A NEW plinth celebrating a well-known aspect of the Helensburgh area’s yacht racing heritage has been added to the town’s Outdoor Museum.

The latest addition to the museum in Colquhoun Square is a bronze half-model of a Gareloch One Design hull – the class of small wooden racing yachts that has been a feature of life among the area’s sailing community for almost a hundred years.

The new bronze was unveiled at a ceremony on Saturday – the first day of the Winter Festival in the square – and is accompanied by an explanation of the history of the class, carved into the sides of the plinth.

Professor John Blackie, convener of the Gareloch One Design Association, said: “The Garelochs have been part of this community for nearly 100 years. They link us back to a different era of sailing and yacht racing.

Helensburgh Advertiser: The new plinth tells the story of a class of yachts that has been part of Helensburgh's sailing scene for nearly 100 yearsThe new plinth tells the story of a class of yachts that has been part of Helensburgh's sailing scene for nearly 100 years

“It’s so appropriate that their longevity, and the colour and spectacle they bring and have brought to so many summers is recorded.”

The class comprises just 16 classically-profiled yachts, all built in 1924 and built by the McGruer family firm at its yard in Clynder.

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After many years away from their birthplace, yachts from the class returned to the area in the late 1950s courtesy of the efforts of one man, John Henderson.

Gordon Mucklow, president of the association and its convener for 21 years, added: “The big yachts and the Olympic and international classes have come and gone, but the Garelochs are still here.

“By the 1950s many Garelochs had dispersed around the UK, John Henderson’s determination brought them back. Every one of the 16 built by McGruers is still alive, here by the Gare Loch and ready to race.”

John Henderson’s nephew, local man, Tim Henderson, led the partnership that produced the model.

Professional model maker and serial Gareloch restorer, David Spy, produced the mould for the bronze, while Larbert-based foundry Drysdale Brothers cast the half model and Tim brought the pieces together in the final bronze.

The Garelochs’ adventures are chronicled every week throughout the spring and summer racing season with weekly race reports published in the Advertiser between April and September.

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Also present at Saturday’s ceremony was local Argyll and Bute councillor Graham Hardie, who sailed with his father in a boat similar to the Garelochs – the Piper One design, though that was built of fibreglass rather than wood.

Councillor Hardie said: “Still going strong after all these years, my congratulations to the owners.

“A wooden boat is a labour of love , so well done in maintaining this wonderful classic racing yacht.

“I hope you will have many more successful years.

“Racing in the Garelochs illustrates each generation’s love of sailing on the Clyde – as witnessed today by our sailors representing Team GB and winning world championships and medals at the Tokyo Olympics – so this piece of Helensburgh’s unique heritage is a very welcome addition to the Outdoor Museum.”

Unveiled in October 2014, the Outdoor Museum features 100 plinths placed around Colquhoun Square – some of them displaying aspects of the Helensburgh area’s history, culture and heritage, others waiting for new additions to be added in the years to come.