A podium spot for Cumbrae’s Dan and crew of Derry~Londonderry~Doire!

01 Aug

After 11 months, the 2015/16 Clipper Round the World Race came to an end on Friday evening with the completion of Race 14, ‘Den Helder to London’. This last race saw Cumbrae’s Dan Smith, skipper of Derry~Londonderry~Doire, and crew, secure another race win, taking their total to an impressive 4 wins throughout the 40,000 nautical mile circumnavigation.

A Podium Spot

Everyone at Cumbrae is immensely proud of Dan as Derry~Londonderry~Doire took SECOND PLACE overall out of the 12 yachts taking part this year. What’s more it was an extremely close finish, with only 4 points separating the first and second spot! The top 3 places were as follows:

  1. LMAX Exchange (152 points)
  2. Derry~Londonderry~Doire (148 points)
  3. GREAT Britain (126 points)


    On Saturday, the race fleet performed a colourful Parade of Sail on the River Thames. Many spectators gathered at St Katharine Docks to celebrate the race finish and the prize giving ceremony.

    Returning to Scotland

    In an interview earlier this year with Dan, he commented that:

    ‘Despite there being some awesome ocean views and incredible coastlines around the world I’ve missed the scenery of Scotland’s coastline. Ironically one of the furthest places away, Tasmania, reminded me most of home. It had a similar rocky coastline to that of Skye’.

    He also talked about missing his bike and said he was looking forward to getting out on the trails again after the race finish.

    So WELL DONE Dan, now you can enjoy the cycling!

    By Calum

    Supporting the Americas Cup racing

    29 Jul

    Britain’s America’s Cup team, is led by the most successful Olympic sailor of all time Sir Ben Ainslie and over the weekend 23rd/24th July he steered Land Rover BAR to glory, claiming a tight one-point victory on the final day of the World Series event in Portsmouth. Britain now sits on top of the Americas Cup World Series league table.

    Out on the water amongst the massive crowds and the worlds best sailors were the National Centre Cumbrae’s Chief Instructor David Frame and Instructor Tom Thurlow. After the success of last year Cumbrae was excited to be invited to support the delivery of this incredible event again. The Americas Cup Race Management (ACRM) has a small team of professionals who travel around the world delivering the racing and at each venue they require the support of the host country. David was tasked to pull together a team of 10 UK race officials to deliver the event in Portsmouth. “In many ways this year was straightforward, our starting point was to just do the same as last year! Inevitably though we had to recruit two or three new team members, as not all from 2015 could make it. We created a team that had each rib and position on the course filled with someone who had been there before. The ACRM team were impressed as having now taken the event around the world since we last worked together they had learned that the level of expertise and experience in the UK is second to none.

    We also learned quickly! it’s not just the AC 45s (racing catamarans) that use the latest technology. This year the course was to be set using iPads, specially developed software and the cellular phone network. The committee boat sent “Target Mark” positions of all the marks to the iPads in each rib. The ribs towing the marks, also saw themselves as a live position on the iPad screen, they then towed the mark towards the target mark location and dropped when the two positions coincided. Changing individual marks and resetting the course was done on iPad all very clever and a little disorientating with your head down looking at the screen. Fortunately GPS back up coordinates positions were sent around the team for all the marks using a WhatsApp mark laying group. This took away the need for radio time to transmit and then confirm 9 different mark locations as the Lat and Long were all clearly displayed on the screen of your mobile phone. Once you had them it was fairly straightforward to move to that position.

    The other aspect we needed to be aware of was the “digital overlays” of sponsors that would appear, but only on the TV screen! On the water it was difficult to judge where the BMW circle logo would appear but it was made clear that as main sponsor they didn’t want a rib sitting on their branding. Only when you see it on the TV screen do you appreciate there is the equivalent of a 90ft diameter BMW logo circle at the gate marks and they get it for free if your rib is on it!

    Tens of thousands of spectators packed the shoreline to roar on the home side as they snatched overall victory in the World Series by one point. Ben Ainslie and the BAR team were all presented with winners’ medals by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. While behind the scenes and away from the publicity machine the Mark Laying team were praised by ACRM and the race teams. Jimmy Spithill Skipper Oracle Team USA said ”The event overall was awesome. I think it’s been one of the best Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series events” . Race Director Rob Andrews added his thanks “spectators and sponsors had a great weekend. We provided Stadium racing with a stadium full of spectators who are now fans of Americas Cup racing. Sailing has changed and all for the good of spectators, teams and sponsors your mark laying skills and accuracy allowed this style of sailing to be played out within a critical TV window. Once again the Cumbrae led team had performed very well on the International stage.

    60 minutes of the 2016 Americas Cup World series story and action is available on BBC i -player until 20th August.

    By David

    Cumbrae ‘Catches the Clipper’ in Londonderry

    15 Jul

    Today, Cumbrae instructor Angus Fergusson caught up with his colleague Daniel Smith, skipper of the Derry-Londonderry-Doire, during the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Angus and members of Standard Life Sailing Club had departed Largs Marina on Wednesday for this special ‘Catch the Clipper’ Cumbrae cruise.

    A big thanks to Dan for giving the team a great tour of the Clipper yacht. Little rest for him though as Dan and the team depart on Sunday evening for the penultimate race of the 14-stage series, to Den Helder, the Netherlands. The race will culminate on 30th July with podium celebrations taking place in London.

    For the time being though, for Angus, and the rest of the guys cruising with Cumbrae, the next stop is Islay, as their adventure continues into next week…

    First Day: Leaving Largs Marina to 'Catch the Clipper'
    First Day: Leaving Largs Marina to ‘Catch the Clipper’
    Colleague Reunion: Angus and Dan
    Colleague Reunion: Angus and Dan
    Dan gives the team a tour of the Clipper
    Dan gives the team a tour of the Clipper
    Questions? There's many for someone who has sailed around the world!
    Questions? There are many for someone who has sailed around the world!

    By Calum

    Summer Fitness at Cumbrae’s Gym!

    27 Jun

    If you’re looking to ‘tone up’ before going away on holiday, or perhaps you’re spending time on the island over the summer months and want to keep active, then Cumbrae Gym is for YOU! With great PAYG rates, as well as membership options to suit you, now’s the time to email us, pick up the phone or pop into sportscotland Cumbrae to get started!

    Take a look at our GYM PAGE to find out more details…

    By Calum

    Cumbrae: 40th Anniversary Film

    06 Jun

    WATCH this film - it captures the essence of Cumbrae over the years - created in celebration of the centre’s 40th birthday.

    Written and produced by Andrew Smillie with additional footage courtesy of sportscotland Cumbrae.

    By Calum

    Cumbrae celebrates its 40th Anniversary!

    19 May

    Watch the film, created by Andrew Smillie, to celebrate Cumbrae’s 40th…

    On Saturday 14th May, the current Cumbrae team were joined by past employees and partner organisations to celebrate the centre’s 40th anniversary.

    Great fortune meant that the centre and surrounding waters were bathed in glorious sunshine from start to finish. Guests enjoyed on-the-water activities and a BBQ on the sunbaked front terrace. The day culminated inside the centre with a celebratory toast and a Ceilidh into the wee small hours.

    Joining Cumbrae on the day were colleagues from sportscotland Inverclyde and Glenmore Lodge, as well as Trust Board members, and representatives from North Ayrshire Council, East Ayrshire council, the Fields Studies Council, Ocean Youth Trust and Education Scotland. Kenneth Gibson MSP and his wife Patricia Gibson MP also came along and enjoyed a trip out on one of the centre’s powerboats.

    Cumbrae was also delighted to welcome the Performance Director of the RYA, the Chief Executive of RYA(s), as well as the Chairman and the Chief Executive of the Scottish Canoe Association (SCA).

    Current Olympic Team Manager, Stephen Park, joined the celebrations too. Stephen’s Olympic aspirations started with his 470 campaign at Cumbrae back in the 80’s and he kindly gave an inspiring speech on Saturday evening:

    Stephen Park, Olympic Team Manager

    Stephen Park commented:

    “Cumbrae has been pivotal to the success of Scottish sailing over the last 40 years and is essential to the growth of our sport going forward. It provides the perfect conditions for athletes and coaches to learn and develop helping them to challenge at the very highest level.”

    Other comments from guests included:

    ‘Thank you very much for organising a fantastic event to celebrate the history of the Centre. It was quite obvious that a lot had gone into it; the fairy lights alone would’ve taken ages! It was great to see some old faces too’ (Andrew Smillie).

    ‘Thanks very much for a great afternoon and evening on Saturday. It was great to catch up with old friends over a beer or two and celebrate the last 40 years. Happy Birthday Cumbrae, here’s to the next 40 years!’
    (Nick Fleming, Chief Executive, OYT Scotland)

    ‘There exists a friendliness and a relaxed professionalism about the centre, which has prevailed since the early days and it was heart-warming to realise that it’s still the case. From a former instructor’s point of view, dropping in in to the celebrations, I was made to feel very welcome as were the rest of the band, who were equally impressed with the centre and the staff’ (Dónal Boyle).

    ‘Thank You! We had a lovely day at Cumbrae on Saturday and felt very welcome. We both tried windsurfing and Stand Up Paddleboarding…I now want to buy my own SUP. The weather was ideal and it was brilliant to see the centre buzzing with activity and everyone enjoying the water’ (Jane Booth, opus29).

    Read the article on sportscotland’s website detailing this milestone birthday…
    Wayfarer and powerboat
    Patricia and Kenneth Gibson on powerboat with Matthew
    Calum's sons going out kayaking with Sam
    Jane Booth SUP
    Jane Kerr and Audrey Sutton Santa Vey
    Somerled with Santa Vey in the background
    Stephen Park, John Derbyshire, James Allan, David and John
    Somerled in front of centre

    By Calum

    PHOTO COMPETITION - winner announced…

    12 May

    On 3rd May, Cumbrae National Centre TURNED 40!

    As part of a series of celebrations, we ran a ‘40th PHOTO COMPETITION’ and we’re pleased to announced Peter Cochrane of Standard Life Sailing Club as the very worthy winner!

    Congratulations Peter!

    By Calum

    STV’s Jennifer Reoch tries out windsurfing at Cumbrae

    25 Apr

    Cumbrae was delighted to welcome the STV crew to the centre on 14th April.

    STV’s Jennifer Reoch gave windsurfing a go with a little help from competitive windsurfer & Cumbrae instructor, Natalie McWilliams. Take a look at how they got on: Watch the film of Natalie introducing Jennifer to windsurfing

    By Calum

    Cumbrae’s Dan achieves 3-IN-A-ROW on Clipper Race!

    25 Apr

    On the 14th April, Cumbrae’s Dan Smith achieved ‘3-in-a-row’ (!) by winning the latest leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

    Dan and his team on the ‘Derry-Londonderry-Doire’ finished Race 9 after more than 23 days at sea, following an extremely tough North Pacific Ocean crossing.

    Upon arrival, skipper Dan had this to say about his 3rd consecutive win:

    “It’s fantastic to be here. It has been a long, tough race with tricky weather. We are very glad to be tied up and have a crew that have done a great job.

    “We have had a full mixture of weather. We had light winds to begin with, and then a lot of windy weather across the Pacific, with the wind direction changing a lot which was particularly hard.

    “The other tricky thing was the temperature and it being so wet, and the amount of time people could spend on deck. We had to keep cycling the team through down below deck to warm up, with around 2 hours the maximum amount of time you could spend on deck. It was very tough on the crew.

    “The strongest wind we had was about 60 knots of wind, the waves were big, although probably not the worst we have had. The seas were very confused though.

    “We looked after the boat and we don’t have any big damage. There are two little things that need attending to, and a little bit of sail damage, but nothing major.

    “It was a fantastic backdrop to see as we came into Seattle, with the snow on the mountains and the space needle.

    After the hat trick we are in second place overall, a good place to be and heading in the right direction,” Dan added.

    Arriving into Seattle
    Arriving into Seattle

    By Calum

    Cumbrae welcomes new IDS students!

    06 Apr

    Instructor Development Scheme

    Joining current IDS students,Tom Thurlow and Sam Dean, will be 4 new recruits (from left to right in photo):

    Welcome to the team! We’re sure you’ll find it both challenging and rewarding!

    By Calum

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