I love the Westray Regatta. I don’t understand which boats are which. I don’t know the rules. I don’t know where they start, where they finish and I don’t know how many laps they’re meant to do. But it’s very exciting nevertheless.
Waterproofs appear to be essential, ultra cool shades are optional.
I particularly like the Westray skiffs. They’re the one boat I can identify. I don’t know what a yole is and couldn’t tell you if there are any fever-class boats here, but I recognise a Westray skiff. They’re the ones which are pointy at both ends. And although this blue one is beautiful, it still has nothing on the yellow one.
It’s astonishing how fast a small boat can cut through the waves. It’s also a pleasure to see how a skilled sailor can turn sharply around a buoy. There are some great skills displayed out there.
As they race, the chap next to me says that the boat on the inside is going to take the wind out of the sails of their competitor. It’s then I realise exactly what the metaphor means in its original context. They literally are taking the wind out of their sails as they sail between them and the wind direction.
The deserving winners celebrate:
Perhaps the most photo-friendly event is the daft rafts. I’ve been looking forward to this. You’re not allowed to use proper paddles and anything you do row must be lashed together. The effort this crew are making to win is a sign of what’s at stake.
Others are taking it more sedately and find that the wind and the tide are taking them out to sea rather than into the harbour.
Others find their hastily assembled craft is too unstable to sit on:
They are heroes, all.