Glasgow: Doros Voulgaridis/Uli Kornaszewska, Emma Ward/Roland Carter, Louis Sisk/Ruth Brown
SSS: Emily Robertson (Glasgow)/Tom Jayasekara (Aberdeen), Angus Gray-Stephens (Strath)/Mirjam Timmerman (Strath), Ally Ireland (Glasgow)/Ewan Rycroft (Strath)
Caledonia Cougars: Peter Collings (Glasgow)/Sophie Taylor (Strath), Andy McKeown (Ex-Glasgow)/Liane Cameron (Ex-Glasgow), Ali Morrish (Ex-Strath)/Cian Ryan (Edinburgh)
Three Scottish teams, all of them featuring Glasgow sailors, made their way south to Durham to compete at the Angel of the North last weekend. Glasgow had finished in third place last year, and were joined by the SSS team, and the Caledonia Cougars, who were both hoping to make an impact.
The journey was delayed slightly by completely necessary chalk and face paint shopping, and things were further held up when we found out that our host flat was actually still to the north of Hadrian’s Wall for “damage limitation”, and we had a half an hour walk to get into town.
Luckily, a large selection of queues had been laid on for us, and after experiencing them at Klute, and both doors of Jimmy Allen’s, we finally decided that the Jimmy’s queuing experience was superior. Disappointingly, it ended all-too-soon, and we were forced to actually go inside and introduce ourselves to the English teams we would no doubt be dominating over the next two days.
Doros and Uli go downwind in breezy conditions © Nigel Vick
The next day dawned breezy and cold, and all three teams settled in upstairs at Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club to watch the carnage unfold. After multiple capsizes and close calls with the shore, the race committee wisely took our advice and canned racing until the conditions moderated a little.
Peter and Sophie being lazy © Nigel Vick
It was well after midday when the breeze dropped off enough to team race again. The Cougars’ first race was against the SSS team, who had comfortably won their opening contest, and in spite of Andy’s excellent start, Peter and Ali crossed the line in 5 and 6, and Ally Ireland was able to contain the thread from behind and hold onto the 2-3-4 combination and leave SSS with a 100% winning record.
Meanwhile, Glasgow were struggling with capsizes and injuries in the tough conditions, losing both their races in tightly fought battles, although also losing Ruth to a bash on the head while her and Louis recovered from a swim almost immediately after their changeover.
Andy and Ali in action for the Cougars against York © Nigel Vick
Eventually, the failing light put a halt to racing half way through the Cougars’ changeover into new boats, leaving Andy and Liane to recover a firefly while the rest of the team laughed from the safety of the shore.
Andy and Liane sailing in as night falls © Nigel Vick
That night, the Cougars’ theme was “textiles”, and tartan was the only logical choice. We were joined by rice farmers from SSS, and controversial lumberjacks from Glasgow. Louis managed to survive “Timber” while dressed as a tree, Angus did nothing whatsoever in anybody’s bed, and several English universities showed themselves up with frankly sub-par chalk game.
Think anybody will know where they’re from?
In spite of the apocalyptic forecast, conditions were actually perfectly sailable the next morning, and the Cougars were up first race, against MCS. In the building breeze, we established a 1-4-5 combination, which improved when one of the opposition boats capsized with the wind hitting 40 knots up the final beat. Racing was then canned for good, and the boats headed ashore.
The wind eventually hit 82mph (71kts), and we were treated to such fine sights as a brick blowing across the dinghy park, quickly followed by an Alasdair Ireland.
Many thanks to Durham for organising the event, it was a fantastically organised competition, in spite of extremely tricky conditions. Hopefully you’ll allow us to return the favour at the Glasgow Grouse next year!
Until then, you can can our races, but you can never can our freedom!