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A week of good breezes for the 91-strong West Highland Yachting Week (WHYW) was the icing on the cake for the regatta’s 70th anniversary celebration.
And Irish visitor, the kenspeckle Nicholson 43 Magdaleyne, revelled in the conditions to lift the best performance of the fleet overall taking home the Peter Cocks Trophy. With a run of firsts and two seconds, Michael Petticrew’s classic showed the rest of the highly competitive class five a clean pair of heels throughout the week.
It was fitting that the event’s major sponsor, Boyd Tunnock, with his Moody 38 Lemerac, pushed Magdaleyne into second place on the Tobermory to Oban race sponsored, appropriately, by Thomas Tunnock Ltd. Boyd’s team pulled out all the stops to take an excellent win.
Scott and Nicola Chalmers on Sunrise pushed the envelope further in class two in the Argyll white sail fleet with a straight run of firsts and one second to discard in the Points Series with their Sigma 400 Sunrise. They won the class on four points, but were shy of the elusive overall trophy once again.
Close also were former overall event title winners Allan Jeffrey and Paul Scutt with Carmen II in class zero. And finishing on eight points overall it was another class win for Malindi of Lorne in the Argyll fleet class nine, with Seonaid Reid and her all-girl team sailing the family wooden McGruer classic. The West Highland Week Family Trophy went to Grand Cru.
For the first time, WHYW 70 ran two races off Craobh for the Tunnock’s-sponsored spinnaker fleet while the Argyll fleet sailed round Shuna and into Loch Melfort. And this year tides were favourable to run an excellent round Lismore race.
Principal race officer Malcolm MacGregor said: ‘The experimental Craobh races worked well and proved popular. The regatta was a great success. The winds were good which gave great racing for all.’
Local boats had a good showing at the regatta, with Lochaber yacht Popcorn taking another convincing win in class eight. Raced by Angus Fyfe and family, Popcorn won the Oban Bicentenary Trophy for the best corrected time for the Craobh to Oban race sponsored by Owen Sails. Beppo Buchanan-Smith recorded some excellent results in class one with two firsts, one on the Oban to Tobermory race sponsored by Gael Force Marine Equipment, over the week to finish second on points in class. Lucy Girling of Oban with her all-girl team on the GK 24 Zebedee finished second overall to Popcorn.
Tayvallich’s Darren Taylor and Bluefin had some good performances, as did Marian Austin’s team on Scintilla of the Sea from Lochaber and Hot Toddy from Oban, all racing in class eight. Michael Johnston with his Freedom 35 Arran Comrades, a regular sailor in Argyll, stormed through on Friday from Tobermory to Oban to win the British Waterways Trophy for the best in fleet.
Former class and overall title winner Oban’s Steven Forteith and team on Shadowfax had to be content with a fourth overall in a highly competitive class five. Lochgilphead’s Brian Robertson with Celtic Spirit was seventhth overall in this class, Oban sailor Graham Anderson and Lucky Ned Pepper eighth, Eric and Irena Chapman’s Amber Haze finished ninth, while Adrian Laycock’s Prime Cut finished 13th. David Cooper’s Dehler 34 Suilven from Glencoe was sixth in white sail class six. Oban’s Colin Crawford with Nimrod was eighth in class seven. Malindi of Lorne, the McGruer classic based at Tarbert, won class nine, with Judy Orr’s Eureka from Campbeltown finishing fourth in this class.
The WHYW fleet’s arrival in Oban on Monday coincided with the opening of Oban’s long-awaited transit marina. The North Pier pontoons filled with yachts from the fleet that also berthed at Oban Marina on Kerrera and Dunstaffnage Marina and used the moorings of Oban Community Berthing Association.
Elaine Robertson, who is chairwoman of Oban, Lorn and the Isles Area Committee, said: ‘The transit marina facilities will be a huge boost to the economy and development of Oban and the whole area.
‘I am delighted that the pontoons opened in time for the 70th anniversary of West Highland Yachting Week.’
From the launch party at the Lord of the Isles to the closing prize-giving barbecue and dance hosted by Ranulph McLauchlan and team at Dunstaffnage Marina, the WHYW 70 social programme was outstanding.
A special 70th anniversary reception and dance in the Argyllshire Gathering Halls in Oban was well attended with dancing to the 70s music of local Stillwater band.
Andy Knox, chairman of the Joint Regatta Committee, said: ‘This has been an exceptional regatta celebrating 70 years of racing in Argyll between the venues of Craobh, Oban and Tobermory.
‘Not only does it provide great racing and entertainment for competitors but a significant boost to the economy of the area. We are grateful to all the teams that work behind the scenes to run the regatta, not least our sponsors, without whom the event would not be possible.’
WHYW is sponsored by Tunnock’s, Argyll and Bute Council, Tobermory Harbour Association, Malin Waters, Owen Sails, Gael Force Marine Equipment and Dunstaffnage Marina with support from West Coast Motors, Webcraft UK Ltd and Scottish Canals.