Ouch!! after that regatta everything is hurting.Yes it was a windy weekend on the Clyde at Helensburgh Sailing Club but the club was determined to make its first major regatta since the opening of the new clubhouse a succesful one.
On Saturday the first races were due to start at 13.00hrs and all three fleets got off on time. The wind at this point was a reasonable F4 but by the end of the first lap the forecasted F6 arrived and with all boats sailing with a full rig we were having some difficulty controlling the boats.
By this time Blue Tack, revelling in the conditions had taken an early lead from Fiddlesticks and Scruples but on the second beat Scruples lost his mast leaving So to come through into take third place and that is how the positions remained to the finish.
The second race was started quickly after the first had finished and all boats were sailing with the number 2 genoa now and some with a reef as well. The wind was westerly and mainly F6 but gusting higher but most crews had more control now. Again it was Blue Tack and Fiddlesticks who were dominating the race but Firebird was now more in control of the boat and moved up to third. With the wind still rising the race officer wisely decided to shorten after one lap and held no further races that day. Leaving Blue Tack with a well deserved 2 first places and a well sailed Fiddlesticks with 2 seconds.
On Sunday morning the forecast was for even stronger winds but reducing during the day. The first race of the day was started on time and this time it was Saraband who came through to take first place after Blue Tack proved that they are human when they had a bit of a problem with the spinaker. Fiddlesticks continued to be well sailed for second place again and Blue Tack recovered well to take 3rd. Race 4 also proved to be a bit of a challenge as Fiddlesticks final managed to break the stranglehold that Blue Tack had on her as she won from Blue Tack with Random coming third. The wind by now was showing signs of dropping a little although it kept the crews on their toes as it would drop and then come back with the same strength as before. The 5th race started with all to play for but it was Blue Tack who showed what they are really made of as they came back again to take first with Fiddlesticks second and Firebird third. The final race was started with the 1st and 2nd places already decided but third place was still up for grabs. Again it was Blue Tack and Fiddlesticks who were dominating the race although Firebird and Saraband were much closer and they finished in that order.
The final placing were Blue Tack from a consistantly well sailed Fiddlesticks and a very weary Firebird.
Congratulations have to go to all the boats and their crews for sticking to their tasks, especially those who were short handed and showing what a great boat the Sonata is to be able to be raced in conditions like that.
I have to add a big thank you to Mark Homer and his team for keeping us going and managing to get the full 6 races in. He also got some excellent photos which I hope might appear on this site sometime.
To the 4 boats that travelled Blue Tack, Misselainyous, Saraband and So thank you for the great effort that you all must have put in especially on Friday when you were launching and the rain was coming down as only the West of Scotland knows it can and I hope it will not put you off coming back to the Nationals next year I can assure you, having lived here for 42 years, that it is not always like this weekend has been.
Final congratulations to Dave Boatman and his crew on their success, they are well deserved champions at all levels and a big asset to the class as they support everyone else around them and try to help others to improve.
All the results can be seen on HSC website at www.helensburghsailingclub.co.uk
Peter Booth, Firebird