2015 Annual Dinner - as reported by The Commodore

Our annual SYC dinner on Friday 27 November was a huge success and well supported by Past Commodores, Serpent members and guests.
 The Commodore introduced his top table and welcomed nine new Members to the club this year.  To allow more time for social interaction the committee had opted, on this occasion, to have no invited Speaker and so the programme for the evening included an excellent dinner from the Central Hotel,  a photo competition, the sale of new merchandise and the prize giving.  Additionally, a raffle in aid of the Yorkhill Hospital Trust, prizes for which included a £125 voucher donated by Specsavers Newlands, and malt whisky and wine donated by the Committee raised a magnificent £410.
David Toy (as seen in the previous posting) entertained the company with his ‘14 ways to wear a buff’ resulting in a total of 62 buffs and 4 ties being either sold or ordered.  This initiative by Catherine Toy will boost club funds for the forthcoming 40th anniversary.  The photo competition ‘Summertime?’ was won by our Commodore and was a picture of the crew of ‘Pondskater’ on a day visit to Plockton.
Seamus then introduced the prizegiving by thanking our race secretary, Charles Sutherland, for organising this year’s cruising/racing programme.  Unfortunately, the Spring and Craobh Musters had to be cancelled due to inclement weather.  Tom Hutchinson on ‘Aquaholic’, was awarded the Schering Trophy for the overall best corrected time and Val Glen on ‘Tulla Mor’ won the Rose Bowl for the Autumn Muster Ladies Race.  Other winners were Black Pepper, Out of the Blue, Silverjack, Kerrera Moon and Emma Louise.

The Serpent Log was won by Peter and Marian Jennett who are currently in Cape Town on ‘Exody’.
 The Wooden Spoon was awarded to our Commodore for a course deviation during the Frostbite race – enough said! 

Our Commodore concluded the evening by thanking the Committee for their excellent help and support throughout the year and outlined the programme for next years 40th anniversary as follows:

1.   A race on 30 April 2016 off Kip followed by dinner.  Next day (Sunday 1st May) a sail past the RGYC at midday followed by lunch at the clubhouse.  The club's first event was on 10 May 1976 with 21 boats on the water so we hope for a similar turnout on the day - please save the date.

2.  The Annual 40th anniversary dinner is to be held on Saturday 26 November 2016. Your Committee is planning a special occasion at the Art Club and hope to have a bumper turnout.  Please save that date also.

3. Following last year’s success, your Committee is holding another Serpent Curling Bonspiel, organized by Martin Yuill, on Sunday 7th February at the Hamilton Ice Rink.

4. Our AGM will once again be at the Hamilton Ice Rink Boardroom on Wednesday 10th February 2016 to which all are invited.  John Highcock, from Saturn Sails, will give this year’s presentation.



Serpents in the Buff

The Serpent Yacht Club marketing juggernaut has come up with an unmissable opportunity.  Catherine Toy has organised the manufacture of bespoke club Buffs.  What is a buff?  Well the photo below shows Catherine modelling one.

Buffs are an immensely versatile addition to the unisex outdoor wardrobe. Essentially they are tubes of stretchy fabric and can be used as a scarf - as modelled by Catherine -to stop spray going down your neck. They can be worn as a kind of balaclava or other headwarmer variant (great under ski or cycle helmets and have a use in midge protection too).  There are also numerous other possibilities including the jihadist look as modelled below by David Toy.

The Club buff is very attractive in navy blue and dotted with the Serpent logo.  Every club member should have one even just for walking the dog. They are available from the club at £14 collected directly at a club function or £15 to include postage.  Much more useful than a  boring old tie although those can be supplied also.


Annual Dinner - Friday 27th November

The Commodore Speaks: 
"With the Frostbite marking the end of this season’s  
sailing events, it is now time for our annual SYC dinner, which is again in the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow. This year will see a change in format with the event commencing slightly later with drinks at 19.30 followed by dinner at 20.00.
Your Committee has also decided, as we approach
our 40th anniversary, that there should be more opportunity to socialise with other members of the Club towards the end of the evening and to allow sufficient time for this, there will not be a formal speaker this year.
There will, of course be our usual prize giving, photo competition and fund raising activities which this year will be for Yorkhill Hospital
I would like to invite you to support our forthcoming event and look forward to the evening."


Frostbite Race 2015

There was no possibility of frostbite on this year's so-called Frostbite Race.  Having brought the event so far forward in the calendar the Committee is duty bound to rename it more appropriately. That being said the conditions could have been worse.  The Race Officer and his loyal assistant on Troikka were concerned about starting the race in so little wind but elected to run an anticlockwise circuit of the Cumbrae as the perceptible breeze appeared to be coming from the north west rather than the east which was forecast. The picture below by Graham Gillies illustrates the conditions.
 Nevertheless a little breeze filled in and the race started on time. Those who displayed carelessness in not being close to the start line or who were close in to the shore where the wind was completely absent suffered badly.  Aquaholic and Tulla Mhor made a safe getaway but soon found themselves becalmed briefly.  It was certainly not the conditions which favour Camus Bosta and I think Neil would prefer no further comment.  For Class 2 once Troikka had put away the starting gear and joined in an enjoyable little beat to Hun1 ensued with Troikka first to the mark closely followed by Tulla Mhor. Once round the west of Cumbrae the mighty Arcona soon started to gain on the Elan
but looking back it was worrying to see little evidence of Class 3 approaching HUN1.  However, following a few calls on VHF it transpired that Class 3 were prepared to sail on.   Troikka and Tulla Mhor eventually reached the Tan Spit buoy together, Troikka giving water to Tulla and proceeding across Millport Bay 
but in a declining breeze until it ran out completely and we both stopped, Troikka going backwards in the tide of this notorious whirlpool.  There the two boats remained for at least 20 minutes until Aquaholic appeared, creeping along the shore.  Eventually the skeely Hutchinson manipulated Aquaholic around the Hun 9 buoy just ahead of Tulla Mhor and where it was decided to finish the Class 2 race. Troikka meanwhile had drifted southwards on the tide with little hope of reaching the buoy in the next 30 minutes and so she retired.  As there was no sense in asking Class 3 to put up with this ordeal it was decided that their race should be stopped at the Tan Spit buoy where all, with the notable exception of the Commodore had recorded their times, as per the race instructions. We were pleased to see new members Ken and Elizabeth McCartney out on Kerrera Moon, assisted by Martin Yuill and in fact all of Class 3 expressed their satisfaction with the race albeit one in which the conditions were far from ideal.  

The results are below.  The Commodore was saved from disqualification by Graham Gillies who noted that Emma Louise arrived at the Tan Spit approximately one minute before Silverjack and he has accordingly been accredited with this time.  The results are below: click the table to see it clearly


The Frostbite Race

This year's Frostbite Race will be held in brilliant warm sunshine and moderate winds on 10th October.  Returning to usual form the start is off Largs Marina at 10.45am and will, we hope, involve a tour round the Cumbrae and ideally a figure 8 around both Cumbraes.  The Race Instructions and Entry Form can be downloaded here 
Ideally some informal post race socialising would be good but it is up to participants to organise that themselves

The Ladies Race

The 2015 Ladies Race was held on the Sunday after the Rothesay Race. The Race Secretary still thinks that having a round the cans pursuit race is a daft idea but everyone appears to have enjoyed it so it will probably be continued into 2016.  Since we have had two consecutive postponements of the Ladies Race due to unsuitable conditions at Tarbert in May perhaps we should consider making the Autumn Muster the fixture for the Ladies Race. Or maybe just keep it as a moveable thing. Anyway the race this year was well attended and was won by the mighty Tulla Mhor, Val and Dugald Glen's highly impressive Arcona 43.  Apparently the Glens were not sparing anything as some other competitors were treated to a glimpse of her keel.  The finish order was as follows:

1. Tulla Mhor
2. Aquaholic
3.Out of the Blue
7.Black Pepper
8.Kerrera Moon


2015 Autumn Muster

Here are the results as processed by hand by Martin Yuill

As you can see the race of combined classes was won by Tom Hutchison in Aquaholic, he having dropped into Class 3 as there were no other class 2 entries. Second place went to Pondskater after some delay retrieving his committee boat anchor.  We assume therefore that the club will be spared the expense of engraving the Class 1 and 2 trophies.

These are all photos from the start. Later a large group assembled in the Victoria Hotel, Rothesay and Stewart took the following pictures mainly while in happy anticipation of the meal.

The next, and final sailing event for 2015 is the Frostbite Race although it has been brought forward substantially to 10th October, much reducing the risk of any temperature-related risk to the extremities. Returning to convention the start is from Largs with possible variations from the usual Round Cumbrae course.


Portavadie Race

Five boats turned up for the race from Rothesay to Portavadie. Aquaholic kindly acted as start boat and as such started off five minutes after everybody else.
This meant that the race up the East Kyle was a very friendly race with everybody vying for position However it was a bit of a lottery with first one side then the other looking favourable, however the boats who sailed mid channel in the East Kyle faired best.
As the winds were very light, Out Of the Blue drifted with the tide onto the Ardyne Buoy, requiring a penalty 360 turn. Camus Bosta also struggled with lack of wind and tide at this buoy and they retired. As Aquaholic disappeared into the distance, Black Pepper and Silver Jack crept on ahead of Out of the Blue. However holding to mid channel Stewart caught up with the help of tide and a little wind, as BP and SJ both got becalmed inshore.
A misunderstanding of a radio message from Tom resulted in OOTB thinking that the race had been shortened to the Rubha Bhodach, the Green Buoy at  Colintraive and transmitting the message to those behind who did not have the race channel on their radios. It was therefore with some surprise that as Black Pepper and OOTB were rafted up in Wreck Bay having lunch, they heard race officer Tom radioing  in that the race would finish at Tignabruach. Oops.
However honour was restored when Tom split the race into two classes. Class one which ended at Tighnabruach and class two which ended at Colintraive.

Results are as follows:
Class One

1. Aquaholic              corrected time     1 hour and 14 minutes

Class Two

1.Black Pepper        corrected time      1 hour and 37 minutes.

2.Out of the Blue     corrected time      1 hour and 41 minutes

3. Silver Jack           corrected time     1 hour and 47 minutes.

Cambus Bosta         retired
18 people joined the Aquaholic crew for a delicious spread of drinks and nibbles followed by a lovely meal in the marina restaurant. Many thanks to Tom and Caroline and their helpful neighbours for preparing such a delicious spread. After the meal Stewart gave his famous lecture on how to balance a wine bottle on the edge of a table. 


The Spring Muster 2015

Forecasts of winds gusting F8 caused anxiety amongst many of those looking forward to the Tarbert Race at the end of the week.  Even the race officer was having second thoughts and by the Thursday, amidst considerable doubt he cancelled the race.  Only Camus Bosta, Tulla Mhor and Shona declared an intention to sail to Tarbert, the remainder of the 40 or so who had signed up opting for wheels.  Unfortunately overnight accommodation in Tarbert proved hard to find and so the declared numbers were somewhat depleted. At the 10am Saturday start time the rain was battering the windows of those not at their boats and not going sailing was looking like a desirable prospect. However Camus Bosta set out from Largs while Dugald and Val Glen in Tulla Mhor considered their options.  Martyn Webster was undeterred by the conditions and set out in Shona, which must be an endorsement of the seaworthiness of the Scottish Island class.  Regrettably, some time later he decided that conditions were just too severe and turned back. Only Camus Bosta made it to Tarbert, with some damage to their jib and having experienced what they thought were F8-9 squalls at times in between more pleasant sailing conditions. 
As the Tarbert gazebo would have blown away we were able to make use of the marquee erected for the Scottish Series the following weekend. Around 22 Serpents and friends gathered for the drinks party with conspicuously tasty nibbles supplied by Don and Marje.  In the absence of the Commodore, Stewart Toy took to the soapbox for the welcome address. Thereafter all repaired to the Starfish restaurant who had been remarkably accommodating in the face of ever fluctuating numbers and enjoyed a session not notably diminished by the lack of sailing opportunities .

It remains to be decided when the Ladies Race, that unmissable fixture in the Serpent calendar, is to take place.


Spring - Newsletter extracts

A Message from the Commodore

Despite the relentless weather, progress is at last being made with a viewto launching ‘Emma Louise’ in good time for the Opening Muster, which will take place on 16th and 17th of May. We traditionally have an excellent turnout for the Opening Muster so please do come along whether you are cruising, racing or simply meeting up by car. See the attached document for the entry form and sailing instructions. Below are the dates for this season’s Serpent events so please ‘save the dates’.

The Club’s annual AGM on 13 February was very successful and we now have a full new Committee keen to get on with running events, promoting the club over the coming season and preparing for our 40th anniversary in 2016. Graham Gillies has taken over from Roisin Harris as our new Secretary and he has attached a full minute of the AGM for Members information. My grateful thanks are due to Roisin for carrying out her duties as Secretary to the Club over the last 3 years.
I look forward to the new season and meeting up again but if you have any questions or comments about the club, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our new Committee or myself.
Séamus Lalor - Commodore

The SYC committee appointed at the AGM for 2015 is as follows
Commodore Séamus Lalor
Past Commodore Catherine Toy
Vice Commodore Stewart Toy
Rear Commodore Tom Hutchinson
Hon Secretary Graham Gillies gwagilliesATgmail.com
Hon Treasurer Martin Yuill
Race Secretary Charles Sutherland cggsATdsl.pipex.com
Stewards Steve Pickles, Marcus Stone, Don Gillies

From the Sailing Secretary:
We are going to continue to operate just one start to accommodate all classes with a simple system of two flags on poles, deck brushes what have you on the 5-4-1-go sequence. We want to emphasise the importance of keeping a listening watch on VHF ch37/M1 for race announcements and course amendments and also the absolute necessity of taking all race timings from GPS time. Timings taken from manually set watches or clocks will not be accepted. Just make sure you don’t make the classic error of not having read and understood the race instructions before the event. We are really looking forward to a good season with racing which is as friendly and convivial as always in the best spirit of the Serpent YC.

Spring muster
The organisation of the Spring Muster at Tarbert is well underway. The option is to race or cruise from Kip to Tarbert on the Saturday followed by a ladies race on the Sunday back to Kames -see the attachment with Race Instructions and Entry Form.
Please remember that posting your entry on the Thursday before the event is no use. The sailing secretary will not be opening mail on the morning of the event!
The start will be off Kip at 1000hrs on the Saturday morning. Please return your entry forms to Charles Sutherland by Saturday 9th May 2014. The race entry fee is £20 for the weekend. Later entries may be accepted but a £5 penalty will be applied.
Discounted spaces are reserved on the pontoons at Tarbert for Saturday evening. Let the harbourmaster know you are with the Serpent YC. All fees for berthing are to be paid directly to the Harbourmaster. The evening meal once again will be in the excellent Starfish restaurant at 1930 hrs at a cost of £30/person.

New members
Again we have gained several new members in the past year and we look forward to welcoming them at club events. The Committee is keen to increase club membership and also to encourage all members to participate in the various events throughout the year. If you know anyone who would like to join the Club please contact Dr Graham Gillies gwagilliesATgmail.com
Serpent Facebook Page
Thanks to Marcus’s endeavours there is now a Serpent Yacht Club page on Facebook for those members active in social media. Contributions are very welcome.

Serpent Membership List
Martin Yuill is completing the onerous task of updating the Membership list which incorporates yacht names, sail numbers,handicaps and contact details. We understand that this is compliant with the Data Protection Act. It will be circulated it to all members soon.
If any of your details change please let Martin know by emailing the club: serpentyachtclub AT gmail.com  where @ is substituted for AT

SYC web site:
This website or blog as it is more accurately termed is for the use of all members to share sailing experiences. photos and what have you. We hope it will be useful to disseminate reminiscences and old photographs for the Serpent 40th anniversary next year. More to come on that but meantime start digging out that old stuff and email anything remotely interesting to the club address please.


Error on Calendar corrected

Error on Calendar corrected

If anyone noted down dates on the Calendar page on this site between the evening of 2/3/15 and 3pm on 3/3/15 please amend them. The correct dates of the Croabh Muster and the September Rothesay race have now been uploaded.



Exody goes West

As most Club Members will be aware, Peter and Marian Jennett have been proceeding on their circumnavigation since summer 2014.

Exody is a Starlight 39 which has been well sorted out for the trip. They have a fulsome blog linked There are certainly some photos which represent something of a contrast with Tarbert on a wet afternoon.

Exody at time of writing (2nd March) is now in the Galapagos Islands. The following is copied from the World Cruising Club website.  Go here for the full story and to be amazed

Skipper Peter writes: 
Swimming with sharks, turtles and eagle rays is a memorable way to spend my birthday on Friday 20th! Opting for the extra hour long visit to nearby Loberia beach we were up early for the water taxi at 06.30. Fernando the guide helped us learn about marine iguanas in and took us for a brief snorkel then it was back to town to join the main trip to Kicker rock- just 12 of us plus baby Kai with Juno and Makena. A high speed 40 minute ride later we were circumnavigating the massive volcanic outcrop and we were soon in the water - like swimming in an aquarium - strange to feel comfortable and safe looking down on 25/30 sharks including two hammerheads, a multitude of other fish, a couple of turtles and closest to us an orderly procession of eagle rays- white spotted. We swam through the narrow 20 metre channel between the main outcrop and its sister - carried gently by the current and with baby Kai towed along on a life-ring. There were some dramatic water temperature changes and it was almost feeling cold (all things are relative!) by the time we reboarded the boat. A short hop to a deserted mainland beach tucked behind a reef for a lunchstop and walk - complete with sea lions, iguanas, and brightly coloured crabs - a magical excursion!

Newsletter January 2015

A Message from the Commodore

Now that the festive period (and New Year resolutions!) have receded in our minds I decided that it was time to get down to the Marina and start on the long list of tasks to be completed in the coming months. It was freezing, howling a gale and hailstones were bouncing off the deck. Discretion being the better part of valour, I decided retreat was the best option. Hopefully, the weather will start to improve and progress will be made!

The Club’s annual dinner in November was a huge success with over 40 attending. The November date, and the location in the Central Hotel, were very popular. Jim Pollock entertained us with tales of his circumnavigation and ‘pots’ were duly awarded with the prestigious Scherling Salver ‘Overall Trophy’ being awarded to Don Gilles in ‘Black Pepper’ for the best corrected time for the season. The winning photo based on the ‘Serpent Fellowship’ theme is reproduced below. The evening raffle also raised a superb £135 for the RNLI and £135 for Chest, Heart and Stroke, Scotland.
Our next event is the Club’s AGM which this year will take place in the Board Room at Hamilton Ice Rink on Friday 13 February 2015 at 1930hrs. Martin Yuill has arranged the venue and will give travel details in his Curling Bonspiel report below. Roisin will be standing down at the AGM after 3 years sterling service as Secretary. We are all very appreciative of her contribution to the running of the Club and wish her every success in her new ventures. If anyone is interested in this or any other position on the Committee please contact either Roisin or myself as we will be pleased to welcome new Committee members to help run the Club.

I would also like to welcome our latest Members, Dr Stephen Dahill and Dr Evonne Curran. The Committee is delighted to see the Club’s membership growing.
The latest news from Peter and Marian’s circumnavigation is that they arrived in Colombia on 15 January 2015 after an 815 miles voyage during which a spinnaker pole was broken! Peter has asked me to say that crewing positions are available on board for the trip from Vanuatu and onward to Cape Town. If any Members are interested, all contact details are on the web link http://exody.wordpress.com/
I wish everyone good luck with preparations for the new season and encourage everyone to participate in the club activities being developed by your Committee on your behalf. As always, if you have any questions or comments about the club, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Committee or myself.
Séamus Lalor - Commodore

Curling Bonspiel : report by Martin Yuill

Sunday 25 January saw the resurrected SYC Curling Bonspiel between yacht crews take place at Hamilton Ice rink. The following yachts were represented by the time the starting bell was sounded. Camus Bosta, Troikka, Out of the Blue, Pondskater, Emma Louise, Ataraxia and Tigerfire.

A good representation of the Club. The photo above shows the whole group minus Dorothy Jackson who took the photo.The comment from the viewing gallery was that some were very hesitant on the ice to start. Understandable as there were three total beginners (now classified as experienced l curlers!!) and some who said they had curled before but were not much better than beginners. The gallery noticed a marked learning curve and by the end there was a much greater fluidity and grace to the movements on the ice. Better sweeping, more aggression and a desire to win. No comments will be passed on the standard of the curling. My thanks to the experienced curlers for helping all the beginners.

The organiser was delighted that there was no blood on the ice, and you seemed to enjoy yourselves. So I am happy to book ice for next year if you want it. You do not need to be an SYC member to take part only to crew on a Club boat. Members please pass this information to your crews.

The winning Rink was. Bill Jackson Skip, Celia Corbett 3rd, Jane Hinshelwood 2nd, and Charles Sutherland lead, with a score of +3 shots.
There were no protests so the good offices of Bobby Corbett as umpire were not needed.
- Relieved OOD Martin.

January 2015
2015 AGM
Friday 13 February 2015 at 7:30pm
Board Room, Lanarkshire Ice Rink

1. Welcome, minutes and matters arising
2. Commodores Report
3. Treasures Report
4. Election of Auditor
5. Election of Committee
 Proposed Committee:
 Commodore – Seamus Lalor
 Vice Commodore – Tom Hutchinson
 Rear Commodore – Vacant
 Secretary – Vacant
 Race Secretary – Charles Sutherland
 Stewards – Martin Yuill, Steve Pickles and Marcus Stone
New Committee members are needed. Please contact Seamus if you are interested in getting involved.
6. AOB