Number 222 / August 2010

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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'Wet and windy, F5-7, possibly more, with gales on the fells' would sum up the weather on Sunday. The race organisers postponed their decision to abandon racing for a short while but by then many sailors had already made their own decision and packed up. The regatta became a one-race series and the results from Saturday stood. 202 boats had entered the regatta and, after corrections for the Portsmouth Number of each boat (i.e. the handicapping), Keith and Ann were 93rd in 3 hours 20 minutes, DaveS was 122nd in 3 hours 35 minutes and AndyW 136th in 3 hours 46 minutes. Only 154 boats finished the race but none of our canoes capsized, unlike many others. LouiseH, a former OCSG member, was on club safety duty for the race and said there was an awful lot of work for them to do. To see the full results and see how canoes compared with lots of other sailing boats, they are available for download from the UYC website.

All in all it is a great experience for any interested in racing and if you can put up with the rigours of so many people at the start. After that it's a good, long, very scenic cruise with a purpose! See you there next year?


Five Lochs Expedition - Part One (DaveM)
Extract from DaveM's report, abbreviated and annotated by JeffB

Our expedition was to be an extension of the Three Lochs Tour, a commercial Clydeside steamer service that was introduced in the 1820s, carrying passengers from Dumbarton up Loch Long to Arrochar via Loch Goil. From Arrochar, passengers crossed to Tarbet on Loch Lomond by foot or coach, before boarding another steamer to Balloch, where a coach finally returned them to Dumbarton. This service continued for 150 years until the pier at Arrochar was closed in 1972. The Clyde Canoe Club also adopted a variant of the Three Lochs Tour later in the 19th Century, which involved a clockwise circuit starting from their clubhouse at Rosneath Bay, sailing up Loch Long to Arrochar, having their canoes carted across to Tarbet, sailing down Loch Lomond to Balloch, paddling down the River Leven to Dumbarton, and then finally sailing back to Rosneath...

Our Five Lochs expedition was to start from Loch Lomond and it was planned to follow the CCC route, with three additions: Gareloch - sailing through the Rhu Narrows, past Faslane Naval Base, to Garelochhead; Holy Loch; Loch Goil - sailing past Carrick Castle to Lochgoilhead...

Saturday, 15 May
The three of us met at the Cashel campsite on Saturday, 15 May. The new moon had been the previous day (Friday) and Spring tide was due the following day (Sunday). The Spring tide would help us clear an old weir at Dumbarton as well as the extensive sand and mud banks in the Firth of Clyde.

Sunday, 16 May
Our plan was to sail to the start of River Leven at Balloch, paddle downriver to Dumbarton and then sail to Rosneath Peninsula, where we intended to wild camp for three nights, using this as our base to explore nearby Gareloch and Holy Loch...


As we approached the entrance to the River Leven, I spotted an open area near Balloch Castle where we beached our boats to rig down our masts. As I stepped off my Raptor I saw someone running towards me and was surprised when he asked if we were from the Open Canoe Sailing Group. He introduced himself as Roland, a founding and long-time member of the group who lives in the area and had spotted us as he walked his dog. Neither Andy nor I had met Roland previously but John knew him well, so we decided to eat our packed lunches, allowing them time to chat.


We... were now running almost 2 hours late. We had hoped to be at Dumbarton by this time. It took us a further hour to paddle the short distance to the barrage [that controls the water level in Loch Lomond], portage our boats around and set off down the Leven, by which time we were almost 3 hours behind schedule...

The journey downriver was relatively tranquil and enjoyable. The low water level meant that the river was not flowing as swiftly as we might have expected (the Leven is the second fastest flowing river in Scotland)...

Shortly after passing under the A82 dual carriageway, the river starts to broaden and turn through three 90 bends before entering the Firth of Clyde at Dumbarton. As I approached the first of these bends I heard a shout from the south bank of the river and saw that it was Roland, who had evidently followed us downriver in his car. He told us to expect a headwind in the Firth of Clyde. We arrived at Dumbarton about one hour after high water, so had no problem crossing the old weir, which was not visible. After entering the Firth of Clyde, I made for a beach at the corner of Levengrove Park to rig up my sail and Andy arrived shortly afterwards. The time was 4:40 pm, so

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