FTSE in the ascent
Just as the stunning scenery never changes from year to year on Loch Fyne, so the winds remain inconsistent and challenging as was proven by the first day’s racing at this year’s Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series.
Patience was the primary virtue required, especially by the principal race officer whose team did their level best to second guess what the mainly westerly breeze was going to do next. After a delay of over one hour while the wind swung back and forth in direction, the reward was a sudden salutary 30 degree change in direction which completely skewed the course. All that could be done was to cut the race short and try again.
But the second race for the IRC Classes was worth the wait. Sunshine and 9-11 knots of wind peppered with just enough regular changes in direction and strength to offer tactical opportunities.
Veteran John Corson and his crew on Salamander XX repeated their successful start they made last year when they won both Races in the competitive IRC Class 3. With past Scottish Series Trophy winning helm John Highcock on the helm they emerged to with two good starts which, as the fastest rated boat in their fleet, was the key to being able to dictate terms to the fleet. Their closest rivals, another past winner of the top award, Steve Goacher steering Keith Hull’s Accrewed Interest were over the start line in the second race but still took second place to lie three points behind Corson’s crew on the Corby 33.
“I think the race officer did well to get two races in, I really did. It was probably one of the most difficult days I can remember. It was pretty stressful in judging what was going to happen and when it was going to happen, to make sure you were in the right place at the right time,” reported Highcock, a Clyde-based sailmaker. Being able to tack in the direction you wanted to, when you wanted to was essential. And so getting clear in front of the fleet after the start was important, and we managed to do that. You had to not make decisions too early, but to react as and when things happened.”
Salamander XX proved how potent they are in these moderate breezes when they won the first contest by two minutes and 21 seconds, albeit which became a one way drag race – a tight reach and a tight spinnaker reach rather than a beat and run.
In IRC Class 1, in which four of the nine starters have Scottish Series Trophy winners as skippers or steering - Jonathan Anderson’s Playing FTSE leads Anthony O’Leary and his Cork crew on the Ker 39 Antix by three points. Antix found themselves pinned on the wrong side of that first big windshift and could only return a sixth, but won the second race while Playing FTSE placed first and third.
Rob Davies’ brand new Corby 36 Roxy 6 from Neyland in Wales leads Class 2 after winning both races, while in IRC 4 it is the Dublin Bay-based X332 Equinox which leads.
Back on his native home waters and in the class in which he won the Scottish Series Trophy in 2003, Ruaraidh Scott made the perfect start to his challenge for the 1720 European title when he and his crew posted two victories in King Quick.
IRC Class 1: 1 Playing FTSE (J Anderson) 4pts, 2 Antix (A O’Leary) 7pts, 3 Impetuous (R Fildes) 9pts
Class 2: 1 Roxy 6 (R Davies) 2 pts, 2 Tanit (R & P Harris) 4pts
Class 3: Salamander XX (J Corson) 2pts, 2 Accrewed Interest ( K Lord) 5pts, 3 Something Else (Hall/McDonnell/Hall) 7pts
Class 4: 1. Equinox (R McDonald) 5pts, 2 Shadowfax (S Fortieth) 6pts, 3 Rogue Trader (J Cumming) 8pts
Class 5: 1 Bambi (P Doig) 2pts, 2 Antix (J Allen) 6pts, 3 Wil2Win (W Partington) 7pts
Class 6: 1 Sunrise (S & N Chalmers) 2pts, 2 Dancer (M Stewardson) 5pts, 3 Tartan Pimpernel (N Howison) 8pts
Class 7: 1 What’s New Pussykate (S Scott) 3pts, 2 Piecemaker (S Hamilton) 6pts.
Class 10: 1 Nuage (K Andrew) 3pts, 2 Poppy (J Roberts) 6pts, 3 Finesse (D Walter) 6pts
Sigma 33: 1 Sigmatic (D & A Mclaren) 5pts, 2 Sea Pie of Cultra (J Colman) 6pts
Sonata: 1 Blue Tack (D Boatman) 3pts, 2 So (N McLure) 5pts, 3 BFG (C Bentley) 10pts
Sportboat 1: 1 King Quick (R Scott) 2pts, 2 Alltalk (Angel/Stevenson) 6pts, 3 Richochet 6pts
Sportboat 2: 1 Haggis (E Mackay) 2pts, 2 ASBOat (G Whyte) 5pts, 3 Tonic (D Paton) 5pts
RS Elite: 1 Swallow (B Shaw) 3pts, 2 Elixir (S Maclean) 3pts 3 Ace High (J Pearson) 8pts.