It was late in the season and the sun had not been seen all day. If it hadn't been my turn to assist the race officer there's no way I would have gone, and as I drove down through wind and rain I wondered if even the Loch Longs would turn out to race.
They always do, of course, and on that evening fifteen or so years ago there were also a pair of Islanders. With only two starts there wasn't a lot for us to do. I had a good view from the top of the clubhouse and took these pictures of Cara and Gigha battling it out.
Above is Gigha, then recently restored and owned by David Spy, romping in before the start.
Here is the scene in the last minute, followed by a couple of shots just after the start.
The boats were sent off on a long beat from Gourock to Hunters Quay, followed by a short reach down the Firth and then a run home. The race officer figured that even a couple of hardened old sea-dogs like David and Martyn would find that enough.
Here are some shots of Gigha as she bashed her way over towards the Kilcreggan shore.
The weather thickened so much that we lost sight of both contestants for a while. Eventually as visibility got even worse the wind moderated a bit and Gigha emerged from the murk, a few hundred yards ahead of her rival.
Gigha carried her full canvas throughout this race, which meant that she was pretty pressed at the start but had the advantage later, helped by David's crew being willing to hoist a spinnaker. Martyn decided to keep the full main and fly a tiny storm-jib. This helped Cara after the start, but gave her a serious handicap later on.
Traditionally the Islanders never reefed, but I think that with stronger modern sail-cloths they are now easily over-pressed and go better with a shorter main and not dragging their side-decks through the water.