Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series saw a tricky first day of racing that proved a reminder of just how shifty and variable the winds can be even in a moderate average wind strength.
Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series Day 1
In fact, the four skippers who might aspire to win the overall series have not been able to complete their first two races with a pair of victories.
Hamish Mackay, helm on Jackaroo in IRC Class 4, came closest. Along with a regular local Scottish team on the J97 which has been brought north from the Solent for the first time by owners Jim and Steve Dick, Mackay and team were a tantalising six seconds off their second win of the day when they finished just behind the well sailed Irish X332 of Ross McDonald, Equinox.
The Howth crew won the class last year and eclipsed Mackay’s double Scottish Series Trophy winning crew on the finish line.
But with a win in the first race and their second, Jackaroo made the strongest start in the class, and the 107 boat regatta:
'We had a good fight with the X332, it was very close, great racing with not much in it. So all in all we had a pretty good start. It was very, very shifty with big changes in wind velocity so from my point of view it was really about keeping my head out of the boat as much as possible and we managed to do that.' Commented South Queensferry’s Mackay.
Current holder of the Scottish Series Trophy John Corson and team on Salamander XX opened with a win but tactician John Highcock admitted later to having misjudged the tidal current on the start line of the second contest of the day.
After having to restart because they were over the start line on the gun, Salamander XX was more than two minutes behind the lead boat at the first windward mark. But Corson and crew fought back and were only one second shy of third place in race two and nine seconds off second place.
If the weather was slightly less than clement – drizzle, chilly temperatures and winds from 7 to 22 knots, or in the local parlance ‘a bit dreich’ – the close racing was in no way dampened by the weather, nor the slightly lower entry numbers than previous years. Seconds won and lost were vital on all race courses and the race management teams did a great job of keeping the contests short and sharp.
In the shifty westerly breeze, which rose and fell as it blew off the uplands of the Kintyre peninsula, the windward leg was across the loch and so ensuring that the course was inherently compact.
In IRC Class 1 the magical pair of one’s also proved elusive for Anthony O’Leary on the Ker 39 Antix.
The Cork skipper is something of a Tarbert addict and has won the Scottish Series Trophy twice, once apiece in the 1720 Sportsboat fleet and the IRC Handicap fleet.
But in the shifty conditions Antix could only open with a relatively modest fifth place in the 11 boat fleet but scored a win in the second race, some 15 seconds ahead of South African owner-skipper Michael Bartholomew on Tokoloshe. Just as Corson in Class 3 was forced to battle back from a premature start, so too Tokoloshe jumped the gun in race two of the day.
Only boat in the handicap classes to start with the perfect score was Eamon Rohan and the crew of his perfectly prepared vintage quarter tonner Anchor Challenge. In the first race of the day the 33 year old Bruce Farr design was only one boat length ahead of Sevcon Team Chia-Chia, a vintage half tonner which won the overall top award in 1986 as one of Jonathan Anderson’s record three top trophy successes.