The HELENSBURGH Sailing Club was pleased to welcome 30 dinghies to the jetty start line last Saturday after a nearly two-year hiatus due to the virus, during which travel and the provision of facilities were very problematic.
Race director Allan Lennox was fortunate enough to have a steady west which avoided delays in the start-up, but gusts of up to 26 knots kept competitors on their toes … and frequently in the water !
A cautious approach was the norm during the pandemic, to avoid the contact and stress associated with lifeboat crews, and some competitors were obviously a little rusty when it comes to gybes in heavy weather.
There were 16 solo dinghies from all over Scotland and the north of England, with the event seeing their Ben Ledi trophy being handed over to the overall winner without rejection.
It went to Bardowie’s Stuart Gibson, who was slightly ahead of Largo Bay’s Nigel Orkney. The Orkneys took first place after elimination, winning Gibson in the tie-break.
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The handicap fleet of 11 dinghies, all local, enjoyed spectacular high speed sailing, with the son-father combination of Calum and Neil Rosie in their RS400 as the winners, ahead of Calum Bell and Christine Wood in their RS200 and Craig Latimer in his Blaze. Bell and Wood edged Latimer for second in the tie-break.
The HSC juniors sailed relentlessly in windy conditions on the smaller circuit. Logan Brown won in his Optimist, ahead of Toppers Tristan Somerville and James MacPherson, although all the boys showed great sailing skills in very trying conditions.
As the midweek night-time boating begins to wind down as the nights approach, HSC will switch to its popular Fall Series on Sundays starting in mid-September.
It has been great to see relative normalcy restored over the past month, following the ‘void’ of 2020. The club are in their 70th anniversary and look forward to continuing to be healthy in the months and years to come.
(Report by Donald MacLaren; photos by Dougie Bell and used with permission)