She’s just a lovely boat and sailed brilliantly by the team aboard.
‘I bought her for extended performance cruising on the west coast and to see her performance at WHYW, she doesn’t disappoint in that department.
‘This is the third time competing at WHYW and the team and boat have performed superbly. I am thrilled with the boat, which not only sails superbly but is really comfortable below. And to win the overall at WHYW is the icing on the cake.’
Although the major prizes went south, there was no shortage of good performances from local boats. Joey Gough’s Tangle o’ the Isles from Oban Sailing Club took a good class win and Angus Fyfe and team on the Contessa 25 Popcorn from Lochaber and Glencoe Boat Club also secured another win in Class 8. Other local boats took seconds and thirds in class with wins on individual days. Despite challenging weather conditions, Johnnie Readman in his first year as principal race officer set competitive race courses and saw many class battles going down to the wire. He said he had enjoyed running the racing and would return to being race officer next year. Malcolm MacGregor, previous PRO, was in charge of the Argyll Fleet this year and told competitors at the prize-giving this was his last year on the race committee. However, he added everyone needed to look out, since he would be back for 2019, on the water in his own boat – and already has his crew booked.
Mixed conditions for feeder races
Prior to the Points Series of the regatta feeder races from Oban saw the fleet contending a south-easterly breeze after starting at the entrance to the Sound of Kerrera.
It was to be Alistair Pugh’s day on his Contessa 32 Marisca who won in just under a minute on corrected time from James Hardie’s Taz and fellow Oban boat, the Forteiths’ Shadowfax third.
Sailing his first WHYW with his Hunter 707, Autism on the Water, Murray MacDonald, formerly of Oban, had an excellent race finishing in fifth overall.
Meanwhile, the Gigha fleet enjoyed great downwind sailing with Ruaridh Campbell winning on his Oyster 26 Banshee with John Mactaggart from Campbeltown and Stargazer second and Jim Shield’s Sigma 33 Meka II third.
Light airs for Points Series off Craobh
Racing off Craobh, the fleet split into the Tunnock’s Fleet racing with spinnakers on a windward leeward round the cans course while with the white sail Argyll Fleet sailed a course round Shuna and into Loch Melfort. Despite the light conditions, two races were managed and Class 1 was dominated by Rod Stuart’s Corby 37 Aurora winning both.
Class 3 saw Graham Anderson’s team on Lucky Ned Pepper from Oban take a first and a third place and in Class 5 Eric and Irena Chapman’s Amber Haze won the first race, securing another good result for Oban Sailing Club.
In the Argyll Fleet, the Oban-based Ajax of Anne and Andrew Campbell won Class 4 and, in Class 6, Joey Gough’s Tangle o’ the Isles took the silverware.
The Hunter 707 Rammie mastered the light airs to take the win in the first race in Class 7 from fellow Hunter 707 Partial Pressure and the Laser 28 Farr Out. In the second race Partial Pressure pulled through to take the silverware from Cool Bandit 2 and Katerina.
Popcorn raced by the Fyfe family from Lochaber and Glencoe Boat Club dominated Class 8, despite Marian Austin’s Scintilla from Lochaber Yacht Club making a brilliant start in the first race and great gains on the first beat. They were pipped in the first race to Popcorn with the lovely Scottish Islands Class Gigha of Scott Raeburn in third. Popcorn won by 14 minutes on corrected time from Lady Ex and Hot Toddy in the second race. On the Argyll course Orwell Lass won restricted sail Class 9 from Layla and Cantata II.
Breeze and sunshine make a roller coaster sail to Oban
The Craobh to Oban passage race sponsored by Owen Sails saw the breeze up and boats reefed for a beat to the turning mark south of Luing. Thereafter the horizon became a blaze of colour as spinnakers were set in the Tunnock’s Fleet for the run to Oban in brilliant sunshine.
Angus Wright’s Aunt Jessie stormed through in Class 1 to take a strong first from the J92s Jammin of Ally Paton and Satisfaction of Nick Marshall. Jim Dick’s Elan GT5 Reflection won Class 3 from Graham Anderson’s Lucky Ned Pepper and Carmen II.
Scott Chalmers and family on Sunrise took a first in Class 4 from Grand Cru and Synergie. The beautiful Nicholson 43 Magdaleyne from Ireland edged out the Forteiths’ Shadowfax winning the day in Class 5 with Boyd Tunnock’s Lemarac taking a strong third. Class 6 in the Argyll white sail fleet was won by Peter Bloch’s Sun Odyssey 33i Skye from Ian Nicolson’s St Bridget and Oban Sailing Club’s Joey Gough in Tangle o’ the Isles.
Craig Corson and team on Salamander XXII were back in winning form striking a first from Piecemaker and Cool Bandit in Class 7 while in Class 8 Oban boat Hot Toddy took the win from Marisca and Popcorn. Kelana won Class 9 with Cantata II in second place and Judy Orr’s Eureka from Campbeltown third.
Firth of Lorn races
With another stiff southerly breeze on Tuesday, the Tunnock’s fleet raced a windward leeward course off Lismore made all the more interesting with two anchored tankers to navigate around. Increasingly uncomfortable conditions forced PRO Readman to cancel the second race for the spinnaker fleet so results stood for just the one race.
The Irish Sigma 400 Thalia of Michael Finn and team and the J109 Jammin sailed an excellent race finishing on exactly the same corrected time to take joint first in Class 1 while Reflection racked up another first in Class 3 from Alan Jeffreys and Paul Scutt’s Carmen II. Graham Anderson’s team on Lucky Ned Pepper continued their good form placing third.
Magdaleyne with three generations of Petticrews aboard, won from the famous and well sailed Sigma 33 Leaky Roof II of Harper and Robertson with Boyd Tunnock and team on Lemarac third.
In the Argyll Fleet racing to the south of the ferry line in the Firth of Lorn, Scott Chalmers and family showed once again their winning form in their Sigma 400 Sunrise. Ian Nicolson skippered St Bridget to a win in Class 6 – all the more poignant as the famous skipper was approaching nine decades young! Only two boats finished in Class 9 with Robin Will’s Malo Cantata II taking the win from Kelana.
Class 7 saw the Moody 336s kick into action with Salamander, Cool Bandit 2 and Piecemaker taking the first three places.
And in Class 8 on the round the cans it was Andrew Wallace’s Nicholson 35 Jane Waterman winning from Marian Austin’s Scintilla with Popcorn having to be content with third place.
Exciting run to Tobemory
Oban to Tobermory, probably the most popular race of the week, once again saw a mix of wind conditions. A strong breeze at the start saw most boats reefing for the beat to Lismore Light but this quickly lightened away as yachts entered the Sound of Mull on a close fetch. Those able to fly kites on the shy reach benefited most with patchy conditions to Lochaline before the breeze finally freshened. And freshen it did with a great run for all to the mark before the beat to the finish at Tobermory. Jammin raced away with Class 1 and Angus Wright’s Aunt Jessie beat Satisfaction into third place by only one second.
Reflection powered through to take a win in Class 3 by over six minutes on corrected time from Boxcar and Carmen II
Class 4 saw Firestarter win by 28 seconds from Spirit of May and Sunrise in third. Shadowfax, helmed by Steven Forteith with crew members from Owen Sails, powered away from the start to lead the fleet and take first place from Leaky Roof II and Sea-Pie of Cultra. Joey Gough’s Tangle o’ the Isles won Class 6.
In Class 7 Salamander XXII took the win by only three seconds on corrected time from fellow Moody 336 Craig Anderson’s Cool Bandit 2 and Brian Wiseman’s Sorr of Appin.
Hot Toddy pulled out all the stops in Class 8 winning from the beautifully restored Scottish Island Class Gigha of Scott Raeburn who just pipped the Fyffe’s Popcorn into third by seven seconds.
It was to be a win for Seonaid Reid and her team on Malindi of Lorne in Class 9 from Alistair Gay’s Orwell Lass and Kelana.
Sound of Mull racing
With light winds forecast, the race committees had their work set out for them with the Tunnock’s fleet waiting for the variable direction to settle. Setting Class 1, 3 and 5 off, PRO Readman opted to recall these classes when the wind direction changed. After re-setting marks, all classes had good sailing with wind filling in. Aurora, Blue Jay and Jammin worked their way to podium positions in Race 1 with Aurora winning race 2 and Jammin edging out Blue Jay for second.
Reflection continued a winning streak from Carmen II and Lucky Ned Pepper in Class 3 but was pushed out in the second race by excellent sailing by the Carmen II team from Polaris and Lucky Ned Pepper.
It was ideal Sigma 33 conditions and Jeremy Colman’s Sea-Pie of Cultra took first from Leaky Roof II and Shadowfax in the first race. Leaky Roof II took their revenge in race 2 with the win over Sea-Pie of Cultra with Magdaleyne in third place.
Sunrise also brought