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2 June 2004, 08:49 am
Breathless Final Day
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© Marc Turner

Bell Lawrie Scottish Series

With scarcely a ripple to ruffle the surface of Loch Fyne, occasional drizzle, and the mist hanging low over a sleepy Kintyre shore, racing was abandoned for the day at The Bell Lawrie Scottish Series, with no further competition possible.
The less enthusiastic or less competitive crews - those anchored firmly to the lower regions of the results tables - had already started to break for their long passages home and by mid afternoon Tarbert was already well on its way to returning to its usual quiet state, other than for those awaiting the prize-giving.

This left Keith MILLER'S Swan 45 Crackerjack as the overall winner of Class 1, this first time the Edinburgh businessman has won Class 1 overall since he started coming to the Comet Wheel in 1976, when he finished second to Kenneth MCKINNON'S S&S 40 Opposition, the former Morning Cloud, which is now owned by Bell Lawrie director Jamie MATHIESON.

"It's been a long time coming, too long, but we sailed well and the guys on the boat worked hard and we had a good time. We come here because it's our local event and we like it. It's just not such a big deal bringing the boat north. It only takes three days each way and we don't need to take too much time away from work." Miller explained, "We would really like to see the end of the overnight offshore race though. By all means have it as a fun race, but I think that a format with two races off Tarbert on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and finish with two on the Monday would be ideal. I don't know what racing in the dark proves when it is always so hard to get out of the Clyde and it is always a small boat race because it stops and starts so often."

Miller, who has had a succession of Swan yachts and will campaign the current Swan 45 on the European circuit and at the Swan 45 world championships, was supported by a strong crew of Crackerjack regulars including navigator Titch BLACHFORD and tactician Murray FINDLAY.

The status quo remained in Class 2 as well where another Tarbert regular triumphed. Crosshaven, Cork's Anthony O'LEARY won in this highly competitive fleet with the Corby 35 Antix which he owns alongside the 1720 Cork One Design which he also campaigns. O'Leary saw the former 'Highland Spirit' advertised in a leading sailing publication last autumn and succumbed to the temptation. The boat was perfectly maintained by her former owner Hamish OLIPHANT. Since then Antix has won the Irish IRC National Championships and the Spring Warmer series at Kinsale.

"It has been a really good class with a bunch of guys really prepared to push it to do well. The number of general recalls during the regatta just proves how close it has been. There is a real diversity of boats and good 'works' teams. We had a good day yesterday when we won twice, but that kind of balances up out first say when it just did not go our way at all."

Antix escaped to victory only a single point ahead of the Bavaria Match 38 of John CORSON which had Hamish MACKAY, who won the overall trophy twice in Elan yachts -with Richard McKenzie in 2001 in the Elan 362 Silver Darling and in the Elan 333 Elanor in 2002. The defending overall Bell Lawrie Scottish Series Trophy Ruairidh and Graeme SCOTT prevailed in the 1720 Cork One Design class. They posted three back to back wins on Monday to clinch the class.

In the Sigma 33 class there was a win for Paul SCUTT and his team on Carmen. Long standing campaigners in the fleet they have steadily progressed up the fleet. They recruited past winner Jon FITZGERALD to replace Alan JEFFREY as tactician for today, but Fitzgerald's journey was in vain. Full results are available on the event website at the address below.
Andi Robertson
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