By MARK BURGESS
The annual Scalloway Regatta took place at the weekend, combined with the Trondra leg of the Shetland Yoal Rowing Association (SYRA) league on Sunday to make a weekend of all-round boating events.
The regatta eela competition was held on Friday night with 18 anglers in six boats setting off from the boating club pier to take part.
After a fine evening’s fishing the winning results were both spectacular and varied with Arthur Johnson taking first place with a massive 155.4lb of fish and Stuart Hillier over 100lb behind him with 47lb and Alistair Fullerton third with 32.4lb.
The junior competition was similarly wide ranging with Jessica Johnson in first place with another huge landing of 106.4lb, which would have given her an easy second place in the adults’ competition. The second junior was Fraser Henderson, who also had 47lb, and third was Danny West with a respectable 34.2lb that would have given him third place against the adults too.
Saturday started out a challenging day for sailing of any kind and with conditions deteriorating throughout and retirals, course alterations and cancellations were the order of the day. The conditions did make for dramatic viewing from the shore though with a good turnout of yachts and dinghies filling the harbour for a time and the sea whipped to spindrift and spume by winds gusting to near-gale Force 7 and vessels pitching and rolling dramatically.
The Howarth Cup for dinghies was won by Steven Brown in the appropriately named Storm, with Willum Mouat in White Lightning less than a minute behind in the corrected times.
Colin Tait’s Rock & Roll was third with Rock & Roll 2 close behind and both under two minutes behind the winner. David Thomasons’s High Tension finished fifth, five minutes behind the winner and Clueless did well to finish another three minutes behind after an awkward and well-recovered race.
The second race of the day was the SEL Cup for yachts which held a field of five yachts of various sizes and handicaps. Jim Tait’s Movin On took first place in both actual and corrected times after a course that took them out into the full brunt of the weather and deep water swell, out the north channel of the harbour, around the back of the isles to return in the south channel an hour and three quarters later.
Finishing three minutes behind on corrected time came Robert Anderson in Moody Snoopy and then Graham Sutherland with Tigga 24 minutes behind the leader with Neesik in fourth place a further eight minutes later. Foxy Lady retired during the race.
The Mirror races had three entrants lined up but the withdrawal of Michaela Peterson’s Seamew left a field of two and in the increasing difficult conditions Calum Macgregor retired Nautilus leaving Brian Spall in Busta to take the honours.
Next up was the Club Cup for dinghies which sported a reduced field of only four entrants with White Lightning taking top spot and Storm just under a minute behind. High Tension was third at four minutes behind the winner and Rock & Roll 2 was fourth, just under a minute later.
The second yacht race ran with three entrants through a modified inshore course that took them between the isles, heading first for the north cardinal marker and then behind Langa and the Green Holm to re-enter the harbour via the south channel. In the worsening conditions Tigga was forced to retire leaving Movin On to take another victory over Moody Snoopy which finished just over a minute behind.
The other races of the day were cancelled due to the weather and no maids turned up for the event as apparently it coincided with another in Whalsay.
Sunday brought the full entourage of nine yoals for a total of eight race classes to Scalloway with the associated “carnival” atmosphere for the last of the SYRA league points competitions of the season. The weather was ideal for racing throughout the afternoon event as a vast change from the foul weather of the previous day. The only race to suffer from unfavourable conditions was the last, when a squally shower descended over the harbour for a time.
The first races of the day was the under-16 boys’ competition which had a close finish with Nesting beating Lerwick by less than a second, with Burra over 20 seconds behind and Trondra and Vidlin trailing further.
The under-16 girls’ race was almost a foregone conclusion right from the start as Nesting drew ahead and held a comfortable lead throughout. Lerwick were second with Yell right on their tail and Trondra, Burra and Vidlin closely grouped and finishing a minute after the leader.
The veteran women’s race was next and had the most entrants of any of the races, with nine yoals battling it out. The Nesting boat appeared to establish a comfortable lead from the start but undaunted the Aith team surged ahead to win, with Nesting finishing three seconds behind. Burra were a similar interval behind them and then Lerwick, Trondra and Vidlin were grouped in that order, then Yell, Whiteness and Weisdale and Bigton to follow.
The veteran men’s race was closely contested from start to finish with Burra victorious over Lerwick, Nesting, Trondra, Bigton and Vidlin in that order. Only three seconds separated the top three boats. Burra’s victory gives them an unprecedented clean sweep in all the SYRA veteran men’s points races.
The under-21 men’s race had Nesting, Burra and Lerwick all abeam throughout the race with drama unfolding in the later moments as one of Lerwick’s humlibaands came undone losing them power on their port side and causing them to veer off course and fall back. The frantic efforts of the coxswain and crew to fix the oar in place were in vain though as Nesting won with a comfortable lead of 10 seconds over Burra, with Lerwick a mere second behind and Vidlin over a minute behind them.
The under-21 women’s race was a landslide victory for the sturdy young women of Nesting, leading throughout and finishing fully 20 seconds ahead of Lerwick, with Burra a further 14 seconds behind.
The open men’s ace had eight entries and started with difficulties forming the line-up but proved to be a superb spectator race as all the teams remained grouped together in a nail-biting, “edge of the taft” spectacle.
With all the boats so closely grouped it was near impossible to identify a leader during the race with Yell eventually finishing less than half a second ahead of Burra to win. Next were Lerwick and Nesting, only a second apart and then came Trondra, Vidlin, Bigton and Whiteness and Weisdale in that order with only 24 seconds separating first from last over the entire field.
The women’s open was the last race of the day, just as the weather broke and wet misty rain descended. The race outshone the conditions though as the top three boats remained stem to stem throughout, ultimately finishing with less than a second between them and Burra victorious over Aith and Vidlin, with Lerwick, Nesting, Bigton and Yell following in that order.
The racing was followed by a prize-giving and raffle in the Scalloway Boating Club.