Scottish Championships – Loch Tummel
With a good forecast of both sun and wind, the 2018 Scottish Championships got underway according to plan with a windward leeward course selected for the 1st race. After a clean start, David McKee and Mal Hartland from Dovestone were able to establish an early lead from local sailors Mark and Bec Baron with close racing in the chasing group. With a wind bend of some 20-30 at the top of the course, there were many changes approaching the weather mark on each lap, but Mike Preston and David Manifold from Blackpool and Fleetwood picked the favoured right hand side of the course to get into 2nd place on the final lap, which they held to the finish ahead of the Barons, with Dave Heron and Richard Rigg taking 4th.
The 2nd race saw a number of the fleet over eager, with several of the leaders from the 1st race having to return to restart. This left Preston and Manifold to capitalise on this, breaking free of the fleet with Heron and Rigg. With the restarters chasing the fleet, the front of the fleet sailed clear, with Mike Moore and Kayla Sheard from Bassenthwaite and Andy and Tom Goddard from Dovestone joining the chase. At the finish, Heron and Rigg received no gun, confirming that they were also in the over eager pack at the start of the race.
With a number of the front runners having already banked their discard, race 3 got underway with a longer triangle/sausage course. Hartland and McKee were keen to put the previous start behind them and led the fleet around the course, with Preston and Manifold in close pursuit. Although the kites were flown on the full first triangle, with the wind shifting more to the south, this was not really possible on the 2nd triangle and Preston and Manifold were low of the rumb line going into the final lap, allowing the Goddards and Moore/Sheard back into the hunt. With Hartland and McKee clear on the run, Preston and Manifold were content to ensure a cover over the chasing duo. With Moore/Sheard choosing a bear away set and the Goddard’s gybe setting, Preston/Manifold were caught with a decision of who to defend against. Moore/Sheard capitalised on this sailing in more pressure down the middle of the lake, taking 2nd from the Goddards who were also able to get past the pairing from Blackpool and Fleetwood.
Overnight, the scores were close (with a discard now in effect), with McKee/ Hartland leading from Preston/Manifold and Moore/Sheard in 2nd and 3rd on 2, 3 and 4 points respectively.
Sunday saw the wind settle earlier than on the Saturday, and again the race team were able to get the racing away on time. Local sailors David Sword and Richard Harper were this time the pace boat, leading the fleet around the race track. Hartland and McKee came from further back after a disappointing end to the 1st beat, but not as disappointing as for Heron/Rigg who suffered gear failure and were forced to retire from the race. As the race reached its climax, McKee/Hartland had managed to catch the leaders Sword/Harper and stayed to the left of the run and were alongside each other by the leeward mark, but Sword/Harper were able to hold the lead to the finish, with the Barron’s again taking 3rd.
The final race saw the Barrons attempt a port end start, only to be closed out by the fleet on starboard sailing down towards the pin. A further wind shift during the course of the 1st beat saw the fleet concertina and at the windward mark it was Heron/Rigg who led from McKee/Hartland with the Goddard’s in 3rd. On the 2nd lap, the Goddards unfortunately hooked the spreader mark with their port spinnaker sheet and caused some confusion for the following boats as a rescue boat looked to replace the mark which had now been dragged out of position. By the end of the 2nd lap, McKee/Hartland had managed to pass Heron/Rigg to secure the race win and the championship. In the chasing pack, it was again the pairing of Preston/Manifold who were able to pass the Barrons over the following laps to secure 3rd place and 2nd overall.
After close racing over the 2 days and good race management, even the redress hearing for Richard Hope after the spreader mark confusion was unable to prevent a timely championship presentation and the competitors were back on the road before 4pm.