Monday, 27 September 2010

The 1929 Racing Season, Part 3

By mid August Clyde yachtsmen were into the end of season closing matches. The first of these was on Saturday 17 August at the Clyde Corinthian Yacht Club at Hunters Quay.

"In light and fluky winds the courses were shortened." 

I don't know what the courses were, but can imagine a frustrating drift in the tide and gentle little puffs of air in the triangle between the Holy Loch, Kilcreggan and Gourock. The results were:-

Cara        2 hrs 22 mins 20 secs

Westra    2 hrs 24 mins 24 secs

Stroma    2 hrs 25 mins 51 secs

Sanda      2 hrs 29 mins 3 secs

Bernera    2 hrs 29 mins 39 secs

On Saturday 24 August the Royal Gourock Yacht Club held its closing matches.

There was a strong Westerly wind with bad squalls off the Holy Loch and rough seas. The course from the start off the clubhouse at Gourock was a hard thrash upwind to Hunters Quay, then a helter skelter dead run down to Rosneath Patch, then another hard beat back to Gourock, a total of 11 3/5 miles. The results were :-

Westra    2 hrs 17 mins 35 secs

Sanda     2 hrs 19 ins 42 secs

Stroma    2 hrs 21 mins 34 secs

Bernera   2 hrs 29 mins 10 secs

"Cara gave up", said the paper, or rather her crew did, because the boat usually handles the weather better than the mere humans aboard.

The Royal Northern Yacht Club regatta at Craigmore on Saturday 31 August closed the season.

The course was from Craigmore to the Skelmorlie Bell to the Gemlyn Bank and back to Craigmore, then again to the Gemlyn Bank, then to Toward and back to Craigmore, a total of 13 miles. (Right now I don't know where the Gemlyn Bank was, so help please.)  The results were:-

Bernera     3 hrs 36 mins 35 secs

Sanda       3 hrs 44 mins 55 secs

Cara         3 hrs 47 mins 5 secs

Stroma     3 hrs 48 mins 12 secs

Westra     3 hrs 50 mins 22 secs

Bernera has achieved her first win and by an outstanding margin of 8 minutes 20 seconds! Class champion Westra is nearly 15 minutes behind.

I have found no evidence of an overall prize being awarded so early in the history of the Class and have attempted my own analysis of the results.

In my estimation Westra was the leading yacht, with six wins, seven seconds, three thirds and finishing unplaced twice. I noticed that often Thomas Dunlop Junior was on board and his experiences no doubt caused him to ask Mr Mylne to build him Jura for the 1930 season.

I would place Sanda second, with six wins, five seconds, two thirds and three unplaced finishes.

Cara comes third with five wins, three seconds, six thirds and one unplaced finish.

Stroma comes fourth with two wins, five seconds, three thirds and two unplaced finishes.

Bernera comes fifth with two wins, six thirds and five unplaced finishes. Her late discovery of form bodes well for her future however.

What is most impressive is the closeness of the finishes throughout the season. The racing must have been incredibly exciting and would have proved what is absolutely the best feature of one-design racing, that it's all down to the helmsman or helmswoman and crew. That everyone won at least a couple of races would have demonstrated to all that winning was always possible. It also suggests of course that all the owners were already seriously competent.

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