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The Scottish Islands Peaks Race 2019

The SIPR is really an adult event.  Only 4 of the 40 teams entered for this sailing and running adventure were youth teams.  Two of those were from Fettes:  Bluebird and La Girafe III

La Girafe III:  Seb A and Harvey M got the team off to an excellent start with a speedy run round Oban. Multiple tacks, that saw Nathan L hauling the genoa round the forestay, later… La Girafe III left Oban bay in 13th position and as 1st youth team.

The wind allowed for an excellent sail down the Sound of Mull and Hamish C, Nathan and Miss Doig paddled ashore just ahead of enemy youth teams Brown Bear and Kittiwake. It was hot and the run was a challenge knowing the teams would be chasing us down. They caught up along the side of Loch Ba and passed looking strong but we kept them in our sights as we began the long climb up Beinn Talaidh: sea level to 2500feet in one sharp climb. Back to the boat and a short paddle to the yacht.

 There was minimal breeze as we left Salen Bay in 3rd but enough to fly the kite and we snuck past Lady Rock at the end of the Sound of Mull before the tide turned against us. On through the night and we were lucky to arrive at the next tidal gate as it was turning in our favour. It was a super sail down the Sound of Jura, Nathan at the helm and pink kite flying. A bold sail under spinnaker into the bay and La Giraffe III arrived as 2nd placed youth team. Again, the youth teams vied for position on the run and Harvey and Seb put in an astonishingly quick (quicker than the sleeping sailors might have liked) run with adult Jonathon Marks and allowed the team to lead the way out of Craighouse and on towards The Mull of Kintyre. Again the pink kite was flying and the youth teams paraded out one behind the other. It was close racing all the way round the Mull until the breeze stopped at the south of Arran and the boats drifted together. Desperate attempts were made to paddle until eventually breeze filled in and the we progressed on to Lamlash Bay.

Again, the teams landed just minutes apart and Thomas K, Luc G and Mr Templeton worked hard to hold position on their way up Goatfell and back. 500foot Prospect Hill feels twice the height on the return leg but they covered the 19mile route quickly and La Girafe III left the bay in 2nd place with Brown Bear firmly in their sights and Kittiwake hot on their heels.

The wind began light but steady on what should have been a short, final sail to Troon. However, it soon died away to nothing and the team were left searching for wind and again deploying the dinghy in a desperate bid to tow the yacht. Sunday, alas, involved hours of drifting in the doldrums eeking out whatever movement could be gained from a passing zephyr. When finally the breeze filled in, Kittiwake and Bluebird had passed by. Thomas and Luc made the final paddle ashore to complete the race.

BluebirdLouisa L and James M ran the Oban hill run and the good ship Bluebird put to sea as 4th youth team.  The voyage to the island of Mull involved a lot of tacking and searching for wind, but we sailed into Salen Bay at the end of Friday afternoon.

Disaster!  We left the tracker on the boat and the marshals sent the runners back out to sea to pick it up.  The runners – Ellie M, Fiona R and Mrs Rait – finished the 18 mile route juts after 2300 on Friday and Bluebird set sail into the darkness with some catching up to do.

We closed the gap on the enemy teams.  There was brisk breeze in the night to push us onwards, and there was sluicing tide in our favour as we drifted past the dreaded Gulf of Corryvreckan on a calm Saturday morning.

James and Louisa, with adult Ben Rushton, scampered around the 14 mile route on Jura and Bluebird sailed for the Mull of Kintyre.  It was a glorious overnight passage, with coloured spinnaker flying in the moonlight.  The rest of the fleet had run out of wind on Sunday morning, which allowed Bluebird to catch up while Mr Harrison (Games, not English), Hector T and Murray W rested down below.  We got them up for shepherd’s pie at 0300 and the boat arrived at the island of Arran less than an hour behind the other youth boats.

Hector and Murray returned from their 19 mile run with Mr Harrison.  We sailed for the finish at Troon.  Then the wind stopped blowing.  This meant that there was no chance of catching Brown Bear or Kittiwake; but we got lucky when the breeze reached us first and we bobbed past La Girafe III to finish 3rd youth team.

Well done to all that got involved in SIPR 2019. Superb effort by all!  

Report by Iain Loudon


Scottish Islands Peaks Race Training Weekend Video (Footage by Thomas K)