The days are running out for this season, so when the message came saying that Teal's crew Ufo was down with cold/flu, I was resigned to gardening with a heavy heart. I nonetheless resolved to pop along and pump out Teal (which was as well since she was full to the deck floor after last week's rain). The heart became heavier still forlornly contemplating a good breeze and sunshine....
...but then I spotted that Thalia was sailing three-up! After a request to pinch a crew member was kindly accepted, Teal was going to race after all with Wendy aboard (Mother of Rear Commodore Sailing - unsure if this is a formal position like the Queen Mother?). Teal rigged sharpish.
Thalia was RO and selected the excellent L8 course. A good long beat to D, reach across to G, run back to start at Y and then down to A, followed by another very good beat back up to D. A biased start line as so often given the fixed start lines. Teal led in easily with little challenge, Dione following, others lagging. Both Dione and Teal tacked to head across the loch to the Clynder shore but Teal's large starting lead was easily eaten into by Dione who both climbed and pulled ahead under Teal. Better boatspeed (a dirty hull on Teal?) or better helming from Barrie on Dione? Or both! Teal tacked and Dione followed, now ahead. The others had stayed closer to the Shandon shore and were not threatening. Dione round D first, but Teal had managed to play some shifts inshore and arrived shortly after.
Across the loch to G it was difficult to spot the mark and both headed too high before raising kites and gybing. Thalia went the right way and with slick spinnaker work from Peter was right back in the race. Teal attempted to luff Dione to prevent an inside and then to give her mark room but with skipper on the spinnaker, team communication slowed down reactions and she failed to do so resulting in Dione hitting the mark. Teal was rightly protested and did her turns. Dione and Thalia both swept onwards down to Y. Teal was at least quick with her kite drop, penalty turns and then re-launch of the kite from the cockpit and chasing. Dione had time to fit in a quick penalty turn for touching the mark before rounding Y and still lead Thalia.
To A, Dione leading Thalia, Teal chasing. Both Dione and Thalia rounded and tacked - thinking to keep out of the tide. Teal however spotted good wind on the Clynder shore. While the Gareloch has tide, good wind will always trump it. And so it proved: while Dione and Thalia sailed in lighter air and covered each other up the Shandon shore, Teal thundered up directly to D in a lane of excellent gusty wind. By the time Dione and Thalia had crossed the loch, Teal was unfairly clear for the run back to the finish at Y. Dione should have secured second but Thalia kept fighting and a spinnaker pole failure on Dione didn't help. A frustrating race for Dione but a good one for Thalia - especially on her first race after Roger's broken leg!
1 Teal, 2 Thalia, 3 Dione, 4 Thia, 5 Luna. Ceres DNF. (To be confirmed.)