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Sailability Scotland Challenger Traveller Series at Monklands Sailing Club

by Duncan Greenhalgh 18 May 2023 23:42 PDT 13-14 May 2023
Scottish Challenger Travellers Series at Monklands © Stephen Phillips

Six visiting Challenger Trimaran dinghies took part in the second regatta in the Sailability Scotland's Traveller series. They were met with a warm welcome on arrival at Monklands SC at North Lanarkshire Water Sports Centre.

This was the club's first sailing event in several years due to low water levels while dam repairs took place. Now Hillend Reservoir offers a large expanse of open water ideal for the Challengers.

Saturday

The weather forecast did not look very favourable with only 2 mph forecast with promise of a little more later. However it was pleasant waiting in the bright sunshine and warm weather for the promised breeze which gradually appeared as a patchwork pattern on the water.

Race 1 got off to a clean start and the fleet set off round the optimistically large Olympic Triangular course of a triangle and sausage. In the very variable conditions all six boats had their moment of glory, being accelerated to the front before falling into a rogue wind hole and watching boats pass on either side. The fleet rather drifted to the second mark. Here Dorothy Bennett (the only lady sailor) and Alan Gillman (new to challenger racing) headed directly to the leeward mark. However, rounding in third, Duncan Greenhalgh spotted a gust developing to the left, went to meet it and was carried into the lead and down to the mark closely followed by the rest of the fleet. Here the race was (mercifully) finished.

To everyone's relief the forecast increase in pressure arrived with a big wind shift. A change of course was made by the efficient race team and Race 2 started round another Olympic triangular course. Experience, and befitting from the recent coaching weekend at Rutland, Duncan picked out the pockets of wind and played the big shifts to build a large lead and was not challenged throughout the 50-minute race. There was close racing among the rest of the fleet, with Rory McKinna (Hansa 303 Para World's hopeful) next home. Racing was then abandoned for the day with promise of better wind for Sunday.

Sunday

The morning dawned to a forecast promising Force 3 - 5 winds and already signs of a breeze covered the large expanse of water - what a difference from the previous day! The enthused competitors queued up ready and waiting for the word to start launching.

Race 3 started in a nice testing breeze that resulted in a lot of place changing among all the sailors. The wind filled in and increased throughout the race. At the front of the fleet, Dorothy Duncan and Rory had a ding dong battle with Duncan's more extensive Challenger experience paying off in the end to take the win.

Races 4 and 5 followed a similar pattern, except now there were some sustained F5 gusts which made for some exciting sailing especially down the reaches and runs. The two most experienced sailors fought against both the conditions and each other to come home first (Duncan) and second (Rory). Steve Laycock reported a great battle at the back of the fleet with much changing of positions between himself, Ronnie Cameron and Dorothy.

Prize giving took place after all the boats were packed away ready for the next regatta (at Castle Semple on 3&4 June). Prizes were presented to all the competitors and included Prosecco, a floating key ring, and Tunnock biscuits (Tunnock's being the generous sponsor of the series). The leading boat appropriately received an upside down 'capsize' mug. Thanks were passed on to all the helpers from the club and visitors and a bunch of flowers presented to Jean who single handedly fed and watered everyone with donated food from Marrisons and Tesco supermarkets.

The Challenger is an open class so almost anyone can participate. It is no longer the preserve of disable sailors as it is also sailed by retired monohull sailors who are tired of capsizing. If you would like to have a go please contact Sailability Scotland SCIO www.sailabilityscotland.org.uk (in Scotland) or the Challenger Class Association www.challenger-sailing.org.uk (elsewhere).

Overall Results:

PosHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1stDuncan GreenhalghBassenthwaite Sailing Club‑111114
2ndRory McKinnaClyde Cruising Club‑323229
3rdDorothy BennettClyde Cruising Club2323310
4thSteve LaycockSailability Scotland SCIO‑4444315
5thRonnie CameronClyde Cruising Club‑5555520
7thAlan Gillman (DNF)DNCDNCDNCDNC28

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