THERE were chills and iron wills as eight yachts braved Arctic conditions in Brae on Saturday to compete in the near to end of season peerie regatta.
Torrential downpour turned to sleet and then to a full snowstorm with attendant sea fog while the intrepid crews pitted their wits against each other in the sudden wintry blast from the north.
The very aptly named Icicle Trophy was the prize for the first race. A keen competition throughout saw Cynara (Joe Irvine) win by eight seconds from Movin On (Jim Tait) with Rebellion (Peter Robertson) a close third.
Drew Sutherland’s Roundabout finished fourth and Valkyria (Ian Devonald) won the battle of the Albin Vegas to take fifth place followed by Mistral (Scott Johnson), Milspinda (Frank Ratter) and Tammie Norie (Ewen Stirling).
With nobody wanting to hang about for long, the second race was organised very quickly indeed. By this time the temperature differential between the snow-laden wind and the unseasonably warm sea caused a sea fog all over the voe to the height of five feet.
All the yacht hulls disappeared but the sails were still visible, a scene more reminiscent of Pirates of the Caribbean than the usually much more placid waters of Busta Voe.
After the unexpected reverse in the first race, Movin On started strongly and kept a good lead throughout the race to beat Cynara by just over 20 seconds, another close result.
The third placed and continually improving Mistral was only six seconds behind Cynara. Roundabout repeated their fourth place from the first race and Valkyria finished just behind in fifth place.
By this time the other three yachts had succumbed to the –11C wind chill factor and had all gone in search of an elusive Saint Bernard.
Even the reviving qualities of Irene and Agnes’ tattie soup could not inspire afternoon racing as the frozen sailors, some claiming snow blindness, were clearly in a mood for mutiny rather than friendly competition.
For those who are still interested, and allowed, the second half of the regatta starts tomorrow at 11am with the competition for the much coveted Rum and Green Ginger Jug hanging in the balance between Cynara and Movin On.