|MUSTO Skiff Open with Scottish Skiffs at Dalgety Bay – 5&6 October 2019
Report by Euan Hurter
Dalgety Bay Sailing Club hosted the final Scottish Skiff traveller event of the 2019 season, which was held alongside the Scottish Laser championships. What was looking like a 10 boat MUSTO fleet whittled down to 5 Mustos, 2 29ers, and a Cherub. The MUSTO contingent consisted of Jono Shelley, Stu Keegan, Euan Hurter, Robbie Wilson, and Alistair Kerr (great to see him at another event).
Day 1 provided glamorous Scottish sailing weather: very stable building breeze, a bit of swell, and rain… Race 1 kicked off in 8ish knots, enough for some trapezing but not much more than that. Shelley’s start-line antics kicked Hurter out of start, which meant he was too far behind on the 1st beat to see what was happening (very useful for report writing)! Overall Shelley controlled the lead, followed by Keegan, Kerr, and Wilson (probably still suffering from his Tynemouth experience). Hurter, comfortably in last place, cooked up some downwind witchcraft to sail around the fleet, allowing him to leap frog into 1st, which he held onto until the finish. Shelley followed up in 2nd, Kerr managed to squeeze past Keegan for 3rd, and the Tynemouth champ, Wilson, brought up the rear (definitely still suffering).
Race two followed in a scarily similar manner. Shelley took the lead followed by Keegan, Wilson and Kerr; Hurter (only 30 seconds late for the start this time) was DFL. More witchcraft led to more leapfrogging for Hurter, but a calamitous final hoist meant he was rolled by Shelley and lost out to Keegan too (rumour has it Shelley’s grin was bigger than a Chesire Cat at this point). Shelley claimed the win, followed by Keegan, then Hurter. Wilson, having regained a sliver of his mojo came in 4th, and Kerr wrapped up the MUSTO cohort.
The breeze picked up for race 3, providing 10-12 knots. With a bit more oomph, the race was far more consistent. Hurter, overcompensating for his prior 2 starts, nailed a port tack flier, but glory was short-lived. Stu Keegan blasted the race, with good pace going the right direction (which was left, it’s always left). Shelley provided the only real challenge but had to settle for 2nd. Wilson was comfortably in 3rd but overlaid the finish gate by a mile (recurring theme) and let Hurter in for 3rd. Kerr brought up the Mustos, thankfully keeping the 29ers and Cherub at bay.
The final race of the day was in 12-15 knots – flat wiring upwind and downwind! Stu Keegan had a port-start blinder, but the other big peoples of Shelley and Wilson reeled him in for a great tussle. Shelley however showed everyone how it’s done, leading the whole way around the track until the finish. Wilson, finally showing some form, kept Keegan behind him until the finish. Hurter somehow missed the finish line (the PRO is blind) leaving Kerr to claim 4th spot.
Off the water saw more magic happen than on the water: the great disappearing act!
Day 2 brought another ‘type 2 fun’ day, steep chop/swell and 20/25 knots. All skiffs, feeling brave, made their way to the start area, but Darwinism kicked in and it was survival of the fittest (or thickest). The first race kicked off fairly seamlessly, but it was shortly evident that the race crew had got their marks mixed up… Shelley went to the correct colour mark, the rest of the fleet went to correctly positioned mark. As the fleet headed downwind, one by one, each boat proceeded to plop it in. Kerr and Wilson sensibly decided that was enough for them and headed home. The race was thankfully abandoned, and the restart kicked off with just 3 skiffs. Keegan felt sorry for Shelley and Hurter, so gave them a minute head start. Each of the next 3 laps consisted of Shelley delaying the hoist until after the gybe, Hurter hoisting immediately, sailing past Shelley and then plopping it in, and Keegan slowly catching them. Shelley proved to be the fittest (or thickest), Keegan 2nd, and Hurter 3rd. Hurter called it quits at this point, while Shelley started the 5th race but decided to carry on past the top mark and just go home (exact words of the conditions were “…that was stupid”). This left Stu Keegan out to finish the 5th and final race by himself – proving himself the King of ‘type 2 fun’.
Due to the raw talent of the MUSTO fleet, and by no means the lack of handicapping, all the MUSTO’s finished ahead of the 9ers and Cherub. Well done to Jono Shelley for taking the win, and a big thank you to, not only Dalgety Bay for hosting us but, everyone that made the effort to attend!
Full results available here:
1st – Jono Shelley
2nd – Stuart Keegan
3rd – Euan Hurter
4th – Robbie Wilson
5th – Alistair Kerr