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Sailing: Silvers Marine Scottish Series - 40th year promises to be best yet

The Scottish Series, celebrating its 40th year with a new headline sponsor in Silvers Marine, opens with today's Clyde Challenger passage race from Gourock to Tarbert.

Although traditionally an overnight race, this year's Gourock-Tarbert leg will be raced during the day and heralds four days of intense racing. Entries are on the rise and the quality of the field is the best it has been.

Class 1 is expected to produce a real battle among the Scottish Commodore's Cup boats, led by Jonathan Anderson and Murray Findlay's Roxstar, fresh from their win at Kip Regatta. All four have made changes since Kip, though, some altering the handicap.

Jamie McGarry and Colin Moore's Eala of Rhu has come out of Swan 45 class rules and is fully IRC-optimised, adding 10 points to their handicap which means they are giving away 34 seconds per hour.

Roxstar has reduced her sail size to save six points on IRC handicap, and Aurora, who sailed at Kip with a light No.2 sail, has traded it for a light No.1, bringing no change of handicap. Steve Cowie's Zephyr has also had some work to make sure she is in the best possible shape.

It is not all about the Commodore's Cup team, though, and Ross Fullarton in Warrior could well cause an upset in Class 1.

At the other end of the spectrum some fiercely competitive sailing is anticipated in the Sonata class. Among a fleet of 12 will be some well-known names, not least Neil Manderson in Jazz, Mark Bradshaw in Mostly Harmless and Murray Caldwell in Red Hot Poker. The overall award winner could well come from this class.

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