Opening Muster 2017

Saturday’s race from Kip to Tarbert proved to have a slow start with very light airs for the first hour or more. Camus Bosta unfortunately hooked a buoy around one of the rudders resulting in them being held up for some time before they could release it.

Thereafter the westerly wind picked up a tad but also brought plentiful rain. It would take more than persistent rain to dampen the spirits of the Serpent fleet as they approached Toward. Instead it took multiple mainsail sliders to fail on Katya and their game was up. They reluctantly dropped sail and retired from the field leaving only Aquaholic and Exodus in class 2. The light conditions of the day, however, favoured Aquaholic.  

Pondskater in class 3 caught up considerably on Silverjack by taking a daring line at Toward by hugging the shore and taking a short tack round the East cardinal Marker. This canny strategy looked to pay off in spades but took a knock as a hole awaited them near the moorings, which ultimately proved costly. 

It was a beat up the East Kyle in light but fairly steady airs. Just as the fleet were contemplating the daunting prospect of beating through the narrows in these light conditions, a decision was made to shorten the race at Rubha A’Bhodaich. Tom on Aquaholic, having set a remarkable pace, despite the light winds, kindly made a finish line and took the times of the fleet as they sequentially drifted over the line.

Curtailing the race saved us from a late showing at Tarbert and the boats arrived just in time for a convivial if rather chilly drinks reception at the marina and 36 sat down to an excellent dinner at the Starfish Restaurant. The racing fleet were joined by Tigerfire, Solus and Emma Louise who had cruised up to be at Tarbert. We were also pleased to be joined at dinner by John Turner and Winnie who had driven up. 

Camus Bosta fighting with a rogue buoy
Silverjack and Exody fighting for position

Aquaholic leading the fleet
Sunday was the day for the Ladies Race from Tarbert to Kames.

With the wind blowing a good 4/5 from the south the Ladies at the helm were working a lot harder than the gents on the Saturday. Katya was on the start line to witness the competitive spirit of the Lady helms on the line followed with a hard beat down to Ardlamont. On rounding the Ardlamont and the wind having eased, a more comfortable run was enjoyed to the finish line. Aquaholic, with Caroline and Linda sharing the helm, proved unbeatable but were very closely followed by Pondskater with Audrey in charge. Jane on Silverjack secured third place with Roemary on Exody and Ruth on Emma Louise following on.
Pondskater powering on

Silverjack enjoying the wind

Emma Louise, with crew stolen from Katya, fighting to the finish


Message from the Secretary

 Hi Serpent members,

I hope you are as excited as I am about the coming sailing season and the prospect of a fun summer on the water.
I have been somewhat tardy this year and am only now ready for going back in the water. Hey - its not a race; enjoy the process. I wish I had remembered that yesterday as I can hardly move my arms today. Our winter visit to Silvers Yard in February was well attended. It was informative, interesting and most enjoyable -especially the bacon rolls. We are grateful to Duncan Chalmers for hosting the tour. As you will see from the Calendar page at the side of your screen we have a full programme of events for the season.

Our Spring Muster is only a few weeks away on 21st and 22nd May, with our usual race to Tarbert on the Saturday and the Ladies Race back to Kames on the Sunday. Dinner will be at the Starfish Restaurant with our sociable pre dinner party at the Marina beforehand. Racing or cruising, it is
our most popular muster - look out for full details and booking form a little nearer the time.

Note that our Craobh Muster will be a week earlier than in the past; it's on 15th/16th July. Many of us will be planning our summer cruise around attending that weekend event.

Our Autumn Muster will be at Holy Loch Marina this year with Saturday dinner at La Cantina Italian restaurant in Dunoon.

Lets hope for a bumper season. I look forward to seeing you on the water very soon. Good sailing and fair winds.



Commodore's Message for 2017

A Happy New Year to one and all. I am looking forward to another exciting year as Commodore of the Serpent Yacht Club.

Last year culminated with the 40th Anniversary Dinner. This proved to be a great success. Returning to the Art Club, with their caterers, Encroute, was a privilege, creating an exciting ambiance for the evening. Tom Cunliffe was inspirational with a fine repertoire of stories and tales of the sea. There seemed to be a smile on everybody's face by the end of the night. It is my pleasure to announce that the final figure achieved from the raffle and donations allowed the club to donate £1750.00 to the RNLI.

The first event in 2017 is the AGM on Wednesday 1st of February. I hope I can welcome many club members and friends as we have an exciting talk from Peter Jennett and Marion Borde of their extension to the World ARC up the east coast of America and Canada to complete a unique trip including Greenland, Iceland and the Faroes. They christened this trip the "ARCtic".

Secretary Graham will be sending notifications of this and all the other events in 2017.

I do hope to see you on the water this season. There will always be a warm welcome on our new yacht 'Katya'.

Stewart Toy
Commodore Serpent Yacht Club


2016 Annual Dinner

An excellent night at the Serpent Annual Dinner with guest speaker Tom Cunliffe. What a hugely entertaining and talented man.  The Glasgow Art Club was looking splendid and Stewart Toy presiding did a grand job.

The Prizes

Tom Cunliffe delivering a most entertaining speech

Club Members and Friends

More Club Members and Friends

Even more Club Members and Friends

And, yes, even more Club Members and Friends

2015 Commodore's Trophy
for Outstanding Achievement awarded to
Jim and Lorraine Pollock

2016 Commodore's Trophy
for Outstanding Achievement awarded to
Peter Jennett and Marion Borde

Secretary Graham Gillies, Tom Cunliffe and Commodore Stewart Toy


Frostbite Race

With the daytime temperature in double figures and above the seasonal average there was not the remotest chance of frostbite for the seven contenders in the final race of the Serpent calendar.  Off Largs it was initially cloudy and with winds gusting 24kts, reefing was in order for the more cautious at the start.  Tom Hutchison on Aquaholic was on committee boat duties and was not a little perturbed to find a large motor cruiser driving through the line before the start. Fortunately the race starters were quite well spread out and no collisons ensued but one might expect better behaviour even from Largs motor yacht bertholders. From Tom's photo it looks like Solus was clear first away and leading the fleet at least to begin with.

The course was the full figure eight around both islands so it was through the Tan and keep the wee Cumbrae to port.  Below we see Exody back from her epic World ARC adventure, still with the bimini, solar panels and whatnot and leading Neil in Camus Bosta.

This was a first outing for Stewart and Catherine Toy in their new luxury yacht which is a Bavaria 42 Cruiser.  She has been renamed Katya (Catherine in Russian we believe).  Stewart, who as we know has a fine sense of humour, suggested a handicap of about 20 mins but it is a pretty slippy looking big bus and we expect the CYCA to award a handicap somewhere around 12min/hr. However  today there were the inevitable snags appearing and it will take a wee while before they are leading the fleet

Here's Emma Louise with her cowcatcher still in place, well reefed down while Martin keeps the full mainsail on Pondskater.

In all this was considered perfect sailing weather with brilliant sunshine and with a wind force at some point in the race to suit every yacht.  The wind eventually eased to about 5 knots and so the race was finished by the Committee boat at HUN1.

 Results: corrected finish times

1 Aquaholic         3 hr 21 min
2 Pondskater        3 hr 22 mins
3 Emma Louise   3hr 25 mins
4 Solus                 3hr 26min
5 Silverjack          3hr 28 mins
6 Exody               3hr 43mins
7  Katya               3 hr 50 minutes

Photos by Tom Hutchison and Graham Gillies


Ormidale BBQ 

Martin Yuill reports

This was the first Official Serpent BBQ at Ormidale and although the weather could have been kinder it did not dampen the spirits of all who took part. In the end 9 SYC boats were represented and we were joined by prospective new members, Mairi and Douglas Brown on Mariella, a Nicholson 32.

Commodore Stewart and wife Catherine, had loaned Out of the Blue to their sons. A request was received from them for a berth on Pondskater for the Friday and Saturday.

“Certainly” we said  without realising that he would be arriving after son Douglas, his wife Leo, other son David and a friend  had been ferried on board in the dead of night at 11.00 after travelling from London that afternoon. The SAS should recruit Stewart who is now well practiced in ferrying people around an isolated anchorage at midnight.

Saturday saw Pondskater, now flying the Commodore’s burgee, at Rothesay for the passage in company. With no takers we had a stop in Port Bannatyne  for papers which turned into a lunch break.

Back at the mooring people who had moorings at Ormidale started to arrive and in the end no one had to anchor with Graham and Don on Silverjack rafting up to Black Pepper, Mariella on Stewart’s mooring and Tigerfire also on a spare mooring. Ian and Anne were on Sulaire and Robert on Kelpie-D. Seamus, recovering from the flu, and Marie arrived by car and stayed the night on Emma Louise at Portavadie .

Those afloat set off to the shore at 5.30 in a damp Scottish mist which was more like rain at times. It did though clear up to give us a dry evening ashore mostly clear of midges.
Somebody stole my burger! I wonder who? Can you spot the culprit?

Everyone brought their disposable BBQs except Don and Graham  who were more traditional and created theirs on the beach in a stones circle  (they did succumb to the use of the blow torch to get it going).

There was so much sharing of facilities that it eventual became a large community self help BBQ with food and cooking resources being shared.

We started to pack up at 8.30 before it got dark with everyone having had their fill . A ‘taxi’ service, for those who needed it, towed them back to their boats.

A big clear up followed with numerous rubbish bags ending up in the back of Stewart & Catherine’s pickup.

 By the time Pondskater stirred on Sunday it was a nice dry and calm day.
 Could  it not have been like that on Saturday!!


Midges? What midges!


Forthcoming events

Next up is the Autumn Muster on 10th/11th September.  We return to Rothesay with a race there from Kip and with a round the cans pursuit race centred on Rothesay Bay on the Sunday.  The inner harbour has been reserved for us and a meal has been arranged at the Victoria Hotel.  It's a good menu but participants will be required to give their menu choices to Seamus on arrival in the marina. The actual menu will be sent out with the race instructions and entry form.  Payment for the meal is directly to the hotel under your boat name. Hopefully we will get suitable  weather and that this will be as successful as previous years. 

Also to note : The so-called 'Frostbite' Race on Sat 8th October - returning again to Largs for we hope a frost-free sail round Cumbrae.

And - advance notice of The Annual Dinner on Saturday 26th November at the Glasgow Art Club.  In this anniversary year it promises to be a very special event. 

We are delighted to announce that we will have as  our very distinguished speaker, Tom Cunliffe who will of course be familiar to anyone who has ever picked up practically any sailing publication.  With numerous books and innumerable magazine articles to his credit, all written in his highly engaging style, Tom is surely the UK's most prominent writer and commentator on practical sailing matters.  The Club will be inviting non members to the Dinner and tickets are likely to be in high demand so be sure to get your request in as soon as the official notification is issued.