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Sailors undaunted by conditions in last racing of Spring Series

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Thomas McAlonan’s Topper battling with Mark Johnston’s Laser for the best start.
Thomas McAlonan’s Topper battling with Mark Johnston’s Laser for the best start.

Sunday, May 22 brought the last races of the Spring Series at Pentland Firth Yacht Club – unusual this year because the weather had not resulted in any cancellations because of too much or too little wind.

However, conditions did their best to discourage the sailors with light winds and torrential showers during the afternoon sailing. The enthusiasm of the sailors remained undaunted, though – dinghy sailing is a wet sport anyway, and it makes little difference whether the water comes from above or below.

The organisers were pleased to see a mixed fleet of boats spread out across the race course, competing in very close racing. There was a season record of seven boats on the water.

They also saw a dramatic change in wind direction, going from south to north in under a minute during race one, which caused some confusion among the racers. Some were more able than others to capitalise on this and move up the fleet.

Mark Johnston in his Laser Radial made his return to club racing after a long absence and showed that, once learned, the skills of sailing are not forgotten.

The fleet was a well-balanced mix of single and double-handed craft: two Mirrors, three Lasers, a Topper and the Bosun.

Junior member Katie Carlisle was taking the helm for the first time in her Mirror, with Donald MacKenzie as crew. The other Mirror was crewed by Liam King (back from university) and Iain Campbell (a new club member who sailed with the club as a youngster long ago).

The Bosun with Ian Carlisle and Kyle Oag aboard and the Topper with Ian Grant completed the fleet.

It was Mark Johnston who took first place in race one, with Dave Lord second and Marjory Lord third.

The second race saw Mark again taking the honours but this time Marjory was second.

The final race also saw Ian Grant joining Martin Lord on the rescue boat, allowing Thomas McAlonan to sail the Topper. The race saw Mark and Marjory battling for first place and Marjory pipped Mark by one second.

When all the series results were taken into account it was Marjory Lord who had won the cup, with Dave Lord second and Sam Hodgkinson third.

Anyone wishing to get involved can visit the club's Facebook page and send a direct message, or email pentlandfirthyc@gmail.com – the club is also on Instagram (pfyc thurso).

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