29th July Daily report
FICKLE winds made for testing sailing conditions for the 114-strong fleet of West Highland Yachting Week that set off from Craobh marina on Sunday July 29 2012 racing to Oban.
From an initially steady north-west wind making for a good beat and fetch to the Sound of Luing the wind died and backed to the south off Easdale and kites were set for the finish line in the Sound of Kerrera. It was a mixed bag of tactics with the wind going light in the centre of the run in and some boats winning out by sailing the longer distance round the outside of the fleet.
It had been a similar story for the feeder race from Oban to Craobh. After a promising start with close beating down the Sound of Kerrera, the ‘stop start’ conditions made for frustrating racing. However Terry Kirchin’s First 40 The Black Prince from Port Edgar stayed on the breeze to the shortened finish line off Luing with Hot Toddy taking second and David Cooper’s Trapper 28 Redwing third. The feeder from Gigha was won by Lizante, James Regan’s Jeaneau 42i, with the Irish First 35s5 Slippi Jin of Jim Shields second and Mike Spence’s A35 Le Basculer third.
Making a first appearance at WHYW is Jim McIlraith’s head-turning yawl Saboo who lifted not only the win in Class 7 but the Oban Bicentenary Trophy for the best corrected time overall in this race sponsored by Caledonian MacBrayne. Jim normally heads to the Festival of Sail in Brest but this year the timing and option to sail with the family at WHYW proved the magnet of attraction.
And in Class 8 it was a fitting return to the racing scene for Lochaber sailor Ian Fyfe and Popcorn. After 30 years, 26 of which she was laid up ashore, this Contessa 25 has returned to West Highland Yachting Week and showed she has lost none of her winning form lifting the Class 8 silverware by 15 seconds from Roxy Robson’s Contessa 26 Windflower. The Class 0 fleet was won by John Stamp’s new J111 Jacob V who finished the 17-mile race in two and a half hours also lifting the MacBrayne Centenary Challenge Cup for the fastest passage in the fleet. Iain Laidlaw’s J97 won Class 1.