Report by Richard Rowan
The final event in the 6 event 2006 Scottish IOM Travellers series took place in light to medium conditions at Murdieston Dam with an entry of 15 boats. Race Officer Hugh Shields assisted by Bob Hughes and his son managed 17 races over the day.
The wind direction looking out from the embankment at Murdieston Dam was generally from left to right (or in nautical terms – mostly from the east but with a bit of north from time to time). This direction includes a wind bend from the leeward mark up to the windward mark, which can tempt the unwary sailor to keep sailing off the leeward mark on port out towards the right hand side of the beat. However, sooner or later one has to cross back to the centre or right and frequently, the wind direction and strength at the windward end of the beat makes this very difficult and frustrating. This is the big challenge in easterly winds at Greenock – if you get it right, it can be very rewarding – get it wrong and it is equally frustrating. And then from time to time, you get a big lift on the port side – get one of those and you can fly into the mark at the last minute “smelling of roses”.
Richard Ennos sailing his 2006 own design Sceptic took an early lead with a series of firsts, seconds and thirds. However, Richard Rowan, after a poor first race, wasn’t far behind. The other two big name Scottish skippers Ian Dundas and Aly Law were having their worst events for a long time – Ian had radio control problems and Aly kept on picking up weed – so neither were featuring at the front of the fleet. Boyd Baird started the event well with excellent places in the first 4 races but then dropped back after a series of bad results in races 5 to 7 whilst John Taylor, sailing Dave Creed’s prototype Lintel, and David Loomes were hanging in just off the front of the fleet. And so the morning passed by with a series of races in the challenging conditions.
And so to lunch, when the skippers were treated to a magnificent spread laid on by the Greenock members. Greenock has always been renowned for its hospitality but this was the best spread we have seen for many years.
After lunch, racing resumed at race 7 with Ian Dundas back on the water and showing extremely impressive turns of windward speed. However, the results show that for every couple of good races, he had a not so good race. Similarly, Aly Law also improved his performance but had a telling 3 Rtds. Richard Ennos’s performance dropped off considerably after lunch but he did enough to manage second place overall just ahead of John Taylor on count back. David Loomes continued his consistent placings mostly in the top third of the fleet to come in 4th overall. Boyd Baird kept getting it right for one or two races but ended the day carrying too many high placings – he finished 5th overall in front of Aly Law in 6th. The winner was Richard Rowan with a very consistent run of top placings, a couple of 4ths being his worst scores in the afternoon. The green Italiko was observed by the RO to have very good speed and high pointing to windward but the skipper will tell you that he often managed to find a space at a mark thereby pulling back from a poor start and 1st windward leg.
Top placings were: