Highland games

Numbers were down again at the Scottish Series this year. We must not lose this endearing regatta says Ed Gorman

Wednesday May 30th 2001, Author: Ed Gorman, Location: United Kingdom
With entries having fallen below 200 for the first time in many years, the annual Scottish Series regatta is now struggling to hold its own as one of the 'big three' amateur events alongside Cork Week and Cowes Week in the sailing calendar of the British Isles.

Indeed every year for the past five years the atmosphere in the regatta's home village of Tarbert on the western shores of Loch Fyne, seems to get quieter and quieter. For sheer numbers of people - both on yachts and spectating - it is simply no longer in the same class as it's bigger rivals.

One might conclude that the event - the 27th edition of which finished this week - is slowly dying as it becomes ever more a purely Scottish and Irish affair, with little relevance outside the clubs of the Clyde and the Irish east coast. For example this year there was only one visiting keelboat from the English south coast - one of the reasons why the organisers were forced to merge classes 0 and 1 which between them mustered just 17 boats.

So, with 190 entries of which 181 turned up, is the event in slow decline? The organiser - the Clyde Cruising Club - is adamant that it is not. This year CCC officials were blaming misleading adverse publicity about foot and mouth for deterring many would-be visitors, especially from England. They argue that the gradual decline in numbers in recent years - there were 217 entries last year, compared to a high point of over 270 boats in 1995 when the event was sponsored by Rover - is just part of a cyclical dip and things will recover in due course.

As far as numbers of competitors go, people that is, one of the features of recent years has been the switch from bigger keelboats with large crews to sportsboats like the Cork 1720 which produced 23 entries this year. That means less people per boat. The CCC also identified a curious trend this year in that, although numbers were slightly down on 12 months ago, there were something like 80 new boats at the regatta for the first time this year. A lot of boats which have been before did not turn up, the reasons for which the club is now hoping to discover through a telephone survey of owners.

To read on go to page 2...

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