Happy New Year! I've firmed up the Scottish Merlin fixtures for this coming year and they are as follows:
May 3/4/5 - Kielder Weekend (incl. Dam to Dam distance race)
June 7/8 - East Lothian Regatta (big regatta and great sea conditions)
June 21/22 â?? Prestwick Sailing Club (with RS 200/400)
July 26/27 â?? Loch Venachar (with Lasers)
August 2/3 - Bassenthwaite Week 1st weekend
September 6/7 â?? Marineblast, Holy Loch
All are great venues, with a lot of scenery and good conditions, and good clubs. I'm putting together a brochure with more info on each event which will be sent later and also published on www.caledoniasailing.com but this is so you can start planning.
There will be 2 categories for racing - line honours and handicap. To be eligible for the overall you need to sail in at least 4 of the 6 series. To encourage singlehanders to team up, only one of two named crews needs to be on board for a regatta, and helm and crew can swap between regattas.
I'm already sounding out future venues for 2015, and Loch Tummel, Solway, Tighnabruaich and others look interesting. Other suggestions welcome.
BOATS: There will be at least 5 and possibly 7 boats based at Bardowie this year, one of which will be available for loan to interested parties. There are currently 2 owners looking for wooden Canterbury Tales, whilst Calum Brebner is selling his Jon Turner built NSM4 3376 and planning to upgrade to a Tales. This boat a very good starting point for anyone new and at a good price, and well sailed it might take a race or 2 on the water in some conditions in the Scottish fleet. There are a couple of Tales for sale around the Â£2K mark which, with a carbon rig, would be a good step up and capable of winning in the Scottish fleet. If you want to win the UK nats, then the 2 EZ Rollers on the for sale list would do it in the right hands I'm told, at around Â£5.5K (which I think is better value than a plastic Tales). I'll get boat envy if anyone gets the silver one though! There's also a Phil Morrison Thin Ice for sale at around Â£2.8K which would be a decent boat for gentlemen of girth!
OLD BOATS: There are a few older boats either sailing or in garages, and it would be great to see more of them out to join the fun (we have a Smokers and also an NSM1). To this end I'm happy to visit people to try and help get their old boats going, and if anyone hears of boats being restored or sitting in garages then please let me know. I'll also put up a bottle of whiskey for an old boat prize.
I think that's it for now, and feel free to ask questions or forward this on to anyone you think might be interested. I'll send the event brochure in due course.
Two new boats have arrived so far in Scotland - 3236 (Sorceress II, an Omega foam sandwich NSM1 with SuperSpars carbon rig, carbon hoop and centreboard, along with a full raking system) and Lounge Lizard, a Canterbury Tales. The NSM will be getting a bit of a refurb (I'll post a link to pics etc) and will be available for people interested in joining the class to borrow. That brings the number of boats at Bardowie, a pond on the outskirts of Glasgow, up to at least 5. If the NSM is finished on time then my plan is to also sail the Largs Spring Series. More soon, and let's hear how other people's boats are coming along!