UK National Police
Offshore Sailing Championships
This page also provides details of past and forthcoming events pertaining to the Police Sport UK National Offshore Sailing regattas.
The PSUK National Offshore
Sailing Championships 2017
held in conjunction with the North Brits on 11-17th June, 2017
Update: 30th June, 2017 -
As always, the fleet started congregating at Troon over the weekend with
everyone eager to catch up on the last 12 months. The wind had not been kind
to those boats with further to travel and the journey was a feat of
endurance for the South Wales and the Irish boats in the Irish Sea and those
charterers sailing against the wind down from Largs.
This year saw a 12 boat entry, with reduced numbers from Scotland compensated by the increased English entrants as we hosted the PSUK National Event for the first time. Unfortunately our numbers were hit straight away as Eric Lange in Te’Luath arrived in Troon by car to report that his yacht was beset with engine problems. Unable to sail but as competitive as ever, Eric could be seen reaching for the rule book to see if he could keep the keenly contested Lancaster Cup in his clutches.
This was setting out to be the most competitive year ever!
It is always said that there is a curse on the first day when the fleet leaves Troon and yachts are usually seen bobbing for hours and praying for even the gentlest of breezes. However, this year couldn’t have been more different. With a steady South Westerly Force 6, gusting 8, and with a confused sea – thanks go to Skua for bravely setting out on a scouting mission – it was decided to abandon the first race on safety grounds and allow the competitors to make their way up to Largs at their own pace. It was disappointing to lose a day’s racing but it did give the chartering crews a chance to get better acquainted with their boats.
Having all made it safely, a fantastic welcome buffet was provided in Largs Sailing Club where the week ahead was discussed and all competitors got a chance to size up their opposition. Special thanks go to Gobbolino who still managed to attend despite the boat remaining in Troon to await parts. It was lovely to have everyone together again and the social tone of the week was firmly set.
The fleet assembled outside Largs on Tuesday morning in anticipation of the first race of the championship. As the committee boat tried to set up a start line, it became apparent that the windlass didn’t want to play and so we would be unable to anchor for entirety of the regatta – not a great prospect given the forecast of the sea state. Nevertheless, a new start line was set up and the countdown got underway. That was, until one of the Irish crew decided the lure of our beautiful Scottish waters was too much and decided to take a dip. There was a short delay while the crew expertly picked him up and took plenty of photos to tease him for years to come; there was some discussion as to whether he took a bribe from Lady Naomi who had been delayed having her outhaul fixed and took advantage of the delay to join the start! This allowed the race to start with nearly a full fleet of 10 boats - alas Gobbolino was still awaiting repairs in Troon – setting off around the bottom of Bute to arrive in Tarbert.
The start was keenly contested at the windward mark with Dipper showing strongly in the early racing closely followed by Crackerjack.
The committee boat set off through the fleet to set up a finish line but had to come to a stop at the base of Bute when it’s engine failed, this was turning into a year for engine and other general boat problems, surely the Sea God’s would soon start to smile upon us. The proposed finish line for the first race was therefore abandoned and all yachts were informed to race directly towards Tarbert in the hope that the Committee Boat could be repaired and get there to greet the fleet.
The first 6 nm racing was in a keen SW Force 5 but the sight of Arran and her mysterious effect on the best winds put paid to that and, with Inchmarnock in sight, our first experience of an hour or two milling about on becalmed seas was at hand. Various yachts tried hoisting their ‘cruising chutes’ but the light and variable breezes caused one or two near collisions and white sails were soon restored. With the fleet spread across the entrance to Loch Fyne, the wind filled in from the West and favoured those that had stayed close to Arran. Within 20 minutes we had excellent Force 4-5 winds and good sailing towards the revised finish line set up off Sgat Mor with X Beat II taking line honours and Crackerjack a close second.
Figure 1: The Fleet around Inchmarnock
The forecast for Wednesday was for excellent Westerly Force 4-5 and gusting 6 so as the Fleet assembled for a 10.30 start outside Tarbert you could understand the puzzled sailor’s faces as they stared at calm seas and empty sails. With a plan for two races and to give the Committee boat an opportunity to refuel in Portavadie, the route took the fleet South through the rocky narrows with Sgat Mor to Starboard before turning back North along Loch Fyne to Otter Spit.
The flotilla numbers were boosted by the welcome return of Gobbolino, complete with new steering belt.
With the difficulties of reading the calm wind, many of the more fancied boats stayed within Tarbert Bay whilst others pushed the furthest extent at the leeward end of the start line. These yachts made the early running as the wind returned to the forecast Force 4-5 and those that had decided not to reef could be seen rueing their decision as the nerve wracking rounding of Sgat Mor approached. Several near broaches could be seen leading to sails being dropped and reefed. No Skipper went through Sgat Mor without at least a bead of sweat clouding their vision but the fleet made it safely though and turned downwind for Otter Spit.
Figure 2: Setting off from Tarbert
The best weather of the week came out, and some crews left their pilotage
notes in their oilskins as they were abandoned in favour of the sunscreen.
Yes despite the briefing, Crackerjack decided to take a closer look at the
gorgeous castle at Otter Spit and ran aground on a sandbank whilst leading
the race. Fortunately only the soft stuff awaited their keel and on the
rising tide they managed to free themselves and finish safely.
This first proper downwind sail of the regatta favoured the spinnaker boats and it was an impressive display by Dipper and particularly Skua, who were white sailing, 1st and 2nd over the line respectively.
Given the narrow nature of the buoyed channel through Otter Narrows and the unfortunate grounding of Crackerjack, it was with some alarm that the committee Boat watched some of the fleet finish with their ‘cruising chutes’ hoisted, but with great seamanship the boats safely raced across the line.
With the weather set fair and a calm anchorage at hand, the flotilla moored up for what was undoubtedly the best lunch stop of the week in what is indubitably one of the prettiest locations in the Clyde Estuary. It is only the second time that the North Brits flotilla has visited these parts and with it proving so popular I have no doubt that we will be back.
The excellent winds remained for a fantastic afternoon’s race in the sunshine back down Loch Fyne to Tarbert. To add a little spice to the proceedings the start was made to the North of the channel across Otter Narrows, so good navigation and seamanship was required to get the flotilla safely through.
Figure 4: Competitive tacking by Skua and Stargazer
A fantastic start was made by Dipper and Gobbolino, but all the fleet stayed
closely bunched for the first twenty minutes of racing until decisions were
made as a close hauled sail down to Tarbert commenced. Some Skippers stayed
to the west or east side of the Loch while others appeared to find a fair
wind and were able hold a steady course down the centre of the Loch.
The most remarkable thing about the afternoon race was it was the first time that the Committee Boat ‘Inspirit’ managed to get to the finish line first in the history of the Regatta!
With different courses chosen down the Loch, as well as the variations in boat performance, this leg showed up some fascinating tussles across the field with a number of tight finishes seen off Tarbert; Crackerjack and X Beat II for first over the line, Skua and Snowgrouse had a close tussle whilst Jay had to duck out as Lady Naomi pushed her towards shore and was therefore able to hold the best course to cross the line.
Figure 5: Skua and Starkle forget how much water there is in The Clyde!
The weather remained dry and warm for one of the best evenings on the flotilla: the Viking fancy dress night in the marquee at Tarbert Harbour, with many crews turning into ancient marauders who celebrated their day of pillaging with a fantastic hog roast feast. Devon and Cornwall got into full Norse spirit and engaged the rest of the fleet in a series of warrior tasks including “horn off” and Roxanne – a contest definitely won by the northerners! All photographs taken during the evening’s festivities are subject to censorship - you’ll just have to come next year and join in the fun for yourselves.
Figures 5a&b: A Viking Feast!
The forecast remained good for Thursday with Force 4 Westerly backing South Westerly winds and dry weather for the morning. The pillaging and feasting of the previous night ensured a late start and some softening from the committee boat who removed Sgat Mor’s narrows from the course for the benefit of those Skipper’s whose nerves remained shredded from the previous days exploits. Two races were planned with the first a straight run south down Loch Fyne and turning North up the West Kyle to a finish line at the Kames Hotel.
Figure 6: Stargazer adding a touch of colour to Loch Fyne
The later than normal start seemed to suit the Scottish boats with
Snowgrouse and Starkle flying off across the line.
Jay (white sail) seemed still pumped with Viking spirit and had a fantastic race, winning overall. The rest of the fleet was well spread out and the downwind sail gave those yachts with spinnakers and cruising chutes a chance to fly.
The Kames Hotel is situated one of the Clyde’s prettiest areas - The Kyles of Bute - where mainland Scotland is separated from the Isle of Bute by a narrow stretch of water. Moored up in the sunshine for lunch and a nap, life could not be better for the flotilla - but it wouldn’t last….
Fully sated from their lunch, the flotilla motored through ‘The Burnt Isles’ into the East Kyle for a start at Colintrive. Yet again the start was jinxed by no wind but this time it was accompanied by heavy rain. With 30 seconds to go on the start countdown, the wind dropped to below 2 knots and the Committee Boat postponed the race and led the flotilla down the East Kyle in search of wind.
As the first breaths of wind returned, the Committee Boat hastily arranged a start line and route taking the fleet around buoys in Rothesay Bay to ensure varied points of sail before finishing outside Rothesay Harbour.
A few protests about the incessant rain died away as the racing began in relatively calm airs. Lady Naomi showed strongly at the start of the race in one of her few appearances this year towards the head of the fleet but it was Crackerjack, X Beat II and Dipper who showed strongly as the winds increased to Force 4-5 again and they led the flotilla over the line in that order.
Figure 7: X Beat II leading the fleet out The Kyles
The weather remained inclement in Rothesay so the social side of the
flotilla suffered a set back as the usual Rothesay deck party was rained off
and individual parties continued below deck.
The last day was subject to more changes to accommodate different yachts heading to various home ports as not everyone was able to get back from our final destination of Troon before their charter was up. The committee boat settled on a single race but set up a demanding 16 mile race in the SW force 4-5 that was prevailing. After a start in Rothesay Bay, the route took the fleet in a westerly then south westerly directions rounding several marks before taking Little Cumbrae to port and finishing off the Hunterston Power Station.
The different points of sail again ensured the fleet was well separated, with Crackerjack and X Beat II well ahead of the fleet and 1st and 2nd over the line.
Not wishing to anchor in worsening seas, Inspirit was unable to hold station for all the finishers, with the need to get to Troon and arrange the prize giving celebrations. Many charter boats had the luxury of a short hop to Largs but the non-charter boats set off on a social sail to Troon, the week finishing in the strong South Westerlies with which it had started and therefore a somewhat challenging trip onwards to Troon.
The annual prize giving was held in Troon this year to allow more time for the Irish boats before their long trip home. The regal South Beach Hotel played host in its magnificent function room and provided excellent, hearty fare much welcomed after a hard week’s sailing.
The week had taken its toll on the tired fleet, with many crews making the journey from Ardrossan and Largs by road and the Irish boats set for an early start across the Irish Sea, but the anticipation was high with everyone eager to get the results from the week.
Figure 8 Overall PSUK Nation Champions - Dipper, Metropolitan Police
Thanks and the Future
Thank you to all of you for your continued attendance and support at this event. It always amazed me the journeys you are all willing to make to come and join us in our beautiful Scotland. In particular, I would like to say a huge thank you to John and Gary and Inspirit from providing committee boat and race officialness this year. To come all the way from Ireland and give up a weeks sailing to put up with the stress of having me onboard as well as the responsibility of making race course decisions, is above and beyond – I have no idea how I got them to agree to it. Without them this week wouldn’t have happened and I’m sure everyone agrees they did an amazing job.
This was my last event as sole organiser and I found it an emotional week. Over the years I’ve come to love each and every one of you; it’s been the prospect of seeing you all again that has made everything worthwhile. I really hope someone agrees to take on the event and we can get it to its 30th year. I would like to thank you all for your support, company and hospitality over the years.
Fair winds my friends.
The Organiser Laura Davidson with some members of the winning team from the Metropolitan Police Sailing Club
(Nick Mason, Andy Rowell, Fran Gifford, Tim Bewicke, John Oldham, Pete Walker, Andy Taverner and Stu Jenkins).
Entertainment Plate Phill Quinn, Crackerjack, PSNI
Invitation Plate Jon Bancroft, Skua, Devon & Cornwall Police
Lynsey Gilmer Wheel Neil Chessell, Lady Naomi, Lancaster Police
Anchor Trophy Tony Riordin, Jay, Cleveland Police
Portavadie Trophy Fenton Parsons, Gobbolino, PSNI
Bell Trophy Peter Pope, X Beat II, South Wales Police
The Lancaster Cup Neil Chessell, Lady Naomi, Lancashire Police
King George Cup Tony Riordin, Jay, Cleveland,
Donald Galbrieth Memorial Trophy 1. Phil Quinn, Crackerjack, PSNI
(Irish) 2. Harry Patterson, Seahaven, PSNI
3. Fenton Parsons, Gobbolino, PSNI
Resource Slow Fleet 1. John Morgan, Snowgrouse, Police Scotland
2. Allan McMillan, Starkle, Police Scotland
3. Neil Chessell, Lady Naomi, Lancashire
Resource Fast Fleet 1. Nick Mason, Dipper, Metropolitan Police
2. Phil Quinn, Crackerjack, PSNI,
3. Douglas Reid, Stargazer, Police Scotland
Strathclyde Bowl 1. Douglas Reid, Stargazer, Police Scotland
2. John Morgan, Snowgrouse, Police Scotland
3 Allan McMillan, Starkle, Police Scotland
North British Shield Phil Quinn, Crackerjack, PSNI
PSUK / PAA Shield Nick Mason, Dipper, Metropolitan Police
Figure 10: Light winds in the lea of Arran
Figure 11: Jay and Lady Naomi fighting for the line
Figure 12: Stargazer flying up Otter Narrows with plenty of space
Figure 13: Dipper using her chute to pass Jay and chase down Crackerjack
Figure 14: A Tale of Two Kyles - a becalmed start in the East Kyle
|The race on Day One being abandoned, the results show only the 6 races sailed|
|1st||Fast||Dipper||GBR 8184Y||Met||Nick Mason||0.965||1||1||2||2||1||-5||12||7|
|4th||Fast||X Beat II||GBR 1385 L||Wales||Peter Pope||1.058||-5||4||4||4||3||2||22||17|
|5th||Slow||Snowgrouse||blue asterix||Scotland||John Morgan||0.908||3||5||5||5||6||(12.0 DNS)||36||24|
|6th||Slow||Starkle||GBR 3211||Scotland||Allan McMillan||0.887||2||7||-8||7||5||7||36||28|
|7th||Fast||Skua||Blank||D and C||John Bancroft||0.999||-10||2||7||8||9||4||40||30|
|9th||Slow||Lady Naomi||H36||Lancs||Neil Chessell||0.938||6||8||-9||9||8||8||48||39|
|10th||Slow||Seahaven||GBR 3676L||PSNI||Harry Patterson||0.908||4||6||6||(12.0 DNS)||12.0 DNS||12.0 DNS||52||40|
|PSNI||Fenton Parsons||0.869||(12.0 DNS)||10||10||12.0 DNS||12.0 DNS||12.0 DNC||68||56|
National Offshore Championships 2016
This event will not be run in 2016 however the highest placed UK yacht from the World Police Championships will be funded to race for UK policing in 2017.
A skippers' meeting held during the 2015 International Copper’s Cup Regatta in Croatia discussed the 2016 World Police Offshore Sailing Championships. Franjo, the Coppers Cup organiser, said his committee were willing to hold the event. A skippers vote confirmed that the preference was for the Croatia venue.
See the 14th Police World Sailing Championships, 2016 for the results.
View the report and results of the PSUK Offshore Sailing Championships 2015.
View the report and results of the PSUK Offshore & Police World Sailing Championships 2014.
View the report and results of the PSUK Offshore Sailing Championships 2013.
View the report and results of the PSUK Offshore Sailing Championships 2012.
View the report and results of the PSUK Offshore Sailing Championships 2011.
View the report and results of the PSUK Offshore Sailing Championships 2010.
View the report and results of the PSUK Offshore Sailing Championships 2009.
View the report and results of the PSUK Offshore Sailing Championships 2008.
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
National Offshore regatta results only can also be viewed via the 'Stats' Section