Spring Muster photos

 Don Gillies as Race Officer on Black Pepper contributed these two shots of the start off Kip. All are heavily reefed and the first shows Troikka and Aquaholic running down the start line. In the second, Out of The Blue looks well powered up despite the tiny sailplan. I think that's Martyn Webster struggling with Shona in the centre distance.

The next  set are from the successful drinks and nibbles party at the gazebo. You can click on any of the photos for a larger version

 And finally the Commodore levitates onto a bench to make the announcement that oor tea is oot at the Starfish.

All of the above photos by Marcus Stone and lifted from the Serpent facebook page

John and Winnie Turner were watching the Ladies Race start from the shore and contributed the above two shots.  Don Gillies doing race officer duty once again took the next one which shows Shona lined up for a well timed start.

Graham Gillies on Silverjack took the following.


Spring Muster 2016

The forecast for Saturday was not particularly promising and those of us who left home on the morning of the Tarbert race did so in fairly heavy rain.  By the time of the start off Kip there was at least 25kts SW and building in the gusts. Don and Marge Gillies had bravely volunteered to man the committee boat in uncomfortable conditions while the mooring dragged into shallow water.  Martyn Webster in the classic 'Shona' was two crew down and struggling so much with Shona's enormous mainsail that he had to give up.  Neil on Camus Bosta also had problems with his reefing lines and had to retire on the start line and opted to motor. This left Aquaholic, Troikka, Out of the Blue and Silverjack as the remaining starters of what had been, on paper, quite a healthy entry.  The first hour was a rather unpleasant beat towards Toward with one or two particularly nasty squalls but after that conditions improved while the passage into the East Kyle turned into the inevitable beat where eventually Troikka and Aquaholic had the pleasure of overtaking the fleet of property developers on their challenge weekend.  Black Pepper had followed on and finished the Class 3 pair somewhere near Colintraive in order that they might reach Tarbert in time for the festivities while Aquaholic and Troikka continued their sail in a remarkable variety of conditions into Tarbert where, enjoying sunshine in the cockpits, typical Serpent socialising commenced.  This carried straight on to further socialising in the gazebo where those who had opted to drive up were to be found and thence on to the Starfish restaurant where the Commodore addressed the assembled multitude with apologies to the regular diners. If anyone has any photos of the day please email them to serpentyachtclub@gmail.com.

       Sunday dawned with clear blue skies, a perfect 10kt breeze and enthusiasm among the Ladies for their race. Once again Don and Marge volunteered to start the race with a start line heavily biased to the shore end. 

Aquaholic and Troikka soon pulled out in front and the breeze persisted right to Ardlamont in perfect sailing conditions. 

 We can't see the helmslady in this picture of Solus but we hope it's not the person with the wee bald patch! 
Once round Ardlamont the progress downwind without spinnaker was a little slower but there can be no doubt that the ladies had a superb day for their race. Here is the winning lady concentrating furiously.


40 th Anniversary Sailpast

After the exertions of the night before there was a certain Sunday morning bleariness evident among certain Serpent crews, particularly since the sunshine of the preceding day had been replaced by fine drizzle and the familiar dreichness.  However it was necessary for all to set to the unfamiliar task of dressing overall for the proposed Sail Past at 11am.  There was the odd opt-out who had been convinced by the forecasts that a mighty tempest was about to sweep the Ashton shore but the rest of us soldiered on with a tangle of flags and knickers untwisted.  Strict instructions for the timing and order of the Sail Past had been issued previously and so the Serpents departed Kip en masse with flags all a-flutter and proceeded to roll their way under motor  for the Cloch.  Once around that headland the breeze was more favourable, the surface more settled and miraculously some hazy sunshine began to appear to improve the visibility.  In due course, with the Commodore's Moody  'Out of the Blue' still suffering from fuel pump issues and with her crew aboard Tulla Mhor,  Tom Hutchinson on Aquaholic,  was the designated Red Ten to give the signal to form up for the flypast although in line astern rather than the Diamond Nine which some seemed to be attempting.

However to general astonishment it all came good in the end and the procession made its way past the Royal Gourock clubhouse, where, on the platform, the Serpent Yacht Club founding Commodore, Bobby Corbett, the medic who 40 years previously had conceived that extraordinary idea of a yacht club for health service personnel, was placed to take the salute, accompanied by RNCYC Commodore Charles Darley, RGYC Commodore Ian PC Mackenzie and current Serpent Commodore Stewart Toy and  host of spectators.  Dipping ensigns on modern yachts is more a business of pulling wooden sticks out of sockets rather than anything more poetic but once duty was done it was time to high tail it back to Kip and return to RGYC by road for the lunch.

The idea of the Sunday lunch at Royal Gourock had been to assemble as many as possible of the Serpent members from former days and who have now swallowed the anchor, especially the surviving founder members including past Commorodores who obviously are now well into their retirement years although it should be noted that among them there are many with impressive logs with circumnavigations and long distance cruises to their credit.  It was good to see so many and in fact seventy souls were booked for lunch with a fine turnout including as a guest, Duncan Chalmers of Kip Marina who has given the Club support over many years.

 After a convivial prosecco-fuelled gathering in the lounge, the RGYC catering staff served an excellent buffet lunch after which the Serpent Commodore presented commemorative glasses to the sail past participants and Bobby Corbett gave a commendably concise reflection on the formation of the Club all those years ago.  Undoubtedly times are different now both in sailing and elsewhere but the Serpent Yacht Club remains true to its original ethos of enjoyment, socialising, friendly rivalry and the after-race muster rather than hard core racing.           



40th Anniversary Race

This was an event outwith the usual Clyde calendar and in electing to have a Kip start the Race Secretary had misjudged the starts of other clubs being convinced in his own head that they would be at Fairlie and Rothesay.  It was only on the Thursday night that it was found that Fairlie Yacht Club were starting their opening muster race to Holy Loch  off Kip at exactly the same time as our own proposed start.  After some frantic telephoning and negotiation, Mr Ricky Gray of 'Leomaris', the FYC start boat, kindly agreed to wait to provide a start for us at 11.30, fifteen minutes after the last FYC start.  However there were engine troubles for some Serpent competitors. After some last minute oiliness  Dugald Glen managed to get Tulla Mhor to the start on time but the Commodore and his gallant team were less fortunate. All seemed well until Out of the Blue's engine stopped and despite Stewart's best efforts on the water he failed to restart it. However this gave him the opportunity to take the following photos of the start before being towed back in to Kip by the workboat.

The course set was the south westerly option with a beat to Skelmorlie bank, across to Toward, across to another Skelmorlie channel buoy, up to Dunoon Bank and back to Kip - an estimated 16 miles approx. With OOTB missing there were nine starters and as these photo show the start was somewhat more competitive than Serpent starts hitherto.

Mind you, Ataraxia had added some extra racing experience on board with Paul and Roisin Harris while Tulla Mhor had a professional in the form of Jon Fitzgerald although he was only there from Silvers to check on the rigging...

However all got away safely and we can certainly boast that the Serpent start was visibly more competitive than the Fairlie one.  In the above picture Troikka is hanging on to the pin end while Tulla Mhor powers through with split second accuracy.

In this shot Ataraxia, Troikka , Aquaholic and Tulla Mhor are all making a respectable start with Silverjack and Black Pepper squeezing in at the pin end a fraction later.  Camus Bosta and Pondskater have stayed out of this particular engagement.

This is a great shot by Stewart as Tulla Mhor, Black Pepper and Aquaholic tack away from the Kip shore.
Here we see Silverjack, Pondskater and Camus Bosta on their way.  It was a brisk sail down to Skelmorlie Bank with about 16kts or so of breeze. The Clyde was sparkling in the sunshine and whilst it wasn't quite champagne sailing it could possibly have been considered champagne on ice as the snow on the hills might suggest.  It was more of a frostbite race than last year's. As the leading boats turned to beat for Toward a squall came gusting down the east Kyle somewhere near 30 knots which I thought appropriate for the occasion, given the accounts of that race 40 years ago. However we all ploughed on with some boats reefing and by the time we rounded the buoy the wind had all but disappeared.  Thereafter it was a slow predominantly broad reach up to Toward with fickle wind.  Tulla Mhor performed a horizon job but with Ataraxia hanging on not far behind, rounding the Dunoon cardinal into a stiff beat back to Kip arriving around 3pm.

It was clear that the conditions suited Neil on Camus Bosta as she romped back and indeed the rest of Class 3 completed the course apart from Black Pepper although Don later claimed that he had enjoyed the sail as did everyone.  The results have already been posted down the page.  Ataraxia took Class 2 with Tulla Mhor second.  Camus Bosta was first in Class 3 (although ahead of Tulla on corrected time) with Emma Louise second.   The results were read out that evening in the Kip Chartroom where crews enjoyed a set dinner. 


40th Anniversary Sailpast

Lots more photos from the weekend to come we hope but here's what the sailpast looked like from inside the queue. The bigger boats were behind us.