Albacores in Largs
Four Shetland albacores made the trip to Largs on the west coast of Scotland for the Albacore UK National and International Championships 2009.
The six day international sailing event is held every two years in the UK, Canada or the US with representatives of all three countries taking part.
Travelling south to represent Shetland were Steven Brown and Frank Guthrie with Blue Mist, David Thomson and Ellis Johnson with Moondancer, Johnny Wilson and Graham Johnson with Flamingo and Angus MacNeil and Jeff Dobson with Skavenger.
The first race of the national event, which can only be entered by members of the National Albacore Association, was started in fine conditions with 53 boats taking part.
This event runs concurrently with the open entry international race. The course was set in the open water at the north end of the isle of Cumbrae, which, though ideal conditions for the sailors, unfortunately made spectating for the landlubbers almost impossible.
Blue Mist finished well up in 11th place, followed by Flamingo in 12th and Moondancer in 20th place. Unfortunately, Skavenger’s tiller extension broke and she was forced to retire and make repairs.
Day two saw three races taking place. Blustery conditions forced a course change with buoys being laid in the channel between the Largs marina and Cumbrae. This was much better for spectators but the shifting winds saw several competitors take a dip in the less than inviting waters. The races were run back to back with no respite for the sailors. Blue Mist again led the Shetland pack, achieving 13th place in race two, 14th in race three and 10th in race four, thus gaining the crew a much coveted Top Ten hat.
Flamingo was placed 40th, 21st and 21st; Moondancer 50th, 32nd and 29th; and Skavenger 36th, 28th and 25th.
This gave the following overall placings at the end of day two: Blue Mist 13th, Flamingo 20th, Moondancer 30th and Skavenger 34th.
Day three, the final day of the nationals, also saw the event taking place in the more sheltered waters of the channel. Races five, six and seven saw Blue Mist placing 20th, 19th and 13th; Flamingo 30th, 13th and 21st; Skavenger 32nd, 34th and 35th; Moondancer 42nd, 35th and 34th.
With one discard allowed, this gave the Shetland albacores overall placings in the national event of: 15 Blue Mist; 20 Flamingo; 32 Skavenger; 34 Moondancer.
Prizes for the national event were awarded at the Largs Yacht Haven on Monday night. The winners of the national event were Will Gulliver and Steven Graham from Northampton Sailing Club.