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Long Distance Race in the Sun

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Published 13:28 on 2 Jun 2024

The long distance race for keelboats was on Saturday 1st June. As last year, fewer people took part than had been hoped for. Chris Callender in his Leisure 17 Scherzo and Alastair Johnson in his Westerly Griffon Pegasus II were the only competitors. Both men were singlehanded.

On the day, the sun was shining but the Forth looked glassy, with just a few patches of wind.

The plan was to leave Cramond on the morning tide, spend the whole day racing round specified navigation marks in the Firth of Forth and return to Cramond on the evening tide.

The start at Inchmickery took a long time as the wind was almost zero. Both boats at different times were closer than they would have liked to the rocks but just managed to keep clear. A ripple on the water showed some wind and this was enough for the boats to beat westwards towards East Gunnet cardinal buoy, the first mark.

Pegasus II kept to the south while Scherzo chose to work northwards up the beat and passed the mark first. By Herwit Wreck buoy, the boats were crawling along in little wind, and they rounded together.

A reach to No. 4 channel mark was next, and Chris hoisted his cruising chute which helped him take the lead on the water.

Both boats decided to stay north of Inchkeith as they made for the next mark, Pallas Rock. At this point there was some wind from the west, and Alastair sailed into the lead on the water.

From Pallas it was a long run to the finish at Inchmickery, and the wind died completely. There was nothing to do except wait. By now it was low water, but at least the incoming tide would surely help! However the wind did gently fill in from the west, Chris making the most of it with his cruising chute.

Pegasus II crossed the line a little ahead of Scherzo but on handicap, the smaller boat was the clear winner.

After the finish, both boats anchored at Inchmickery waiting for the tide, and of course that was when the wind got up!

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