Scottish District IOM Travellers 1, Forfar Loch, 10th March 2018
Report and photographs by Ian Dundas
Despite extreme weather in the area over the previous week which caused a few less hardy skippers to call off, a very good fleet of 16 boats from 7 different Scottish radio sailing clubs made the trip to Forfar Loch to participate in the first of the 2018 Scottish District IOM Travellers events.
The event was hosted by Aberdeen Model Yacht Club with assistance from members of the Buchanness and Tayside radio sailing clubs.
Several skippers were sailing new boats they had prepared or tuned up over the winter and it was encouraging to see a number of new skippers taking part in their first Travellers event or volunteering to take part in the Race Team.
A stiff easterly wind, close to the top of No 1 rig strength, with some light rain greeted the skippers for the first seeding races. Racing would be conducted using the A and B heat system with 4 boat promotion. A long windward/leeward course was set taking full advantage of the elevated control area in front of the Forfar Clubhouse.
The experienced skippers showed the way in the seeding races but were pushed hard but some less experienced who had clearly been working on their boat handling and performance.
After the seeding races the wind increased causing problems for those who had elected to stay on their No1 big rig but by race 3 all skippers had changed down to their No2 rig.
The increase in wind brought heavier rain which unfortunately set in for the rest of the day.
The long beat to the windward mark and the fairness of the start line meant that there was no preferred side to the course and to be in front meant picking the wind shifts and avoiding the occasional lulls. Downwind legs were interesting as boats searched for passing lanes to take an advantage into the leeward gate.
Over the day there was some close tussles going on at the front of the fleet and at the back as well trying hard to gain promotion into A fleet or avoid demotion down into the B fleet. It was great to see some of the first timers getting up into the A fleet.
At lunchtime due to worsening conditions underfoot the race Team shortened the control area and the race course was reset accordingly.
All participants took full advantage of the superb catering provided by Forfar Sailing Club throughout the day and the warm shelter of their Clubhouse
The damp conditions found out weakness in electrical equipment with many skippers discovering that their Transmitter “waterproof” mitt was more like a sponge than a cover which resulted in unfortunate glitches and eventual retiral.
Approaching the end of the event with a depleted fleet of 12 boats it was decided to run the last two races as single fleets.
Throughout the day racing was conducted in a good spirit with excellent behaviour in the main start and at congested mark rounding. Racing incidents were normally resolved by penalty turns being taken promptly and there were no requirement for any protest hearings.
After 9 Races the consistency of Ali Law with his Vision design showed with 4 wins and 3 2nd places to count. He finished on 10 points well ahead of the pack and was a worthy winner.
The next 4 places were closely fought all day and were only separated by 5 points.
Tich Summers racing his new Britpop came 2nd, Colin McGinnis racing a newly finished Buzz 2 finished 3rd on a tie break ahead of John Taylor who sailed his own design Rubix. Fifth place went to John Owens who sailed his wooden built Corbie and 6th place went to Richard Ennos sailing his own designed and built Equus.
Within the top six there were 6 different designs, skippers were from 5 different clubs and 3 were homebuilt boats. Add to this that there were a number of new skippers joining the fleet for the first time; it bodes well for IOM radio sailing over 2018 in the Scottish District.