MUSTO Skiff GBR EuroCup Leg 1 Largs Sailing Club - May 19-20 2018
Report by Jamie Hilton
Making my first visit to Largs in quite some time I was very much looking forward to seeing for myself what this venue, the host of the 2019 UK Nationals, would have to offer. Quite a lot as it turns out. Whilst the clubhouse and boat park are befitting that of a club that regularly hosts major national and international championships, it’s the sailing area that really steals the show. The scenery is magnificent, with the Isles of Cumbrae, Bute and Arran providing the dramatic backdrop to the open waters of the Firth of Clyde. And if wildlife is your thing, it wasn’t long before I’d spotted seals, puffins and even a dolphin. In terms of sailing, the waters are deep and wide (convenient for submarines and those who tend to turn turtle) and there’s a race area for every wind direction.
For the weekend just gone, six MUSTO Skiffs were treated to seven races in a southerly breeze, blowing 8-12 kts on Saturday, and around 12-18kts on the Sunday.
Ian Trotter stole the show on Saturday sailing consistently well in sunny conditions to win three of the four races, whilst local boy Jono Shelley came off the water cursing his luck (tendency for capsizing) and claiming he’d thrown three wins away. Meanwhile, I was suffering bad luck of my own by breaking the unbreakable rendering my mainsheet cleat useless during Race1, doing my best to gallantly soldier on before coming in for an early shower and a trip to the onsite chandlery (did I mention the fantastic facilities?). Ali Kerr sailed steadily all day, whilst the Inverness duo of Kevin Holliday and Iain Morton enjoyed a battle of their own, including a shared race to make the start area on time.
Sunday was a windier affair, which I have to say, suited me nicely. Despite consistently poor starts, I had a march on the fleet upwind and used this to my advantage. It was downwind however where the real gains/ losses were made, who made their gybes stick, and who picked the lay and the favourable bands of pressure.
Ian Trotter had the measure of this best in the first race and we enjoyed a memorable battle each lap. This culminated with a synchronised capsize 50 meters from the finish line where fortunately for myself I was first to recover. The onlooking Jono was left cursing having earlier retired to collect his toys. The remaining two races of the day became a battle between myself and Jono, with Ian always in close pursuit. Despite my failing repair I literally clung on (to my cleatless mainsheet) to win the next before Jono took the final race as tiredness and an inability to tack without a cleat took its toll.
In the end, two points separated the top three, with Jono taking the win and in the process retaining his Scottish Champion status where the final standing were: 1st Jono Shellley, 2nd Ian Trotter, 3rd Jamie Hilton.
All in all a great weekend, with Largs SC putting on a great show and hospitality (free pies and ales), whilst I left looking forward to welcoming the fleet north of the border next summer.
Next stop for us is East Lothian in two weekends time. Now time to get my boat fixed.
Full results >>>
Video clip of the event by Neil MacGregor