posted on May 14, 2010
The weekend of 8/9th May saw boats arrive for the BIFFA Scottish championships at Loch Ard SC, in the picturesque Trossachs National Park, from as far away as Windermere, Derwent, Hayling Island and Dovestone. This event was a qualifier for the world championships to be held at Hayling Island next year.
Those who decided to arrive a day early were welcomed by a steady F3 coming down the loch, and an exciting sail. The overnight low temperatures, however, changed the weather to give the loch a Saturday morning mist rising from calm waters. As the morning progressed, the sunshine and remaining competitors arrived, along with a gentle NE wind.
A short delay to the start of the first race was needed, to allow all the 37 boats to get afloat.
Tensions were high in the 2 fleets as they jarred for position in the gusts and shifting winds. By sticking close to the right bank and picking up a little zephyr of wind from the hills, the team of Steve Goacher/ Phil Evans were to open a 30 second lead over David McKee/ Chris Hewkin to take the first race and the ‘Campbeltown Council Trophy’. David & Chris only just held their 2nd place position over a number of other boats.
Meanwhile the classic/silver fleet were managing to catch up the main fleet, with Bobby Salmond/ Robert Till pipping John McMillan/ Stan Wichlaj to the finish.
Race 2 began with the start sequence stopped while the course was rearranged due to a 900 wind shift. This, unfortunately, made the first beat a mad short dash across the loch. With 2 full circuits completed the finish flags were hoisted with impending dying winds. All competitors completed the last circuit before the wind calmed. The classic fleet crossed the finish within seconds of each other, which saw Dan Challis/ Kirsten Shaughessy take first place and the ‘Salmond Salver’ over John McMillan/ Stan Wichlaj. The main fleet saw a shake-up of places for the previous race top 10 with Gill Browing/ Simon Wetherill judged to perfection a last minute wind shift just before the start to pop out by the committee boat, and leading from the first mark and finishing a couple of lengths ahead of 2 boats - John Hadesty/ Roger Errington and Charles Apthorp/ Alan Green who were separated by mere inches crossing the line.
With racing over for the day all the competitors retired to the local village hall, where a sumptuous evening meal had been organised by the club. After much feasting there was entertainment from Gary Speirs, with some home brew narratives and Scottish folk music
Sunday dawned from a cold night to give another morning of light winds. Ever hopeful, the race office tried 4 or 5 times to set a course and even had the start clock down to 5 seconds before calling a halt due to the wind suddenly dying and shifting drastically. With the heaviest of hearts and after 90 minutes of false starts, the race officer decided to call a halt to the rest of the day’s racing, being mindful of the distances that competitors had to travel. The overall results had to depend on the 2 races from Saturday.
The classic/silver fleet had a 3way tie break in operation with the classic boats of Dan Challis/ Kirsten Shaughessy taking first place for the trophy over Bobby Salmond/ Robert Till and John McMillan/ Stan Wichlaj. The first silver boat was Scott Train/ Graham Lamond.
The main fleet was not without its own tie breaks for 2nd and 3rd places with John Hadesty/ Roger Errington taking 2nd over Graham Vails/ Chris Turner. The overall winner was Steve Goacher/ Phil Evans a clear 2 points ahead of the others to take ‘The Skelly Trophy’.
The Lord Provost of Stirling , Fergus Wood, then presented the clubs prizes and silverware as the competitors departed to all corners of the UK..