Contrasting conditions for 2017 Round Mull Race

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CONTRASTING weather conditions gave a variety of sailing in this year’s Ardfern Yacht Centre and Owen Sails-sponsored Round Mull Race.
Run by Oban Sailing Club, the circumnavigation saw 36 boats competing over the weekend, making it one of the most popular events on the West Coast. The fleet races 100 miles over three stages – Oban to Tober­mory, Tobermory to Bunessan and Bunessan to Oban.
Light conditions after the start in Oban Bay on Friday saw the four-class fleet merge as the wind shut off for most of the fleet at the northern entrance to the bay.
Those lucky enough to be to the fore managed to keep the breeze and made good progress to Lismore light, continuing on a beat to the finish near Tobermory Bay.
The Sigma 400 of Scott Chalmers won Class 1 and the Mishnish Bucket for the best performance of the fleet overall. The Class 2 winner was Tidechaser with Class 3 won by Hot Toddy. Donald McLaren and family in Sigmatic lifted the restricted sail class overall.
On Saturday the spinnaker fleet had a kite run out of Tober­mory Bay with a following wind where places changed as the wind fluctuated before going ahead and increasing in strength.
The long beat to Bunessan was punishing for some of the smaller boats with a lumpy sea and strong headwind with some boats taking around seven hours to reach Loch na Lathaich. Those staying out towards Coll took the advantage on boats short tacking the Mull shore.
Ken Pritchard and team on the J122 Moonstruck Too took the honours winning Class 1 and the Bunessan Hall Trophy for the best performance of the day. David Hay won Class 2 with Bragar while in Class 3 Alistair Pugh and his Contessa 32 Marisca stormed ahead to win by a strong margin.
Mystic Sun, the Oceanis 440 of Williams and Johnson, lifted the prize in the restricted sail class. The buffet and ceilidh organised by the Bunessan Hall committee in aid of the Ross of Mull Historical Society was excellent with a good evening had by all.
Sunday dawned calm with very light airs and the fleet over an hour to reach the Sound of Iona. Zephyrs saw kites fill and then collapse with some boats opting at this stage to retire from the race. As time went on and the wind failed to materialise, the majority of the fleet retired.
Roxanne and Moonstruck Too were the only boats to finish at Frank Lockwood’s Island with a matter of minutes before the time limit expired. The Chalmers family on Sunrise failed to make the finish by only seconds.
Billy Forteith, main organiser of the race, said: ‘We were pleased with the way the event went overall. It was disappointing on Sunday that the wind shut off but that’s racing. We look forward to seeing all the familiar faces as well as new ones for next year’s Round Mull 2018.’
He thanked all the main sponsors – Owen Sails and Ardfern Yacht Centre as well as Forteith Refrigeration and Heat Pump Solutions, T Barbour Fuels, Dimension Polyant for T-shirts and David Sturrock for providing the committee vessel Unity for the event.
A special thanks was given to race officer David Preston and assistant race officer Jim Tolmie for running the event. The main trophies are awarded at the OSC prize-giving in November.
Oban to Tobermory Class 1: 1 Sunrise; 2 Wookie 2; 3 Roxanne.
Class 2: 1 Tidechaser; 2 Bragar; 3 Shadowfax.
Class 3: 1 Hot Toddy; 2 Marisca; 3 Oyster Catcher.
Restricted sail: 1 Sigmatic; 2 Celtic Spirit; 3 Mystic Sun.
Tobermory to Bunessan Class 1: 1 Moonstruck Too; 2 Sunrise; 3 Taz.
Class 2: 1 Bragar; 2 Sorr of Appin; 3 Shadowfax.
Class 3: 1 Marisca; 2 Oyster Catcher; 3 Scintilla of the Sea.
Restricted Sail: 1 Mystic Sun; 2 Shenavall; 3 Celtic Spirit.
Overall trophies:
The Mishnish Bucket – Sunrise.
The Bunessan Hall Trophy – Moostruck Too.
Glencoe Trophy – Roxanne.
Mull Plaque – fastest circumnavigation on elapsed time – Roxanne.
Class 1: overall Antique Schweppes Trophy – Roxanne.
Class 2: overall Royal Bank of Scotland Cup – Bragar.
Class 3: overall The Jolanta Trophy – Marisca.
The Bilgewater Shield: The best overall points of all classes, the Royal Bank of Scotland Trophy – Moonstruck Too;
Fastest circumnavigation corrected time double-handed – The Bilgewater Shield – best double-handed performance – Oyster Catcher.
Overall winner 2017 The
Torran Rock for the monohull with the best corrected time overall regardless of class – Roxanne.