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Marblehead Open Meeting Greenock – 27th May 2018

Report and photos by John Taylor

On the eve of the Marblehead World Championships in Germany, a few hundred miles across Europe, the stage was set for the Greenock Club to host this year’s Marblehead Open regatta. In recent years a decline in numbers has almost seen the Marblehead Class become extinct in Scotland. However, a handful of skippers last year made the effort to resurrect the class. Increased momentum this year saw a larger entry of 6 skippers from across the west of Scotland to the borders of England compete against each other.

It could be argued that this event represented grass roots sailing but it was all about rekindling the Marblehead class within Scotland. Yes, some of these boats were largely out dated in most areas but every yacht which was sailing had their moment of chance. It is hoped that next year even more skippers may consider ‘pimping’ their yachts. This means for minimal expense to make some improvements to increase performance. We shall see.

The event began with a light easterly breeze, but as the day continued the wind increased and skippers were forced to change to their B-rigs. 15 races were completed during the day with the results as follows:

1st John Taylor – Astrix – 17pts
2nd Damian Ackroyd – Astrix – 22pts
3rd Robert Rooney – Whisper – 29pts
4th Gordon Rae – Jive – 38pts
5th John Matheson – Wafer – 44pts
6th Gordon Neil – Wagner – 79pts

MYA Scottish District Marblehead Championship / GAMES 2 Event 13th February 2016 – Ayr Bay

Report by Gordon Neil, Ayr Bay Radio Yacht Club

From the whole of Scotland, six skippers with a selection of older and newer Marbleheads attended at Irvine Beach Park Pond to compete in the SD M/Head Championship / Marblehead GAMES event hosted by Ayr Bay Radio Yacht Club.

Fantastic racing with these boats. Lean, mean, sailing machines – and elegant with it! A totally different experience. Why does this Class of boat not attract more skippers?

“A” rig was initially used then dropping down a rig to “B1” with a good constant wind direction from the East but with the usual flukiness at the windward mark due to the looming presence of the Magnum Leisure Centre. Surprising how these craft can hang on to the bigger sail and FLY in what you would normally consider to be time to change down a rig.

Robert Rooney was a clear winner. Gordon Neil and Jim Reid both sailed very consistently whereas Ali McGlauchlan put in an excellent set of results once his early gremlins were resolved. A great time had by all in spite of breakdowns and hitches particularly in the older boats. Perfect Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!

Let’s get more of these boats in the water and competing!

Score Sheet

Marblehead – IOM – Laser Pursuit Race Ayr Bay – Saturday 11th August 2012

Report by Gordon Neil (RO)  Score Sheet by race  Score Sheet by class

What a great event this turned out to be! Nine skippers attended and it was generally felt that the event was very worthwhile, introducing very different boat class competitively racing together. This was achieved as follows :

1. Each different class of boat initially took place in a “handicapping race” on an arbitrary timed starting advantage – Lasers 40 seconds, IOMs 20 seconds and scratch for Marbleheads.

2. The first boats over the finish line in each class had their finish time differences recorded and from the information gained a more representative starting advantage (SA) was obtained for each of the classes.

3. These SA’s were adopted for the subsequent races and only adjusted at the discretion of the RO if a course change or other factor was thought to be valid.

4. The theory was that the best skipper in each class of boat would have an equal chance of crossing the finishing line together.

The skippers were encouraged to enter a boat in each of the three classes and had the opportunity to sail any one of their boats in any race if they thought that conditions had changed to suit one boat class over the others. The skippers name was recorded in the finishing place of each of the pursuit races run, and the boat type raced to allow the recording of the Pursuit race position and to allow results to be awarded for the best skipper in each class of boat sailed. Surprisingly, this worked out very well !

The course set was a standard triangle – sausage. Wind strength was initially from the East and fairly light, but veered round to the south-east as the day went on and increased in strength, giving some exciting racing. Four Marbleheads, six IOMs and five Lasers were registered for the event by the nine skippers attending. A total of seventeen races were sailed with the Marbleheads winning six races, the IOMs winning eight races and the Lasers winning three. Five races in particular were to vindicate the determined starting advantage with a boat in each class finishing in the first three places (Lasers in two of them).

Pat Johnston won the Pursuit Race and was the only skipper to race all three different classes, obtaining first place in the Marblehead and IOM classes with a fourth place in the Lasers. He also won overall with 25pts, to Jim Reid’s 29pts and Gordon Allison’s 30pts. Very close results. Jim Reid sailed both his Marblehead and IOM achieving second place overall with second place in the Marblehead and IOM classes just in front of Gordon Allison who only sailed his IOM and spent a fair amount of time in each race coaching his brother, Bernie, a prospective new member? (no outside assistance!! happily forgiven). Young Gordon Winton took the Laurels for the Laser Class coming in with first place from Ian Gordon and Billy Lees. He also came in a worthy fourth place in the overall Pursuit race. Race Officer for the day was Gordon Neil.

By general consensus it was agreed that this Pursuit Racing idea should become part of ABMYCs annual calendar of events in future, but with the wish that more competitive skippers would attend to demonstrate their skills.

Pursuit Race1stPat Johnston25
 2ndJim Reid29
 3rdGordon Allison30
 4thGordon Winton59
 5thNorman McDonald74
 6thIan Gordon78
 7thBilly Lees87
 8thBernie Allison93
 9thRay McMannus93
Marbleheads1stPat Johnston1
 2ndJim Reid1
 3rdNorman McDonald1.5
IOMs1stPat Johnston1
 2ndJim Reid1.25
 3rdGordon Allison1.36
 4thNorman McDonald2.64
 5thBernie Allison3.25
 6thRay McMannus4.11
Lasers1stGordon Winton1.43
 2ndIan Gordon1.9
 3rdBilly Lees2
 4th=Pat Johnston3
 4th=Ray McMannus3

Marblehead 2012 GAMES 4 Event – Ayr Bay – Saturday 26th May 2012

Report by Gordon Neil    Score Sheet

A fantastic days sailing at the Beach Park Pond, Irvine hosted by Ayr Bay Model Yacht Club. Ten skippers participated in this, the fourth GAMES (Guildford Administered Marblehead Event Series) to be held this year:

Hugh McAdoo – Prime Number
Robert Rooney – Whisper
John Mathieson – Wafer
Patrick Johnston – Remix
Gordon Neil – Tempest
Gordon Winton – Buzzbee
Gordon Rae – Rok
Ian Gordon – Perseverance
Alasdair McLaughlan – Scalpel
Norman McDonald – Archer

The RO for the day was Ken Hathaway assisted by Billy Lees. The weather was perfect for the occasion with an Easterly wind fluctuating in strength between 14 and 24 mph, backing and veering throughout the day, making sail selection to suit the conditions, and prompt reactions, absolutely critical. Top suite A down to the C1 rig was demanded.

A total of twelve races were completed, with very close racing initially between Robert Rooney, Hugh McAdoo, John Mathieson and Pat Johnston. After four races Hugh McAdoo was leading the fleet with 8pts, followed by John Mathieson, 12pts, sailing very well, Pat Johnston with 13pts and Robert Rooney with 18pts, having missed the first race. Attrition ate into the number of boats competing, probably as a result of the boats not having been used for some time, with latent installation defects coming to the fore :
John Mathieson out after race 5 (winch burnt out)
Gordon Rae effectively out after race 2 (fittings problem)
Gordon Winton out after race 2 (winch stripped)
Pat Johnston out after race 6 (winch pulled out)

Robert Rooney achieved his first of five first places in race 2 when the battle for 1st place overall commenced in earnest between him and Hugh McAdoo, who would take six 1st places in the days racing. This tussle was a demonstration of tactical, strategic, and technical racing which was an education to watch, with Hugh McAdoo taking 1st place overall with 15pts to Roberts 16pts. If only Robert had not missed the first race! Alasdair McLaughlan and Gordon Neil had fun chasing after the 3rd and 4th places, with Gordon’s much older “Tempest” generally showing good performance downwind but unable to effectively compete upwind. Alasdair took 3rd place with 40 pts to Gordon’s 43pts. Ian Gordon in a very old design consistently sailed the course and was rewarded by being placed 6th overall. Perseverance and staying the course does pay dividends. The old adage is still very true : “If you want to finish first, first you have to finish!”

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