8 Finns entered the Scottish Traveller Series event hosted by Largs Sailing Club on the Clyde Estuary, The championship was held within the larger Largs Regatta Festival, which hosted several cruiser and dinghy classes, including cats, fast and slow handicaps.
Saturday dawned windless and warm and the RO had no option but to AP the start. Several coffees later taken in the warm, sunny, still morning, a gentle south-westerly breeze slowly began to build. AP was lowered and the Largs sailing regatta began. The Finn class raced within the slow handicap fleet which gave close boat on-boat racing, challenging starts and mark roundings.
In the light breeze, north running tide and shifts it proved to be challenging tactical racing. With the light winds, a short windward / leeward course was set for two races and a triangular one for the third, which gave some “interesting” tactical racing in the mixed fleet. Russell Ward and David Kitchen exchanged leads in the first race, with David taking line honours, then it was David again taking a win in the second and in the third race Roddy Steel. Four races were planned but racing was completed after three, due to the late start and the fading breeze. Despite the light airs the racing was very close and pleasant in a very warm and sunny Firth of Clyde. Unfortunately, David’s good on the water performance was relegated due to misinterpretation of going through the line which was a real shame but David accepted it graciously, Russ also picked up an OCS in the first race which handed Stewart his first ever Finn race win.
Boats were packed away for the night and the Finnsters retired to the Largs sailing club balcony to recall the racing and past memories whilst downing several pints of the delicious local draught ale. The organisers had laid on an excellent fish and chip van, and a local hand-made pizza stall, whilst in the marquee a live band fired up. The sailing club terrace sunset view over to Cumbrae, Arran and Bute was the ideal spot for food and ale, and an evening of stories. New to the Finn class sailor Keith Veasey was warmly welcomed. Sailors retired tired but happy after an enjoyable day.
Day 2 the famous round Cumbrae single race day was scheduled but absolutely no wind welcomed the sailors. AP was hoisted for 2.5hrs with much gazing at the water waiting for the wind, just as N over A was being attached to the clubhouse flagpole in prep for a 1pm announcement, a light pressure filled in from the NW and “prepare to race” message was sent to the WhatsApp message group just as sailors were starting to pack up. Sails were hurriedly pulled back onto booms and the fleet launched for the alternative course in Largs channel around navigation buoys. With slightly more pressure than Saturday, the Finns were further up the mixed fleet and had a good dice around the cans which took them close into Cumbrae island and some challenging shifty puffs of wind. Roddy took an early lead with Russ, David and Stewart in hot pursuit.
Roddy Steel was a worthy winner of the weekend with Russ in close second and Stewart taking Third overall. After an initial large interest in the event, due to the light forecast, it was a modest Finn fleet for this traveller event, where everyone thoroughly enjoyed the close racing, the stunning scenery, hospitality and warm weather – albeit the wind gods were sleeping.
Many thanks to Largs Sailing Club and Largs Yacht Haven as hosts and sponsors Saturn Sails and Coastworks.
Photos by Marc Turner, PFM Pictures.
Report by Stewart Mitchell
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