Although the number of boats entered for this year’s Glencoe Regatta was slightly lower than usual, the unpredictably varied and frustrating weather conditions made for some thoroughly testing racing for the seventeen keelboats and three dinghies that did take part.
Friday’s Oban to Ballachulish Bay Passage Race was characterised by stop-start racing in an alternating mixture of lulls and light breezes from every direction on the compass, capped by a real sting in the tail for those still racing as a strong easterly finally set in for the last few miles. Hard-won positions on the water proved to be worthless as everyone found and lost their own little private breezes, and a big split in the fleet between Shuna and Eilean Balnagowan finally proved to be the difference between the seven boats that got away and the eight that retired. The race was eventually won by Graham Anderson and Northern Comfort, with Fascinator making a late charge for a close second place and Amber Haze taking both line honours and third on handicap.
Saturday’s Loch Leven Regatta suffered to some extent from similar conditions. Although there was always wind to be found somewhere on the course, it was never constant in either strength or direction. Many kite hoists and drops took place on legs that should have been beats, and it was only late in the day that anything like a consistent westerly began to establish itself. Some boats, however, mastered the tricky conditions extremely well, with Classes 1 and 2 for keelboats dominated by the superb performances of Ronnie MacKillop (Good Krack) and Didima IV (Bob and Jean Aitken) respectively, and the Class 3 dinghy trophy won in fine style by Donnie Meldrum and his Laser. Northern Comfort and Trip Trapper each took two second places, with only the most marginal of tiebreaks separating Fascinator, Fly and Amber Haze, who tied on points for third in Class 1, and Squirt and Kerry Mist, who did likewise in Class 2. A fine hat trick of line honours wins for Amber Haze is also worthy of mention, but the supreme effort of the weekend was probably made by Ronnie MacKillop and his crew on Good Krack who, having failed to beat the spring tide at the Ballachulish Bridge and retreated to Kentallen on the Friday night, got up at four on the Saturday morning to finish the job and get to the start!
Saturday’s Prizegiving Dinner and Ceilidh was as enjoyable as ever, although there is a sadder story behind a fine new trophy that was being presented for the first time. The Ray Darker Memorial Trophy, which was donated to Glencoe Boat Club by Margaret Miller and Gordon Allan and presented on the night by Gillian Sweeney, commemorates Ray, who loved sailing on Loch Leven and other local waters and was very sadly killed in a climbing accident on Skye last year. To be awarded for a performance by a Loch Leven based boat/skipper, it was very deservedly won by Bob and Jean Aitken. The Ballachulish Slate Trophy for the best overall performance over the two days was very closely contested, with the decision going to Graham Anderson and Northern Comfort.
Oban to Ballachulish Bay Passage Race
Class 1 (Keelboats)
Class 2 (Keelboats)
Class 3 (Dinghies)
Peter MacLeod Cup
(Passage Race Line Honours)
Amber Haze, Sigma 33, Eric Chapman and Richard Scott
Ray Darker Memorial Trophy
(Loch Leven Based Boat/Skipper)
Didima IV, Hawk 20, Bob and Jean Aitken
Ballachulish Slate Trophy
Northern Comfort, Comfort 30, Graham Anderson
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