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Pentland Firth Yacht Club back on the water as restrictions are eased

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The race getting under way with the four Topper dinghies making their way across the start line.
The race getting under way with the four Topper dinghies making their way across the start line.

The Covid-19 restrictions had prevented the sailing season starting until the Scottish Government made the move to phase two of easing the lockdown. Pentland Firth Yacht Club moved quickly after this relaxation was announced and, with the support of Scrabster harbour, the rescue boat was launched on Saturday, June 20, with the first sailing taking place on the Sunday.

The weather was not at its most co-operative and the strong winds during the early part of the day meant that the decision was made to delay the start by an hour to avoid the stronger winds since the sailors were, inevitably, a bit unsure after such a long time not being on the water.

At last four single-hander Topper dinghies with Malcolm Lord, Maja Redlowska, Ian Grant and Thomas McAlonan aboard made their way to the course which had been set by the rescue boat crew, Dave and Marjory Lord.

Finally the first race of the season was under way and Malcolm made his usual superb start and led throughout. Behind him Maja and Ian were well matched and this was where most of the close racing took place.

Thomas, who had only learned to sail the previous year, found the changing wind conditions a challenge.

As the race progressed the wind strength fell to a very gentle breeze and its direction changed completely – indeed it moved by about 180 degrees during the race, which is enough to confuse even the most experienced sailor.

As well as the wind changes, dark clouds began to move across the sky and by the time the race was over there were cracks of thunder and flashes of lightning over eastern Caithness and the decision was made to call it a day after one race.

Maja took second place behind Malcolm, with Ian third and Thomas fourth.

The club is always looking for new members. Anyone who has an interest in sailing or would like to become involved can contact pentlandfirthyc@gmail.com.

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