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24 May 2001, 08:41 pm
Light Winds Slow Fleet
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Bell Lawrie Scottish Series

Light and conflicting breezes marred what would have been an otherwise perfect summer's evening to go offshore racing.
The Bell Lawrie Scottish Series got underway at the twin start line off Gourock on the Clyde and Bangor on Belfast Lough.

The hundreds of spectators who lined the promenade in the warm evening sunshine at Gourock were treated to a series of slow motion starts as the early effects of the contrary flood tide and the very light breezes made positioning and timing on the start line crucial.

As ever it was the experienced teams showing the deftest touches. Jon Fitzgerald and the crew of Alan Milton's 1999 overall winner Pepsi lead the strong Sigma 33 fleet away from the evening's first start. The 20 strong fleet eased off the line beating into the final breaths of a westerly. Minutes later the next classes were chasing them under spinnaker in a new north easterly.

First to break the line in Classes 1 and 2 was the French IMX 40 Courrier Nord, which finished third in class last year. Weather forecasters were unanimous only in their predictions of light winds and calms for the overnight offshore races. The bigger boats which started at Gourock last night were set an 80 mile course to Tarbert which was due to take them to DZ mark off the Heads of Ayr, to a mark off Lamlash by Arran, back across the Clyde to Irvine Bay to turn for the 25 mile leg north to the Loch Fyne finish line.

Racing for all 12 classes starts on Loch Fyne on Saturday when the 30 strong Cork One Design fleet join the fray forming what will be one of the most interesting
Andi Robertson / News Editor
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