Scottish Championships 2014, 14-15 June, Helensburgh SC

Sailing photos courtesy of Kevin Lynch (Helensburgh SC) and Roy Donn (Pentland Firth YC).
- click to expand

The Scottish Mirror Championships were held at Helensburgh Sailing Club on the Firth of Clyde, 14/15 June 2014. The event was combined with the annual Scottish Youth Regatta which was hosting the Scottish Optimist and Topper fleets.

Anticipated attendance of Mirrors from northern England did not materialise – in one case at least due to a car breakdown leaving a young crew and helm very downcast. However, 3 visiting boats from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Thurso arrived on Saturday to join the two Helensburgh boats. So the fleet comprised 2 gaff and 3 bermudan rigs on boats ranging from a relatively new Winder to a restored 1963 vintage.

The forecast predicted light winds all weekend, and it look bleak on Saturday as the entire fleet of Mirrors, Toppers and Optimist had to be towed out to the racing area by the fleet of supporting RIBs. Race officer Bobby Lennox announced his intention to cram-in 4 races in anticipation of even calmer conditions on Sunday. But, once all the boats were assembled in the race area, a fine breeze appeared and after a 90-degree shift settled to a steady wind for the rest of the day with some very pleasant sailing conditions in bright sunshine.

Roy Donn from Pentland Firth YC in his Winder Mirror seemed untouchable taking first place in all four races. For the rest of the fleet there was some close racing which was thoroughly enjoyed by all with Mike Heath from Helensburgh taking 2nd, and Hamish and Julie McLullich 3rd in each case. Darius Namdaran and his daughter in 69247, and 14-year olds Caroline Heath and Grace Feinmann in 766 ended the day on equal points with a pair of 4-ths and a pair of 5-ths each.

Sunday started as forecast with a glassy calm off the sailing club, but a ripple further out in the race area. After a short wait to allow one of the UK’s newest nuclear-powered submarines to pass up the loch, the fleet embarked and were all towed out to the race area.

After some deliberation, Bobby managed to get the Mirrors started and Roy and Mike got away cleanly, albeit slowly, to the windward mark with Darius a short way behind. However, the two juniors got stranded behind the start line with the tide against them and their wind destroyed by the fleet of Toppers and failed to reach the line within the allotted 3 minutes. Hamish and Julie likewise got becalmed, though on the right side of the line, and eventually abandoned the race. Meanwhile Roy and Mike had a fine spinnaker duel on the downwind legs with Roy emerging just ahead at the final mark and holding on the take 1st again, with Darius in 3rd place. In the 6th and final race, 4 boats got away at the start and this time it was Hamish and Julie who were stranded behind the line. But, with Roy and Mike just arriving together at the windward mark, the race was abandoned since the majority of the Optimist fleet were stuck on the start line failing to make any headway against the tide.

Prizegiving photos courtesy of Kevin Lynch (Helensburgh SC) and Roy Donn (Pentland Firth YC).
- click to expand

So the final results were 1st place and taking the Scottish Championship, Masters Trophy and Singlehanded Trophy – Roy Donn. 2nd Mike Heath, 3rd Hamish and Julie McLullich, 4th Darius Namdaram and his daughter, and 5th Caroline Heath and Grace Feinmann. Caroline and Grace were awarded the Junior Trophies.

Despite the light winds everyone had a great weekend, and plans were made to meet again later in the year. Many thanks to Helensburgh SC for hosting the event. We missed our visitors from south of the Border, and sadly also the stalwart John Hugo from Annandale due to illness, but it was great to see some more Scottish boats this year. Also, we did notice that the Mirrors managed to stay ahead of the cream of the Scottish Topper fleet in the lighter winds which possibly caused some eyebrows to be raised, and the shore-bound parents of some of the Optimist and Topper sailors were looking longingly at us enjoying ourselves on the water. Maybe some of them will come out and join us next time.

Results

Sail no. Helm/crew Race 1 race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Points Place
70556 Roy Donn (Pentland Firth YC) (Overall winner, Masters and Singlehander Trophies) 1 1 1 1 (1) 4 1
31766 Mike Heath (Helensburgh SC) 2 2 2 2 (2) 8 2
64064

Hamish & Julie McLullich (Aberdeen & Stonehaven YC)

3 3 3 3 (DNF) 12 3
69247 Darius & ?? Namdaran (Port Edgar YC) 4 (5) 5 4 3 16 4
766

Caroline Heath & Grace Feinmann (Helensburgh SC) (Scottish Junior Trophy)

5 4 4 5 (DNS) 18 5