The ladies had a short practice first of all, then a briefing from the race officer at the end of the jetty, before they set off, all in Toppers.

There were some good starts, some bad, and quite a bit of coaching, but no shouts of Protest. One of the competitors remarked on how polite it all was, but it was still competitive.

Having been ahead and got away with being on the wrong side of a port/starboard incident, Fiona got stuck in irons at buoy 2, letting Dawn get past her. Unfortunately for Dawn the wind had picked up and as she has still to perfect the art of bearing away she had little option but to keep heading towards Beith. That might have been the end of her race, but Fiona (either deliberately or not) was busy doing turns. By the time she had unwound, Dawn had mastered bearing away and was heading for the gybe mark. Katie was at the leeward mark, putting the dagger board down, tightening the kicker and thinking of turning professional. Meanwhile Yoda, sorry, I mean Crawford, had a great pupil in Alice who was zipping along, especially downwind.

Going into the fourth and final race, the fight was on for second place. A great start from Fiona, and for the first time Katie was behind. She got past Fiona on the first beat, but some time shift happened as Fiona was first round mark 2, first round the gybe mark, and first round the last mark. A few meters from the line she was struck by the dreaded "into irons", Katie slipped past, and Dawn was not far behind, and almost got past. The drama was too much for some of us.

There was no doubt that the huge trophy for Most Improved helm should go to the well deserving Alice. The spirit of politeness continued with Fiona and Dawn being second equal. Katie won overall with four decisive wins.

Ladies Helm Race 2015

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Published: 30 August