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Jeremy Arnold 214

2024 Flying Fifteen Classic & Silver Nationals

29th - 30th June, Loch Earn SC

The magnificent scenery of Loch Earn and the surrounding hills created a dramatic backdrop to boats with gleaming paint and varnish and a keenly contested championship at the end of June. The core fleet of boats is steadily building and this year there were 6 Classic and four Silver fleet boats taking part. There were 3 home boats and 7 visitors from the north of England, Northern Ireland, Shetland, Plockton in the far north ofScotland as well as Solway and more locally.

The rain managed to hold off for the whole weekend and there was a reasonable amount of sunshine, but Saturday’s race commenced with strong winds from the west, sending white horses marching down the lake and creating a significant chop for the beats and surfing for the downwind legs. Those who braved a spinnaker were rewarded with a terrific sleigh ride in the fierce gusts.

All the courses used club marks and in the first race, Bobby Salmond in 627 Vamoose took advantage of the visitors who were unfamiliar with the marks and initially headed to the wrong buoy. Bobby slipped into the lead and established a gap to the rest which he kept until the end, with Bryan Willis in 817 Shiofra coming second for the Classic fleet. In the Silvers, local boat 3142, helmed by John Best took the win, followed by Kenny Leask from Shetland in 3398.

In the second race, the wind had not abated and in the close action after the start, a mistake by Glen Fullarton on port in 2803 lead to a collision with Scott Train on starboard in 3362, sadly resulting in damage and retirement of both boats for the rest of the event. Bryan Willis made no mistakes this time and took the Classic win, followed by David McKee in 759 Flame, crewed by class secretary Keith Jamieson making a nostalgic visit to his former boyhood club. For the Silvers, Kenny Leask turned the tables, beating John Best into second place.

After a short comfort break, the third race began in the late afternoon and the wind, although still strong, showed signs of moderating a little, which tempted out 1155 Squall helmed by Graham Lamond who had spent the first two races capturing the start line action with a long lens from in front of the start hut. Bobby Salmond again took the Classic win to lead the event into the second day, with David McKee taking another second place. Similarly, Kenny Leask took his second win in the Silvers, beating John Best into second place.

By now, everyone was ready for some food and liquid refreshment and Bobby Salmond and his wife Ingrid laid on a very tasty barbeque with mixed salads followed by home-made pudding, which was consumed with relish alongside the free beer and wine. Graham Sharp of 485 Gilmac showed off his culinary talents, cooking the burgers and sausages to perfection!

Sunday dawned with a much-moderated breeze, providing ideal Fifteen sailing for the final two races in gentle sunshine. David McKee fell into the groove immediately, taking the first race for the Classics, shadowed by the ever-present Bobby Salmond in second place. The fierce battle between Kenny Leask and John Best swung John’s way as he took the Silver bullet with Kenny in second.

By the last race, Bobby had done enough to take the Classic trophy, but it was all to play for between Kenny and John in the Silvers. Most of the fleet went for a pin end start on starboard, which lead to some bunching, Kenny Leask and Graham Lamond took advantage of this, immediately breaking away on port, chased by the rest of the pack. These two lead the first lap with Kenny going on to take the win and the Silver championship. Unfortunately, on the second lap, Graham Lamond dropped the spinnaker under the boat, and Graham Sharp finally got his chance to take a well-deserved win in Gilmac to close the event.

A hotly contested championship showing that older boats in top condition can race as hard and successfully as ever with four different race winners in the Classics and two in the Silvers. If you have not attended before, have a serious think about joining the 2025 event if you own a Classic or Silver boat. It’s a great way to enjoy the boat without the pressure of a full-on main fleet event.

A huge thank you to Loch Earn SC and Bobby Salmond for arranging and hosting the event in a most beautiful setting.

Graham Lamond
FF1155 Squall

Photos by Sally McKee & Graham Lamond

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