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The GOSSIP

Number 202 / September 2008

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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Loch Tummel Meet (SteveR)

This year we were (again) made very welcome by Loch Tummel Sailing Club for our Scottish Summer meet. Eddie did an excellent job of organising, and the facilities available at LTSC have to be seen to be believed. Warm showers, sofas, a kitchen to cook in, all this was very much appreciated, particularly as the weather was "dreich."

Eleven canoes attended; three plywood one off designs, two glass-fibre Avocets, three glass-fibre Shearwaters, one strip plank one off design, a Hydrovisions Raptor and a Wenonah Prospector. Six boats used outriggers and all but two hailed from the Solway Dory stable.

The meet started on the Monday with a day of cruising. Winds varied from Force 1 to 4 and some ventured East to sail around the island, while others set off West until they were repelled by the unusual volume of water flowing out of the Tummel (it had been raining hard over night).

Loch Tummel has a fine supply of buoys, a race box and perhaps slightly limited cruising opportunities, so consequently it lends itself well to a racing meet.

Alan and James at Loch Tummel (photo DaveM)

Looking West up Loch Tummel (photo DaveM)

Eddie decided to break with tradition by holding the novices race first, and this proved to be a wise move as it encouraged some members to try racing in the novice race first, before joining the other races later on in the week.

The novice race was open to all who had never placed first, second or third in a ranking race, and, as is typical of OCSG novice races, the winds rose to rather more than would have been ideal just before the start. In the event the race proved to be nerve racking, exciting and mentally exhausting - and that was just for those of us who were stood in the race box willing those on the water to sail well! DaveM, sailing his Raptor (with experimental new outhaul system) gained a convincing lead, but everyone sailed well in the trying conditions.

The First Four nations race was perhaps most notable for the impressive capsize recovery performed by Anthony and Ann, who did well to get the boat back up and sailing so they could start the race with the rest of the fleet. The front of the race saw some very close racing along with some frantic shouts of 'Starboard' followed by the crunching of fibreglass. DaveS emerged from the melee with just a small dint in his boat and went on to win.

The second Four Nations race was closer still, with just 5 minutes separating the boats in first and last place, a considerable improvement in overall standards from the situation in the OCSG a few years ago when 50 minutes or more would commonly elapse between the first and last boat arriving home.

I think Roland and Dan Denereaz would have approved of the course for the Dan Denereaz Race, a 6 mile lap around the island. Most went clockwise around the island, although Jeff and Eddie went the opposite way in the very shifty conditions and seemed to take a similar amount of time to the rest of us.

DaveS won by a huge margin this time, although perhaps the most interesting result was from (relative) newcomer DaveM, if he had sailed just 40 seconds faster over the two and a half hour race he would have finished in second place.

As the racing wound down, so did the winds, and by the end of the week we were all forced to seek alternative entertainment. Fortunately Loch Tummel was not short of things to do, some removed rigs and paddled their canoes up the river, some cycled, and some ventured into the mountains - Oliver climbed Schiehallion, his first Munro.

Light Winds (photo DaveM)

Carrying Camping Gear (SteveR)

Earlier this year, RodL, writing in Gossip, described cruising on the sea in a canoe loaded with camping gear as "An accident waiting to happen." When I read Rod's comment something which IanN said to me several years ago came to mind. Ian had mentioned that as far as he knew no one had ever tried capsizing a canoe full of camping gear to see what would happen. So, at the end of our Scottish camping trip this year, I decided to take the plunge and see what would happen. Prior to this I had put a lot of thought into how best to carry gear in an open sailing canoe, and had modified my boat accordingly. I'm pleased to report that, after some initial problems with the mast getting stuck in the mud, I was able to recover the boat with less than a couple of inches of water on board, so how did I do it?

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