Old Pulteney Mudhook Regatta
Swan on song – Eala of Rhu clinches Old Pulteney IRC Scottish Championship title
In her first appearance at the Old Pulteney Scottish IRC Championship, Swan 45 Eala of Rhu has swooped on the overall crown.
The regatta, run and organised by Mudhook Yacht Club at Helensburgh on the Clyde, was blighted on day one by storm force winds, which forced the race committee to abandon all aspirations of any competition. But day two dawned today (Sunday June 7) in a more summery vein, allowing officials to run three good races in challenging airs.
Co-owned by Jamie McGarry and Colin Moore, Eala was by some distance the largest of the yachts lining up in IRC Class 1. But that size and power, offset by her handicap meant that she had to keep plenty of clear water between her and major rival Aurora, Rod Stuart and Bill Ram’s Corby 37. A tough call in an 18-25 knot westerly which produced fast and physically demanding racing throughout.
Taking line honours in all three races, this did not turn out to give Eala all the comfort she needed and Aurora took first blood in race one by a corrected time margin of 18 seconds after more than an hour and 20 minutes of racing. Pushing hard, Eala and her 14-strong crew reversed this in race two for a seven second win on handicap in a battle lasting less than 55 minutes.
Meanwhile, though, the Thomson brothers’ Sloop John T, the seasoned Swan 40 campaigner, which normally finds her natural home in IRC2, was also staying firmly in the hunt – so much so, that she triumphed in the final race of the day.
Helmed by McGarry, Eala, though, had done enough in a very closely contested series, lifting the overall IRC1 trophy with a first and two seconds, and with it the Old Pulteney Scottish IRC Championship title.
“It was a good day in a very mixed class,” said McGarry. “Aurora was our closest challenger and we knew what we had to do. But there was the added challenge of keeping a huge time distance between us and the IRC2s which were in our class.
“But, bar one kite issue on one of the windward legs, we had no dramas – the crew is always the same and we work well together. Really pleased with this result.”
The abandoned racing on day one left the fleets depleted with several entered yachts deciding not to turn out for Sunday’s competition.
This was felt keenly in IRC2, which saw Craig Latimer’s J92 The Wildebeest V triumph with two firsts and a second in a class of only two.
Elsewhere it was also a similar story, though the CYCA class turned out to be an all Sigma 33 affair with exceptionally tight racing between Donald McLaren’s team on board Sigmatic and the Harper/Robertson owned Leaky Roof, with Sigmatic holding off strong challenge in all
three races to take three firsts.
“It was quite hard work in good steady wind,” said McLaren. “The fleet was on the small side, but we had very close racing with Leaky Roof – they managed to pip us at Scottish Series, so it was good to win this one.”
For the Etchells fleet, the strong breeze proved too much with one of the three starters pulling out after race one and the other two deciding to call it a day after the second, with Ian Marshall on Mayhem taking the trophy.
While in the Sonars, Stewart Gibbs’ Arrow was well-targeted for three convincing wins.
Overall results Old Pulteney IRC Scottish Championship and Mudhook Regatta:
R1 – IRC1 – 1 Aurora (Stuart/Ram), 2 Eala of Rhu (McGarry/Moore), 3 Sloop John T (I&G Thomson); IRC2 – 1 Trastada (Angus/Challis), 2 The Wildebeest V (C Latimer); CYCA – 1 Sigmatic (D McLaren), 2 Leaky Roof (Harper/Robertson); Etchells – 1 Defiance (T, S&R Lang), 2 Mayhem (I Marshall); Sonar – 1 Arrow (S Gibb), 2 Carpe Diem (Ross/Wallace).
R2 – IRC1 – 1 Eala of Rhu, 2 Aurora, 3 Sloop John T; IRC2 – 1 The Wildebeest V, 2 Trastada; CYCA – 1 Sigmatic, 2 Leaky Roof; Etchells – 1 Mayhem, 2 Hero; Sonar – 1 Arrow, 2 Carpe Diem
R3 – IRC1 – 1 Sloop John T, 2 Eala of Rhu, 3 Wildfire (J Urquhart); IRC2 – 1 The Wildebeest V, 2 Trastada; CYCA – 1 Sigmatic, 2 Leaky Roof; Sonar – 1 Arrow, 2 Carpe Diem
Overall series – IRC1 – 1 Eala of Rhu (McGarry/Moore) 5 points, 2 Sloop John T (I&G Thomson) 7, 3 Aurora (Stuart/Ram) 8; IRC2 – 1 The Wildebeest V (C Latimer) 4, 2 Trastada (Angus/Challis) 5; CYCA – 1 Sigmatic (D McLaren) 3, 2 Leaky Roof (Harper/Robertson) 6; Etchells – 1 Mayhem (I Marshall) 3, 2 Defiance (T, S&R Lang) 5; Sonar – 1 Arrow (S Gibb) 3, 2 Carpe Diem (Ross/Wallace) 6