HELENSBURGH Sailing Club was pleased to welcome 30 dinghies to the start line off the pier last Saturday after a virus-induced gap of almost two years, during which travelling and provision of facilities were both highly problematical.

Race officer Allan Lennox was blessed with a steady westerly which avoided delays in course-setting, but the gusts of up to 26 knots kept the competitors on their toes...and frequently in the water!

A cautious approach has been the norm during the pandemic, to avoid the contacts and stresses associated with rescue boat crews, and some competitors were evidently a little rusty in respect of heavy weather gybing.

There were 16 Solo dinghies from all over Scotland and northern England, the event seeing the award of their Ben Ledi Trophy to the overall winner without discards.

This went to Stuart Gibson from Bardowie, who was marginally ahead of Nigel Orkney from Largo Bay. Orkney took top spot after discard, winning from Gibson on tie-break.

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The handicap fleet of 11 dinghies, all local, enjoyed some spectacular high speed sailing, with the son-father combination of Calum and Neil Rosie in their RS400 as winners, ahead of Calum Bell and Christine Wood in their RS200 and Craig Latimer in his Blaze. Bell and Wood pipped Latimer for second on tie-break.

There was stalwart sailing in the breezy conditions by HSC’s juniors on the smaller racetrack. Logan Brown won in his Optimist, ahead of the Toppers of Tristan Somerville and James MacPherson, though all the boys showed great sailing skill in very testing conditions.

Whilst midweek evening sailing starts to come to a close as the nights draw in, HSC will switch to its popular Autumn Series on Sundays starting in mid-September.

It has been great to see relative normality restored in the last month, following the “blank” that was 2020. The club is in its 70th birthday year and is looking forward to continuing in rude good health in the months and years ahead.

(Report by Donald MacLaren; photos by Dougie Bell and used with permission)