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27 May 2003, 12:25 am
Penultimate Day - Day Four
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Bell Lawrie Scottish Series
Loch Fyne, Scotland

As the nerves start to creep into the equation on the penultimate day's races, Monday proved a critical stage in the regatta as several leading campaigns foundered in their pursuit of not only overall class wins, but the Scottish Series Trophy itself.
IRC Class 1, the big boat division, remains tight at the top but the front runners on points are now Keith Miller's new Swan 45 Crackerjack and Roy Dickson's Corby 40 Cracklin Rosie.

Crackerjack lead both races and was often able to largely dictate their own plays as the scratch boat in the division, but Cracklin Rosie made two time consuming transgressions which looked to have threatened her chances of overall victory, and did cost her the class lead.

In the first heat they rounded the leeward mark cleanly but a hundred metres later snagged a loose, trailing line which was attached to one of the start-line markers. Stuck fast for several minutes they struggled free and had to stage a major recovery to get back to third in the light, shifty southerly breeze.

Rosie's crew protested the race officer for leaving the line down during the race, seeking redress since they looked to be reasonably clear of the buoy which was not a mark of the course after the start.

In what might have appeared to the outsider as a stage-managed comedy of errors, as the new First 47.7 Playing FTSE of three times Scottish Series Trophy winner Jonathan Anderson, sailed past the stuck fast Rosie, their mainsail halyard parted. The main glided gently to the deck in a heap and they were unable to continue.

But Cracklin Rosie refused to lie down and not only came back to score a very useful third in that first contest, but repeated the phoenix act again in the afternoon after they had to take two penalty turns for separate infringements at the weather mark.

Having been deep in the pack they came back to fourth and share the same 15points tally as Crackerjack going into Tuesday's last race of the regatta.

"One of our crew was heard to comment that even Jesus only rose from the dead once, so we have to be happy with the way it worked out and hope our luck runs with us tomorrow," said Rosie's Des McWilliam of UK McWilliam sails.

With owner Miller steering and Murray Findlay calling the moves Crackerjack posted a 2-2 for the day.

Racing the Race1/ Ker 11.3 Blue Belle, bidding to win the Scottish Series Trophy for an unprecedented third time in a row, Hamish MacKay and his team lie fourth, locked on 19points with Gloves Off. Blue Belle won the first race by only three seconds, but a fifth in the 13 boat class could prove weighty.

In Class 2 Chris Bonar's Bateleur scored a 4-1 to lead overall. They read the shifts well in the building breeze of the second race and the 1997 build Iain Murray designed BH36 was well clear on the water. After three successive wins in the 20 boat Cork 1720 sportsboat class local Tarbert helm Ruairidh Scott dropped to second overall in King Quick after posting a fifth and a sixth yesterday while Mike Budd's Gul escaped with two first places to lead the class.

"The winds were very shifty and difficult and we just did not get it right. In the first race we were well down and were actually quite pleased to get back to where we finished. It is very hard because there are probably 12 boats in the class which can win races and sail at the same speed, so when you make mistakes you can end up way back in the fleet." said Scott.

With a six point cushion over third placed Red/Green (Shaun Douglas, Ulster) the class should be decided between Gul and King Quick. The local boat has finished runner up twice at their home regatta but has yet to win overall.

The Sigma 33 class looks well wrapped up after Alan Milton's dominant Pepsi scored back to back wins to earn a seven point lead going into their final two scheduled races.

Overall Results are available on the event website at the address below
Andi Robertson
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