A good start

LAST Saturday, Forfar Sailing Club held the first of its two Open Days this year, and welcomed several newcomers to sailing as well as diners to its tearoom.

The SW wind blew briskly, but all the visitors who went out on the water, courtesy of Malcolm Heron, Graeme Knox and David Smith, declared that they had thoroughly enjoyed the experience. So much so that two new memberships were secured on the day as well as strong interest from a few others.

Commodore Jim Green was well pleased with the day, and thanked the other club volunteers - Sally Heron, Dennis Burgin, and Murray Hadden for their sailing support and Gail and Cait Adams for running the kitchen.

The club is to hold a second Open Day on Saturday, May 18, to link with the Royal Yachting Association’s national ‘Push the Boat out’ weekend.

Last Sunday afternoon’s weather, with a strong south-westerly and squally showers, seemed to have put off all but the hardiest of sailors, and saw only three boats take to the water. Hamish Whyte in his Solo took on Jim Green, with newcomer Liz Ormond as crew, in Jim’s Wayfarer, and Murray Hadden in his Laser.

Hamish at times was so far out of his boat he was horizontal, obviously enjoying the testing conditions. Murray retired early in the first lap, leaving Jim to attempt in vain to keep in touch with Hamish, who went on to win comfortably.

The second race saw Malcolm Heron take over the Wayfarer helm in equally challenging wind, again chasing Hamish from the start. Malcolm was unable to close the gap, while Hamish could be seen making apparently effortless progress to stretch the lead and notch up his second win of the afternoon.

Five boats rigged and took to the water on Tuesday evening in very windy and blustery conditions.

First across the start line was Hamish Whyte in his Solo, closely followed by two Lasers, a Wayfarer helmed by Jim Green with Craig Knox as crew and a Firefly helmed by Dave Smith.

A tough upwind first leg saw Malcolm Heron round the mark first, and in the lead, with Graeme Knox in second place. The placings at this point were maintained throughout the whole race with Malcolm’s Laser crossing the line in first place, but after applying the handicap formula Hamish pipped Malcolm to first place by a small margin.

On Thursday evening, David Smith may have thought that sailing a Topper against three Lasers (Malcolm Heron, Graeme Knox and Craig Knox) would give him a distinct chance of winning the pursuit race.

He did, after all, have a nine minute advantage over them, setting out in a brisk WNW wind with a full Topper sail. One by one the Lasers overtook him, Malcolm and Graeme in the first lap and Craig in the second, and, in a dropping wind, that was the order of merit when the 50 minutes were over.

Forfar Sailing Club’s opening regatta took place on Sunday in interesting weather conditions. The wind strength varied from a fun force 4 westerly, to a challenging force 7, with everything in between. Six boats took to the water, Graeme Knox in his laser, Malcolm Heron in a borrowed solo, Jim Green in his wayfarer with Craig Knox as crew, Tony Walker in a club wayfarer, with Cait Adams as crew.

As Sunday was also a National 12 traveller, Angus Beyts, with Murray Hadden as crew, and Ed Wittell, with Sarah Smith as crew, raced their classic National 12s.

The first race consisted of three laps, with the wind freshening all the time.

The conditions suited Graeme, who took the lead in his laser and kept it to the end of the race. Angus was in second place until his rudder came off, which through a feat of remarkable seamanship (drifting hopelessly) he recovered and went on to finish the race. While this took place, all the remaining boats overtook the unlucky Angus and, in the freshening breeze had some exciting sailing with Malcolm eventually capturing second place.

While ashore after the first race, an apparent drop in the wind strength encouraged the two wayfarers to swap their reefed sails for a full set for the second race. This proved to be a brave move as the wind returned with a vengeance while the starting procedure was underway. Graeme again revelled in the conditions, and Malcolm had some spectacular fun in the solo, with the visiting national 12 and Tony in the wayfarer close behind, until the national 12 took a nosedive and ended up in the reeds.

By this time the race officer had decided that conditions were too exciting, and shortened the race to a single lap. Graeme, Malcolm and Tony completed their lap, in that order, with Jim in his wayfarer following.

The visiting National 12 crossed the line some time later, while Angus continued to have bad luck with a spectacular capsize, from which he was unable to recover, and ended up being towed home by Peter Tait in the over-stretched rescue boat. Despite the carnage, everyone came ashore with big grins from the experience, Tony and Cait enjoying them so much that they completed a second lap!

As the wind continued to build, discretion proved the better part of valour and there was no more racing that day. Overall Graeme Knox won the regatta, with Malclom second and Tony third. The visitors scooped the National 12 Traveller, with Angus achieving his best place of the season.