‘Sloop John T’-time at Old Pulteney Scottish IRC Championships at Mudhook Yacht Club Regatta

Sloop John T, the Thomson brothers’ Swan 40, was pushed to the limits today – but battled through to take the Old Pulteney Scottish IRC Championship crown for a second time.

Once more the weather played ball for the Mudhook Yacht Club Regatta off Helensburgh – grey it may have been, but a solid, if slightly light, easterly breeze stayed put throughout and made for two very competitive races.

As it turned out, day two was not all that it could be for Team Sloop – but a robust performance on day one was to pay dividends and the comfort afforded by two firsts and a second, defined the winner in the end.

In a fleet of very tightly matched boats there was no room for error at any time – and it is this pressure which can lead to the occasional slip.

Sloop John-1 copyOn board Sloop [left], this ‘slip’ turned out to be a race mark touch, protested by John Stamp’s Jacob VII, which was pushing hard close behind. Sloop did take her penalty turns – but it was maintained that she did not make them at the earliest opportunity and she later retired from the race.

Meanwhile, it was turning out to be a favourable day for Neill Sandford and team aboard MAT 1010, Now or Never 3. Finding and then capitalising on form which had frustrated them on day one, they worked particularly hard, benefiting to an extent from Sloop’s retiral in the first race to take a win, before making that a double in the second – with both the line honours and the corrected time accolade. Sloop contenting herself with a second on that occasion.

Consistent throughout, though, Carmen II, the Jeffrey/Scutt owned First 36.7, was never out of the mix and a series of good results across the weekend gave them the runner up class spot.

In the seven-strong Etchells fleet there was barely anything to choose between the front runners at times. So close was it all, that some of the mark roundings were an almost daunting place to be with three boats converging at the same time and no quarter given.

Diablo-1 copy

There were no wins on day two for Ian Marshall and crew aboard Diablo [above] but with a scoresheet which already showed three firsts from yesterday, his second and fourth were enough to hold off the ever present challenge of Geoff Howison’s Hero. Having been forced into the runner up slot in all three races of day one, Howison topped the weekend off with two firsts, certainly giving them some well-earned honour – though not the overall class win they would have liked.

Sigmatic-1 copy

The only scoresheet which, after discards, showed a full set of firsts for a single boat, however, was to be found in the CYCA class. Near faultless sailing by the well-honed Sigmatic crew [above] aboard Donald McLaren’s Sigma 33 gave them an emphatic overall victory. They were chased hard throughout by the Bradshaw/Gallacher’s Busy Beaver, also a 33, but try as they might, they could not overhaul Team Sigmatic and had to settle for second place, ahead of Howard and Margaret Morrison’s well-kent Sigma 38 Enigma.

Carpe Diem copy

Overall results

– after five races [one discard applied] Old Pulteney Mudhook Regatta, incorporating Scottish IRC Championship:


  • 1: Sloop John T (I&G Thomson, Clyde Cruising Club) 1,2,1,2 6points;
  • 2: Carmen II (Jeffrey/Scutt, Helensburgh Sailing Club) 3,1,2, 2 8pts;
  • 3: Now or Never 3 (N Sandford, Fairlie Yacht Club) 4,3,1,1 9pts.


  • 1: Diablo (I Marshall, Royal Gourock Yacht Club) 1,1,1,2 5pts;
  • 2: Hero (G Howison, RGYC) 2,2,1,1 6pts;
  • 3: Defiance (T,S&R Lang, RGYC) 3,3,5,2 13pts.


  • 1: Sigmatic (D McLaren, HSC) 1,1,1,1 4pts;
  • 2: Busy Beaver (Bradshaw/Gallacher) 2,1,2,2 7pts;
  • 3: Enigma (M&H Morrison, Mudhook YC) 2,3,3,2 10pts.


  • 1 Carpe Diem [above] (M Macdonald, RNCYC) 2,1,1,1 5pts;
  • 2 Siglette (C Macdonald, Royal Northern and Clyde YC) 1,1,2,3 7pts.

Fiona Holland

Note: Accompanying photographs are copyright Neill Ross.

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