Strathclyde Police Recreation Association
Police Regattas & Results

This regatta is now a PSUK Sailing Section recognised event.




9th to 14th June, 2014




North British Police Sailing Championship 2014 Report

 This year was my first year as organiser and I was faced with a daunting task.  Colin Gilmour stepped down after ten years of great organisation and growing the Regatta to the successful, highly popular event it is today.  Colin, Lynsey and Arthur left a great legacy and were certainly a tough act to follow. 

To help me in this feat, I managed to rope in Ally Sievewright with his Bavaria Ilha do Mel to provide committee boat, skipper, assistant race officer (although I had failed to mention that bit), adviser, and general all-round support.  Ally selflessly gave up his time and his boat and without him the Regatta would not have run.  Thank you Ally, I am eternally grateful.  Race Officer David Kent, of the Scottish Sailing Institute, provided all the race instructions and courses and was also always on the other end of the phone for advice and support, as well as collating and publishing all the results.  Thanks to David and Ally the racing ran relatively smoothly and I learnt so much – Thank you both. 

The Commonwealth Games had a big impact on our numbers this year, with only one full serving crew.  First years in retirement seemed to make another big hit with a number of skippers choosing the Med over the Clyde – I can’t think why!  Two late Irish entries added to the numbers – and the craic – and we had ourselves a decent sized fleet which equalled the PSUK Nationals.  For competitiveness and fairness, the fleet was split into a Spinnaker Fleet and Restricted Sail Fleet.  It seemed that the fleet was fairly closely matched this year with each yacht having a near equal to have an interesting tussle with.  The exception was Salamander XXI who sailed mainly out on its own with a few interesting races to the finish with the committee boat!

Sticking with tradition – and Colin’s good advice – the fleet gathered in Troon Yacht Haven over the weekend.  It was nice to see old friends arrive and to meet new faces.  Bob Stone had decided to get extra competitive this year by bringing along his two sons.  The family Stone proved a force not to be reckoned with; next year they are threatening three generations!



 Race 1

The curse of the first day continued with light winds forecast for the longest race.  We managed to lose Stooriefit to a blocked heads tank and almost lost Somerled after they were severely ‘Bobed’ the night before!  However, there was enough wind for a start and with the wind behind it wasn’t long before the spinnakers were out and Salamander XXI and newcomer Chala started pulling away from the fleet. 

Time was ticking on and by the time we reached Ardrossan the wind had dropped and it looked like we needed to shorten the race to get everyone to Rothesay in time for dinner.  As soon as the call was made the wind picked up to 15knts and we suddenly had the whole fleet hurtling towards having a good old race.  So much for my crystal ball!  Salamander XXI took line honours, closely followed by Chala then Salamander.  A fantastic performance by Inspirit saw them come second to Lady Naomi in the adjusted results for the restricted fleet.  It was also during this race that the committee boat’s week long engine problem started: we weren’t sucking enough water and were just chucking out clouds of steam.  The fleet had a lovely sail to Rothesay whilst we limped on to Port Bannatyne where we were met by engineers arranged by Iona and Starkle.  We sat in the sunshine whilst the engineers fruitlessly took the engine apart until Iona came to our rescue and rushed us to the welcome buffet held by the Victoria Hotel.



 Race 2

The committee boat motored around to Rothesay for a slightly belated skippers brief.  We started yet again in light winds for the first race from Rothesay up the East Kyle for a finish before the Burnt Isles. The Spinnaker Fleet had the advantage at the start but Salamander XXI got everything right for the best position by far.  Chala and the other Salamander were next, with the latter trying to get a closer look at the committee boat as she passed.  Ocean Wave had a great start despite restricted sail, closely followed by Lady Naomi.  Once again our crippled engine was no match for Salamander XXI who sprinted away to the finish.  The rest of the fleet weren’t far behind and we all managed a finish in pouring rain.  There were a few close finishes with Salamander pipping Chala by just a few seconds in the Spinnaker fleet and Te Luath just edging out Lady Naomi in the Restricted Sail.  The rain stopped and it was a nice sail or motor through the Burnt Isles to pick up a mooring for lunch. 

Race 3

The second race of the day was started in a decent 10-15 knot breeze, with close quarter tacks in play which were a pleasure to watch.  Following a theme however, the breeze dropped and it seemed like the fleet would never get out the West Kyle.  Yet again Salamander XXI was the first to exit but then seemed to stop as Buoy 47 was tantalisingly close.  After an age, it was a welcome sight to finally see masts poking out above the Kyle.  Once round the buoy it was a different matter!  The wind picked back up to 15-20 knots and the race was on. 

Once we neared Sagat Mor the wind increased to 20-25 knots and the committee boat had an enjoyable race with Salamander XXI.  We had both sails up and our engine on, yet the big Salamander was still gaining on us, forcing us to set a finish line before we were caught. 

The strong breeze provided great racing between individual boats with a few little tussles going on within the fleet.  A duel between Scimitar and Lady Naomi saw the West York’s crew having to do an emergency tack as they pushed for course over the Lancs. team, although they swear they were just trying to get a closer look at Martin’s house!  The heavier boats loved the big winds with Ocean Wave and Te Luath taking second and third over the line. 

Race 4

The third day finally provided some consistent wind when the Fleet set out for a race around Inchmarnock Island.  Te Luath made an excellent start and were first over the line with Inspirit and Ocean Wave hot on her heels.  The spinnakers were in play again with Salamander using her three sails to make ground on Starkle’s good start before apparently losing the wind.  The same could not be said for Somerled who had her spinnaker out early and powered away from the rest of the fleet.  

An enjoyable race was had by all with Salamander XXI again taking line honours.  The fight for second was close again, this time with Te Luath just piping Ocean Wave over the line.  The windy conditions ensured a close fleet and everyone had plenty of time to enjoy the glorious sunshine in Portavadie.  The weather had been booked to compliment the Mexican night that saw some splendiferous costumes from Lady Naomi which added context to the magnificent buffet. 


Race 5

The previous night’s tequilas were not enough to delay the start of a long race from Portavadie around Garroch Head and back to Rothesay.  The wind was questionable but we got a start in a good 7knts.  Before long the front runners were off in a good 15knt breeze, with Salamander XXI easily outrunning the still crippled committee boat and Ocean Wave keeping close to their heels (in a very long stride kind of way!).  It seemed like we would finally get a good long passage race.  Not so.  The back of the fleet had been hit almost from the start with the dreaded doldrums, this eventually moved up to the front and it seemed like Inchmarnock had sucked up all the wind.

The “race” was kept going as wind could easily be seen coming off Arran, alas it kept dying before it could reach the fleet and enliven the race.  A finish line was put in place just off Inchmarnock, yet reaching it seemed like an unlikely feat as the boats bobbed away in 0-1knt of wind.  Despite the agony, some fascinating tactics were on display.  Chala showed its skill and class in its first regatta by taking line honours in the testing conditions, with Ocean Wave over first in the Restricted Sail. 

As was the theme of the week, the longed for wind arrived as the last boats were crossing the line and most managed a lovely sail round the head for a late arrival in Rothesay.  The woes of the day were soon forgotten with a therapeutic pontoon party to liven things up. 

Race 6

A poor forecast of 2-4 knts led to a postponed start and a much needed lie-in.  Two yachts decided to retire early due to work commitments and the passage back to Ireland but the rest of the fleet lined up for a start in a good 5kts.  Inspirit got in perfect position and were first over the line by a good way.  The race for overall winner of the Restricted Sail was on and it was evident that all was to play for in this final race with Ocean Wave, Te Luath and Lady Naomi all jostling for position.

Salamander XXI and Ocean Wave were battling it out until the strong breeze hit and Salamander was away in 15kts of wind.  Just to conclude the week the way it had begun and continued, the wind died and a shorted finish line was put in place.  Salamander XXI’s great burst of speed saw her with enough breeze to cross the line with a great time.  However, the wind went with her and the rest of the fleet were left to drift to a finish with three yachts deciding to retire.  Ocean Wave were tantalisingly close to the finish when the wind died to finish an hour after Salamander had crossed.  The rest of the fleet had hit the doldrums early with Te Luath finishing next an hour and a half later.  Triffic 2 braved it out ‘till the end and managed a finish before the day’s time was up. 

All races completed, the Fleet retired to Largs Sailing Club for a fantastic buffet and the prize giving. 


Trophy Winners

Entertainment Plate                                                   Ally Sievewright. Ilha do Mel

Invitation Plate                                                          Craig Swallow.  Scimitar.  West Yorshire Police

Anchor Trophy                                                          David Old.  Lady Naomi.  Lancaster Police

Portavadie Trophy                                                     Eric Lange.  Te Luath.  Lancaster Police

Bell Trophy                                                               John Milligan.  Inspirit.  PSNI

Donald Galbrieth Memorial Trophy                             Stevie McKeag.  Triffic 2.  PSNI

Lancaster Cup                                                           David Old.  Lady Naomi.  Lancaster Police

King George Cup                                                      David Old.  Lady Naomi.  Lancaster Police

Porthole (in absentia)                                                 Bob Stone.  Salamander.  Scottish Police

                                                                                David Old.  Lady Naomi.  Lancaster Police


Resource Slow (Restricted Sail) Fleet                         1.David Old.  Lady Naomi.  Lancaster Police

                                                                                2. Eric Lange.  Te Luath.  Lancaster Police

                                                                                3. Gordon Alder.  Ocean Wave.  Scottish Police


Resource Fast (Spinnaker) Fleet                                 1. Bob Stone.  Salamander.  Scottish Police

                                                                                2. Alan McLean.  Chala.  Scottish Police

                                                                                3. Rickie Gray.  Salamander XXI.  Scottish Police


Strathclyde Bowl                                                       1. Bob Stone.  Salamander.  Scottish Police

                                                                                2. Gordon Alder.  Ocean Wave.  Scottish Police

                                                                                3 Alan McLean.  Chala.  Scottish Police


North British Shield                                                    Bob Stone.  Salamander.  Scottish Police


The Family Stone accepting the North British Shield (minus crew member Stephen Lindsey)

Lady Naomi crew and their haul of trophies


Triffic 2 accepting the Donald Galbrieth Memorial Trophy


The crew of Scimitar with their trophy The Invitation Plate


I have already stated what a daunting task organising the North Brits was – not least because I know very little about sailing other than how to make gin.  There were many times when I thought I couldn’t do it, it would be a disaster, nobody’s going to come and why on earth am I putting myself through all this stress – even during the first race!  I have to say, now it’s done, it was all worth it and more.  It’s such a joy to see everyone muster from all over the country and join together in the spirit of the event. 

There are a few people who need to be thanked for their help and support in organising this event. 

First and foremost, thanks must go to Colin, Lynsey and Arthur for making the event what it is.  They have grown the event to what it is today and it is the spirit that they brought that makes the North Brits what it is.  I would like to thank Colin for setting me off in the right direction and for giving me this amazing opportunity. 

I would like to thank the Scottish Police Sport and Recreation Association for their help with funding and arranging a last minute emergency finance meeting when I was panicking I wouldn’t be able to afford to run the Regatta. 

Howard Fisher not only provided me with my most important ‘lead’ (David Kent), he also provided me with never-ending support, steering me in the right direction and spurring me on when I felt helpless.  I hope one day he gets to attend the event to see why it means so much to me. 

As a non-sailor – no, not even competent crew! – I could not have managed any of the ‘racing bits’ without the help, guidance and leadership of David Kent, Scottish Sailing Institute.  David provided the courses, the racing props, the sailing instructions, the results software, the final results, the website – pretty much everything.  He also provided much needed support and re-assurance in the run up to and during the Regatta, helping me make difficult decisions and preventing me from having a nervous  breakdown – thank you David. 

I could not even conceive of this event running without a committee boat and I had no idea of how I was going to get one.  Luckily I have a great friend.  Ally Sievewright has no involvement with the Police (that he admits), does not race and certainly doesn’t hire himself out for skippered charters.  Amazingly, he agreed to give up his time and change all that to lend himself and his boat for this event.  I cannot be more grateful to Ally for what he has done and only hope he can bring himself to put up with me for another week to do the same next year!

Lastly, I would like to thank all of you.  It’s the spirit and fun that you all bring that motivated me to ensure this event continued.  The thought of seeing everyone getting together and sailing in this beautiful part of the world is inspiration enough.  I was truly humbled by the generosity, in words as well as gifts, that you all afforded me and completely overwhelmed.  It’s not often that I’m lost for words but I was simply bowled over by your amazing speeches and compliments.  The stress of organising completely dissipated – of course I’m doing it again!

Thank you so much to all that attended.  See you all next year!


Laura Davison

Mark Enhancement Recovery Officer
Strathclyde House 8
Elmbank Street
Glasgow G2 4DL

0141 5322647


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