In some very tight racing on the Clyde, the Thomson brothers’ Swan 40 Sloop John T has done enough to lead the fleet after day one of the Old Pulteney Scottish IRC Championship.
And, in some of the races, the margins couldn’t have been finer.
A rock steady 10-12 knot easterly at Helensburgh remained true for the duration of the three starts and the race committee did not have to make any course adjustments.
Pushing hard in race one of the Mudhook Yacht Club event, part of the club’s annual regatta, Jacob VII, John Stamp’s Corby 33, came agonisingly close to securing a win – the fastest of the fleet, she took line honours with a 37 second advantage over the water. But with the handicap applied, Sloop, which was second across the water, had done just enough to reverse the corrected time placings – a single second was all that separated the two.
For race two, Sloop stepped up the pace and actually crossed the line first just ahead of Jacob – but this time, both were thwarted by the Jeffrey/Scutt partnership with their First 36.7 Carmen II. Although crossing the line in third, Carmen’s crew had inched an 11 second advantage on handicap.
Game on – and race three dished up more of the same close quarters action, but this time Team Sloop had made doubly sure – an assured cross-the-water sail gave them the line honours and the all-important corrected time win.
By close of play, Sloop’s two firsts and a second had given them a clear margin of two points over chasers Carmen with a first, second and third.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the fleet, Ian Marshall at the helm of Diablo and Geoff Howison’s Hero were locked in a an absolute ding-dong scrap for supremacy at the head of the seven-strong Etchells fleet.
But, no matter how hard Hero pushed, Diablo had the answer, posting three bullets from three races, with Hero settling for second each time.
And there was similarly tight competition in the CYCA handicap fleet. Not particularly surprisingly, Howard and Margaret Morrison’s Sigma 38 Enigma took a full set of line honours in a fleet composed primarily of Sigma 33s.
But the 33s showed determination and the race within a race turned out to be between Donald McLaren’s Sigmatic and the Bradshaw/Gallacher owned Busy Beaver. Each picked up a corrected time win and each also slotted in a second and third, too – tying them on six points apiece at the end of day one, with Mclaren squeezing it by a whisker for the top spot on countback. For her troubles, Enigma did pick up a first place in the last race and was lying third.
Overall results day one Old Pulteney Mudhook Regatta, incorporating Scottish IRC Championship: IRC – 1 Sloop John T (I&G Thomson, Clyde Cruising Club) 1,2,1 4 points, 2 Carmen II (Jeffrey/Scutt, Helensburgh Sailing Club) 3,1,2 6pts, 3 Jacob VII (J Stamp, Port Edgar Yacht Club) 2,3,4 9pts; Etchells – 1 Diablo (I Marshall, Royal Gourock Yacht Club) 1,1,1 3pts, 2 Hero (G Howison, RGYC) 2,2,2 6pts, 3 Defiance (T,S&R Lang, RGYC) 6,3,3 12pts; CYCA – 1 Sigmatic (D McLaren, HSC) 1,3,2 6pts, 2 Busy Beaver (Bradshaw/Gallacher) 2,1,3 6pts, 3 Enigma (M&H Morrison, Mudhook YC) 4,2,1 7pts; Sonar – 1 Siglette (C Macdonald, Royal Northern and Clyde YC) 1,1,2 4pts, 2 Carpe Diem (M Macdonald, RNCYC) 2,2,1 5pts
Time for T! Sloop John T pushed to the limits, but battles through to take Old Pulteney Scottish IRC Championship crown
In a far from straightforward fight on the Clyde, the Thomson brothers’ Swan 40 Sloop John T overcame the opposition to take the Old Pulteney Scottish IRC Championship for a second time.
Once more the weather played ball for the Mudhook Yacht Club Regatta near Helensburgh – grey it may have been, but a solid, if slightly light, easterly breeze stayed put throughout and made for two very competitive races
As it turned out, day two was not all that it could be for Team Sloop – but a robust performance on day one was to pay dividends and the comfort afforded by two firsts and a second, defined the winner in the en
In a fleet of very tightly matched boats, there was no room for error at any time – and it is this pressure which can lead to the occasional slip. On board Sloop this ‘slip’ turned out to be a race mark touch, protested by John Stamp’s Jacob VII which was pushing hard close behind. Sloop did take her penalty turns but it was maintained that she did not make them at the earliest opportunity and she later retired from the race
Meanwhile, it was turning out to be a favourable day for Neill Sandford and team aboard MAT 1010 Now or Never 3. Finding and then capitalising on form which had frustrated them on day one, they worked particularly hard, benefiting to an extent from Sloop’s retiral in the first race to take a win, before making that a double in the second – with both the line honours and the corrected time accolade. Sloop contenting herself with a second on that occasion.
Remaining consistent throughout, though, Carmen II, the Jeffrey/Scutt owned First 36.7, was never out of the mix and a series of good results across the weekend gave them the runner up class spot.
In the seven-strong Etchells fleet there was barely anything to choose between the front runners at times. So close was it all, that some of the mark roundings were an almost daunting place to be with three boats converging at the same time and no quarter given.
There were no wins on day two for Ian Marshall and crew aboard Diablo, but with a scoresheet which already showed three firsts, his second and fourth were enough to hold off the ever present challenge of Geoff Howison’s Hero. Having been forced into the runner up slot in all three races of day one, Howison topped the weekend off with two firsts, certainly giving them some well-earned honour – though not the overall class win they would have liked.
The only scoresheet which, after discards, showed a full set of firsts for a single boat, however, was to be found in the CYCA class. Near faultless sailing by the well-honed Sigmatic crew aboard Donald McLaren’s Sigma 33 gave them an emphatic overall victory. They were chased hard throughout by the Bradshaw/Gallacher’s Busy Beaver, also a 33, but try as they might, they could not overhaul Team Sigmatic and had to settle for second place, ahead of Howard and Margaret Morrison’s well-kent Sigma 38 Enigma.
Overall results after five races (one discard applied) Old Pulteney Mudhook Regatta, incorporating Scottish IRC Championship: IRC – 1 Sloop John T (I&G Thomson, Clyde Cruising Club) 1,2,1,2 6points, 2 Carmen II (Jeffrey/Scutt, Helensburgh Sailing Club) 3,1,2, 2 8pts, 3 Now or Never 3 (N Sandford, Fairlie Yacht Club) 4,3,1,1 9pts; Etchells – 1 Diablo (I Marshall, Royal Gourock Yacht Club) 1,1,1,2 5pts, 2 Hero (G Howison, RGYC) 2,2,1,1 6pts, 3 Defiance (T,S&R Lang, RGYC) 3,3,5,2 13pts; CYCA – 1 Sigmatic (D McLaren, HSC) 1,1,1,1 4pts, 2 Busy Beaver (Bradshaw/Gallacher) 2,1,2,2 7pts, 3 Enigma (M&H Morrison, Mudhook YC) 2,3,3,2 10pts; Sonar – 1 Carpe Diem (M Macdonald, RNCYC) 2,1,1,1 5pts, 2 Siglette (C Macdonald, Royal Northern and Clyde YC) 1,1,2,3 7pts,