by Graeme Knox
Scottish Solo Traveller Series got underway at Forfar Sailing Club in Angus on Sunday April 15th. On the day the Solos returned to Forfar Loch it was too early in the year for its swallows to have returned. Swallows would have been nice, and admittedly they travel thousands of miles to return, but 17 dinghies of the same class was a welcome sight and as they had travelled from as far as Kinghorn and Newcastle it is a tribute to the popularity of their class so many committed and very good sailors were together in one place for the start of their annual series.
Race start - Scottish Solo Traveller 2012
A cold edge to the air and occasional dark, heavy clouds which at one point deposited a flurry of snow reminded everyone it was still spring. The flurry was borne on a northerly wind which remained predominantly from that direction, but such a wind is, locally, the most inconsistent and wild variations in both direction and strength were common.
Race Officer Shona Walker had luck, or magic on her side as the first race started on as near a beat as possible to the east, and a close eye was kept by all in the race box as a gaggle of boats squabbled on the line. Three were over at the start gun but only two returned. The squabbling continued amongst many but David Sword quickly took a commanding position at the front and was never caught over the following three laps to take the first point of the series.
The start of the second race was in a squall which blasted directly from the north so a reaching start was the only way to go. Understandably line shy the fleet held back, but the planing charge when the gun sounded was as exciting for those on the water as it was to those watching from the shore. This time, possibly fuming as it was he who had been earlier posted DNS, top dog Kevan Gibb was quickly at the front. He didn’t have an easy time of it and had to work hard until the second lap before the current champion escaped into a good lead to take first. Throughout the fleet positions regularly changed, and it is possibly fortunate sound did not carry too far on the day as the near misses and battles evoked much shouting and interesting use of the English language (all in a very sporting manner of course).
Race three, the last race, was a near copy of the first, multiple wind variations and even closer battles continued, but in the difficult conditions the quality of the sailors was evident as there were no capsizes or calamities despite many near misses and close proximity manoeuvres. This time Kevan led from the start and gained another first place to win the day and start the season as series leader. Forfar Sailing Club members enjoyed hosting the event and club commodore Jim Green, who had been on the water as he is himself a Solo sailor, thanked the visitors and his team for a memorable day.
Scottish Solo Sailing Association website