48th Piper Anniversary Regatta 2014

“Wet but plenty of enthusiasm “

 The 48th Piper OD Anniversary Regatta opened the weekend racing season in some of the wettest conditions known to man. The Holy Loch Sailing Club was the fitting location for the fleet to battle it out over the weekend of 17th-18th May.

 The Piper class three man keelboat was born in Robertson’s Boatyard at Sandbank in 1966 having been conceived by yacht designer David Boyd from his experience of the 12 metre, Sovereign, Scotland’s last challenger for the Americas Cup in 1964.  57 Pipers were built, many of which still sail on the Clyde although they have also found homes as far afield as the Mediterranean, Bermuda, Africa and the USA.

Only 8 entries were received for this years event, due partly , no doubt, to the appallingly wet and cold weather over the spring May weekend, but it was a great sight watching the boats close tacking and jostling for position throughout the day, all within the confines of the upper end of the loch.

But such was the enthusiasm of race officer, Bill Aitchison and his team who produced six perfectly chosen race courses over the two days, the hospitality of the catering girls in the Clubhouse whose good nature and hard work provided a welcoming ambiance on coming ashore, not to mention the vivacity of the competitors themselves, the success of the regatta was assured.

The close competition throughout the whole fleet, too, ensured that interest was maintained over the weekend and the racing produced five different winners in the six races sailed.

First blood went to the local team aboard Tass 3, helmed by Alan Waugh, a diehard of the class who was a very popular winner of Saturday’s competition for the Tennant Caledonian Cup, crewed by his loyal lieutenant, Jim Lee, and Cloe Whitton, who managed to fend off the close challenge of another much experienced local maestro, Jeremy Thomson and his crew, sailing Sanderling.

 Although the turnout was not as high as expected, two very popular and welcome competitors who brought the three Clyde Piper fleets together were Gavin McLellan’s enthusiastic crew from the Gareloch in Magic Flute and Brian McLean and Peter Boyd from Gourock in Roseann, and it was this latter crew who took the initiative on Sunday to record a second and two firsts places in the tricky conditions, to not only win the Fairbairn Salver for Sunday’s competition but also the Royal Marine Hotel Gold Cup for overall honours.

This regatta is the first of four spread over the season which count towards the Travellers Series for the class and, as the present holders of the Ferrier Rosebowl for this, Roseann is already well placed to defend the trophy with the next event taking place at Cove Regatta in June.

Our thanks go to event sponsors Boat Electrics and Electronics and Savills for their contribution to the event and the “Keeper Prizes”

 With only two years to go until the Piper Class’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2016, owners are already thinking about ways of marking this auspicious event and giving their boats the nautical equivalent of botox treatments to restore their adored boats to their prime.

 OVERALL RESULTS:   1     Rosanne     B. McLean     Royal Gourock YC     6pts                                            2     Staypuff     R/N Towart     Holy Loch SC            9pts                                            3     Sanderling  J Thomson       Holy Loch SC           10pts                                            4     Billie          I Hurrel            Holy Loch SC           10pts

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Report by Bob Donaldson