West Highland Yachting Week


Well-known member
20 Mar 2008
Just back after competing, The idea was to introduce our nine year old grand daughter to racing while we still had the boat, beside her, my wife and son made up the crew, so three generations; with such a strong complement we went white sail and were on the scratch limit for class 4, the main competition came from Glenafton a big Milne Ketch and a bevy of Sigma 33s from the Clyde all receiving loads of time from us
Lessons learned.
You need to get ashore at the first marina base , we did not manage it and missed changes to the starting sequence which were not published on the web site or broadcast on the vhf.
If you are trying to sell your boat you need to race seriously with a strong crew, while the Sigmas had their kids with them, some of the forty footers in our class had eight men aboard.
Once every five years is not often enough to go racing, it was the end of the week before we got a decent start, it transformed the boat, clean wind and a choice of who to cover.
Dacron sails are not competitive even in 'white sail' classes, the other boat using them (a First 33.7 on the same rating) did just as badly, in passage races with flukey winds the better handicapped boats are always catching you as a consequence of the passing of time. While there is a rating penalty for changing roller head sails. boats with hi-tech sails can use as many as they like.
Our rating takes account of a roller furling headfoil so we were not allowed to change headsails during the week long event, we went for the 140% genoa which was a real problem when the wind was over twenty knots, ( it was above 30 at times) there is no substitute for weight on the rail and we had no one to put there, but we would have been even worse off using our blade jib as there was a lot of goosewinged poled out genny running.
Sigma 33s hunt in packs and stay together, best to keep clear of them.
Even with less than a knot of tide at times it still pays to go for the shore even when it is nearly a mile off course, a navigator who can do his sums for this would have transformed our result.
The courses set for white sail, when different from the hotshots, were poor with very short beats, almost none in the Sound of Mull races, just fetching and running and with a 50 m. start line and a hooked finish. Semed as if they could not be bothered to set a fair start line with adequate room and a fair finish line. Even with three whitesail classes (around forty yachts) they only seem to take the spinnaker classes seriously. The excuse is that the water is too deep.

The entry was badly down this year and the weather was rubbish, with one day cancelled altogether and a boat full of wet sailing gear, second in 2008, fourth in 2010 and eighth this year shows our progression, but even my wife, who has always hated racing, still managed to enjoy it, pity it was our last one.
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Well-known member
4 Jan 2005
Me - Edinburgh; Boat - in the west
Aye, the weather was mostly pants. Wednesday was the nadir but at least as an early starter we got past Lismore before the wind dropped. It seems to me that the family cruiser nature of white sail is being eroded by lightened, plastic sails and, dare I say, pot-hunters. That "the big green bastard", complete with bath, won your class is one of the anomalies of handicap systems.
Let's hope for a better year next year - it can't be worse, can it?

As for the Shuna race, being ashore wouldn't have helped you!


Well-known member
14 Nov 2001
Don't think Brian is in it for pots been doing it and doing it well for a long time it takes skill to giant tame?