In case you’re wondering, it’s Hungarian (‘From the Diary of a Fly’ — a piano piece by Bela Bartok).
A fantastic sunny September weekend for the Round Shuna Pursuit Race — our last scheduled event of the season. My father and I took the boat down to Oban on Friday night — exciting at times, with a fresh northerly on the tail, up to eight knots boat speed under just the main, and what can best be described as ‘interesting’ pilotage with no sea room whatsoever (few lights, a new moon and none of your cross-channel empty space through the Lynn of Lorne). We got to Oban about midnight and picked up Keith and Malcolm from Borroboats’ pontoon, so we were all fresh as a daisy for an eight o’clock start in the morning...
About eighteen (forgot to check!) boats turned up for the Oban to Craobh Haven feeder race, which was a cracking downwind drag race with the whole fleet still visible at the finish and the slowest boat winning. The Sobstad kite finally came to a glorious end (RIP), with its biggest and best tear yet and the grey panels about as ripstop as bogroll.
Arrival at Craobh at just eleven in the morning left twenty four hours to fill before the main event, but West Coast sailors are as capable as any of finding something to do, there were plenty of boats to visit on the neighbouring pontoons and the village shop ran out of both whisky and gin! An act of piracy on the high seas (some b*****ds from Fascinator tying my flying cow windsock off to the top of the mast) resulted in an unscheduled trip aloft, but at least I had the presence of mind to take my camera for an interesting view of the boat...
The evening proceeded to develop along even more interesting lines. The Oban contingent were holding a wake for half-tonner Scorpio (on her last major race before leaving for a new home in Dingle), a ‘strip the willow’ up and down the pontoon apparently went on virtually all night, and most of the rest is probably better left unsaid!
For those who don’t know it, the Round Shuna Pursuit Race is an event of inspired lunacy, being a white sail race with the option to sail either way round the course! I’d guess that something like the usual seventy odd boats were out, with the fleet (unusually) evenly split in its choice of direction. The arrival of Richard to boost the crew meant that we were able to go five-up; I chose the anticlockwise trip (on the basis that the ebb down Shuna Sound would be a significant factor given the lightish breeze) but, after working right through our half of the fleet, we were bettered by (at a guess) about ten boats from the other direction including an Oban one-two-three of Michael the Minitonner, Spring Run and Scorpio, with our old sparring partner Fascinator in fifth. Still, although there is no prize for it, there was a certain satisfaction in being second anticlockwise boat home, bettered only by Sigma 33 Amber Haze, with whose young crew members (Andrew and Jamie Chapman, aged 9 and 6) we had a pre-race agreement to come first and second!
After leaving three of the crew to make their way home by car, we were off north again. We sailed for a bit, but the wind was dying and we had to motor most of the way, finally picking up the mooring at Bishop’s Bay (no lights) at a fairly dark but still very acceptable 9.35pm.
All in all, a brilliant weekend!
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