Glasgow Grouse 2014 Report
After nearly a year of constant plugging for Scotland’s favourite well-organised and well-attended team racing event, people might have noticed a mysterious drop-off in Grouse-related propaganda towards the end of the summer.
This isn’t because we were asleep at the wheel at GUSC Towers, but because the 2014 event reached its full capacity of 16 teams weeks before the entry deadline.
An intimidatingly strong fleet trickled into Bardowie, last year’s winners Edinburgh Export, were joined by such strong competitors as the Really Old Arses, RNCYC, and Illegally Strath, as well as the standard contingent of university teams.
The weather was equally intimidating, gusts of more than 25 knots rolling over the hills north of Glasgow and spreading across the loch.
Gybing was a bit hairy, photo © Leanne Fischler
Given that the forecast left a real possibility that we would struggle to complete a full 120 race round-robin, the teams were divided into two groups of 8 teams each.
Such was the quality of the fleet that our fears about the conditions proved ill-founded. Although there were some capsizes and entertaining incidents, the sum total of the damage was a few sets of broken toe straps and one or two battered egos. One Glasgow boat in particular bettered commodore Greg’s achievement last year by not only managing to sail their boat into the reeds on the north shore of the loch, but to do it at about 4 knots, on their side.
Some were more lucky, Cameron Steele managed to escape with a dunking. photo © Leanne Fischler
Nicole was even brave enough to roll tack. © Leanne Fischler
Racing was intense all of the day, with the strong and building breeze having little effect on the commitment of any of the teams. It wasn’t until the start boat began to drag its anchor that race officer Uncle John decided to bring the teams on shore. Hot on their heels was a gust of a full 35 knots, which made for some spectacular viewing as 18 fireflies funnelled into Bardowie’s cramped slipway.
With the wind showing no sign of dropping, it was decided to cancel racing for the day, having completed a respectable 47 races out of the 56 needed to finish the group stage.
Going into the ceilidh, Yellow Group was already decided, RNCYC with a 100% record couldn’t be overhauled, and neither could Strathclyde Blue, having lost only one race, and already having triumphed over their closest competitors, Illegally Strath.
Red Group was far tighter. Glasgow Bass had a 100% record, but had yet to race Edinburgh Export. Export had lost only one race to Really Old Arses, and the Arses in turn had only tasted defeat against Glasgow Bass.
Nobody can say the event wasn’t well-attended. © Leanne Fischler
Arriving at the club the next morning, with everyone suffering from alcohol intake, sailing bruises, and ceilidh injuries in more or less equal measure, we were greeted by a breeze gusting in excess of 35 knots, and with no moderation forecast. However, we needed to get a result from the event, and after several postponements, and much deliberation behind the scenes, it was decided to strip out the races that had an influence on the top spots in the pools, run them, and then go straight into semi finals, instead of the original plan, which was to run gold, silver and bronze leagues.
Everybody loves a ceilidh. © Leanne Fischler
This turned out to cause a minor panic, when Edinburgh Export narrowly beat Glasgow Bass, with the Really Old Arses winning all of their remaining races, leaving a three-way tiebreak at the top of the group and sending the organising committee scrambling for a rule book. Ultimately, Export were to lose out, heartbreakingly, as their combined points total against the other two teams in the tiebreak was 22, against the Arses’ 21, and Bass’ 20, the difference between a 3,4,5 and a 2,3,6 in their one losing race.
Edinburgh Export congratulate each other after a hard-fought victory over Glasgow Bass. © Leanne Fischler
With the wind defying the forecast and dropping off continuously to a manageable, if still gusty, force 3-5, we went straight into best-of-three semi finals, RNCYC getting us off the mark against the Really Old Arses. After winning the first race, they then had two intense, hard fought defeats against the Edinburgh alumni, losing the tie 2-1.
A crowded starboard layline in the semi-final. Photo © Leanne Fischler
The other semi-final also ran to the full three races, Strathclyde Blue pegging Glasgow Bass back to parity after a thrilling race featuring multiple lead changes, a constant stream of passbacks, and one absolutely epic smackdown from Ewan Rycroft before Strathclyde took the victory right on the finish line.
Not even a spot of light sinking could deter Scotland’s finest. © Leanne Fischler
Unfortunately for Strath, after such a stunning performance, they were beaten 1-2 in the next race after an individual recall by the narrowest of margins, setting up a semi final between themselves and RNCYC, which the team from Helensburgh proceeded to win by two races to one.
The spectators who had braved the driving rain were all set up for a thrilling final between Glasgow Bass and the Really Old Arses, and strangely, after all the aggressive team racing that had defined the event until that point, this match was won on pure boatspeed, after a closely-fought first race, Glasgow won the start in the second, and reached the top mark in a 1,2,3. This left Andy McKeown nothing to do but stretch the gap and allow his team mates to cruise to the finish, and claim the top prize of £600 worth of Summer Sail Week vouchers, and more immediately, a crate of beer.
After a terrific event in the face of extremely challenging conditions, 63 races, and countless bacon rolls, the final results were:
Team Win %
Strathclyde Blue 86%
Illegally Strath 71%
Glasgow Parker 57%
Annandale SC 29%
Glasgow Whomper 17%
Head Bangin Rubber Duckies 17%
Edinburgh Green 0%
Team Win %
Glasgow Bass 86%
Really Old Arses 86%
Edinburgh Export 86%
Edinburgh White 50%
Strathclyde White 33%
The ExTechs 33%
Queen’s University Belfast 0%
Really Old Arses beat RNCYC 2 - 1
Glasgow Bass beat Strathclyde Blue 2 - 1
3RD PLACE PLAYOFF
RNCYC beat Strathclyde Blue 2 - 1
Glasgow Bass beat Really Old Arses 2 – 0
Event Winners Glasgow Bass: Henry O’Brien, Andrew Paul, Andy McKeown, Alasdair Ireland, Morgane Duss and Emma Cameron. Photo © Andrew Paul.
The event would never have run as smoothly as it did without the help of a small army of willing volunteers.
Our umpires were Craig McDonald, Charles Darley, Calum Reid, Gilmour Manuel and Niall McLeod.
PRO was John Robertson, ably assisted by Margaret Tait.
Sarah Robertson ran the kitchen, and cooked her own weight in pasta to keep the competitors fully fuelled for racing.
Robyn Fitzgerald and Fiona Rae sat on the finish boat in the pouring rain for 15 hours over two days, and never complained once.
Kae Clark, Emma Watson, Lindsay Kerr did results.
Caitlin Ross and Dualtach MacColgain were our underworked bosuns.
Emily Robertson absorbed everyone’s stress, processed it, and spat it back out as pure efficiency.
Michael Hughes, Louis Sisk, Ruaridh Angus, Eilidh Bruce, Joanna Barrie, Emily Smith, Gregor Southall, Emily Harrold and Elizabeth Jones had no specific jobs, and still managed to work non-stop all weekend.
And Leanne Fischler took all of the amazing photos of the event.
Also absolutely vital to the success of the weekend were our sponsors.
Summer Sail Week provided our fantastic first prize.
Viper night club gave us free guest list for an insane number of people both nights of the event.
PB leisure printed our fantastic T-shirts
Clyde Cruising Club gave us free roam of their excellent facilities, and their continued support is crucial to the success of team racing in Glasgow.
O’Neill services in Paisley provided the trophies for the winners.
And of course, everyone who sailed in the event, we had a fantastic time, and hope you all did as well.
Until next year,
To see more pictures from the event click here!