Clive SCOTT, Commodore of the Clyde Cruising Club, organisers of the Bell Lawrie Scottish Series has announced that Scotland's double Olympic sailing gold medallist Shirley ROBERTSON will be racing at Tarbert this year. This will be the first time she has participated in Scotland's largest yacht racing event, where she will race in the Swan 45 Class.
Shirley is also there to promote the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme, and will be doing some match racing aboard one of the RYA's J80s. Speaking about the Scottish Series in May this year, Shirley commented: 'I'm really excited about coming up to Tarbert and racing in the Scottish Series for the first time. I grew up sailing on the west coast of Scotland and am looking forward to racing in the clear waters of Loch Fyne. After the last few years' hard work and training abroad for the Olympics, it'll be great to sail in Scotland again.'
The format of the regatta has been changed for 2005. The new race format sees four days' racing including two 'round the buoys' races each day. This will remove points anomalies that were an inevitable feature of running overnight feeders from Gourock and Bangor and a day feeder race from Kip. IRC classes will have up to eight races, the one designs up to ten and the CYCA classes seven. All racing will take place on Tarbert, Loch Fyne with three separate course areas being set.
Clyde Cruising Club has also announced that there will be two cash prizes of £500 for the winners of the new 'Tarbert Outbound' passage race, which is a stand alone race starting from Tarbert on Tuesday 31st May with finishes in both Largs and Bangor. Bell Lawrie has kindly donated a trophy for the Bangor Finish and the Tarbert Shield will be presented for the Largs Finish. The £500 cash prize will go to the winner of each race on corrected time.
Shirley ROBERTSON is not alone in making her debut appearance at the Scottish Series. The exciting Swan 45 class will have their own class start in Tarbert this year and the regatta will count for the Swan European Championship circuit. It is expected that the eight to ten Swan 45s will make the passage up from the south coast to take part. Keith MILLER, owner/skipper of the Swan 45 'Crackerjack
', and overall winner of Class 1 at the 2004 Scottish Series, is looking forward to this year's event, commenting:-
'The Swan 45 Class will be using the Bell Lawrie Scottish Series as one of the regattas to count for their Area Championships and we expect the whole UK fleet to make the passage up from the Hamble. The Swan 45 fleet is very competitive and I am sure we will see some extremely close racing. The attraction of coming to Scotland, apart from the unique hospitality, is the potential to go cruising after the regatta is over. I know a lot of the 45 owners are planning to take advantage of the excellent cruising possibilities at what is a good time of year to visit Scotland.'
Amongst the other classes expected to attract big numbers are the 1720 Sportsboats and the Impala 28's. Colin MacDONALD of the Scottish 1720 Class Association predicts that over 20 1720s will be on the start line in Tarbert, including former Flying Fifteen world champion and previous Scottish Series overall winner, Steve GOACHER, of Goacher Sails in Windermere, who has bought a 1720 and intends to campaign it throughout 2005. The Impala Class Association has devised a radical new championship - the GAP Communications Impala Celtic Championships running at both the Scottish Series and the Bangor Week with the boat that has the best overall results from both events winning the championship. There is already considerable interest from owners in Scotland and Ireland and it is hoped that some Cornwall and Welsh boats can be persuaded to make the journey north.
Experienced campaigner Anthony O'LEARY from Cork, overall winner of the 2004 Scottish Series Trophy with IRC Class 2 boat 'Antix
' is planning to compete for the trophy again in 2005. Reflecting on his win in 2004 he said: 'The Bell Lawrie Trophy has been admired by all visitors to our home. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at Tarbert and the racing and calibre of race management were exactly as we have come to expect.'
The Scottish Series attracts around 200 visiting yachts to the picturesque West Coast village of Tarbert, Loch Fyne, plus over 1,200 crew who truly bring the normally tranquil fishing village to life over the racing weekend. The event continues to attract many eager spectators providing a welcome boost to the Argyllshire economy.
Commenting on their sixth year of sponsorship, Fraser GARDINER, Director of Bell Lawrie White said, 'We're delighted to continue to support the Scottish Series. It's has proved itself a valuable platform for us over the years and is a great event to be connected with; we work hard with the Clyde Cruising Club and other sponsors to make it an event to remember.'
Further details and Race Entry forms for this year's Bell Lawrie Scottish Series are available now from the Clyde Cruising Club website via the link below.