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It's 50 years since the Clyde Cruising Club delivered the first Scottish Series, and it has been run out of Tarbert, Loch Fyne, for the last 40 of those. This year’s event will be held from 24th till 27th May.

The 2024 Notice of Race has just been published, and now the crunch will be to see if the number of entries can reach the 2009 figure of 159, with the ‘interested’ register (now closed) standing at 150.

The early birds will benefit from an entry fee with a 15% discount in February, decreasing from 10% in March to 5% in April.

The 2024 Scottish Series schedule will incorporate one costal race, traditionally the Round Inch RaceThe 2024 Scottish Series schedule will incorporate one costal race, traditionally the Round Inch Race

At present, the highest level of interest registered is from the CYCA class, with a total of 50, including 11 in the innovative Introductory Class, which is tailored for those who are new to big event competition. The fee will include Pre-Event Racing tuition.

The IRC division has 29 interested, and the organising committee has announced that they will run the GBR IRC Scottish Championships as part of the event. The class will also have a Coastal Race around Inch Island south of the Kyles of Bute.

Despite the clash of dates with the Howth Wave Regatta, interest from Northern Ireland boats is fairly strong

The ‘interested’ register (now closed) stands at 150 for May's 2024 Scottish SeriesThe ‘interested’ register (now closed) stands at 150 for May's 2024 Scottish Series

More information here.

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Another first for the fiftieth Scottish Series this year will include RS21 keelboats racing on Loch Fyne.

The RS21 Association has included the event as one of its 'Official Series', and that will give the class a chance to start in the expected 60-strong one-design fleet, which includes Etchells, Sigma 33s, Hunter 707s, and Hunter Sonatas.

The event is based at Tarbert on Loch Fyne by the Clyde Cruising Association from the 24th to the 27th of May.

The new RS21 is trialed in Belfast Lough with Colin Kevelighan (left) and Jeff HarrisonThe new RS21 is trialed in Belfast Lough with Colin Kevelighan (left) and Jeff Harrison


The deployment of remote-controlled SmartMarks under Principal Race Officer Con Murphy of Dun Laoghaire will ensure that first-class courses are delivered with a minimal turnaround time between races.

For those trailing boats, there will be free launching, and accommodation options are available through the Clyde Cruising Club.

For those RS21 crews also taking part in the July Volvo Cork Week part of the RS21 UK & Ireland Series, the Tarbert event will keep the momentum going in the seven-event class series, which ends with the World Championships in Girona in September. On the other hand, Scottish Series Chairman Roddy Angus says one issue is that the RS21s have a class event the weekend before at Hayling Island on the south coast of England, so hard work to get to Scotland the following weekend”. But being part of an event with a big reputation may serve as a draw.

At the time of writing, the combined RS21 and Sportsboats start together in the One Design fleet, but with hopefully 6 to 8 RS21s, there is the option of a separate start. Roddy Angus commented, “I’m really keen to boost sports boat interest as the numbers are low, and it used to be a big area”.

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Con Murphy from the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour will be the Principal Race Officer for May's Scottish Series Regatta on the Clyde in Scotland.

The regatta now has its team in place, and they are three highly accomplished Race Officers with a wealth of experience under their belts.

Murphy will run the IRC fleet. He is an internationally known sailor and International Race Officer. His experience includes Race Officer for the 49ers at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He will be joined by his wife Cathy, as Timekeeper, herself a former Olympic 470 sailor. Neither has ever been on duty at a Scottish event before - though competitors in the 2022 Bangor Town Regatta on Belfast Lough will remember Con when he was Principal Race Officer.

Scottish Series Regatta racing on Loch Fyne Photo: Marc TurnerScottish Series Regatta racing on Loch Fyne Photo: Marc Turner

The One Design fleet will be looked after by David Kent who needs less introduction locally as he hails from Largs Sailing Club on the Firth Clyde. He has supported the Scottish Series before and has officiated at all levels from local club to the Olympics and World Cup Series. Scottish Series Chairman Roddy Angus says, “We are so glad we didn't put him off last year and he's working up to a 'blast' for One Design!”.

On CYCA it will be John Readman. Johnny too is a familiar face locally and a past CCC Commodore. He has been a huge supporter of the Scottish Series over the years and currently acts as Principal Race Officer for West Highland Yachting Week. Roddy Angus is pleased to have him on the team. “We are delighted he has agreed to work with us, perhaps 'this one last time".

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One hundred and ten and counting. The popular Scottish Series Regatta run by the Clyde Cruising Club out of Tarbert on Loch Fyne on the west coast of Scotland has, at the last count, 110 expressions of interest.

The event runs from the 24th to the 27th of May, but unfortunately, Howth Yacht Club’s Wave Regatta clashes with the Scottish event. At least one top Belfast Lough competitor has had to decide between the two – John Minnis won Class 3 at Tarbert in 2021, racing the Beneteau First 31.7 Final Call, and then in his new Archambault 35 Final Call II, he topped Class 1 in the 2022 Wave Regatta in Howth where he will defend the title this year.

The Scottish Series Notice of Race and early bird entry for SS24 will open at the end of this month.

The Scottish Series has been a fixture in the sailing calendar for five decades. Established in 1975, this regatta has consistently drawn sailors from around the UK to compete in the waters of Loch Fyne. The Covid pandemic dampened the opportunity but in this, the 50th Anniversary Year, the organisers, the Clyde Cruising Club, promises an event to remember with innovation on the water and a shoreside social programme.

Excession competing at the IRC open meeting in Bangor on Belfast LoughExcession competing at the IRC open meeting in Bangor on Belfast Lough

The fleet will be spread over classes ranging from IRC, through One Designs (at the time of writing, numbering 37 registering interest), CYCA, to an innovative new CYCA Introductory Class for those who have not raced in a major event before and twelve have interest in this division which will race close to but separate from, the main CYCA flee. The experience will incorporate a level of guidance and instruction.

Also new for this year is the deployment of remote controlled SmartMarks – a first for Scotland and described here, and the inclusion of a MOCRA (Multihull Offshore Cruising and Racing Association) ‘demonstration’ Class – multihulls showing their pace. Welcome too will be the opening of berthing in Portavadie on Loch Fyne’s eastern shore to improve accommodation availability with an evening water taxi.

The informal Register of Interest process is still open here

The word is that among the Belfast Lough boats hoping to head for Tarbert are three Sigma 33s - Squawk (Paul and Emma Prentice) Mithril (Mark Mackey) and Elandra (Martin and Vicki Dews); and the Sigma 33 Signet in Restricted Sail- the O’Tiarnaigh/ Harrington/ Mulholland trio’s IMX38 Excession and the Beneteau 31.7 Caesium (Aidan Pounder).

Vickie and Martin Dews Sigma 33 Elandra from Northern IrelandVickie and Martin Dews Sigma 33 Elandra from Northern Ireland

The Chair of the N I Sigma Association, Paul Prentice from Belfast Lough, is excited to compete at the Scottish Series; “We are looking forward to the Tarbert event this year. It continues to offer fantastic sailing opportunities and activities ashore”.

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For some of the Northern Ireland boats which competed in the Scottish Series at Tarbert, the results were very pleasing.

Of the nine who made the trip north, the best results were from Ballyholme-based Kevin Byers and Michael Russell’s Sigma 33 Signet in the eight-strong Class 7, who had the tie with Ken Andrew’s Jeanneau S Argento broken in his favour. Signet posted three wins out of four races.

The Sigma 33 Signet in home watersThe Sigma 33 Signet in home waters

Other Belfast Lough competitors who had excellent results were Shaun Douglas’s Beneteau 40.7 Game Changer from Royal Ulster, Ballyholme and Cockle Island, who was runner-up in IRC 1 to Jonathan Anderson’s J122E El Gran Senor (Royal Irish YC) whose crew included Gavin Watson and Robbie Milhench from Royal Ulster.

Gavin Watson (left) and Robbie Milhench (RUYC) on El Senor Photo: RUYC FacebookGavin Watson (left) and Robbie Milhench (RUYC) on El Senor Photo: RUYC Facebook

Shaun Douglas's Game Changer racing in Belfast LoughShaun Douglas's Game Changer racing in Belfast Lough

Shaun Douglas (3rd left back row) and the crew of Game Changer Photo: courtesy RUYCShaun Douglas (3rd left back row) and the crew of Game Changer Photo: courtesy RUYC

Shaun and his crew reflected on the event, "We had the usual Lough Fyne weather – very light and fluky most of the time. We had a great first day and were pleased to have been leading after day one. The second and third days were a bit different, but we managed to keep in the hunt. The new sails have helped, but we are still learning about them, so hopefully, we can keep improving”.

Bruce Douglas’s J133 Spirit of Jacana from Carrickfergus Sailing Club, like Game Changer, counted six races in the top three to come third. In Class 3 Iain Chapman’s Attica (RUYC) was third, and the Strangford Lough-based Nicholson 43 Magdaleyne (Michael Petticrew) came fifth.

Emma and Paul Prentice from Belfast Lough racing Squawk began well with a first in a highly competitive Sigma 33 class dominated by James Miller’s Mayrise but unfortunately lagged behind in the other races though did count two seconds and a third. Mark Mackey’s Mithril, also from Belfast Lough was sixth, posting two thirds and second. Emma and Paul enjoyed the event; “Blue water sailing in idyllic surroundings. Our thanks to Jamie McGarrity and his team, and the hospitality shown by the people of Tarbert”.

The Sigma 33 Squawk Emma and Paul Prentice competing at an earlier event The Sigma 33 Squawk Emma and Paul Prentice competing at an earlier event

Richard Doig‘s Hydrology had a disappointing event racing in Class 5.

The next meeting for several of these boats may be the IRC/RC35 two-day event at Royal Ulster Yacht Club on 24th and 25th June.

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After a weekend of challenging conditions and fierce racing, Brian Hall's J109 Something Else from the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay has won the Causeway Cup at the Scottish Series on the Clyde for his performance in winning IRC 3 division.

Brian Hall, (centre) skipper of Brian Hall's J109 Something Else with the Causeway Cup at the Scottish SeriesScottish Series Chairman Jamie McGarry (left) presents Brian Hall, skipper of J109 Something Else, with the Causeway Cup. Also pictured is Hall's son Jack (right), one of the winning crew members from the National Yacht Club entry

Two Howth yachts competed in IRC Class 2 and the RC35 Scottish Championship that Banshee won, sailed by Charles Frize. 

Michael & Richard Evans J99 Snapshot was fourth overall, and Pat Kelly's Storm II was fifth in the 12-boat fleet.

Scottish RC 35 champions and IRC 2 winners, the crew of Banshee skippered by Charles FrizeScottish RC 35 champions and  Scottish Series 2023 IRC 2 winners, the crew of Banshee skippered by Charles Frize

The Impala 28 Arcade, sailed by Jack Aitken, was named the overall winner of Scottish Series 2023.

Impala 28 Arcade crewThe Impala 28 Arcade crew

Arcade finished the Series with five firsts, a second and a third. They discarded the third, to end the event on five points, taking their class win and the prestigious title of Scottish Series champions.

IRC Class 1 was taken by veteran campaigner Jonathan Anderson sailing El Gran Senor.

Scottish Series Chairman Jamie McGarry said: ‘This has been an absolutely fantastic weekend of racing. It has been so good to be back in Tarbert. Scottish Series is an incredibly important event, and we’re delighted to have worked with our sponsors and Tarbert Enterprise Company, together with Tarbert Harbour Authority to deliver a world-class Series. Roll on Scottish Series 2024.’

Alongside the overall Scottish Series trophy, the well-attended prizegiving, which took place in the Marquee at Tarbert Harbour, saw the following crews pick up some coveted Scottish Series silverware:

  • The Bell Lawrie Belfast Cup - Argento
  • The Tunnocks Cup – Micky Finn IV
  • The Clyde Bowl – Micky Finn IV
  • The Crawford McInnes Trophy - Griogair MacFarlane - Tata
  • The La Rochelle Trophy – St Bridget.
  • The Vanora Cup – Micky Finn IV.
  • The Anchor Hotel Trophy – Mayrise
  • The Saturn Sails Trophy – Arcade
  • The St George Bowl – Banshee
  • The Causeway Cup – Something Else
  • The McIver Salver – Banshee
  • Valhalla of Ashton Salver – Geoff Crowley
  • The Scottish Series Trophy – Arcade
  • ICC Decanter – Peter Edmond
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The Scottish Series 2023 on Saturday was dominated by changeable conditions. Although the wind was always present, it could be classed as extremely variable, which made the race officers' jobs very difficult when it came to setting a course. A couple of races had to be abandoned due to unstable wind conditions, which the experienced race officers were forced to call. When the rain showers cleared, it left a nice north-westerly wind at around 12 knots and steady.

In the IRC1 Class it’s still Jonathan Anderson at the top in El Grande Senor. After two days of racing the seasoned campaigner remains at the top of the table on eight points after another successful day of two firsts and a third. He is just one ahead of Shaun Douglas sailing Gamechanger and on 11 points Bruce Douglas and Spirit of Jacana. It’s still probably too early to call the class winner but it could be one of these three.

Jonathan Anderson at the topof IRC 1 in El Grande Senor at the 2023 Scottish Series on the Clyde Jonathan Anderson is at the top of IRC 1 in El Grande Senor at the 2023 Scottish Series on the Clyde

IRC Class 2 and it saw another successful day for Charles Frize who remains at the top of the table on 10.5 points just ahead of Robin Young’s J109 Jings, who is close enough to strike on 12 points. They are followed by John Stamp’s Corby 33 Jacob on 15 points. This is also their Scottish Championship.

IRC Class 3 and Dun Laoghaire's Brian Hall in the J109 Something Else from the National Yacht Club, having straight firsts yesterday, had to settle for a third, a fourth and fifth today. After discard this leaves him with nine points for the Series, ahead of Phoenix, the quarter-tonner owned by Stephen Black, who remained consistent over the six races and trails by just one point. He is ahead of Iain Chapman in Attica.

Ally Paton's Jammin at the  2023 Scottish Series on the ClydeAlly Paton's Jammin at the  2023 Scottish Series on the Clyde

IRC Class 4 CYCA remains in the ownership of Euan Morrison sailing Sapphire who didn’t get it all his own way today after scoring three firsts on Friday. He came away with a sixth, a fourth and an eighth and after discard is on 13 points. He is three points ahead of Ally Paton sailing his yacht Jammin with a young and enthusiastic team. They remained consistent and trail by only three points on 16. Veteran campaigner Howard Morrison, sailing his yacht Enigma is two points adrift on 18 but still showing the magic of previous class wins. Point to note, he probably doesn’t mind being beaten by his son Euan who is currently winning. It will be interesting to see the outcome at the end of the week.

IRC Class 5 CYCA looks like being in full ownership of young Fin Aiken and his newly rebuilt and refurbished Arcade (Impala 28) and having delivered three firsts yesterday, continued the run today with a first, a second and a third. Discarding the third leaves him with just six points after six races and a buffer over James Jamieson’s yacht Clancy who has sailed very consistently and sits on 11 points. They are followed are Alan Dunnett in Valhalla of Ashton, previous multiple class winner on 14 points. We would have said it’s too early to call but it might not be.

In the CYCA Restricted Sail Class Ken Andrews’ yacht Argento remains top of the leaderboard after three races, with six points. He is just two points ahead of St Bridget sailed by Ian Nicholson on eight points, and he is just one point ahead of Cygnet sailed by Kevin Byers. Again, quite a tight class which will probably be decided in the next few days.

Class 10 Two Handed CYCA There’s nothing much in this one apart from all the hard work as there’s only two people on the boat. After three races only 1.5 points separate the first three boats. Our current leader on five points is Mike Forbes sailing Mickey Finn with a 1.5 point lead over both Alastair Torbet in Spirit of May and Clive Reeves in Lyrebird who are both on 6.5. It’s anyone’s call who could win this class right all.

In the Etchells class Geoff Howison sailing Hero continues his success. Having now sailed six races he discarded a sixth position leaving him on five points. He is closely followed by Extravaganza and Jake Miller on ten points, who also got a first and a third today. Add into the mix Ian Marshall sailing Mayhem who is just one point behind Jake and it’s all to play for, though it promises to be a tough competition – but my goodness they looked good out on the water today.

Moving to the 707 class, has now sailed six races, after one discard Mr Consistency, James Urquhart in first place, with a third and a second, giving him a bit of a buffer from Dara O’Malley’s Seaward who after the discard is on 11 points. They are closely followed by Griogair Macfarlane in TATA, just one point behind. We watched the 707 class today and it’s just going to be as tight as ever, it’s just too close to call at the moment.

The Sigma 33 Class is currently being dominated by Helensburgh based sailor James Miller sailing Mayrise. Having now sailed six races they can discard a fifth and count three firsts, fourth and a third for ten points. Mayrise and her crew are experienced and have won many class events. He’s going to be hard to catch, however in second place Griogair Whyte sailing Close Encounters with his crew are very capable of just doing that and they sit with 14 points. They are closely followed by Donald MacLaren’s Sigmatic and also worth noting, Harper / Robertson in Leaky Roof are both on 15 points. It’s still too close to call in this class.

In the RS 21 Class Mr Consistency Liam Wills continues to lead the class with a third, a second and a first. He discards the third, for seven points overall. Having scored an incredible three firsts he gives himself a four point lead over Calum Bell’s A-Plan on 11. These are closely followed by Duncan Hepplewhite and Sailingfast on 13 points. These boats look very exciting to sail. We followed them around the course today, they are definitely for the more athletic sailors!

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For many years, Northern Ireland has had several entries in West Highland Week, and hopefully, that will be the case this year. But so far (though the event isn’t till the end of July), of the fifteen listed entries, there is only one from N Ireland, Temptress of Down owned by Kevin and Susie Harris from Royal Ulster, Ballyholme YC and Donaghadee Sailing Club on Belfast Lough

For their Sun Odyssey 47, the trip to Gigha for the Feeder Race will be a short affair in contrast to the worldwide cruising Temptress has already done. Kevin and Susie say that “WHYW is unfinished business from 2013, and we even have the same crew as 2013”.

Scottish Series 2023

John Minnis's Archambault A35 Final Call II Photo: AfloatJohn Minnis's Archambault A35 Final Call II Photo: Afloat

Likewise, the Scottish Series running from 26th – 29th May, usually attracts several entries from N Ireland, and so far, the word is that at least two will make the trip to Tarbert at the end of May. But only one Sigma 33 will take on the Scottish fleet as it seems that only Paul (Sigma 33 Northern class Captain) and Emma Prentice will compete in Squawk. He initially thought that about five Sigma 33s from Belfast Lough would enter. And after he gets Kip Regatta under his belt, John Minnis in the Archambault A35 Final Call II will include the Scottish Series as part of his 2023 campaign.

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Scotland's top regatta has been cancelled just 20 days before the first race.

The scrubbing of the 'premier regatta' is not due to a lack of entries but a lack of volunteers to run the event on Loch Fyne, according to organisers.

While the race committee had received a manageable seventy entries for the 2022 Scottish Series Regatta, Clyde Cruising Club (CCC) organisers cite a lack of resources as the reason for pulling the plug on the national regatta that dates back to 1974.

The three-day affair was due to start on June 3rd of the UK June Bank Holiday weekend.

The 2022 entry list has not been updated since April 26th on the regatta website. The latest story posted on social media dates back to late March. 

According to an undated letter sent to competitors (seen by Afloat), club Commodore Geoff Crowley says the CCC has been "unable to sufficient volunteers and resources to maintain the stand for Scotland's Premiere Regatta".

"It is therefore with an incredibly heavy heart that we have taken to cancel Scottish Series 2022", he concludes.

The Scottish IRC Championships incorporated into the Scottish Series now move to the North Clyde Regatta on September 10th.

Several Irish and Northern Irish boats contest the annual regatta, with Andrew Craig's Royal Irish based J109 Chimaera the overall champion in 2019 and Bangor's John Minnis winning the Causeway Cup in 2021.

Before COVID, the Scottish Series had suffered a decline and struggled with entries, particularly in the larger cruiser-racer divisions. In 2021, just 13 IRC entries were received just weeks before the event that, at its height, saw well over 100 boats swell the Tarbert fleet.

In the letter, Crowley claims all is not lost and proposes to competitors that they still come to Scotland for the social side and a fun regatta instead with a 50% entry refund.

"We would like to invite you to participate in a jubilee regatta of fun racing and social activity". 

Alternatively, a full refund is offered. 

The disappointing outcome comes just two years before the regatta is due to celebrate its golden anniversary in 2024.

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Afloat Sailor of the Month for May John Minnis from Royal Ulster YC in Bangor on Belfast Lough has added yet another prize to his winnings with his First 31.7 Final Call taking the Causeway Cup for the best performance in the Scottish Series by a boat-based outside Scotland (other than the Series winner).

Final Call, with Gareth Flannigan driving, won Class 3 convincingly, counting two firsts and two seconds. Another Royal Ulster sailor, Flannigan, has credentials that span several classes, including Irish Laser Master's titles and wins with David Fletcher in the RS 400 class. No doubt there are many notable instances in which sailors decide to purchase a boat, but Minnis's decision, with his friend Brian Roche who has since moved on, to buy what was then Clever Clogs, was made during the emotion of the 2015 European Rugby Cup final between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. He says, " We felt this was a good call/decision and so renamed her Final Call. That big occasion in Belfast went the Warrior's way with a 31-13 scoreline in what was the great Paul O'Connell's last game for Munster.

John Minnis of Royal UlsterJohn Minnis of Royal Ulster is the Scottish Series 2021 Causeway Cup winning skipper

John Minnis isn't near finished, though, as he's off to the Beneteau First 31.7 Championships at the National Yacht Club in early July.

Minnis picked up Afloat's Sailor of the Month award for his Scottish Series achievement.

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