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Scottish Series 2021 Moves Venue & Cancels Shoreside Entertainment In Bid to Stage Scotland's Biggest Sailing Event in May

31st January 2021
The Scottish Series on Loch Fyne The Scottish Series on Loch Fyne Credit: Marc Turner

In order to protect the Scottish Series from another year of cancellation, the Clyde Cruising Club has stripped its May regatta right back to a racing event-based over multiple locations on the Clyde.

In the face of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the Scottish Series organiser has 'overwhelmingly' decided to do 'whatever it can to have a Scottish Series in 2021'.

In an update to competitors, the club said "It is fair to say that trying to move in excess of 800 people (including racers, support teams, volunteers and contractors) to a single area is unlikely to happen anywhere in Scotland any time soon. So, for the organising committee, the risk of being unable to host any kind of event is very real"

Andrew Craig's Dublin Bay J109 champion Chimaera is a 2019 Scottish Series championAndrew Craig's Dublin Bay J109 Chimaera is a 2019 Scottish Series champion Photo: Afloat

The series will move from it’s 'spiritual' home of Loch Fyne and the village of Tarbert to the east side of the Firth of Clyde.

The normal physical race office, a hub of regatta proceedings has also been scrubbed in favour of a virtual one.

The club says that moving the event allows the club to take advantage of multiple, relatively close locations to continue to run on the water racing, reducing the movement of people.

In effect the Scottish Series 2021 will be reduced to a racing event-based over multiple locations on the Clyde all on the same weekend as originally planned, 28-31 May 2021.

100 boats have already reserved a spot for the regatta, but CCC say they will have to operate in a restricted manner so entrants will be invited strictly by their reservation date.

Reaction from Northern Ireland Sailing Teams

Early reaction to the changes sees different opinions emerging in Northern Ireland.

Belfast's John Minnis, skipper of the Beneteau 31.7 Final Call told Afloat  "It shows great courage on the part of the Clyde Cruising Club to make these changes. The competitors and families can take comfort in the fact that safety measures are in place. We are looking forward to racing in a different part of the Clyde where we have never raced before. Although the social aspect has been curtailed I feel the spin-off is a chance to gel with our own crews and create our own fun".

It's a sentiment echoed by Gareth Martel, skipper of the First 41.7, Pippa V1  from Royal Ulster and Ballyholme

"I think it's fantastic that the CCC have pulled something together in the current climate. If it looks viable nearer the time we will definitely be keen to take part".

But Royal Ulster and East Down YC sailor Jay Colville, who skippers the First 40, Forty Licks says  "We have decided not to enter. We have raced in the Scottish Series since 2014 and are current Class champions. It doesn't sound like a valid competition when it is moving from place to place. We can't live on the boat and it would be difficult to organise accommodation in that situation".

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Scottish Series Background

Although the format of the Scottish Series varies little from year to year, it is interesting to see some of the changes which the event has seen over the years:

  • CYCA handicap class added to IOR (1976)
  • IOR level rating classes to reflect the popular sizes and World Championships being held in the UK
  • Separate one design class for Sonatas (1980 to date)
  • Campbeltown dropped with offshore races direct to Tarbert (1982)
  • Unique light displacement CYCA class - the forerunner of today's sportboats (1982)
  • Computer results system introduced in 1982 and now recognised as the best in the UK
  • Separate one design class for Sigma 33 (1987 to date)
  • Separate one design classes in certain years for Impalas, Sigma 38, Melges 24 and Cork 1720
  • Inner triangle to shorten courses for smaller classes (1986)
  • Points loading for offshore race reduced from 2 to 1.5 to 1
  • First racing in Scotland under Channel Handicap (1988)
  • Second racecourse for smaller classes (1989)
  • Discard introduced
  • Windward leeward races - two per day (1993)
  • Sportboat classes with no overnight races (1994)
  • Marquee on quayside for main social events (1995-2008)
  • Restricted Sail Class (1998)
  • Third racecourse for sportboats with up to three races per day (1998)
  • Day feeder races (2002)
  • Overnight and day feeder races discontinued (2005)
  • Stand-alone Tarbert Inbound and Outbound passage races introduced (2005/6)

With all these changes, some things have stayed the same:

  • Huge support from Ireland every year since 1975
  • A magnificent effort ashore and afloat from the volunteer helpers of the Clyde Cruising Club, Royal Scottish Motor Yacht Club and Tarbert Loch Fyne Yacht Club
  • Results and communications service at the forefront of technology
  • The best competition and the best social scene in the country
  • An overall Series winner, the roll call including many of the top sailors in Scotland and beyond.

Scottish Series 2021

Following the cancellation of the 2020 event, the dates for the 2021 edition of Scotland's biggest sailing event at Tarbert is: 28 May–31 May 2021

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