This was the first time that I’ve taken part in West Highland Yachting Week. We did not race on Sunday from Craobh so instead we went snorkelling just outside the Marina. My Brother and I saw lots of fish , sea urchin and starfish but the water remained very cold. During the feeder race from Gigha to Craobh there was every different type of wind possible- (I have never seen so many sails being put up and taken down in three hours as we did then.) As we got closer to Craobh the wind picked up and I got the boats best top speed- 15Knots- just as we passed Corryvreckan. This was good preparation for today’s Craobh to Oban Race.
I was steering today and at the start all of the boats were like huge elephants charging at our tiny boat as we crossed the line of the 20 mile race to Oban- we were close to being over but just on the right side so that might be beginners luck!
As we got closer to the windward mark all of the spinnakers were like a giant rainbow filling the horizon with colour. As we passed through the sound of Luing we some some violent whirlpools but passed without incident. It then became windy during the race to Oban and we broached four or five times- but after the first one who’s counting!
The closer and closer we got to Oban the more we could make out and we started to see the castles appearing from the green and hilly sourroundings.
When the big white and brown committee boat came into view we were welcomed by three porpoises to celebrate our success and guide us across the finish line. Throughout my time so far we have seen plenty of porpoises and last night saw an otter in the Marina so far I have had a great time and am sure it will get even better in Tobermory
On Monday 30th, Oban Marina is also running a shuttle between Oban Sailing Club (the community pontoon) and Kerrera at the following times:
Kerrera to Community Pontoons 1830, 1930, 2030, 2230
Community Pontoons to Kerrera as above +10 mins (i.e. 1840, 1940, 2040 and 2240)
Oban to Craobh passage race as seen from Shadowfax (First 31.7).
West highland yachting week 2018 started in Oban today on a warm grey (very early) morning. With very little wind in Oban bay the race team took the fleet down the sound of Kerrera for a start just south of cutter rock.
WIth the breeze filling from the south east, the race team got us away without to much delay.
At the pin end of the line Prime cut and Murray MacDonalds Autism on water battled it out with Shadowfax just to leeward. As the gun went the fleet were away with no recalls. On Shadowfax the spinnaker was set early and pulled us out to an early lead soon to be overhauled by the quicker boats of Taz, Warrior and Moonstruck 2.
The race progressed through the inside of Insh island with not much place changing and all the spinnakers set.
As the big boats rounded Easdale island the breeze built for a short period to Fladda where it became to tight to continue with spinnakers, and the fleet changed onto headsails. We were then duly reminded it was West highland yachting week as the heavens opened, and rain, yes rain like you have never seen before killed the breeze and morale! It was still warm though.
A short beat in light breeze took us to the orange turning mark where kites were once again set and a gentle run up to the finish line off Craobh rounded off a fine days sailing. With the tide under the keels all the way the fleet was quite close right throughout the finishing order.
Results just in and Marisca took a fine win in just under a minute on corrected from James Hardies Taz , with Shadowfax a close third. Warrior was fourth and rounding out the top five was Murray MacDonald’s Autism on water. A fine achievement for his first West Highland yachting week with the 707.
Thanks to all the organiser and sponsors and roll on tomorrow when the serious business starts for the points series.
As everyone was leaving the marina for the first race it’s safe to say we were pretty optimistic about the weather. Applying sun cream and changing into shorts we were looking forward to a nice dry sail hoping that this would not be another ‘Wet Highland Week’ and a sign of what’s to come, but of course we should’ve known better.
Shadowfax pulled of a cheeky port end start and led for most of the first round whilst we can only assume Mr Tunnock was still busy dishing out superior quality confectionary giving everyone else a chance as he was 5 mins late to the start.
After the start things got very shifty when it turned into a game of Snakes and Ladders with Amber Haze reaching the top of the final ladder for a well deserved first.
A few soggy sandwiches later in the pouring rain it was time to set of for race 2.
With the wind dropping by the second Leaky Roof 2 tried a risky port flyer and let’s just say it was more flop than fly.
With the wind dropping to 0kts and the rain clearing away, the whole fleet came to a standstill while the committee boat Chico shortened the course to just 3 rounds. Sitting in complete silence the Roofers were running out of ideas and energy so we took to the stash of caramel wafers for inspiration which seemed to work until one member dropped the main halliard instead of the pole up-haul smashing the boom full force onto his wife’s head but more importantly slowing the boat down!
At the end of a rather long day Leaky Roof 2 managed to Schneckle their way past the rest of the Class members to top place even managing to overtake Carmen 2 from Class 3.
6 hours of snakes and ladders even drove the skipper to a performance of American pie behind the wheel. There was many stops and starts resulting in the fleet bunching together, raising tensions getting the skipper all agitated that we were being passed left, right and centre. The lack of wind made getting a lead very difficult and we had hoped the last beat to the finish would be enough to pull away from the fleet, however today we were not so lucky.
To our delight, the chocolate box appeared on deck and Max, the youngest of the crew age 12, lost his tooth to a curly wurly during the run down the sound of Shuna.
The wind strength and direction was, for the most part, nothing from no where.
However, it was predominantly south and finished in the west. When the rain came on, the steak pies and special hot chocolates fortified everyone’s spirits.
At the end of the day, it’s the taking part that counts and the real prize is the memories made.
Please note new arrangements for the ferry between Oban Marina and North Pier. Places are limited and should be booked with the Marina reception on 01631 565333 or visit their website for online booking system, including water taxi. https://www.obanmarina.com/ferry/
With the first deadline for entries passing we are delighted to see that over 80 boats will be on the start line. (There is still time for late entries to apply) So for that reasons we have adjusted the class splits to firstly insure competitive racing and secondly to balance the starts.
Johnnie Readman -the Principal Race Officer- highlighted that West Highland Yachting Week is a “big” event and it is described as a Premium event. Therefore he wanted to give the racing a “big” event feel, by which he believes there should be more boats on the start line than the humdrum weekend/evening race starts.
So we have balanced the classes to over 10 boats on each start which should make it both interesting and challenging.
In accordance with NoR 3.6 and SI6, the following is the list of class splits:
Class Handicap Band
1 IRC rated to a minimum TCC of 0.850 and a minimum SSS of 10
3 CYCA handicaps 12.75 minutes and below
4 Restricted Sail class for CYCA handicaps below 12.65 minutes
5 CYCA handicaps 13.00 to 15.25 minutes
6 Restricted Sail class for CYCA handicaps over 13.75 to 16.75 minutes
7 CYCA handicaps over 15.25 minutes to below 18.75 minutes
8 CYCA handicaps 18.75 to 28.0 minutes
9 Restricted Sail class for CYCA handicaps over 16.75 to 28.0 minutes
“Pressganging” to be encouraged at West Highland Yachting Week!
2018 marks the 71st year of West Highland Yachting Week and coincides with the Scottish Governments Year of the Young Person so what better time to reintroduce “press-ganging” to the event. This year we are asking Skippers to encourage/volunteer and persuade younger crew members to write posts about the event. In particular we are looking for daily updates about the racing- conditions, competition, class rivalries and results which we can use to archive the event.
We simply require articles of between 250 and 500 words submitted each evening by 6pm to email@example.com. Please add your name, age and boat name to the entry and we will contact all winners. The articles can be accompanied by your own images taken on the course or we can add to them with images taken by Yachting Images who will be shooting the regatta for historical record. The articles can be about one single classes daily battles or the complete fleets movements and results -it’s up to you.
There will be an award for the most interesting, entertaining and accurate article but as with historic press-ganging its the taking part that matters! You can enter simply for one day and write about that particular race or give yourself a better chance by entering every day. Each day the best entry will be posted and at the end of the week the best overall entry will be announced and published.
So Skippers please cast your eyes around your crew and decide who can be volunteered- remember it will be easier to recommend them in advance rather than receiving the “Kings Shilling” on the dock when you return in the evening!