Light winds test competitors in Oban Sailing Club’s ‘Wee Peaks’ Race

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Oban Sailing Club’s (OSC) Wee Peaks Race had a record 18 competitors competing in 13 dinghies.

Seven of those taking part were under 12-years-old. And it was victory for Euan Dowd in his Laser who took first overall with Calum Warnock second.

One of the most popular of the dinghy events at OSC and now organised by Chris Dowd, this annual race was initiated by Murray Peden, a junior dinghy sailor at the time. He wanted the Wee Peaks to provide an opportunity to combine hill running and dinghy sailing locally.

The Wee Peaks event is a scaled down version of its big brother, the Scottish Islands Peaks Race.

The course involves racing across Oban Bay, running up to Hutchison’s Monument and another three peaks on Kerrera, sailing and landing on Heather Island and finally scaling a hill at the back of Kilbowie, all undertaken in sailing dinghies or kayaks. Originally Battleship Hill was a check point but more frequent ferry traffic saw organisers change this for safety reasons.

Competitors are allowed to use their own power as well as that of the wind.
In addition to individual competitors, this year there were sibling and parent and child teams. Sunshine and very light winds at the start at OSC saw the dinghies sail and paddle across to the first 30m ascent to Hutchison’s Monument, navigating past the luxury cruise ship anchored in the bay.

With the wind gradually filling in, it was a faster sail to the second peak (40m) then across to Heather Island for the third check point, and back across to Kerrera for the forth (90m), before finally crossing the mainland to Kilbowie hill. On the final sail in to cross the finish line at OSC, the wind started to fade again but everyone finished.

Irena Chapman of Oban Sailing Club said: ‘Despite the light airs, we had much better conditions than last year when high winds resulted in the sailing part of the race being abandoned and participants being ferried to the various hill races in the safety boats. This year there was some very close racing and enthusiastic paddling.’

Euan Dowd was first over the line and won the Under-16 category in his Laser.

Calum Warnock finished second overall and first in the Over-16 section in a club Topper. The team of Callan and William were third.