Elanor takes Scottish Series

Andi Robertson reports from the final day of racing at the Bell Lawrie Scottish Series

Tuesday June 4th 2002, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: United Kingdom
Hamish Mackay and a core crew of Scottish ex-dinghy racers repeated their success of last year to retain the overall Bell Lawrie Scottish Series. In the 28 year history of the north of Britain's premier regatta Mackay becomes only the second helm ever to retain the trophy in successive years after Simon Pender won back to back in 1988 in a Sonata, Red Hot Poker, and then again in 1989 in the Sigma 33 St Joan.

Mackay and his team sailed with owner Andrew Mitchell on his Elan 333, Elanor, which was new just last year to win the 195 boat regatta's biggest class, IRC Class 3.

Posting three first places, two seconds, a third and a fifth to win their 24 boat division the crew of Elanor needed to sail their nearest opposition, Donald Sharp's X332 Tundra, back down the fleet today to be sure of winning their class.

Having achieved this, leaving Tundra to a 10th place, Elanor fought back to fifth, their worst result in their final scoreline and one which might well have jeopardised their chances of winning the overall trophy.

"That's the way it is here. We had to sail to secure the class win today and then if you win the overall trophy then that's just the bonus. We never thought we would have had much of a chance again, but you never know quite what to expect. It was a hard class to win, tougher than last year, with some very well sailed boats." Mackay, an ex-470 and Soling Olympic campaigner.

Elanor's tactician Dave Kelly, an ex Laser Scottish champion, confirmed that Loch Fyne had lived up to its reputation as a mentally tough place to sail.

"It is somewhere that you always have to be conservative, and so it is very hard to keeping banging in the really top scores all the time, and hence why it is really not possible to go out to win the main prize." In what could be regarded as the regatta's toughest classes, the four IRC Handicap Classes, the 1720 Cork One Designs and the Sigma 333s, all went right to the wire.

In IRC 1 a David and Goliath match race developed at various stages between Bob and Bairbre Stewart's 40 foot Dubois designed Dublin boat Azure and the 65 foot Swan ketch of Richard Loftus, Desperado.

As Dave Ovington's Mumm 30 ran out the day's winner and both Desperado and Azure finished with their worst scores of the regatta, the class win overall was Azure's by just two points.

For their first trip up to the series since winning the Sportsboat class three years ago on a little 25 foot Beneteau sportsboat the team skippered by Nigel Biggs on Crewsaver Dickies Yacht Sales, a Beneteau 36.7, won Class 2 with five first places and two second places and must have been serious contenders for the overall Trophy.

The Sigma 33 class went in to the final race with both Ian Nicolson's St Joan and Kevin Aitken's The White Tub equal on points. Steered by the double Scottish Series winning helm Pender, they hunted down The White Tub and sailed back into the thick of the fleet.

Anthony O'Leary escaped back to Cork with the 1720 class overall win after a miraculous recovery in the final race. They came back from 10th to fifth to win overall from Tarbert helm Ruaraidh Scott on King Quick, which has now finished second for three years in a row.

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