Report by Alistair Law
Nine skippers turned out for the 3rd Travellers of the year. Colin Brown the Buchanness commodore welcomed the skippers and introduced Andrew Haxton of the Brechin club who acted as Race Officer helped by Peter Fowlie of the home club.
The wind was from a northerly direction and quite steady with a speed of about 7mph. The RO set a triangle and sausage course using the ample size of the reservoir with port rounding, therefore the marks were easy to see.
The sailing commenced at 10.15 with the first block of three races. Richard Rowan looking good won the first race with David Loomes 2nd, Colin Brown 3rd and Alistair Law 4th. Unfortunately Richard could not quite keep this up and slipped back with the occasional flash of the old skill. David Loomes took up the running with a win and looked good for the day – indeed he was sailing much better than of late yet he too fell away. Colin Brown brought on a challenge but he too faded away. It finally took Alistair Law sailing his new Topiko to stamp his authority on the regatta and eventually win it from Richard, David and Colin.
It was good to see some (maybe not so) young new skippers to the sport making an impression on the racing, namely Colin McGinnis and Jimmy Bisset – surely with some more regattas behind them they will be up among the front runners.
All In all, it was a very good days sailing with very few incidents and close racing throughout the fleet – well worth the effort to host and sail in the event.
The second event in the 2005 Travellers series was held at Barshaw Park on a warm and sunny day. 11 boats took part representing the Buchaness, Aberdeen, Brechin and Paisley clubs. The racing started in a gentle easterly breeze which held up until nearly the end of the day’s sailing. This enabled RO Robert Rooney to run 22 races.
Over the first 3 races, there was a different skipper in first place, with extremely tight racing throughout the fleet. However, as the morning proceeded, Richard Rowan got a good setup on his Italiko and managed a run of 5 firsts in a row. Alistair Law and Ian Dundas pursued him in vain. Unfortunately, Graham Campbell’s day ended prematurely with a boat control failure.
After lunch, the wind dropped and became much more variable in direction. Consequently, Alistair and Ian took first place in a greater number of races. However, the “Green Boat” was never far behind and ended the day’s racing with a good lead.
A new member from Brechin, Colin McGinnis, was taking part in his first Travellers series event. After a slow start in the morning, he gradually improved over the day and ended with a excellent 3rd place in the final race (this despite having a boat which was nearly 80 gms overweight).
All boats were check weighed prior to starting the event. This yielded the following weight statistics:
Fins -20 to +8 gms Boats in number 1 rig -50gms to +140gms. Obviously, boats which didn’t weight correctly were sorted before racing commenced.
The North East Clubs winter series continued over February, March and April 2005 with events held at Buchanness, Aberdeen and Brechin.
This winter series was set up last year as a means to encourage new members to take part in larger fleet racing during the winter period and hopefully to go on to take part in the IOM Scottish Travellers in the summer. The RYGG handicap system is used and it was good to see close finishes between all levels of experience and for some skippers to improve their handicap over the winter.
Turnouts averaged 10 boats and a total of 21 skippers took part in the series. This was up from the 15 who took part in the late 2004 series in October, November and December.
The first event took place in Peterhead with a wild and windy forecast. However as we have often seen the weather did not
materialize and a good day was enjoyed be those who made the effort to go North. No2 Rig was used over the day although some skippers did attempt No1 and even No3 Rig at times.
Ali Law at his local; club again showed the way scoring 25 points ahead of Bill Reid and Ian Dundas who finished equal on 32
points – Bill taking the second place on count back.
At the second event in Aberdeen it was also sailed with No2 rigs in a brisk North Westerly. A violent hail storm arrived during
race 3 which threatened the event but luckily this passed through reasonably quickly and after a short break to allow skippers to get feeling back into their hands racing continued under clear skies and steady winds.
15 Races were held around an Olympic style course. Interestingly scratch sailors won 8 races but Handicap sailors won 7 between them. Ali Law again came out on top with Ian Dundas second and Bill Reid continuing his good showing with a third using the club TS2.
The last event held at Brechin on 10th April saw a good turnout from the local club but there was also a visitor from Paisley.
Ali Law volunteered to be OOD. Richard Rowan sailed his Italiko well to take first place ahead of Boyd Baird sailing an Isis and Colin Brown sailing his new Italiko.
The 2005 Scottish IOM Travellers Championship kicked off at Inchgarth in Aberdeen with a turnout of 11 boats. For the first time in a long time, two skippers form Levenhall took part – Richard Ennos and Dane Ashby. However, unfortunately, there were no visitors from Brechin (that club having been a stalwart supporter of the Travellers series in recent years).
Race team Ian Dundas and Alistair Struthers faced a difficult day as the wind was varying by over 90 degrees just prior to the first start. This pattern was present throughout the day, constantly requiring Ian to change the marks of the course and to reset the starting line. For the sailors, over the day the wind generally held at a strength of between 5 and 10 knots, but with little puffs and lifts coming on both sides of the course, getting it right proved quite difficult.
Over the eight races in the moring, Richard Rowan opened a lead over Alastair Law, Graham Campbell and David Loomes (all of whom used up their eventual discards with each having two retirements or last places). Local skipper Jimmy Bisset sailing a competitive Stealth was regularly to be seen at the front of the fleet at the first mark but found it difficult to convert his good starts into good finishing places.
In the afternoon races, Alastair Law settled down and managed a very consistent series of results with Richard Rowan mostly behind. Gradually over the afternoon, Alastair whittled away at Richard’s lunchtime lead and eventually finished with a reasonable margin after his bad morning race results were discarded. Graham Campbell sailing his newly acquired Italico for the very first time started to show the potential of the boat to produce a very good afternoon’s score sheet – this eventually pulled him ahead of David Loomes (they finished 3rd and 4th overall) with local skipper Jimmy Bisset eventually finishing in a much improved 5th place overall.
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