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Scottish Nationals

    Photo: Alex Peacock/Nadia McMinn


     After a slightly disappointing start to the year, with 2 out of 3 events so far cancelled due to high winds, 13 RS400s arrived at Aberdeen and Stonehaven Yacht Club for a great weekend of close racing and great banter over the weekend of 20/21 June. With a light-medium southerly forecast and a beer festival in town it seemed there would be something for everyone and the event certainly didn't disappoint.

    Ever eager to get going, and with a short starboard-biased line and tide underneath the 400s treated the other waiting to fleets to not one but 2 general recalls on the first start. They eventually got away into a building F3 and from the word off it was clear this was going to be a closely contested event. The Urquhart brothers with their brand new ship just out the wrappers showed great pace upwind however it was Grumpy Robertson this time with daughter Hannah at the pointy end who although closely challenged emerged victorious in the first 2 races setting an ominous if familiar trend. New Neil McLellan arrived this year complete with a new crew and a new boat and demonstrated a significant new speed improvement from previous old years, with a great battle developing with Bedborough / Spacey and local likely lad Bob Yeamans / Nadia McMinn sailing "Just engaged". In race 3 fortunes were reversed with the Urquharts emerging victorious from battle with the Robertsons, and Bedborough / McLellan engaged in a dual which took them both into the biggest hole in the north sea, and allowed 3 other boats to sail around them (laughing a lot) on the final leg before the breeze completely disappeared. Special day 1 mention to Dalgety Bay's Laser 4000 maestro Peter Taylor who has this year come out of retirement and with local top crew Naomi Moran sailing the Scottish Demo boat demonstrated huge improvement as the day went on to chalk up a 3rd in Race 3.

    So overnight it was close at the top with 1 point separating the twins / Robertsons, Yeamans / Bedborough tied on 12 points and Mclellan slightly adrift on 16. With the customary ASYC barbeque in the street, a further competition then ensued with the Albacore fleet to see who could drink the ASYC bar dry. Noteable in their absence were several of the top 5 boats and the twins deserve a special mention for maintaining form and propping up the bar whilst others got their beauty sleep.

    With a very light forecast Sunday looked debatable and hop-recovery-drink-induced bleary eyes were greeted by a millpond like Stoni harbour - however the race officer knew something we didn't and we launched into a building Force 2. Race 4 start was interesting with an extreme port biased line and only space for 8 boats ! Amazingly we got off cleanly and this time it was the Urquharts who showed Robertson a clean pair of heels to take the bullet,with McLellan, Bedborough, Yeamans finishing in that order. This meant that in a dying breeze going into race 5 the first 2 boats were tied on points and there was very little separating the next 3. In true Scottish summer fashion the big line of clouds that had appeared on the horizon delivered a final twist and on the last lap the breeze dropped completely and the heavens opened to an almighty downpour. The course then turned inside out and it was Pete Taylor in "desDEMOna" who came through to take a very popular win. McLellan sealed third place with a significant 2nd, and the Urquharts took 3rd ahead of Robertson to take the event win - Race 6 being canned as the wind finally obeyed the forecast and refused to fill in from any one direction.

     Further down the fleet there was amazingly close racing and frequently all boats would finish within 2 or 3 minutes even after 4 laps of racing. It was great to see Oli Webster back in the fleet after his American adventure / baby sabbatical, and Mike Atkinson, Angus Marshall and Andrew Grieve as now firmly welcomed into the crews union. Of course being a Scottish event there must be some duckhams nomination and they include in no particular order – Sarah Meldrum for attempting to decapitate grumpy on a heads-down pole hoist, Chris Dowie for manufacturing a man overboard for new crew Rosanne and then simply sailing away, grumpy for selecting his oldest sails in a supreme display of overconfidence, Phil "Duckams" Britton for not doing anything vaguely deserving of a Duckhams nomination, and lastly a certain UK Class chairman for creative interpretation of the port-starboard rule ("Do you know who I am" etc. etc.)...

    All agreed it was a cracking event and a great result for Richard and Stuart Urquhart who were gracious in victory and quick to remind everyone next up is their home regatta at Royal Findhorn where the sun always shines and the bar never shuts. I think they also said they will sell their National 18 to ensure they make all the remaining 400 events this year. With 17 home boats we expect to see a return to the customary 20+ numbers we have been seeing recently at RS400 opens, and hopefully the twins winning streak will continue to break the traditional finishing order and keep Grumpy on his toes!

    Full results at http://www.asyc.org.uk/images/documents/openregatta/regatta_2015/Regatta_2015_RS400_Overall.pdf

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