Winning the Kyles' Cup brought a first trophy for Cristien McLaren's 'Alchemist', skippered by Iain MacLean, at the end of a tough weekend racing from Kyle of Lochalsh to Portree (Saturday) and back the next day.
Breakish-based McLaren purchased the yacht 'Alchemist' last year and, with Iain MacLean's technical help, has taken her through a first set of upgrades and alterations with the aim of optimising her performance longer term.
On one of the west coast's warmest, light-aired days this summer the Kyles' Cup became a test for the fleet of survival and stoic will to complete the course on Leg One with a hope that fortunes might change and favour 'the brave' during Leg Two.
Alchemist, always at the head of the fleet as the fastest handicap boat, was pathfinder gradually picking her way through the windless holes with Seonachan MacLeod's 'Sonas' always in closest attendance just behind but not finally close enough to take leg one which ended for some after a 12 hour struggle with only 4 minutes separating the last three home.
Sunday's shorter course back to Kyle offered less time to hope the leaders would fall foul of the weather and Alchemist steadily worked her way through the windless area at the south end of Raasay leaving Sonas to rue two tacks too many which ended her hopes of taking leg two. Meanwhile Hugh MacDonald's 6X clung on to third from Bruce Langland and crew on Shogun who never recovered from a sweaty beating on the Saturday. Leg two proved too much for Jamie Shaw's Pacer who stayed home Sunday to soothe sunburned bodies while Mark Philp who retired Ardestia on Saturday again took the start with family and friends hoping to learn more from their first racing weekend ever.
Next sailing on the calendar on Skye are the Skye Games' Dinghy Regatta, August 7th; the Vice Admiral's Cup, August 8th; Round Raasay Pursuit, August 12th – details of all are at www.skyesailingclub.com