Mercenary (Mark Bradshaw) showed Olympian qualities when they took second place in the highly competitive IRC 3 Class at Scottish Series finishing behind the outstanding class leader, Jaywalker, a J97.

With Olympic medallist Luke Patience in the Class (finishing 4th), competition was fierce and Mark and his crew sailed tenaciously to hold their place.

Impala 28’s for the next Olympics anyone?

Scottish Islands Peaks race

Lammergeyer kept up her good record in the Scottish Islands Peaks race with another win in making it a 1, 2, 1, 1 over the last four years.

Typically with Impalas, the competition started grumbling as soon as her name was spotted in the starting list. “Oh No! Not that *%$£”%^& Impala again!” was heard as we went through the Crinan Canal during the delivery to Oban from her home port of Ardrossan on the Clyde.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this race, it involves “sailing” 160 nautical miles and running around 60 miles with 10,000 feet of climbing up and down some of the most noteworthy hills in Scotland – Ben More on the Island of Mull, the Paps of Jura and Goatfell on Arran – before ending up at Troon. It’s a “first boat in wins” race.

Last year’s dream team of Wild Goats aka Andrew McArthur, Andrew Shannon, Andrew Coulthurst, Roddy Aitken and Ally Gray (see  and “No, don’t ask – you’re still far too young to know!”) went out and improved on last year’s performance finishing 5 hours earlier than in 2012 and running two sets of personal bests on the hills.

After a short sprint of c7km round Oban on the Friday, the team drifted out of Oban Bay on a gentle breeze. Trying to avoid the tide on a dying breeze, the team ended up rowing against the tide for 1.5 hours at the Lismore lighthouse. Eventually a good stiff breeze filled in and they had a cracking beat up the Sound of Mull to Salen in 22-25kts of wind.

At Salen, the dinghy decanted Roddy and Andrew M for a scurry up and down Ben More; came back for them after a remarkably short time and then the team set off for Craighouse on Jura. After a slow and fluky start – spinnaker up, spinnaker down, row a bit, repeat several times – the wind filled in from the north and the team had a cracking goosewing sail down the Sound of Luing, consistently having over 7kts of boat speed all the way and reaching speeds of over 10kts over ground. Waving at Corryvreckan’s whirlpool as they went past, the team whizzed onto Jura having by now launched the big spinnaker.

A cracking good run over the Paps of Jura, involving personal bests for both Roddy and Ally of under 5 hours, saw the team make up more time as, by this time, boats with longer waterline lengths had pulled away from them. Pulling back in the competition, boat by boat, our intrepid team set sail for the Mull of Kintyre and its notorious tidal races in third place in their class.

You have two choices at the Mull – stand a long way off or go in 50m from the cliff face. Taking a look at where the rest of the fleet was positioned and needing to pull back some places, the Wild Goats showed their climbing ability and took the inside line, eventually rounding the Mull in squally conditions in the pitch black against the last of the foul tide. Their gamble paid off and they left a number of competitors, who had gone offshore, behind them.

On to Lamlash Bay on Arran and the scamper up Goatfell. Now first in class, there was all to run for as the race has been won or lost on the hills. Almost exactly 4 hours later (another personal best), the runners were back at the boat having run 19.5 miles in including almost 1200 m of climbing! This run consolidated their class lead and the team were now in 10th place overall. The added bonus was overtaking a couple of teams on the hill, including the youth team from three of the Wild Goats old school, Lomond School, sailing on Pippa, a First 40.7.

Next stop Troon and the finish line. Sailing to Troon in no wind proving problematical, the team set to the oars setting a new Lammergeyer rowing speed record of 2.2kts and, by being able to row at that speed, pulled away from, or overtaking, bigger boats which had surged ahead earlier.

Nature then pointed its fickle finger of fate and the wind filled in allowing some of the bigger boats to make the most of their longer waterline length to pass. A swift spinnaker hoist saw the team surging along at 4.2 kts arriving in Troon at around 7.00 pm on Sunday night rather than last year’s rather antisocial 1.00 am on Monday morning.

It wasn’t over yet. A sprint finish up the Troon pontoons against the Lomond School team saw the Lammergeyer team very narrowly beaten into 9th place overall, whilst retaining their first in class position by a wide margin.

It was a fitting finale for three former pupils: being beaten by the next generation of Lomonders. A grumble from the FP’s of “Wellies aren’t meant to be run in – you think age would tell you that” didn’t conceal their delight at the sparkling performance of their old school team.

And they’re doing it all again next year!

Some footage of the start at Oban with the boats beating out towards Lismore with Clansman coming in to join the fun too: Lammergeyer, GBR9582, appears at 1.17 & 1.34


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