Round the Island Race (and Strimming Championship)

We will have to wait until December to discover who was the winner of the first Campbell Cup, a race that saw eight cruisers, and one intrepid dinghy set off from Ullapool to circumnavigate Isle Martin. A fresh westerly had the fleet beating all the way up to the loch and into Annat bay, before cracking sheets to weather the tip of Isle Martin for the leisurely run down the back and round, for a finish off the pontoon.

A near dead heat between Kumari and Thembi, and close racing between Twister and Mollymawk will be the stuff of club legend for many a year. Who will win? The finishing times are being processed by the Sandicapping super computer even as I write this.

Sandra Campbell was aboard Iain Boyd's Romairi, along with Donald to flag the fleet away, before heading under Gardner power to the island where a feast was preparing. Prawns, sausages, burgers and a haunch of Sika venison were on offer but no midges.
Thembi made a particularly impressive sight charging along upwind, with young Meaghan at the helm, brother Hamish and father Tim sweating at the winches.

Kumari's crew stroll the deck, champagne glasses in hand
 Special note was made of the Leon/Meighan family who when they weren't singing morale boosting songs to placate their terrified children, or handing out chocolates biscuits to mitigate the misery of a long beat to windward, showed just how fast their fine little yacht can be.

Sally, on the other hand, disgraced herself by missing the start guns altogether, and struggling to keep up with the fleeing Vegas, Mollymawk and Twister. Andy and Karen's Lucky Jim understandably hung back for fear of disturbing the delicate balance of the venison which had a bunk to itself and will be handicapped accordingly.

And majestic amidst the fleet, our flagship Kumari, Mairi at the wheel and Osborne crew, with Sandy and Lisa handing out regular supplies of smoked salmon sandwiches and champagne from the centrally heated depths of this fine vessel...

Not to forget our mothership Goldseeker, with Robyn and Scott aboard, probably the finest upwind vessel of us all, which made light work of the thrash down the loch. And Hugh, aboard Raingoose, who has probably sailed more this season than anyone.

Of even more special note was Topher Dawson's lone voyage in Polly's Folly. Although the race was for cruisers only, it is hoped that a special award be contemplated for a feat that must rank high in the role call of, er, feats in small dinghies heading for Isle Martin.

Competitive strimming: Paul in blue and John in red vie for the title
Before the BBQ began the Inaugural Isle Martin Strimming Championship got under way in the Mill House garden. After an hour of strenuous strimming there was nothing to choose between the two finalists: John  Osborne (aka "The Switchblade") and Paul "The Grim Reaper" Copestake. Between them they had managed to lay waste to over half the Mill House garden at the gun which signalled the end of a hard fought, brutal contest between two seasoned opponents. Points for finesse were also awarded, with Osborne's short cut and sides narrowly eclipsed by Paul's expert scalpings.

Meanwhile others, Kate, Chris and fellow hackers, were at work on the undergrowth, bringing tears of gratitude to the eyes of Isle Martin's de facto saviour, John McIntyre who has been working tirelessly to restore some order to the neglected island.

Sunday dawned grey and windy for an informal Ladies race back to Ullapool, which was won decisively by our new sailing instructor Robyn Phillips aboard Sally (both Vegas having being disqualified on two counts, for cutting the Winkie corner, besides which they didn't have a woman on the tiller).

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