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#scottishseries – Waterford and Dublin Bay yachts top the leaderboard of class two at Scotland's premier sailing regatta, the Silvers Marine sponsored– Scottish Series at Tarbert, as the annual event enters its final round this afternoon. Rob McConnell's A35 Fools Gold from Waterford Harbour Sailing Club leads IRC Two by a single point from the National Yacht Club's J109 Something Else, skippered by John and Brian Hall. In fourth place overall in the 14–boat fleet is former ICRA National Champion, the J109 Storm, skippered by Pat Kelly of Howth Yacht Club. Full class two results are downloadable below.

Other Irish interest from the Clyde includes Stephen Quinn's Lambay Rules lying third overall in IRC 4 where nine boats are competing.

Here's the latest available PR from the Scottish series after Day Two (Saturday): After a great second day of sailing there's still everything to play for in Silvers Marine Scottish Series. Super Saturday lived up to its name, conditions were challenging with a light southerly blowing 10 – 12 knots, but the sun shone and it was a spectacular day showing Argyll at its best.

There were plenty of thrills and spills and in IRC Class 2 Alistair Shires of Sloop John T became the first casualty of the event, after an onboard incident. Alistair swapped the waters of Loch Fyne for hospital but we're delighted to say he's fine and will be back onboard in the near future.

In IRC Class 1 Silvers Marine Scottish Series main sponsor Jamie McGarry is now leading the table having had a great day on Loch Fyne. Rod Stuart and William Ram's Aurora is just two points adrift of the top spot with Steven Cowie's Zephyr falling to third. With two races tomorrow we're looking forward to some more fierce competition on the water.

IRC 2 sees a change at the top with Sloop John T taking the top spot. The conditions suited the boat perfectly and this coupled with good tactics and handling saw them rewarded. Something Else remains in second and Kevin Aitken in Animal keep a hold of their third spot.

Moving onto the IRC Class 4 and the start of the Crewsaver course and it was Roddy Angus' Trastada who had the best day and really found their pace. They're seeing their hard work paying off following a major boat optimisation. Craig Latimer's Wildebeest V falls to second following an OCS and McVey / Darge and Black's Phoenix rises to third. The racing in this class is very tight and tomorrow's racing will be very interesting.

In CYCA Class 5 Geoff and Norman Howison's Local Hero appears to be in a class of their own. They stay well ahead of Howard Morrison in Enigma and Ian Macdonald's Significant who had an excellent day.

It's still Alan Dunnet's Valhalla of Ashton at the top of CYCA Class 6 leading Stargazer in second, while Andy Malcolm's Nemo was finding pace in third.

CYCA Class 8 Restricted Sail. The Jochr in the pack pulled a lead of two points ahead of Windhound and North Star in third. There are no discards in this class yet and Windhound could still hang in there but will have to discard a retrial.

CYCA Class 9 Restricted Sail sees Stephen Owen in Halcyon hanging on to first while John Roberts' Poppy leapfrogs Clive Reeves' Lyrebird to take third.

Sigma 33 Class and its still Harper and Robinson's Leaky Roof 2 at the top of this tightly grouped section. Gallagher and Bradshaw's Busy Beaver worked hard to take second place from James Miller's Mayrise.

In National One Design Sonata Series Steve Goacher's Eric the Boat took three firsts today to see him dominate this class. Cochrane and Galbraith's Old School, lying in second, secured three seconds while D Matthew's White Magic holds onto third.

Ovington Boats maintain their lead in the VX Class ahead of Jono and Benji Shelly's Robber's Dog, who was let off the lead, in second and Duncan Hepplewhite's Zhik who was barking up the wrong tree today in third.

The J70 Scottish Championships table stays the same with Ian Aitken in in first, Paul Heys and S Hawthorn's Jacuzzi in second and Christopher Hawforth's Django in third. These boats enjoyed a great day's sailing and Loch Fyne certainly suited them.

It's tight at the top of the Hunter 707 Class with just three points separating the first three boats. M Fleming and D Smith's Rammie leads with Carl Allen's More T Vicar with T Clark and S Parker's Black Sheep in third.

Published in Racing

#scottishseries – After a number of big drops in attendance at Scotland's premier sailing event, the Clyde Cruising Club (CCC) is surveying sailors to improve the set up for the 2015 Scottish Series to be sailed at Tarbert, Loch Fyne from May 25th. In a questionnaire released by the CCC the club says: 

'At the Clyde Cruising Club we are very proud of our headline annual event Scottish Series. We are however very aware that times keep changing as do the desires and requirements of our "customers" especially given greater demands on peoples time.

We would like to gather as much feedback on our event as possible therefore we have created a small survey and ask that as many Scottish Series participants past and present (or potential participants) complete it. We have deliberately not prepared a tick box questionnaire so as to not have leading questions. So that it will not take long to complete and as we also only have limited time in which to read them all we would ask that you keep responses short and succinct....

All the questions refer to a specific part of the regatta; venue, social, racing etc.

Please give feedback on what could be done to improve each aspect, why it would improve it and what do you not like about the current set up. We will try and take it all on board and do what we can to take the best of the suggestions to improve the experience for all competitors on aspects that are within our control i.e. please dont ask us for more sunshine!!! Please feel free to forward the survey to other interested parties.

We look forward to seeing you all on 22nd May 2015. -- Scottish Series Organising Team

Survey here

Published in Racing

#scottishseries – Day one of the Silvers Marine Scottish Series got off to a slightly later start than billed due to light winds. IRC Class 1 left Gourock at 10.30am and, from the start, Steve Cowie's Zephyr and Jonathan Anderson and Murray Caldwell's Roxstar made the running.

Conditions seemed to favour the boats which chose to start from the Gourock shore and the other boats which had elected to start from offshore found they had to come back in, which cost them considerable time.

But it wasn't all plain sailing at the front as Roxstar led Zephyr round the wrong marker, on the wrong course which meant both boats had to go back and get on the right course. Today was a real hard, tactical day for the IRC Class 1 boats and this, combined with the navigational issues meant that Friday's racing was much closer than anticipated.
However, the day concluded with a win to Zephyr with Jamie McGarry and Colin Moore, of Silvers Marine, in Eala of Rhu claiming a well-deserved second and Jim Dick in Fortuna clinching third.

In IRC Class 2 Kevin Aitken in Animal goes into tomorrow ahead after winning their class by 7 minutes, making yachts such as Neill Sandford's Now or Never 3 and John Corson's Salamander XXI playing catch up.
As well as the Clyde Passenger Challenge Race the MalinWaters fleet which includes the one design Sigma 33's, Sonta's and sport boats had four very successful races on upper Loch Fyne. In the Sigma's it's very tight at the front with Donald McLaren in Sigmatic followed by Harold Hood in Odyssey II and Roy Summers in Rajah.

In the Sonata's Murray Caldwell in Red Hot Poker goes into tomorrow with a comfortable ten point lead over Mark Taylor in Saraband and Mark Bradshaw in Mostly Harmless.
Today has seen some very tight racing but there's one certainty – it's great to see Scottish Series underway on Loch Fyne!

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#scottishseries – The fleet of close to 100 boats will start four days of competitive racing on Friday 23 May. With a number of coveted trophies on the table that will need tactics, skill and experience to win.

Separated into classes the yachts sail with those of similar size, speed and design. The One design classes like the Sigma 33's will definitely deliver close results. Last years winners Sigmatic are back to defend their title and Mayrise who took second place, after a series finish on equal points, is ready to fight back. The same result is true of IRC Class One yachts Zephyr and Roxstar who will be tussling for line honours and keeping ahead of a very competitive fleet of fine yachts. Eyes will be on current IRC Class 2 champion Salamander XXl whose skipper John Corson is believed to be one of a select few who has competed in all 40 Scottish Series events. Can Salamander XXl win the overall trophy as in 2010 or could this be a year for Jonathan Anderson's Roxstar to get a 4th win of this prestigious trophy as the event celebrates its 40th anniversary? The event is steeped in history and it is a very significant year to have your name engraved on the silverware.

The social plans for the event, after the tensions of a day's racing, will ensure there is fun shoreside. The bars and restaurants will be ready to provide much needed refreshments and food. The event marquee will host a daily prize-giving, 1830 -1930hrs, followed by live music 2100 – 0100hrs by local band Dance to the Democrats. Marking the 40th celebrations will be a gathering for all participants on Saturday 24th from 5pm. This will be supported by sponsors McEwan's and Botanist Gin, and will feature an anniversary cake provided by a stoic supporter of the regatta, Tunnocks Bakery. It doesn't stop there – fireworks on Saturday evening will light up Tarbert village. Throughout the weekend there will be dinghy sailing sessions coordinated by Stramash while an array of local produce and workshops will be available around the picturesque village.


Race schedule:
Friday 23 May. Start A – Gourock
Start B – Tarbert Loch Fyne
Conclusion of days racing: Tarbert Loch Fyne for all classes.
Subsequent races: Loch Fyne. Scheduled start time daily is 11:00hrs.
Yachts will be berthing in Tarbert Harbour and Portavadie Marina.


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Scotland's most best known yacht racing regatta has announced headline sponsors Silvers Marine. The new owners of the iconic Scottish Boatyard Silver Hills, Rosneath, have confirmed their support and sponsorship for the 40th Anniversary of the Scottish Series Regatta.

The event, organised by the Clyde Cruising Club (CCC), has gained much recognition over the years and will be celebrating 40 years of success as Silvers Marine Scottish Series 2014. Hosted in the west coast village of Tarbert Loch Fyne this is a popular event for sailors from Scotland, Ireland, England and abroad.

Rhu, based GSS Group very recently concluded the purchase of Silvers Marine. Jamie McGarry, owner of GSS Marine Services, says "As a re-launch of the yard and the Silvers brand we are delighted to partner with the CCC in sponsoring the Scottish Series. This is particularly exciting given the 40th celebrations this year in Tarbert. Scottish Series is a magnificent event run by the army of volunteers and club officials from the CCC. To be able to support this and indeed participate in the event is tremendously exciting for all at Silvers and GSS." GSS have already supported other sailing regattas on the Clyde and their involvement will add great value to this event for all in attendance.

The Silvers Marine Scottish Series 2014 will commence with a race from Gourock to Tarbert on Friday 23 May scheduled to start at 10:00hrs. This will be a spectacular site with many yachts tussling on the start line including Ocean Racers Drum and Clyde Challenger. The race programme will then include further races on Loch Fyne on Saturday 24 - Monday 26 May with the Regatta concluding with the prize giving in Tarbert on Monday 26 April after completion of racing.

Published in ICRA
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Forty years on and sailors from all round Scotland, Ireland and further afield shall gather from the 23–26 May 2014 to participate in the Scottish Series yacht race organised by the Clyde Cruising Club, CCC. The scenic west coast village of Tarbert, Loch Fyne, aims to welcome over 100 yachts into the harbour where shore side hospitality will be enjoyed as much as the four days of competitive racing.

This event has evolved since its inception in 1973 where it grew from an offshore passage race from the Clyde to Tobermory. Like any good idea that attracts people it has been shaped over the years responding to the sailors, developments in boats and changes in lifestyles. For the 40th celebration the Organiser's have selected key ingredients of the last 4 decades and created an attractive programme, which once again makes this a priority event for yacht sailors.

Recently, shorter and increased quantity of races has been the trend, whereas the series used to have passage races of 200miles! The 2014 racing schedule will not disappoint with the "Clyde Challanger Passage Race" from Gourock to Tarbert. The CCC welcome this sponsorship of the Clyde Challenger and are excited by the inclusion of an offshore, round the world yacht taking part in the event. Skipper Glenn Porter is delighted for the Clyde Challenger to be supporting the opening race of the series. The Royal Gourock Yacht Club has long been involved in the regatta and it is a wonderful sight watching the boats muster in the upper Clyde with crews preparing, sails hoisting, adrenaline pumping as the yachts anticipate the start gun. With action close to shore this offers a great opportunity for spectators to catch a glimpse of the excitement of the sport and skills of the sailors.

The success of this event is owed to commitment and hard work of volunteers and sponsorship of public agency and private sector companies. Event Scotland recognises the importance of this event on the Scottish calendar and Principle Race Officer John Readman reflects on 2013 where " the CCC were very pleased to join with Event Scotland supporting the Year of Natural Scotland 2013. Its emphasis on our natural landscape and the opportunities for outdoor pursuits confirms how fortunate we are to have the Clyde and Loch Fyne on our doorstep."

Ocean sailors venturing south of the equator seek the Roaring Forties for breeze and excitement. There is no doubt that the 40th Scottish Series will be a roaring success and we anticipate sailors and families who have enjoyed it in the past returning along with new friends providing super sailing and showcasing Scotland's scenery and wonderful sailing waters.

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#scottishseries – Liam Shanahan's J109 Ruth finished fifth in Class II of the Scottish Series at the weekend, the best of a handful of Irish boats at the Loch Fyne venue this year. Ruth from the National Yacht Club finished fifth from 11 in fleet and two points adrift off Fairlie entry, the Sunfast 37 More Misjif. Galway Class II entry The Gathering was ninth.

Selected overall results of Irish interest are downloadable below as jpeg files for IRC classes 1,2 and 3.

Numbers were way down on the heyday years of 300 plus with just over 80 confirmed this year.

With Antix (Anthony and Peter O'Leary) in offshore mode on the Solent last weekend the Cork yacht did not attend the Clyde leaving the Carrickfergus J133 Jacana ( AB Douglas) as sole Irish entry in class one and finishing seventh from 11 overall.

Though appearing on the entry list the results sheet (see below) suggests Class III Cathal Drohans's Legally Blonde from the Royal St. George YC did not travel.  Likewise in class II, Dun Laoghaire's Something else (John Hall) is recorded as Did Not Start.

Neil Marchant's Showgril from Waterfrod Harbour SC was 9th from 14 in class 6.

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The Discover Ireland sailing team that featured in WM Nixon's Saturday Sailing blog debuted on Galway bay in the Clarenbridge trophy offshore race yesterday.

The race is sailed over a course from the GBSC start line at Renville to Finis Rock off Inis Oir then onto Canon Rock in the entrance to Rossaveal Harbour before a finish in Renville total distance approx 60 miles.

Yesterday's race saw winds between 25-40 knots which made for a tough beat all the way to Inis oir, but Discover Ireland stretched its lead all the way out of the bay on its nearest competitor "Ibaraki".

Drivers Ben Scallan and Neil Spain made light work of the beat with a full main and a no 4 jib, things eased a little for the fetch up to Rosaveal, but the team still managed to break a kicker and lost instruments temporarily in the lumpy seas encountered.

Then it was kite up in winds which were now sitting between 30-35 knots for a fantastic reach/run home to renville.

Boat speed was sitting above 12 knots the entire time with speeds of up to 18 knots in the heavier gusts.

The boat loved the conditions which is a great reflection on this 15–year–old Stimpson design.

They completed the course in 7 hours 7 minutes in first place and with line honours and the race was an excellent shakedown for a busy season ahead.

The boat's next trip is the delivery to the Scottish series leaving Galway this Friday so skipper Aodhan Fitzgerald is hoping that the present strong westerly flow will abate.

Published in Offshore

#scottishseries – Big sponsor of Scottish sailing Brewin Dolphin has announced that it will not be renewing its sponsorship of the Scottish Series sailing event that that has borne its name for 13 years.

Jamie Matheson, Executive Chairman at Brewin Dolphin said "While relinquishing sponsorship of the Scottish Series is tinged with sadness, we're hugely proud of what we, Clyde Cruising Club and participants have achieved over the past 13 years. Our partnership with Clyde Cruising Club has significantly raised the awareness of Scottish sailing across the UK and further afield.

"We would like to wish Clyde Cruising Club the very best for next year's event."

John Watson, Commodore of the Clyde Cruising Club, said, "We would like to thank Brewin Dolphin for their continued support over the past 13 years. It has been one of the longest sports sponsorships in Scotland but as we know all good things must come to an end.

"The Scottish Series is a great event which has something for everyone, from face painting and pipe and dance bands shoreside to stunning scenery and challenging sailing on two event courses on Loch Fyne. Each year, the local community benefits from a substantial boost to its economy as a result of the long-standing event and the input from organisers and sponsors."

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#Scottishseries – Over the 38 years of the Scottish Series there have been few prizegivings where the winners of the overall Scottish Series Trophy have composed a more deserving score-line.

With seven wins from as many starts on Loch Fyne, Grant Gordon and his team on the J/97 Fever Glenfiddich not only won each race in IRC Class 3, but they sailed flawlessly to keep two past winners of the premier regatta's top award behind them. Fever, steered by owner Grant Gordon with Tarbert's Ruairidh Scott as tactician, won their class by 12 points ahead of the identical J/97 of Jim Dick which won the Scottish Series Trophy one year ago.

"As an advertisement for this event and for Scottish sailing I don't think you could ask for more than we have had these past few days. It is has been brilliant," said Gordon who was sailing at his third Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series.

An expatriate Scot who has raced internationally with his Fever team, including winning the Swan 45 European Championships with Scott as tactician, Gordon sailed from the Royal Gourock YC as a youngster, and flew the flag of the Clyde Cruising Club on extended family cruises with their Van de Stadt 49 footer Cinderella. He keeps his boat on the south coast of England but raced at Tarbert with a crew which was 75% Scottish, including several who won the Scottish Series Trophy in 2003 with Scott in his 1720 King Quick.

"This is a team of friends that I can rely on, some from university sailing days, some who we wanted to be here because we know they enjoy it, but we came to have fun and so winning here is great," said Ruairidh Scott. "I am so fortunate to go sailing and racing in nice places around the world but it is really special to come back here and race, and winning here is even better. This regatta has been as good as I can remember. And, yes, we all joke about Loch Fyne from time to time, with spinnakers pointing at each other on the same tack, but the winds this time have been really good and the sunshine fantastic."

The winning crew included Grant Gordon, the owner-driver, Ruairidh Scott, Mike Forster, Charlie Cumbley, Ben Fields, Scott Aikman, Angus Stevenson and Stewart Miller. "I am very proud of this team. It has been really magnificent. They have all worked hard and I am grateful for their contribution," said Gordon.

Scott becomes one of the few sailors to have won the overall trophy three times in the skipper, helm or tactician roles, as skipper helm in 2003 on King Quick, and as tactician on Jump Juice in 2007.

Three times winner Jonathan Anderson and his crew sailed a fitting swansong with Playing FTSE which they won IRC Class 1 with on the Beneteau First 47.7's final race outing in their hands.

"The boat goes well when it is windy and so this really was our kind of regatta," said Anderson who finished two points clear of the Forth crew on Absolutely 2.

John Corson won IRC Class 2 on Salamander 2, the First 35 which he bought from France. Stephen Corson commented, "To be honest we were a little surprised to win the class, we did not know how we would do with a new boat. We came here thinking that if we finished in the top half of the fleet we would be happy. But then we were the fastest around the course under IRC yesterday and so that must mean something."

"Overall we are pleased with the performance of the boat, it has good speed all round, though we were a bit more concerned given that the forecast was for very light winds."

The CYCA cruiser-racer classes enjoyed their passage race based diet of races. Winners of CYCA Class 5, Scott Chalmers on Sunrise summarised, "It is hard to remember better racing than we have had here. Yesterday's was just the best race for a long, long time with a good, long hard beat. And it was so nice to see my young son driving all the way."

The Tarbert Shield for the best CYCA boat in the regatta went to Norman Howison and family on Tartan Pimpernel, while the SB20 one design sportsboat class was won by the Irish visitors on Sharkbait.

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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