Appreciation of Douglas Clow

 Members will be saddened to hear of the death of Douglas Clow (79).
He was a valued member of the Serpent Yacht Club and one of its staunchest supporters for over 40 years.
Douglas’s passion for sailing started when he raced dinghies at Monklands Sailing Club. After he got married to Margaret and their family arrived, he realised a bigger boat was needed. In true Douglas style, he sourced a hull and deck and proceeded to build, not just one, but two boats at the side of his house in Lesmahagow. The first was “Phaeton’ –an Elizabethan 30 and the second “Ambition” a Warrior 35.
His last boat was, Guilty, a Gibsea 39, in which he competed very successfully in Serpent and Clyde Cruising Club events. He also spent many happy holidays with his family and friends on the Clyde, the West Coast and further afield, often in the company of other Serpent yachts.
Douglas’s company, The Clow Group, is one of the largest independent manufacturers of ladders, steps, brushes and access equipment in the UK today.
Many will wonder how Douglas was accepted as a member of a club for medics.
My Dad, Jack Edgar, was Douglas’s GP when the Clow family lived in Lesmahagow. Dad had been helping Douglas finish off his boats when he got a notification about the Serpent Yacht Club starting up. He asked Douglas if he would be interested in them entering a race together. Douglas agreed.

Quite quickly, Serpent members realised what an asset Douglas was to the club, not just for his great knowledge, sailing expertise and enthusiasm but also the fact that his firm had accounts with chandlery suppliers and offered favourable rates on marine equipment as well as on paint brushes, ladders and scaffolding from his own company. Honorary membership of the club was extended to him and he subsequently joined the committee and served as Treasurer.
My memories of Douglas will be of him always sailing impeccably turned out in his shirt and tie, always smiling, being very competitive and doing outrageous things to win e.g. keeping his spinnaker flying when all others had lost their nerve.

He will be sadly missed. Our thoughts go out to Margaret, Douglas, Cameron and Kirsten and their families. 

Catherine Toy
Past Commodore 


As we near the next decade

A Happy Christmas and successful sailing in 2020 to all Serpent members.

Here is advance warning that the AGM is to be held on 12th February in the Newton Mearns church which is not far from where our present commodore has his HQ.

At the AGM the star attraction will be a double act by Stephen Pickles and Trevor Watson on the subject of Ataraxia's summer cruise to Norway and the Lofoten Islands.  This promises to be most informative and entertaining and you can get a glimpse of a preview by going to Trevor's blog which was compiled during the voyage.  We are assured that they have lots of photos, those on the blog  being merely a sample of what is to come. Definitely something to make AGM attendance unmissable.


Important Notice - Serpent Yacht Club GDPR Policy

In order to comply with the provisions of the 2018 Data Protection Act we are required to inform members that by renewing your subscription you are consenting to your details being held on the SYC electronic records and paper files as set out in our Data Protection Policy which can be viewed on this, the club's website.  The permanent link to the document is on the right hand side of the screen under the heading 'Pages' 


Frostbite Race

Report by Graham Gillies
It was a thin but hardy turnout for this year’s Frostbite Race. Potential participants may have been discouraged by the arrival of the remains of Hurricane Lorenzo with its potential high winds and torrential rain. In the event, the three participating yachts were met on the day with fresh winds and dry conditions.
The easterly wind at the start near Largs Yacht Haven provided flat water and unsettled skies. The choice of sail setup was a tricky call in the minutes prior to the start with wind speeds varying from 10 to 30 kn. 

Aquaholic made a perfect start crossing the line just seconds after the gun with Tulla Mhor crossing the line close on her heels. The chosen course was a clockwise circumnavigation of Great Cumbrae, a modest challenge for those global circumnavigators. Silverjack joined the pursuit 10 minutes later once they had stowed the starting paraphernalia.

The wind lightened as they approached Hun 9 buoy at Farland point allowing some close sparring between the leading boats. It was soon a hard gybe round the mark at Portachur.
The wind lightened a tad in the lee to the west of Cumbrae but remained steady and Tulla Mhor’s long legs increased the gap from Aquaholic. Her handicap of 6.5 required Tulla Mhor to maintain a fast pace.

To the north of Cumbrae, the wind strengthened and sheets were hardened up for a close fetch to Hun 1 with a light chop now affecting the speed. Tacking round the mark, it was a gusting 25kn close haul to lay the finish line. The race was completed by lunchtime with one gybe, one tack and as yet no rain; allowing the fleet to scamper home and pack the sails for the winter layup before the promised downpour.

                                    Silverjack easing the sails as they approach the finish.

Tulla Mhor took line honours with Aquaholic winning on corrected time.
Here are the results with corrected times.

Aquaholic   1hr 12 mins  11secs
Silverjack    1hr 14 mins  39 secs
Tulla Mhor  1hr 16 mins  55 secs.



Autumn Muster

 Weather for the Polaris Regatta weekend has long depended on a spin of the celestial coin and once again it was sunny and relatively windless rather than very windy and wet.  There were no complaints to be heard from Serpent members although there may have been some groans of frustration as yachts bobbed in the holes between patches of fickle breeze.  The Holy Loch being busy with the regatta the equally busy Port Bannatyne marina had been chosen as the destination of a short race from Kip,  one which was eventually stopped at Hun 1 after about 3 hours.

 Emma Louise after the finish heading for Port Bannatyne
Six boats took part with Tulla Mhor with a crew of four circumnavigators making a welcome reappearance from Ardfern and Tom Hutchinson in Aquaholic taking on the committee duties owing to the absence of Katya.  Graham Gillies and Jane Hishalwood in Silverjack did particularly well being ahead of Tulla Mhor for some time and while the conditions were not at all to the liking of Pondskater, Aquaholic crept up along the shore eventually finding some new breeze which had completely eluded Troikka stuck out in the middle and in time accustomed manner Tom took first place on corrected time. I don't have the times to hand but the order was Aquaholic, Tulla Mhor, Troikka in class 1 and Silverjack, Emma Louise and Pondskater in class 3.

 Troikka pictured in her last Serpent outing, seen after the finish
Having rounded Hun 1 most made off immediately for the marina where the crews of Sulaire and Black Pepper formed a reception committee and assisted with parking in the relatively tight environs amongst the much larger contingent from Fairlie Yacht Club.  Much later the Serpents, most armed with their bus pass proceeded out to take the bus into to Rothesay where the Victoria Hotel provided a wholesome meal.


Dates for your diary

Dates for your Diary

Autumn Muster 7th / 8th September 2019 at Port Bannatyne Marina on Bute.  There will be a relatively short race from Kip marina starting at 10am on Saturday morning and finishing at the Ardyne buoy.  Here is a course reminder:

COURSE:   Start, CPA X (yellow) P , Hun 1 (yellow) S , Ascog Patches S , Toward Bank No35  (green) P,   to Finish - Ardyne (green) P ,  (approx 14.5nm)
 FINISH:     Passing the Ardyne buoy to Port with the breakwater of Port Bannatyne Marina bearing 250 deg M.  No committee boat is expected to be on station. Yachts should note their time with accuracy to the nearest second and their finishing position
Port Bannatyne marina is a new venue for the club. It will be busy as Fairlie Yacht club are having their own race there from Largs.  We will be dining at the Victoria Hotel in
Rothesay. The race is likely to be from Kip to Ardyne via Cumbrae. The club
dinner will be in Rothesay at the Victoria Hotel.  Come and check it out.

Frostbite Race Sat 5th October 2019. This race round the Cumbraes from Largs is a fun event and a suitable contest for our closing muster.

Annual Dinner and Prize giving Sat 7th December 2019 The venue will once again be the Art Club.

Croabh Muster

The barbecue on the Saturday night was well attended with 40 guests. The food provision and cooking was highly organised in the experienced hands of Marcusand Jackie Stone who worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone was well cateredfor. Many thanks to them and all who helped make the evening the success it was, including DJ Stewart Toy who provided the music for dancing and Steve Pickles who donated a crate of wine. Thanks also to the Craobh marina staff for
making the club so welcome once again.
 Sunday was a delightfully sunny morning and thankfully a light but useable breeze developed allowing Tom to set that most unusual of course namely and anticlockwise one. This permitted a good beat towards the islands before turning southwards west of Shuna. Given the shallow water in the starting area there was quite a busy procession toward the Committee boat end of the start line resulting in one memorable very near miss but thankfully the only things shattered were nerves. 
 Tradition got the better of Martyn who proceeded in the time honoured clockwise fashion and saw no need to change when the error became apparent. Ithas been calculated that had his clockwise time been allowed he would have won on handicap but here at least we must follow the rules.  Congratulations to Tom Hutchinson in the near unbeatable Aquaholic who hauled the committee boat anchor and followed the other competitors to a convincing win on corrected time  

 The round Shuna race results were as follows :-
Corrected time
1st AQUAHOLIC 1hr 26 mins
2nd TROKKA 1hr 28 mins
3rd KATYA 1hr 32 mins
4th EXODY 1hr 39 mins (16 secs)
5th PONDSKATER 1hr 39 mins (46 secs
6th SHENAVAL 1hr 40 mins
7th SILVERJACK 1hr 41 mins