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Daily updates from The Fife Regatta press

01 July 2013

Fife Regatta 2013 – William Fife Designed Classic Yacht Regatta, Firth of Clyde, 28 June – 5 July

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Joanna Turner reports from the Fife yachts regatta...

Day Six – 4 July – Fast and Fyne – A Classic Day Sailing

A sail to be remembered was documented today for all involved in race 4 of the Fife Regatta.  Pushed to their limits these boats showed how a century of the exceptional skills of William Fife created strong, efficient and majestic vessels.

Leaving the shelter of Portavadie Marina they gathered in Loch Fyne with sun peeking through dramatic skies reflecting beautifully off the varnished decks of American yacht Astor as she set off in her quest of victory on Independence Day.  Waking to a day of sunshine and wind between 15 – 20 kts is very pleasing for a sailor and most were not disappointed.

Latifa and Kentra powered through the start line giving a fine spectacle of classic quality.  Continuing with her were class 1 boats Sonata and Solway Maid.  These yachts share the same hull design but differ in their rigs.  Sonata is the only yacht with an Aluminium mast and was completed in the 1950s with this more modern approach.  Solway Maid having recently been lovingly refurbished was looking stunning surfing downwind with her spinnaker flying requesting everything of her crew onboard.

Class two boats followed suit in wonderful breeze and were a splendid sight against the back drop of Arran and the mountain ridge of Goatfell and the “warrior”. Truant and Mikado were tussling it out at the front of their class with incredible boat handling and making exceptional speeds.  Challenging each other with their sail plan Mikado remarked later in the sailing club bar that they used almost every sail they had and had not foreseen so many sail changes to maximise on their days racing.  Asked to sum up the day they said “if the week hadn’t been extreme enough then today certainly topped it – it had everything”

The class 3 boats started separately in the East Kyle between Bute and Inchmarnock Island.  Being an hour later they dovetailed into the race and enjoyed phenomenal sailing close into the Bute shore and across into the home straight to Largs.  It was not without eventuality as the breeze built with squalls exceeding 30kts.  This was on the edge for these small yachts and they were forced to tack round instead gybing in order cope with the power in the sail, the rig and the sea.  Oblio, owned by Gordon Turner, spectacularly took on the challenge of gybing and as an eye witness there were definitely a few wet wellies and assistance required from each other to keep all crew onboard.

Rounding the final headland of Millport Bay brought the yachts into more sheltered waters in the Largs Channel.  It is a welcome feeling after what was described by one competitor as a “screaming sail, the type that is a fine line between exhilarating and terrifying!”  It is without doubt that this will be a race remembered and talked about for a very long time and will find its own place in the archive stories of the great Fife yachts.

Results of Race 4 on the Fourth of July will give cause for celebration for Astor as she claimed 1st place and is tied on points with Latifa as they approach the final race of the series tomorrow.  Mikado scored first in class 2 and leads overall and Mignon won continues her winning streak in class 3 with straight firsts.

Class 1: Saskia 4pts, Latifa 7pts, Astor 7pts

Class 2: Mikado 3pts, The Truant 5 pts, Viola 9pts

Class 3: Mignon 3pts, Coralie 6pts, Rainbow 11pts.


Day Four – 2 July  Wooden Classics in the Hand of Nature

Latifa’s splendid port tack start across all of the other  Class 1 yachts was an enthralling beginning  to another day of racing for the Fife Regatta.  Competitors from as far as Italy and California dressed for Scottish Sailing in full waterproofs and had a true experience of our west coast.  The strong south westerly breeze reaching 30 mph at times gave exhilarating sailing for those on board and spectacular sight for those watching from the shores.

Class 1 and 2 boats left behind the lovely villages of Kames and Tighnabruaich after a superb visit.  The village had hosted a BBQ, wooden boat skiff rowing races, a meal for 100 guests and a ceilidh.  Yesterday a sunny cruise was enjoyed through the scenic Kyles with boats cross taking through the ‘narrows’ on their way from Rothesay.  John Aitken sailing onboard Solway Maid described it as “fantastic and an absolute privilege.” CNN camera man has been thrilled by his experience of classic yachts in Scotland and loved Sundays sailing when “Mother Nature took charge and gave dramatic sailing.”

Mother Nature influenced class 3 today and their race was cancelled due to the strong winds and sea state.  Prior to this announcement, Ayrshire Lass,  the oldest of our fine Fifes had set off having made her decision to cruise to our destination, Portavadie marina.  At 126 years she was the first to reach Portavdie after four hours of sailing, loving every minute of it and feasting on a fine supply of Glasgow made Tunnocks treats.

The Scottish owned, Saskia, the elegant 8m pure racing boat, has achieved some excellent results, but due to other racing commitments at Cowes this weekend, she is unable to complete the regatta and sadly we have to say goodbye to her tomorrow. 

The famous dragon emblem of Fife’s creations has been much admired and being worn with pride by all competitors and supporters of the regatta.  Commemorative clothing is available through the regatta shop at Portavadie and Largs Yacht Haven for the remainder of the event.

Tomorrow sees a well-earned lay day where crews can explore the local area, take a trip on the paddle steamer Waverley or simply take pleasure in visiting each other’s yachts.

Class 1 winner was Latifa, the first of the regatta, now lying second overall.  Class 2 continues to be closely contested between The Truant and Mikado, with Mikado claiming first place.  Results are on www.fiferegatta.com



Day Two – Fife Regatta 2013 – All Action in the Largs Channel

All action today in the Largs channel as Solway Maid’s spinnaker ripped in the first few minutes after the start of Race 2 of the Fife Regatta.  After a spectacular sail to the line right on the start gun she was looking fantastic however the classics are challenged by winds of up to 25 kts.

If it is a challenge on the large yachts then consider the extremes on the smaller Fife’s with freeboard of 2ft.  Being so close to the water is exhilarating and very much a feature of these well designed craft.  Bob Fisher, attired in his blazer and tie, was getting the very best from Mignon with crew Barry Dunning working hard as the yacht was surfing downwind.

Stephen Bennie, from Troon Yacht Haven commented that the boats were pushing the drawing board with great sailing and Viola breaking her top speed of 10kts.  The fleet headed north form Largs up to Skelmorlie bank buoy, across to Toward Lighthouse and then towards the beautiful harbour of Rothesay where they anchored.

Yacht Latifa, with a good percentage of Clyde based sailors, have been welcomed by their skipper Mario Pirri.  Mario’s journey to Scotland is an example of sheer determination and strength. Sailing his 75ft yacht singlehandedly, he unfortunately suffered injury.  He was not to be discouraged and got friends and family to safely deliver the boat to Scotland while he addressed his medical needs.  Mario is now back on board and racing with his crew in all weathers here in Scotland. He is relishing every minute of sailing his fine vessel on home waters.  It is such passion and dedication that keeps these yachts afloat which provides pleasure for those aboard and watching from ashore.

The Bilgewater Gin Media boat hosting the international press representatives were blown away by the dramatic sailing and how boats as old as 126 years old are still strong enough to handle such conditions.  Bilge water would be something most of the yachts would have experienced today unfortunately not in the form of Invergordon distilled gin!

Today’s results showed one of our guests yachts, Rainbow, a Lynton Hope design , chasing the class winners Mignon.  Mignon scored her second first and continues to lead class 3.  Class 2 saw a change in the leader board with Mikado, 1904, stamping their mark on the class with Truant having to settle for 2nd.  Class one was again dominated by Saskia, with Sonata and Astor finishing behind her.

Monday will be a day to cruise together through the Kyles of Bute, famed as one of the beauty spots of Scotland.  Argyll Secret Coast will host the Fife Regatta in Tighnabruaich for a celebration ashore to embrace this unique event.



Day One – Fife Regatta 2013 Sets Sail

The 2013 Fife Regatta, celebrating William Fife’s Classic yacht design, set sail for their first race of their week tour along Scotland’s Clyde coast.  This is the fourth Fife Regatta which will see some exciting racing from some of the best known Fife yachts.  Put these beautiful yachts against the stunning backdrop of Scotland’s west coast and you have a recipe for one of the top, classic sailing events of the year.

Astor, Latifa, Kentra are some of Fife’s finest along with smaller yachts such a mignon which was created as a scale model to create the famous Shamrock which completed in the Americas cup.  Astor was built for the first Commodore of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, Sydney, and this is her first time back in the Atlantic since her delivery to Australia in 1923. She has competed in and won the America Schooner Cup five times in succession.  She has also won the Newport Harbor Yacht Club’s Opening Day Race eight times.  She has been based in the Pacific for and has come back to the Clyde to celebrate her 90th birthday which is a great honour for the Fife Regatta Committee.  The skipper kindly invited double gold medallist Shirley Robertson onboard as she is attending the regatta to compose a legacy film piece for CNN.

The race started in a south westerly with light, challenging conditions and throughout the day local knowledge came into play.  The Truant, skippered by Ross Ryan of Crinan Hotel, took the early advantage from the tide close to the shore.  As the breeze built the 8 metre Saskia, moved out ahead and her crew of upper Clyde sailors applied their skill and experience of their home waters to their advantage.  In class three, the smaller Fifes, were in close competition and at the end of the day Mignon, owned by renowned yachting journalist Bob Fisher, secured first place.  Among the Mignon crew is Largs based sail maker John Highcock whose local knowledge of the Clyde waters would be invaluable.

With a great day’s racing, circumnavigating Great Cumbrae was an excellent way to kick off  the event.  The results of the day represent the local input with Class 1 winner Saskia, Class 2 winner The Truant and Mignon leading Class 3.  Tomorrow the yachts will cast off and race to Rothesay before venturing through the Kyles on Monday.



Supporting information

Event Title:  The Fife Regatta 2013

Organiser:  The Fife Regatta Committee

Press Contact:  Jo Turner  e: press@fiferegatta.com   t: +44 (0)7786 736907

Event Website:  www.fiferegatta.com