Eric Boinard has been restoring Zephyrus and has agreed to write about his experience and progress. Click below for each instalment and use your back button to return)
Sunday 19th May
There had been no wind all day and there wasn't as crews, more in hope than expectation, went out to the boats. Most didn't leave the moorings. Hermes and Catriona did cast off. Hermes reached the starting area on a flood tide and was able to return on the back eddy close to the shore.
It would have been a miserable afternoon, except that Zephyrus came to join us on the moorings. Afloat for the first time in ten years, she looks magnificent after her restoration by Eric Boinard. Fitted out with an eye to tradition as well as to racing, her refit gave rise to a small but discernible peak in the price of bronze.
Tuesday 14th May
The most Garelochs to start this year, eight. Ceres looking smart and competing in her first race of the year.
With fixed starting lines, it is impossible to avoid bias. It was just possible to lay the pin from the shore end on starboard tack. Catriona was early and had to slow. She was very close to the buoy at the gun. Her confidence not helped by a recall signal. Zoe was clearly over. She had her timing wrong and started a minute early. Iris made the best start. A little back down the line but with boat speed. Teal luffed a slow to respond Thalia which no doubt took the edge off her start.
The first leg, almost a fetch to G, up the Shandon shore. Iris, close to the shore, was in less adverse tide but less wind as well. Catriona crept past and rounded G behind the prematurely starting Zoe. It looked like a fine reach to C, at Clynder, but the wind off the shore there was so fluky that some had to tack. Zoe was one and she fell back. Iris (who has been at the fair for a long time) and Teal saw what was happening to the Pipers, whose start was five minutes earlier, and stayed high.
Iris was being attacked by Teal for second place on the next leg, almost dead downwind.
Back at the starting area, the Race officer changed the course to send us on a beat to C and run back. A pragmatic move although not strictly in accordance with the sailing instructions. Catriona and Iris, covering each other, went to the Clynder shore early. Teal stayed out and rounded first. She seemed to slow at the mark though. Catriona sailed round the outside of her to retake pole. Iris pushed her hard.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Iris, 4 Thalia, 5 Hermes, 6 This, 7 Ceres. Zoe OCS.
Sunday 12th May
A day scarcely better than the previous Sunday for those who like to race in sunshine. Good wind, though. Four boats turned out, just half of those on the moorings.
The first leg, a beat across the loch to B, off Silvers, led to the usual biased starting line. The pin end was the place to be. Catriona fancied it but her concentration lapsed and Iris luffed her out of the way. Iris was then a premature starter and had to return. Catriona, meanwhile, ducked in behind Iris and cause irritation on Teal, who bore away and got by far the best start.
Catriona chose to cover Iris, who stuck to the Shandon shore along with Thalia. Teal went out and kept her lead. She was comfortably in front when Catriona, on port tack, crossed behind. Changeable wind on the Clynder shore was unkind to Teal so that she rounded for the run downwind to Shandon Church close behind Catriona.
Now the protagonists have been racing in the Gareloch for long enough to know where the marks are. Inexplicable, then, that the first three rounded the wrong one. Teal was the first to spot the error and sailed on up the Shandon shore. Catriona followed, having lost the lead.
Wind on the Clynder shore was even more trying for the beat across the loch to C than for the initial leg to B. Catriona got back into the lead on the roll of the dice that lifted her up to the mark.
There was time for a second round. Iris in contention for second could not quite get there.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Iris, 4 Thalia.
Tuesday 7th May
Six Garelochs racing this evening. There was no race officer on shore so that Roger Kinns on board Thalia took on the task. He sent us on a windward-leeward course, down then up the Shandon shore.
Catriona was on pole at the start with Iris a little to leeward. Wind was a little better out in the loch but with a flood tide there were advantageous back eddies nearer the shore. Some went out, others stayed in. In the end, the shore paid. Catriona rounded the windward mark first with Iris not far behind.
Offwind, Iris did not set a spinnaker, which let Thalia past. For the beat back, Iris thought to do something different to the rest and went well out into the loch. It cost her. With wind dying, there was confusion at the end of the first round. The race officer shouted to shorten the course but, of course, could not comply with the rule requiring flag S. One boat went home, the rest, led by Catriona, sailed on.
At the start of the second downwind leg, Thalia found a streak of wind which took her past Catriona. An evening offshore breeze had filled in which made all legs reaches. Try as she might, Catriona could not retake the lead.
The race officer selflessly forsook Thalia's first place and declared the results as they were at the end of the first round.
1 Catriona, 2 Thalia, 3 Teal, 4 Zoe, 5 Iris, 6 Hermes.
Sunday 5th May
It was a dreich day. What you expect on a bank holiday weekend. Good wind for racing, though. Seven Garelochs are now on the moorings. It was a surprise, then, that only three turned out to race. Those owners with an interest in gardening which borders on obsessive had no excuse.
Iris and Catriona agreed to let their crews take the helm. John Mucklow on Iris, Barrie Choules on Catriona. The first leg a beat to B, off Silvers. The starting line was unavoidably biased to the pin end. Barrie was a little early on the approach and bore away to let Iris take pole position. Sailing down the Shandon shore, there was the usual thing of Iris pointing high, Catriona dropping down and going faster. Catriona tacked out to avoid tangling with moored boats. On port tack she crossed close behind the starboard tack Iris. Catriona carried on towards the Clynder shore until wind became lighter. When the two crossed tacks again, it was Iris who shaved Catriona's counter. Iris seemed to suffer more in at the Clynder shore so that Catriona was under no pressure as she hoisted her spinnaker for the long run to F at Shandon Church.
Teal was close to Iris on the run and was only a little behind at F. Thereafter, the gaps increased. There was time for a second round, but Iris had given up on the lead by that time.
1 Catriona, 2 Iris, 3 Teal.
Tuesday 30th April
The first race of the season and a time of excitement. It was tempered for some by logistical difficulties in launching. Athene had to go afloat earlier than she wanted which made final fitting out more difficult so she was not ready to race. Iris was still ashore so that her helm arranged to be Race Officer. Five were ready to race but Thia had a minor failure of gear and so did not compete.
An evening with enough breeze to be interesting but not so much as to tax those rusty after the winter. That was all of us.
Catriona, with crew Barrie Choules and Lasse Sutter, made the best start and did not look back. Teal and Thalia were sometimes close on the beat to C, but never threatened for the lead. With wind of the Clynder shore, the approach to C was trying. On the downwind leg across the loch to G, Teal and Thalia fought each other which did nothing for their chances of the lead. On the third leg, to B, off Silvers, Hermes tacked out into the loch early. For a long time, she seemed comfortably last but the three came together to fight it out at B. There was a relaxed spinnaker leg to the finish.
1 Catriona, 2 Teal, 3 Thalia, 4 Hermes.
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