Foot and mouth hits Scottish Series
To date there have been no cases of foot and mouth near the race's homeport of Tarbert, but it is believed that this combined with the attraction of a strong programme of events on the south coast has put many people off making the bi-annual trek north to make the regatta.
"Frankly we are just delighted to be getting the numbers we have reached and when we break the 200 boat mark it'll be a bonus," commented the CCC's race coordinator Hazel Watson.
For this year's event the organisers have engineered a better spread of equally sized classes than ever before. Class 1 will see the first regatta appearance of Bob Stewart's new Ed Dubois designed IRC 40 footer Azure. Project managed by Mark Pettit and built by Richie Faulkner the new boat was only due to have
her maiden sail on Sunday 20 May. They will have their work cut out containing Colm Barrington's well established and highly potent Corby 38 Gloves Off which will of course be a long term Dublin Bay opponent for Azure. Designer Ed Dubois is rumoured to be in the crew line up for the second half of the regatta. Also likely to be up helping make the pace in Class 1 will be Gery Trentesaux's well travelled and well sailed French IMX 40 Courrier Nord which finished third last year.
Not unexpectedly numbers in the key one design classes are on the up. Even the Sigma 33 class is bigger than last year. Toughest division of all will be the 1720 Cork One Designs. Fleets in the north of the country are growing fast in anticipation of September's European Championships in Pwlheli. Newcomers to the class include RS, Melges and Laser ace Mike Budd in Gul, GP14 champ Neil Marsden steering Cosmic and Simon Relph in his Mailspeed Marine.
Leading south coast boats include Paul and Marie-Claude Heys' Low Key, and Stewart Hawthorn's Yachtsandyachting.com. Three past overall winners of the Scottish Series Trophy compete in this one design division: Alex Duffus' Eclipse, three times winner Jonathan Anderson on Fruit & Nuts and Steve Goacher's Goacher Sails, while last year's runner up Ruaraidh Scott, 20, as a Tarbert local, will be looking to become the youngest ever class winner.
This will be the second year of sponsorship by leading stockbrokers Bell Lawrie White for the regatta which has been based out of Tarbert on the Kintyre peninsula for more than 20 years.