Race Report :: “The Bute Race”

“The Bute Race” heralded the departure from fabulous host Portavadie. A long day of challenging winds and enervating rain ensued.

Class 1 started in a solid 8-10 knot south westerly wind. ‘The Lady Anne’ and ‘Moonbeam IV’ took the advantage off the line, a daring port tack approach not quite paying off for ‘Moonbeam III’. The fleet quickly fetched southwards, the heavy clouds clearing. It developed into a speed race, ‘The Lady Anne’ to leeward, ‘Moonbeam IV’ to windward. However, adjacent Inchmarnock, the breeze shut down, progress halted.

‘The Lady Anne’, a slim and stripped-out racer, managed challenging 50° wind shifts well, and was able to pull out a significant lead over her longer but heavier rivals. She held this lead as the wind steadied from the south, and as conditions once again lightened in Largs Channel. It is tied at the top of Class 1, ‘Mariella’ and ‘The Lady Anne’ both counting four points into the finale, “The King’s Course”, tomorrow.

8 metre ‘Falcon’ led the Class 2 fleet from the start, even managing to pass ‘Kentra’ in Class 1 by Garroch Head. ‘Sonata’ and ‘Kismet’ were next to reach the south end of Bute after withstanding the light airs around Inchmarnock. Passing Garroch Head, she was freed to reach across to Millport. ‘Viola’ and ‘Mikado’ soon followed, while ‘Sybil of Cumae’ retired, though stayed to help with the small boats as the wind faded. ‘Falcon’ remains atop Class 2, counting three wins.

Class 3 boats had a challenging day today with the fickle Loch Fyne breeze. ‘Coralie’ lead the early race by gambling on offshore and stayed in the south westerly the longest, before the wind shut off. After a short tea break, the wind returned from the north west, allowing the fleet to show off their spinnakers, with ‘Fiona’ enjoying the downwind sailing to take the lead. There was a very nervous half hour at the end of this race when the northerly left and southerly wind became established, but ‘Fiona’ remained ahead on the water to take a third place on corrected time, behind ‘Coralie’ and ‘St Patrick’. A long day on the water with challenging conditions – sleep well Class 3.

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