The IOM Scottish Ranking Race on 12th and 13th June was held under the auspices of Buchaness MYC at the Castle Semple Visitor Centre at Lochwinnock near Glasgow. The Boussy Medallion was awarded to the highest placed competitor on Sunday who had not previously won a National UK event (including Nationals and Ranking Races).
Saturday dawned fine and sunny but with the wind from the only “bad” direction for Castle Semple ie over the trees at the back of the car park. This immediately gave RO Alistair Law and his team a big problem – how to set a decent course. Alastair quickly concluded that a decent course was not achievable and simply set out 5 buoys, two at either end of the sailing area, one off-shore to form the triangle and two to create the start/finish line.
The skippers in the first seeding heat then found out just how tricky the wind conditions were – puffs coming from nowhere, wind direction changing through all points of the compass – really a bit of a lottery. This remained the case until early in the afternoon when the wind started to come more from one end, which resulted in a more conventional windward/leeward leg scenario. However, throughout the day, it seemed to be more important to be in the right place at the right time.
As the wind filled later in the day, a number of competitors were heard to remark that it was better to be in the pack towards the end of the final run because frequently, a boat that had worked out an advantage during the race would run out of wind down the run and would be engulfed by the fleet carrying a new breeze from behind.
Eventual winner Peter Stollery managed to keep in the wind throughout the day, counting two fifth places as his worst result. Second boat Phil Playle was frequently seen to take the great circle route between the two end marks – ie he always chose to go well offshore looking for the fresher breeze and quite often powered in to the mark at a sharp angle at the last minute. Third boat Chris Harris was always in the hunt right up to the end but a sixth place in the last race took his final total to just one point higher than Phils.
In contrast to Saturday, the wind direction for Sunday was from left to right with a slight on-shore angle. Throughout the day until just before end of sailing, the wind strength was always top end of the A rig, with occasional puffs enough to cause problems downwind. Direction was relatively steady but with enough shifts to make the racing interesting with the left side of the beat being favoured about 70% of the time but always with the possibility of a shift bringing the starboard boats in more quickly than anticipated.
Graham Bantock sailing Alastair Law’s 2004 Italiko took an early lead with a couple of good wins. However, he then dropped back a little to let Trevor Binks and Peter Stollery catch up. During race 4, the wind piped up to its strongest throughout the day giving the A heat skippers some agonising moments about whether to change down or not. Peter Stollery was one of the few leaders who changed to B rig and was immediately rewarded with the wind dropping and a trip to the B heat.
The race team keep a good momentum through out the day and managed 8 full races (each incorporating reasonably long beats).
So eventually towards the end, Graham Bantock took control of the event with a third as his worst place in races 5 to 8, Martin Roberts took second place with a generally consistent set of results, third was Trevor Binks with a couple of 10th places just knocking his final score up past Martin’s.
The Scottish District have been very pleased to be able to run such major events at the Castle Semple Water Sports Centre. We think that everyone will agree that the facilities are simply top class, the winds over the three years that we have run an event at Castle Semple have produced excellent racing on 5 out of 6 days.
We would like to thank the Management and Staff at the Water Sports Centre for their friendly and helpful welcome to the visiting competitors.
Event entry list
Winner of the Boussy Medallion – Mike Clifton
Thanks also to
David Loomes for the scoring computer programme
Graham Campbell for the dinghy and outboard