On the water Race Officer Barrie Choules selected one of the longer courses, zig-zagging across the loch. A good wind blowing from the Shandon shore meant a start with spinnakers. Catriona got away well with Thalia and Halcyone close by. Dione’s start was less than ideal, her skipper’s excuse was that he was distracted by being Race Officer. Anyway, he took a flyer, going early towards the Clynder shore. As is usually the case, it might have paid but it didn’t.
Just after D, the first rounding mark, it began to rain. Water bouncing off the surface of the loch. That dampened both wind and crews. As it eased, wind filled in from behind and brought Thalia, Halcyone and Dione up to the leader. Luna not far behind. Athene and Hermes had found a lull on the Clynder shore.
Catriona managed to accelerate away and kept her lead at G, the second mark, ready for a fetch back across the loch to E, the most northerly mark on the Clynder shore. The chasing pack were held back by ever lighter air, especially around E. Catriona was half way back across the loch on the way to the finish before the chasing three had rounded. In the way of the Gareloch, a line of good pressure formed near the west shore so that the three made rapid progress to windward (Halcyone catching Thalia on port tack to take second) whilst Catriona contemplated the subtle ripples of her bow wave. She picked up speed as the breeze moved across the loch. It was sufficiently on the beam for a spinnaker to work, which helped to save her first place.
Hermes, meanwhile, suffered confusion at D and continued on to E before making her way across the loch to G. Fancying herself in a sketch by Morecambe and Wise, featuring André Previn, she went round all the right marks, but not necessarily in the right order.
1 Catriona, 2 Halcyone, 3 Thalia, 4 Dione, 5 Luna. Athene and Hermes DNF