A New Dawn

".... as I was saying before being interrupted by the Wee Pier," to pirate a phrase used by Winston Churchill on resuming normal parliamentary peace time operations after the war, the new year has arrived, and before us the prospect once more of going sailing, would you believe.

With a lovely black asphalt surface and a general tidying up all round (a big thanks to UHT by the way for waiving the £2,000 fee for the work) we are all set for a great season.

The tone for 2019 was set by The Commodore at the Annual Party at the Ceilidh Place, alas, for some who enjoy the craic, the last time (for a while at least) it may be held there (suggestions please).

However it was a splendid affair, attended by over 40, enlivened as always by Paul's peerless Powerpoint, and the first occasion in which our new Leader The Donald Buchanan (of that ilk), had a chance to address his flock/fleet/bevy/murmuration, or whatever you might call the LBSC assembled in all its finery. Under his enlightened command we have seen a general smartening up of the club and surrounds. With work on the Wee Pier complete, we can look forward to resuming normal activities.

Those who know him, would agree that he is a man of many parts (and hats): yachtsman; wine buff; gardener to name but three and here's four more.

"Now where was I?"

"Ah yes, parking..."

"I am talking to you, Adrian. Yes you..."

"And now let us end with a prayer. May our asphalt never buckle, and members remember to KEEP THEIR  DINGHIES FACING THE SEA. Amen"
Prizes were few and far between, and The Usual Suspects were conspicuously absent from the podium. No Sandy, or John (alas, holed up with Shona in Baku, doing his bit for global warming) or Adrian, Paul etc. Hughie Stirling was finally rewarded for a truly ambitious voyage that took in most of Europe, Scandinavia and the UK, and I believe Paul was embarrassed unfairly for a tidal (mis)calculation. The rest of the trophies went back in the cupboard.

And this year the prestigious Campbell's Cup was won, deservedly, by Alastair "the Reverend" Macdonald in a flawless display of spinnaker work around the back of Isle Martin in his new yacht.

Alastair receives his award from Sandra Campbell.
 As for the Flying Fifteen trophy, who better than our own Dave R.B.S (or is is B.o.S?) Maxwell who was consistent in the face of fierce opposition on several occasions (there being, in truth, only several occasions when the FFs were Ffing). That, however, is to take nothing away from his skills. Long gone is the addiction to the LTO, or what the pros call the Long Tack to Oblivion, nor is it a case any more of follow the leader. 2019 promises to hold good sport, albeit with a fleet sadly depleted by the defection of JohnO to Azerbaijan.

Dave and Fiona: a Flying Fifteen partnership that should be hard to beat.
Mention must also be made of our own Nabbie Mackenzie who regaled us, and that is precisely the correct term for an oration of wonderful wit that concerned a voyage he made long ago with the much-missed Robin, and another shipmate who was, to say the least, navigationally challenged (so nothing's changed at the LBSC). Just remember to keep the land to your right (starboard) when sailing clockwise round Britain was the message.

"It was a dark and stormy night when myself, Robin and shipmate ventured out..."
Incidentally, those who have been privileged to venture inside Green Pastures may have noticed a photo of a smartly dressed captain and his owner, standing on the deck of what looks like a substantial yacht. Until now the name of the yacht was unknown. It transpires that the owner is Mr Pirie of Leckmelm infamy, and the yacht Rionnag na Mara (sea star, or starfish), a 156ft screw steamer built by John Reid & Co on the Clyde in 1886. The skipper is grandfather Mackenzie.


So far so interesting, but there's more. Not only did the yacht have a state of the art steam engine, which was featured in a French engineering journal, but went on to play a role in the Dardanelles expedition, the attempt by British and French fleets to force a passage through the straits and attack Turkey from behind, the brainchild of Winston Churchill.

By now named Poupee, owned by a Miss Teresa Scarfoglio, Naples, she was requisitioned by the French as a mine sweeper, under the command of Capitaine de fr├ęgate Pierre De Courtois, Commandant de la flottille des dragueurs aux Dardanelles.

So there you are: a yacht owned by the man who provoked the Napier Report by evicting tenants off his Leckmelm estate, and which played its part in a famous naval debacle, was once skippered by the grand father of one of our most cherished members who will, I am certain, fill in any missing details, if you care to ask, some of which might even be true...

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