Not encouraging for the cruising sailor as we made our way out. It was gusty as a squall of rain passed down the Gareloch. The sky cleared by the time of the start. The gusts remained strong.
On the water Race Officer Iain MacGillivray (sailing as crew on Dione) started us with an upwind leg to D, on the Clynder shore, thence across to Shandon (G) and back. The fixed starting line, as almost always happens, was biassed. The pin end favoured this time. There was a choice between being early or being at the back. Dione and Halcyone got the best of it.
Dione and Catriona covered each other across the loch whilst Hermes and Thalia trended up the Shandon shore. Halcyone went more up the middle. For a while, it seemed Thalia and Halcyone were way out in front. Large headers and lulls approaching the mark caused them to lose advantage. Wind especially cruel to Thalia, she rounded fourth.
Readers of previous reports will know of a continuing debacle regarding the sighting of racing marks. Dione (having chosen the course) headed for F, further north, rather than G. Halcyone followed, Thalia had her suspicions, Catriona saw the error but delayed telegraphing it until she was in front.
Halcyone and Thalia battled each other near the shore, on the way back to the starting area. It did them no good.
There was time for a second round which had a long windward leg from A, off the club, back to D. Catriona began comfortably in front. The three large men on the windward rail of Dione kept her flat and powered up. Lucy Forrester and Sophie Hutchison, on Catriona, are rather lighter. Dione, as happened on the first round, climbed away.
A run downwind to the finish from D. The strong gusts and changes of direction (especially near the Clynder shore) discouraged the setting of spinnakers. As the wind evened out, Catriona set hers. With spectacular rocking and rolling she caught up to Dione for a photo finish. Unfortunately no one on the shore to judge it.
1 Dione, 2 Cariona, 3 Thalia, 4 Halcyone, Hermes DNF