Peterhead Sailing Club hosts two-day regatta at town’s Lido

It was a good start for many of the competitors.
It was a good start for many of the competitors.


Peterhead Sailing Club hosted a two-day regatta at the town’s Lido recently for Topper and Optimist sailors.

The boats are launched into the bay.

The boats are launched into the bay.

The event attracted entries from all over Scotland and beyond.

Saturday started with 41 sailors aged between 6 and 16 years of age from 12 Scottish sailing clubs from Nairn to the Clyde, plus an entry from Derwent Water Sailing Club and one registered as being from Dubia Offshore Sailing Club.

The first race started for the main fleet at just after 1pm, on a triangular course round the bay.

This race saw 18 boats gather on the start line for the Topper Class followed by ten boats in the main Optimist class.

Getting ready to hit the water.

Getting ready to hit the water.

A second fleet of less experienced sailors started their first race at 1.30pm in the marina area.

During this first race it very quickly became apparent that Mara Lyon from Prestwick Sailing Club was going to be the one to beat in the Topper class.

Mara (14), has been a member of the Scottish Topper National Youth Squad since 2012 and set an excellent example of what is needed to be there.

Beaten by Mara into second and third places in the first race were Christine Wood from Clyde Cruising Club and Calum Bell, a member of both Helensburgh and Loch Lomond Sailing Clubs.

Places in the Topper class changed a little in race two with Alastair Ferguson of Loch Tummel Sailing Club taking second place and 14 years-old Magnus Dixon from Peterhead Sailing club gettinginto his stride to take third place.

The sailors had been challenged during this second race when a really vicious squall came through with winds being measured at 24mph and above (Force 5 – 6) and with driving monsoon levels of rain. This caused several of the competitors to capsize, and a few to retire from the race due to breakages. However, 14 of the 18 Toppers entered managed to finish the race and as coping with weather conditions is all part of the sport of sailing, and an excellent team of safety boats ensured no-one was in any danger. A few repairs saw all but one of those that had gone ashore return to the water in time for race 3.

The main Optimist class seemed to manage the squall better than the Topper fleet with no-one retiring during the race and the person to beat in this class was Gordon Cogan Sivarajan

of Clyde Cruising Club who won the first race in his class followed by a 2nd place in race 2. Gordon beat Reuben Stookros of Derwent Water into second place, and Hannah Scott of Loch Venechar Sailing Club into third place in the first race, but he was beaten by Catie Warburton from Loch Venechar who took first place in race two while Lucy Wilson of the Dubia Offshore Sailing Club took third.

A further three races were run in the bay with no further major weather excitement beyond the brisk winds with occasional gusts to catch out and capsize the unwary that stayed in place for the rest of the afternoon.

By race 3 the main fleet Optimist sailors were becoming very enthusiastic and competitive and this race saw two false starts for this class but they all settled down again for the last two races.

The final 3 races saw no change at the top of the Topper fleet with Mara Lyon having won all five races. Alastair Ferguson and Magnus Dixon came respectively second and third again in races 3 and 4, but Calum Bell came back into his own to take second in the fifth race with Christine Wood taking third. Gordon also consolidated his position in the Optimist main fleet taking three first places in races 3, 4 and 5, beating Catie and Lucy into second and third places in race 3, Catie and Reuben in race 4 and Hannah and Lucy in race 5.

Meanwhile closer to shore in the Marina 13 entrants in the regatta fleet made up of 12 optimists and one topper, Jelle Andrew, taking part in his very first racing event also coped with the conditions.

Alexander Cogan Sivarajan took two first places in the first two races beating Ross Coombs from Loch Venechar into second and Sam Car of Loch Venechar into third place in their first race.

Henry Smith, again from Loch Venechar, took second in race 2 with Ross Cardno coming third.

As these young sailors are still quite new to the sport, three of the fleet retired during race one when they the squall came through and two of them decided to remain ashore and did not rejoin the event. Four windward leeward races were sailed with most of the fleet managing the conditions. There were a few capsizes at the windward mark slowing some competitors down, but at the end of day 1 in the strong conditions, Alexander Cogan Sivarajan was firmly in the lead with three firsts having been beaten into fourth place in race 3.

Sunday morning saw a complete contrast in the weather conditions with much lighter winds and glorious sunshine.

A further three races were scheduled for the main fleet and four for the regatta fleet. Both fleets managed to get all but one of their scheduled races in before the winds died and both Race Officers agreed to abandon the last race.

Races 6 and 7 therefore saw Mara Lyon making a clean sweep with seven firsts in the Topper class, with Calum Bell taking two second place in both races and with Magnus Dixon taking third in race 6 and Christien Wood taking that honour in race 7.

The lighter conditions did not seem to suit Gordon so well in his Optimist as he was placed third in race 6 and second in race 7. It was Hannah Scott who won both of those races with Lucy Wilson second in race 6 and Matthew McLullich of Aberdeen and Stonehaven Yacht Club taking third place in race 7.

The regatta fleet again saw Alexander grabbing another two first places while being placed second in the last of their races. Ben Hale (two 3rds and a 1st), Sam Carr (second, race 6) and Ross Coomb (second in race 5), continued to demonstrate what the Loch Venechar sailors could do. The fleet were very competitive, and every start bar one had an individual recall.

The day ended successfully with prizes awarded and 13 year-old Calum Bell closed the event with a bagpipe rendition of Highland Cathedral.