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Full Polaris 2023 Report

sponsored by Shearwater Marine Services LTD. 9th and 10th of September.

An incredible weekend of sailing and entertainment at the Holy Loch Sailing Club for the annual Polaris Regatta. The event was supported with a generous sponsorship from Shearwater Marine Services Ltd this year and for the next four years, which is greatly appreciated. After sailing on Saturday, we were entertained by two excellent local bands, first the Kenny Woods band from Cove performed as the competitor came ashore and then after a curry supper, we were entertained by Acoustics Soundz from Dunoon. We were joined on the Sunday by a special guest Caroline Baxter (Marine Compliance Officer), from Peel Ports who grants us permission to hold the regatta on the Clyde. She came to enjoy the legendary afternoon tea prepared by our voluntary galley staff, to watch the sailing and prize giving.

Competitors including cadets came from Gourock, Toward and as far as Plockton to compete despite the forecast for very little wind coming from all directions. Bill Aitcheson (race officer), Bob Donaldson (assistant race officer) and his race organization team still ensured all the races took place apart for one in tricky conditions.

Polaris Regatta White Sail Handicap Keelboats

The courses for this year’s white sail class for the seven handicap keelboats combined sailing out in the Firth with sailing within the Holy Loch in response to comments from competitors wishing to feel more of a part of the main regatta within the loch. This was also helped by having the same start and finish line with the dinghies and one design keelboats off Lazaretto Point. The Saturday race took the competitors across to Kilcreggan, round a mark laid on “the pimple” then back to the head of Holy Loch, with two laps from there round Strone Point buoy. The light airs took the fleet slowly out to Strone, but once in the firth the winds picked up from the south giving a brisk sail out and back. Entering the loch was a complete contrast with shifts and holes enabling the spread-out fleet to regain sight of each other, and confirming the race was still to be won and lost. Luck played its part, with the shifts and holes benefitting each boat in turn, and challenging helms to make the best of the breeze they had, when they it.

Crossing the line first after nearly 4 hours of racing was the Contessa 32 Marisca of Alastair Pugh, followed by Jim Hoey’s J30 Judicious a minute later, with Neil Stewart’s Sigma 33 Panache just 6 minutes behind. Being a handicap race, this was far from the full story, as the slowest boat in the fleet, the Folkboat Second Wind of Calum McMillan was up with these finishers and would have won the race by a considerable margin on corrected time, but for sailing the wrong side of mark Z, resulting in disqualification. As it was, Marisca remained 1st, with Judicious 2nd, and finishing just 6 minutes inside the time limit, Nigel Scriven’s Sonata Moonlight was 3rd.

On Sunday the wind was so light that a long race was out of the question, and the class was confined to sailing inside the loch. The winds were so light and shifty that even after the first lap the course was changed to give a shorter second lap. Even this had to be shortened, with the race being finished by the safety boat on mark X at the head of the loch, and only 4 boats finishing. Despite very different races, the placings matched Saturday’s results, giving the same placings overall.

Polaris Regatta Dinghy Fleet

This fleet was made up of 4 very different boats, an RS400, a B14, an Albacore and a Laser radial. Race one saw the RS400 (Jamie Rogers and Neil McLaren) in the lead until they helpfully pointed out a hole in the wind in the middle of the course to the rest of the fleet by sailing straight into it. The rest of the fleet caught up and on handicap the Laser Radial sailed by Macy Law took first place. Races two and three were similarly light and fickle wind but the RS400 managed to suss out where the wind was coming from and were able to take the wins. During race three the wind changed direction by 180 degrees, a big wind shift, in the middle of the loch which meant we started the leg heading downwind with spinnakers up and the next moment we were heading straight into the wind! On Sunday morning it looked like even lighter winds than Saturday, if that was possible. The first race of the day had the most pressure and the RS400 managed to get away from the fleet and took the victory by about a minute. Race 5 saw the wind dying and the Albacore sailed by Peter McWhinnie lead for most of the race but the RS400 took line honours. On handicap the Albacore was the race winner. Three different boats were race winners but the RS400 had the lowest aggregate scores to take the trophy.

Polaris Regatta Flying Fifteens

Three home boats and one visitor made up this fleet. The visitor being Graham Sharp in his beautiful recently restored again classic wooden Flying Fifteen 485 Gilmac, over 60 years old. The boat is well known in the Holy Loch having been sailed by a past member at the club. Everyone commented and admired to see a wooden boat and how well maintained it was, a piece of furniture. The boat was well known for sailing well in light winds, Graham and Adam showed us they could make this boat glide through the water in the trickiest of conditions.

The Flying fifteens followed the dinghies off the start line and in race one More Mischieff 4013 (Chris and Marion Bowen) took an early lead but just like the RS400 it sailed into an area with no wind in the middle of the Loch. The other three other Flying fifteens caught up, with Naae Ffear 3034( Ian Sinclair and Kirsty Brown) taking the lead and then Gilmac. On the final leg More Mischieff took the lead, followed by Gilmac. More Mischieff, being a Gold fleet boat had to give the other fifteens time, once the handicaps were applied. Gilmac took the first place, second place went to Efficacious 698 (Tommy McGeachie), More Mischieff third and fourth Nae Ffear. Race 2 and 3 followed the same pattern, More Mischieff would take the lead but as the wind came and went Gilmac would catch up. More Mischieff took line honours, but Gilmac took first place on handicap, with lots of place changing for Nae Ffear and Efficacious. On Sunday Gilmac had a good start and lead for most of the race, at times there was no wind on the water but Graham and Adam kept the boat gliding and moving through the water. More Mischieff took the lead on the final leg but once handicaps were applied finished second. This gave the overall win to Gilmac.

Polaris Regatta Pipers

The biggest class taking part were the locally built Pipers which attracted eight entries from the host club and Gourock and they enjoyed closely matched competition throughout the fleet during the whole weekend.

Although Fergus Campbell, Stuart Brown and the irrepressible Ali Gordon kept their best efforts until the final event of the season, the newly crowned Piper Class Champion , Dougie Campbell and his crew of Iain Guthrie and Peter Boyd in Tamarind managed to provide the the finishing touch to take the series by only one point, and were deservedly awarded the Murray Seafoods Trophy for best overall performance in all the classes for their efforts. In his acceptance speech, Dougie was very generous in thanking the Holy Loch Sailing Club for the level of of organisation involved afloat and ashore, which was applauded by the competitors, and the younger members taking part backed up this sentiment with a vote of thanks of their own, which was much appreciated by the Commodore , and his team, who organised this prestigious end of season event, now in its sixty third year.

Polaris Regatta Cadets

The Polaris Regatta has always been a showcase for youth sailing, and this year was no exception. The Holy Loch Cadets were joined by the junior members from Toward Seasports Club, whose parents had made a huge effort to get their boats to the Holy Loch. Racing was held on a compact course close to the shore in Ardnadam Bay. The volunteer race team led by Neil Towart and Alison from Toward did an excellent job, delivering a perfect mixture of fun and competitiveness. The Topper fleet was the most popular with nine boats competing. Sofia Judd showed great consistency, winning six of the seven races. The Pico fleet was won by Ellie Judd with a perfect scorecard of seven first places and Scarlett Gaze won the Optimist fleet with four first and three seconds. Well done to all of the youngsters that took part. You are the future of our sport .

A big thank you to everyone who helped with the organisation of the event, especially as two key members of the sailing committee were sadly missing as they are unwell, Lorn and Kenny, at the prize giving everyone wished them a get well soon message. Of course, a big thank you to our Commodore Jim McClain for organising the event and driving the rescue boat all weekend with Bernie. Thanks to Jim’s wife Frances who kept everything under control in the clubhouse and presenting the prizes. Thank you once again to Shearwater Marine for their generous sponsorship.

Overall Results

White Sail

1st - 9884T, Contessa 32, Marisca, Alastair Pugh 2nd - 4253, J 30, Judicious, Jim Hoey 3rd - 8804N, Sonata, Moonlight, Nigel Scriven 4th - 606, J 80, TighSoluis 3, Ken grant 5th - 3933, Sigma 33, Panache, Neil Stewart 6th= - 684, Folboat, Second Wind, Calum McMillan 6th= - 8068, Sonata, Minx, Brian Gray

Pipers 1st - 53, Tamarind, Dougie Campbell 2nd - 4, Tom Piper, Fergus Campbell 3rd - 18, Billie Piper, Iain Hurrel 4th -46, Stay Puff, Robert Towart 5th - 1, Stormpiper, Ruairidh Campbell 6th - 26, Leander, Jim Campbell 7th - 41, Mona, Ian Mitchell 8th - 39, Grace, Andre Schouten

Flying Fifteens 1st - 485, Gilmac, Graham Sharp 2nd - 4013, More Mischieff, Chris Bowen 3rd - 3034, Nae Ffear, Iain Sinclair 4th - 698, Efficacious, Tommy McGeachie Dinghies 1st - 1073, RS 400, The Great Gonzo, Jamie Rogers 2nd - 6946, Albacore, Home Brew, Peter McWhinnie 3rd - 216656, Laser Radial, ILCA 6, Macy Law 4th - 683, B14, Killer B, Findlay Hurrel


Toppers 1st - 45064, Sofia Judd 2nd - 42801, Freya Mallin 3rd - 2, Darcy Cameron 4th - 3, Scott Armstrong 5th - 9, Holly Jenkinson 6th - 45061, Amelia Pietraszek 7th - 42016, Hannah Petro 8th - 8, Ivor Warren 9th - 5, Mirren McArthur Picos 1st - Ellie Judd 2nd - Liz Mylod 3rd - Kevin Grant Optimist 1 - Scarlett Gaze 2 - Fearne Gillen

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