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Tiree Regatta 2012

regatta_2012By Robert Trythall

The forecast for the start of Tiree’s 2012 Regatta, was dreich with showers, and a gusty offshore WNW wind freshening by late afternoon to 20-25 knots. Not the best of forecasts, but at the skippers’ meeting it was decided the forecast was not one that would cause a postponement of the 2 o’clock start.

At the start the wind still had to freshen, but the sun had come out, there were no showers, and a glorious race was in prospect. The forecast had put off a few boats, but among the fleet were 4 of the classic Tiree dipping lugs, which are now a rare sight on the Scottish Regatta scene. The lugs and mixed dinghy fleet made a perfect start but as they rounded the first mark the wind freshened and what ensued was one of the toughest Tiree Regattas for many years.

The dinghies finished the 2 laps of the course in record time, but dipping lugs have a huge problem going upwind and this was causing difficulties. Reefing was essential, but in the freshening conditions proved difficult to execute as wind and tide were building a considerable chop. The pressure on the mast foot of one of the lugs, the Daisy, skippered by Iain Macdonald, caused the mast to snap its securing thwart. It had to withdraw.

From the shore, conditions looked benign but were deteriorating sharply as the fleet attempted to round the last mark to the finish line. This proved problematic, with all bar one of the boats failing to round the mark. Donnie MacInnes, skipper of the Mary was the sole finisher. At the prize giving, supping from the winner’s Quaich, he revealed local knowledge passed on from his father – ‘with the mark in the position it was, then in a very fresh NW, the best tactic to adopt is to head inshore to nearly beach the boat, tack ,and come down around the mark’. This, Donnie had executed to perfection!

The committee, having spent many hours deriving a new handicap system for the Tiree lugs, did not have to revert to a computer to work it all out. There was just one finisher, job done !! Finn MacDonald aged 11, helming his Pico with dad Karl as crew, followed his success in last year’s Centenery Regatta by winning the Dinghy class from Mamie Jean II, helmed by Martin Finnigan and crewed by John Macdonell, who had rushed from the Stramash course to make the start.

Ashore, events were in full swing, but also wind affected. As with the boat racing, there was only one finisher, in the traditional Tiree Raft race, with the crews of the other rafts forced to abandon ‘raft’ , so to speak, at the Harbour entrance, before the offshore wind threatened to blow them off to Mull. The Young Farmers’ raft arrived without paddles, confirmation of their land-lubber instincts!! The sandcastle competition was fierce, with many families putting together some amazing constructions. Some splendidly ‘engineered’ and stunning ‘art-designed‘ castles were on display. Winners were the Macintosh and Larg families respectively. The SUP race with 10 racers was a great success, ending with a 3 man–girl race off, with the Brimelow Family just nudging Helen Thompson into 3rd place. Meanwhile relieved skippers and crews, retired to the bar to reflect on one of the toughest Tiree Regattas in the last 20 years.

Young Finn Sails To Victory

by Ian Sharp

FinnEleven-year-old Finn Macdonald is believed to be the youngest skipper to win the Concise Cup after he sailed to victory at last week-end’s annual Tiree regatta.

Last year Finn was crewed in the race by his sailing instructor and although he came in third, he lost his place because of a mix up. This year young Finn, crewed by his dad, Karl Hughes, made up for his disappointment during last year’s centenary regatta, by winning the coveted sailing prize.

After the prize-giving as he proudly held the silver cup which will have his name inscribed on it his father, Karl, said:”He must be the happiest boy on Tiree tonight.”

Finn’s mum Lorna, of Balevullin, said:’‘We are all so proud of Finn’s achievment. He worked so hard to win the cup this year. I have been told that he is thought to be the youngest ever skipper to have won the Concise Cup.”

The Year In Review

Looking back at 2010 shows that the year started quietly.

The main topic of conversation which divided opinion on and off the island, is the proposed off-shore wind farm, now known as Tiree Array, which caused heated debates and which I am sure will continue through this year too.

February saw the appointment of a new Police Officer – PC Tanner, and the wind turbine at Ruaig was given the name Tilley following a competition run by the board of Tiree Trust.

Following tests in April Tilley was officially declared “open”, with a naming ceremony at Ruaig, followed by a gathering at An Talla where Champagne was served followed by Tea/coffee and cakes. A dance in the evening was well attended.

Work started on the Ringside Theatre and Tiree Maritime Boat Builder Course ended with the full renovation of Morag- Anne and Daisy and the start of the making of a new copy of Morag-Anne.

The newly formed Ch@ room on a Friday evening proved popular with our youngsters as did the continuation of the Youth Club.

In March there were rumours that Tiree High School could be closed as part of Argyll & Bute Councils cost saving measures. This culminated in a packed meeting at An Talla in May being informed that whilst the school would remain open the number of teaching staff would need to be reduced. The Parent Council organised many meetings with council and government officials in order to minimise the harm that this would do to the education of our children.

Over 100 people took part in Tiree’s first ever Sport Relief Mile raising over £1000 for charity.

Highland Airways went bust and the flights from Oban to Tiree were taken over by Hebridean Air Services Ltd.

In May we heard that there was to be another island first –Tiree Music Festival was to take place in July. This turned out to be a huge success with performances from Skerryvore, Skippinish, Gunna Sound, Trailwest, the Defenders, Fortunate Sons, Crooked Reel, Torridon and a unique performance by the All Star Tiree Ceilidh Band. News of this year’s Tiree Music Festival will be announced shortly – watch this space!

A volcano erupting in Iceland caused disruption to flights all over Britain and Tiree was left for a number of days with no planes arriving or departing.

For those of a more energetic nature the annual 10k run in June involved over 200 people both locals and visitors.

The debate regarding Tiree Array continued with over 150 people attending a public meeting at An Talla.

2010 was the year of the 50th Anniversary of Tiree SWRI, a lunch was held at the Lodge Hotel to mark the occasion.

A group was set up to try to find a way to save the Thatched House Museum and although the original building has been sold there are plans to build a new thatched house museum and research into this is ongoing.

July was packed with the Art Exhibition, Feis, Agricultural Show and Dance, Sports Day and 5 A-side football tournament. Strenuous activity continued in August with the Regatta. Once again the Raft Race proved a popular if slightly ungainly affair and the Trawler race was fought out in its unique colourful way!

A Grand Black Tie event was held to mark the opening of The Ringside Theatre and film showings there over the following months have proved to be popular with young and old.

Another first for Tiree occurred at the end of September when a Northern Parula ( a small bird) stopped for a few days of rest. This was so rare that twitchers from all over the mainland arrived – some by chartered plane- to catch a glimpse of the visitor.

Although the winds blew strongly at the beginning of October, by the date of the wave Classic the island was left with barely a breeze and many activities took place on land rather than on the waves.

In October a new memorial was unveiled at Sandaig, to commemorate HMS Sturdy which had been driven onto the rocks following a storm in 1940.

Gordon Connel was winner of Music Tutor of the Year at the Trads in November and Skippinish Ceilidh House won Venue of the Year.

December saw snow lying on the ground for a number of days and temperatures struggled to get above zero despite the sunshine. The Christmas Party season banished the winter chill for a few days at least but a few days into January the snow returned to keep us on our toes.

Tiree Regatta 2010 Review

Tiree regatta 2010

The morning of Sat 7th Aug, Regatta Day, was no different from most days this summer;
damp, grey and windy. Not very promising, but by noon, the skies had cleared with the wind easing back to a brisk northerly, giving Regatta Day glorious conditions for both sailing and shore events.

The start line was impressive with 13 boats jostling for position, the most Tiree Regatta has had for some years. The boats included the Tiree renovated lugs, Daisy and Morag Anne, and a stunning 26 ft gaff ketch Freya, which had sailed in from Iona the previous evening. Even more impressive was the actual start, with most of the boats making a perfect start. To the non sailors on the shore it was obvious that a very competitive race had begun.

At the 1st mark, a gybe, there was some very aggressive tactical sailing with Angus Maclean’s Catadh Mara taking the perfect inside line forcing Magnus Laird’s Soa to the outside. Spark, the catamaran, was revelling in the brisk conditions, and notwithstanding having to make an additional round of the course, won the Concise Cup.

Tiree regatta Lug boats

The Lugs battled it out with Morag Anne taking the Skippinish Cup just nudging the “all-lady” crewed Passing Cloud on the line. Regrettably 2 of the lugs were forced to retire with jammed rudders which had been caught in creel lines.

Shore-side, Anna Macdonald and Christine Macarthur were having a marathon pillow fight contest. The referee had to call a time-out for everyone, including spectators, to get their breath back, after which Anna and Christine slugged it out to an epic conclusion.

For the Raft Race, the Airport Fire team entered the most radical raft design Tiree had seen for many a day. It was a light alloy monocoque hull with asymmetric outriggers. Alas the conditions on the day did not favour such advanced technology, as on the mark, the raft’s windage caused a capsize, upending the crew, who then had to battle to prevent their raft sailing off, unmanned, to Mull.

The Regatta drew to a close with the traditional Trawler race being fought out in its unique colourful way, viewed closely by many visitors, and Tirisdich, from Skippinish Tour’s Rib, on a high speed cruise around the bay in the warm afternoon sun.

For full results see www.tireeregatta.org.uk