he seemed mighty chuffed. Repeating the success of last year, NevilleB, lively as ever, got a barbecue going as the sun slowly sank behind the mountains, ably helped by chef IanN. In the moonlight certain members serenaded the campsite with as many songs about the moon as they could recall - 7 in all...
Tuesday, and the racers looked out gloomily over the mirror-like water. Those more eager to get moving, by paddle if necessary, packed lunch and set out southwards. An hour or so later we landed somewhat gingerly on Inchcruin, whose owner doesn't generally like intruders. Sure enough, a kayak appeared from behind the trees fringing the bay. However we seemed to be the sort of people he tolerates (age has its advantages after all). After a chat about the weather and vegetable growing he asked us to take any litter with us and paddled away.
In the glorious sunshine RonO, WalterG, JimB, Jenny & KevinL and the editor decided to make for The Geggles between Inchcruin and Inchmoan. We now had a light air to help us. Kevin warned us of a rock in these parts that wanders about looking for OCSG sailors. It's hit his canoe twice before, inflicting damage. Sure enough, with four of us abreast, his leeboard struck and canoe lurched. Is this more than coincidence??? We glided through the narrows and on to Luss - serene, serene. EddieP joined us in ice creams. Then with just a little more use of the paddle we crossed to Cashel.
By now a palpable breeze had developed and the racers were champing at the bit. HilaryS, officiating, got things smartly away at 4.30, on a modest course clockwise round the Ross Isles. IanN was first away, closely followed by SteveR who decided to risk a very close-hauled course. Everyone else bore further off the wind, especially the trimarans in the northwesterly blowing almost directly from the Ross Isles. From the beach we could see that Steve's tactic was not paying off as DaveS and PeteH led the field on a new close-hauled course up the loch. Dave overtook Pete before disappearing behind the Isles. He maintained this lead to a close finish as the wind eased. Two other pairs were engaged in close contest too, Ian and Steve for 4th and Eddie and Louise for 8th place.
At the presentation Pete (2nd) and DaveP (3rd) received silver and bronze medals respectively whilst DaveS was awarded the gold for the 4 Nations Cup and the Dan Denearez Trophy. That was not all, however. LouiseH won the Novices' Trophy as the highest placed to qualify for this. Since capsizing twice in the Novices' Race last year her dinghy sailing experience has really started to show through.
No Lomond meet would be complete without a meal at the Pottery at Drymen. HilaryS had collected names and ordered tables. The food proved to be as good and the service as friendly as ever.
On Wednesday, after some uncertainty, it transpired that almost everyone had decided to pack their bags for Loch Sunart. We drove through sunlit mountains in remarkably clear visibility to arrive at Resipole Farm with time to rig canoes and venture out on this beautiful water. Once out, Eddie, Lis and I were treated to the sight of porpoises gracefully curving above the surface, once barely 10 yards away. For me, a first. And the midges? They stayed away until about 7.30, when we took flight to the very comfortable bar/restaurant. No bother.
On Thursday the meteorological menu had hardly altered. Ann & KeithM, who had just arrived from France, led a gaggle of canoes heading westwards with the island of Carna and Loch Teacuis behind it as a notional goal. Once again lack of wind rendered progress slow; I haven't used the paddle so much for ages! Only Ann & Keith miraculously disappeared down the loch - electrically powered as it turned out. Lunch was taken past Salen, WalterG having already brewed up on board.