Today our challenge was to race Sola from Oban to Tobermory. Tessa was our timekeeper and counted us down to the start. We crossed the line in a good position and headed up wind toward the Lady Rock trying not to be intimidated by Glenafton charging up behind us. Before reaching the lighthouse we were badly headed and almost the entire fleet sailed by to our dismay. However we made a good track through unfavourable tide where others seemed to be sailing backwards.
The wind picked up in the Sound of Mull and we had a fun upwind sail, vying for position with the Wallace family on Gumdrop. Mum and I made a good team tacking the genoa, especially when the wind rose over 24 knots and Sola hummed with delight at such a good sail. We don’t know where we finished in the class but we all had a great day, with a friendly hoot from Chico as we crossed the line in Tobermory Bay.
We are now rafted up on a mooring with Murray Caldwell from Owen Sails (today’s race sponsor) and his crew on Oyster Catcher.
West Highland Yachting Week Experience from Hot Toddy by Calum Warnock
The only way the first day of west highland yachting week could be described was “interesting”. Light winds and a bit of drizzle meant that the racing was very tactical with decisions making or breaking a boats chances of winning depending on weather they found wind or fell into a hole. The start for class 8 Was very close with many boats almost over the line with seconds to spare but the gun went and they were off. As the fleet powered to the Island “Popcorn” steamed ahead finding a pace the rest of her class could not keep up with and the first few spinnakers were being flown on the reach to the island.
Rounding the tip of Eilean Gamhna Island the fleet split with the faster boats heading round extra marks to keep the fleet even, that gave us breathing room to see “Popcorn” put more distance between us and we began our slow beat up to Kilchoan Bay. After some of the faster boats began to pass us we rounded the mark and hoisted the rainbow spinnaker and set off for the tip of Shuna. A few more boats passed us and we began to round the tip but not before a few larger boats had muscled their way through and caused some commotion and it was a miracle that no one was rammed.
We gybed the spinnaker just as the rain started and proceeded to make way towards the finish line at an agonising pace. we held our spinnaker for as long as we could but in the end we had to pack it to point upwind toward the finish line. We crossed the line after two and a half hours of sailing and we motored back in to some tea in the cabin. We found out that Popcorn had gone on to claim overall victory on handicaps while we had come 6th in class.
The day started dry which was great considering the forecast. The race officer made a wise decision to combine the fleets into a passage race because windward leeward would have been hopeless in the absence of wind. A passage race gave us the opportunity to exploit the possibilities of tidal sailing. It was lovely to have the boat converted into race mode, stripping luxuries out such as one of the televisions. However we kept the cupboards full of alcohol. The collie dog, Mia, made a good job of the start tactics, crossing the start line second last.
However, this did provide the benefit of being able to see the holes that the other boats sailed into. The crew managed to rouse themself out of their drunken slumber and sheeted the sails in with fine style. A tight reach from the start line soon turned into a beat after the first mark. Rory called a good shout with a lightening tack up to the shore. From ducking and diving, weaving through some moody 336’s saw us down at the next mark and ready to put the spinnaker up.
Storm, Kirsten and Alex made a great job of getting the spinnaker sheeted. Max and Hamish trimmed the main, the point of Shuna was fast approaching. Finn and Nicola executed a perfect jibe, controlled beautifully by the crew. Kim made a star cameo for one day only producing great lunch. The sound of guns ahead welcomed a shortened course – an excellent call from the race officer as the rain started right away. Back to Croabh, boom tent back on and a few small refreshments.
As we enter the last week before WHYW 2019 its been a hectic and busy time in the office. The last entries are coming in, the race team have finalised the sailing instructions and our social committee have put the finishing touches on the programme ashore for the week ahead. Last year we surveyed the fleet at the end of the event and hope that whilst we have not been able to enact all suggestions we have been able to include many of them in this years event.
Whilst the general gist of the week remains the same with a couple of nights in Croabh , a couple in Oban and a couple in Tobermory we have tried to address the suggestions of more fleet activities ashore. To this extent the week will kick off with registration at Croabh and a skippers briefing in the WHYW Marquee- adjacent to the Lord of the Isles at 18.45 on Saturday. The briefing will be followed at 19.00 by a new event which will allow all to meet and catch up at the welcoming reception. We are delighted that this reception will be supported by Nerabus Gin.
Nerabus is made by The Islay Gin Company and takes its character from its surroundings.Caressed by the Atlantic winds, Nerabus is a hamlet by the shores of Loch Indaal on the Scottish Hebridean Isle of Islay. Nerabus, often known by the ancient name Nereabolls, is a hamlet in the Rhinns area on the south west side of the Isle of Islay. Nerabus is known for its wild heather and deer. The deer at Nerabus roam wild and are often seen at sunset grazing on the lower grounds. These beautiful creatures were the inspiration for our logo. So why not come along on Saturday and kick the week off in style. After this reception the marquee will become the centrepeice for the “Food from Argyll” food and drink event , Hog Roast and BBQ with music from the Mid Argyll Pipe Band and dancing with the Democrats
Monday sees the the fleet move north to Oban and on Tuesday we will be holding the 1st midsweek prizegiving at Dunstaffange Marina at 19.30 followed by Big Daves Beach Party in the shed- fancy dress remains optional but with food from Dolce Vita of Oban and a late bar it is sure to be highlight. Music suggestions and playlist additions can be added through facebook! Then its off to Tobermory on Wednesday and after racing on Thursday we have reintroduceed the Mull prizegiving and have kindly been allowed to use the Tobermory Distillery Courtyard for this at 18.30- as we have an early strart on Friday back to Oban and in a change to previuos years we will be holding the final prizegiving outside Oban Sailing Club at Gallanach park an hour after the final race allowing all to collect their trophies and head off for the weekend.
As we enter 2019 we are delighted to announce the plans for West Highland Yachting Week 2019 and have posted the Notice of Race with an added price advantage to those boats that commit early.
2019 will make the 72nd year the event has been running and plans to be a wonderful week both on the water and ashore. As before the week starts at Croabh Haven and moves north to Oban where it sees another year with of the Firth of Lorn races on the Tuesday and then heads out to the west to Tobermory before returning to Oban.
We are delighted that Johnnie Readman has volunteered to lead the Race Team as the Principle Race Officer and as a long term participant and experienced sailor he promises us all a hectic, competitive but above all fun and enjoyable week on the water.
In a slight change there will be two midweek prize givings each with more social events the first will take place at Dunstaffanage on the Tuesday and the second will see the return of a Tobermory prize giving and dance on the Thursday Evening – leaving the final prize giving to be on Friday Afternoon at Oban Sailing Club before the fleet disperses.
The Joint Committee has arranged with Ron and Graeme Cowan of www.yachtingimages.co.uk that jpegs of the photographs taken during WHYW18 can be downloaded free of charge for personal use by WHYW officials, helpers and participating yacht owners and crews until 28th. September 2018.
The copyright of all images remains with Yachting Images but owners and crews may download images of their own yachts and general views for their own personal, non commercial, use. A ‘Restricted Use’ licence will be included with the download and this will allow each file to be posted on the downloader’s own personal social media site(s). The images must not be shared with any other person, commercial firm or organisation, or used on the internet except as mentioned above.
As usual high quality prints can be ordered through www.yachtingimages.co.uk and any enquiries regarding any commercial use, including yacht sales & brokerage, press, publication in print and on the internet , etc. should be addressed to email@example.com . A charge may be made for such use.
For access to the link to download your own files please contact – firstname.lastname@example.org
This link may be privately shared with those who crewed with you during WHYW18 but must not be shared with others, or published anywhere.
Joint Regatta Committee
West Highland Yachting Week
View from the back – first time sailing West Highland Week (first time racing) as a family.
After a great time crabbing and playing cards and looking for Lego Men in Tobermory with some of the other kids we woke up thinking that maybe we won’t come last today, we were wrong. Unfortunately at the start we were just over the line because we were distracted by a passing seal. We turned and back over the line we went, which put us last already.
We were the first class to set off. We thought of this as an advantage, we were wrong. Slowly as the race progressed, every boat passed us with spinnakers of all colours cracking like thunder as the wind came and went until we were at the back, again. There was singing on the rail, sandwiches sat on, Grannies baking and Tunnocks tea cakes – yum.
As the second last boat crossed the finish line, they were only a dot on the horizon. Once we had finished we cheered and were grateful for the cheering too from the committee boat. We thanked the committee for being so patient waiting for us and started to motor to Dunstaffnage where we are looking forward to a BBQ and the rest of our holiday.
Having arrived in Tobermory for lunch time on Wednesday, a good rest was had before races resumed on the Thursday morning.
With around 5 knots of breeze, classes 1-5 were able to set off around the course before we were becalmed on the start line meaning both class 7 and 8 weren’t able to hone their starting routines. Mr Tunnocks had obviously seen this coming as he waited alongside Chico for them to recall the fleet.
A well managed light spell by the race committee saw a restart of race 1 for the Tunnocks fleet. This new batch of wind was steadier and allowed for a good race in light to moderate conditions. A special mention to Gigha being single handedly sailed around the course without a hitch.
The second race saw a 90 degree windshift and Lodestar altered the buoys accordingly. The sail changes became slicker and the shouts from the helm became calmer as winds eased off towards the end of the race. Lady Ex impressively sailed her spinakker through the line to end the days racing with a flourish.
The real race then commenced to grab the last spaces on the Tobermory pontoons. Class 8, however, know when a battle is lost so enjoyed the sail across the channel all in time for the annual class party. Many thanks to Scintilla and Marisca for hosting!
Day 4 of West Highland Yacht Week for Blue Jay, Class 1:
An early start for all classes led to an interesting mix of conditions with wind speeds building and dropping off throughout the day with a building tide against the passage through the Sound of Mull. All onboard shook off the clutches of sleep and put on a happy face ready for racing!
Racing started on time for all classes, bar class 7 who seemed almost too keen to get their pontoon berth in Tobermory… All competitors had passed through Lady’s Rock by around 8:45, after this the pace really began to snowball. With wind just aft of the beam many of the fleet hoisted reaching kites with these being exchanged or peeled for their larger running equivalents as the wind continued to track back. At this stage class 1 began to separate with many of the class heading high to get the early benefit of fresh wind whilst others sailed a straighter course risking the effects of the tide.
The sail through the sound, past Salen, really took the biscuit with a gradual bear away and the first signs of Tobermory appearing off the bow. Most of the fleet chose a shoreline route, sticking to the wafer thin shallows with several gybing battles ensuing. Although the wind looked favourable in the main channel, many yachts stuck to this tactic as they likely feared the deeper water would be like sailing through pure caramel with no hope of rolling across the competition. A few yachts ventured out into the channel and it paid dividends as the wind swung forwards and filled in strongly, giving the boost they needed to pull away from those behind to close the gap to the front runners. After this it was only a short round up outside the bay at Tobermory and across the finish line.
Racing finished in high spirits with all competitors happy with their performance and ready for a well deserved pint in the Mishnish (other brands of Tobermory hospitality are available).
A special mention to Wildwood, with the youngest helm barely able to see over the wheel! They prove that West Highland Yacht Week is still truly a family business. And also to our great friend and crew member Fiona Rae who celebrates her birthday today!
Thanks to all racers, organisers and sponsors for what has been a brilliant week so far with more yet to come!
Day 3 of West Highland Week for Autism on the Water and the rest of the fleet in the Tunnocks fleet saw very strong winds and big seas as well as a return of the rain!
All spinnaker classes had a epic race with the strong winds and big seas making for difficult steering for skippers. For Autism on the Water with Matthew Thomas coach of Team New Zealand Sailing team calling tactics, we had a SUPERB race flying the spinnaker on each leg touching at least 20kts boat speed with the crew sitting well back of the boat and the skippers heart rate 50 times faster!!!
However Salamander along with Cool Bandit and Piecemaker took deserved first three placings with the conditions suiting the boats perfectally. We had a fantastic 4th place which was a very good result for us! We also shout out to our friends on Shadowfax who were leading Class 5 and and entertained the committee boat with a spectacular broach which cost them places! We’ve offered coaching sessions for a decent price! But are impressed with a slick recovery!
For me personally it’s so special for me to have my own boat here. I am so passionate about raising awareness of autism through sailing, it’s a sport that requires serious confidence and problem solving skills. For me that was tested big time and honestly sailing that fast was mind blowing. I want to thank my crew for all their efforts in tough conditions and for helping me embrace the difference as we sail and also our thanks to our sponsors Octopi Engineering for making it possible to be here. Having competed for so many years as crew I never thought I’d see the day I’d have my own boat here racing competively in tough conditions. I’m autistic myself and I certainly have made some dreams come true this week.