I'd forgotten what it was like getting up and out quite so early, on the move by 6:15 very dark and quiet. NBRC had let free a wee group to do the umpire course the night before and most had camped as well. Hardy lot. As the sun started to rise above Fife (Ed: That wasn't the Sun it was Mossmorran!), we'd managed the new crossing without dropping a gear. We sped (Ed: within the speed limit of course) on through the ever changing scenery to the stunning and very colorful Loch Tummel Sailing Club. Nestled mainly out of the building breeze if you positioned yourself right. The cosy and spacious club house was a great welcome place to group and chat, plot new adventures and dissect every race. Bacon rolls and copious amounts of tea and coffee. The coxes briefing promised of ever building winds and fast turn overs of crews to ensure we got as many races completed.
It was a tad mind blowing for our regional captains Stuart and Ali with 81 signed up to squeeze into two boats,Port Seton boats changed their names for the day being Bass Rock and St Kilda and the challenge was set, also to the new umpires to help make the day run smoothly and without having to issue any penalties, or predict any issues before they happened. Getting the names of each boat and their numbers is often hard enough but remembering which region they came from was a bit of a challenge when setting up and starting races, especially with the strong headwind and powerful currents, staying on the line was tough on the coxes too.
So down to working out which boat you were in which team and whether you were coxing, all tables sent out beforehand were told to be discarded and to watch our white board. When to eat, hydrate and what clothes to wear all the usual scenarios....
Racing was over a 500m course into the strong westerly wind with a starboard turn and sprint half way back with the following wind to cross the transit with the watch hut. All races were closely fought, and very hard to predict who crossed the line first even from the coxes seat. For me the tender steps up and down the pontoon were spent on my knees a lot too, and the Port Seton lifejackets were certainly hard to adjust everytime, glad of helping out each other in all situations.
As the day went on more white horses appeared and the loch turned into more like coastal waters. As the novice crews took to the water, gusts were reaching up to 40 mph and it was decided to postpone for a while to see if the last races could take place. We were treated to a very informative chat by the Teale Trailer rep with some very good points to highlight for the future. Regional coxes then retired to discuss the weather, whilst we all proceeded to eat our way through the amazing spread of soup, rolls, pies and cakes.
And....yes we were back on the water, not for the novice but the shortened long distance last two races, they really did have a hard slog. After retrieving boats to trailers and packing up all our layers, points were counted....the lovely wooden medals were shared out in the warmth of the club house. And the overall shield......YES back to south east again.
What a fantastic days racing, knowledge, catching up with new and old pals, hospitality and fun. A much needed stop to refuel with amazing pizza on the way home and in bed by ten.....old/new time. Thank you to all the powers that be for the great organising of so many members of the SCRA from all over the country. I do hope you had a good AGM and slept well after a long and fruitful day.Jacque Turner