Sail Caledonia Organisation
Sail Caledonia is organised and run by the Great Glen Boating Club. The membership fee is £5 and membership is open to all. Its benefits include a 10% discount on all over the counter or telephone sales with Caley Marine in Inverness and a newsletter.
For skippers of boats participating in Sail Caledonia, annual membership is included in the boat’s entry fee.
Martin Balcombe – Chairman & Safety Officer
Martin is owner of Fingal of Caledonia, a 128' motor barge which has, since 1996, been running cruises with outdoor activities in the Great Glen. In 2013 he added a second barge, Ros Crana, to his “fleet”.
He was involved in all 3 Great Glen Raids and has been on the management team of all Sail Caledonia events since the first one in 2003. He has lost count of how many times he might have been through the Great Glen by barge, sailboat & canoe. Martin’s experience includes: Head of Sailing for Outward Bound Scotland, including directing 'Viking Wayfarer' expeditions of 28' open cutters (14 days west coast sailing with wild camping ashore!); skipper of Lorne Leader, an 80' gaff ketch on holiday charter in the Hebrides and Manager of The Manor House activity holiday centre near Padstow, Cornwall.
His RYA qualifications include Yachtmaster Instructor, Dinghy Senior Instructor, Powerboat Instructor, Sea Survival Instructor and VHF radio Instructor. He holds other outdoor qualifications from the Scottish Canoe Association and Scottish Mountain Leader Training Board. He is the author of The Outward Bound Sailing Handbook. Martin has played in and around boats since a tender age and owns Spylgarn, a 16' ketch. She now works for a living on Fingal but started life firing Martin's passion for open boat cruising by sail & oar in Cornwall and around the Hebrides.
John Macpherson – Vice Chairman & Race Officer
John was involved in the 2002 Great Glen Raid and his motor cruiser ‘Lochnagar’ has become a familiar sight as the committee boat for all of the Sail Caledonia events. He describes his most embarrassing moment as being towed away from Foyers in 2005 but no Sail Caledonia would be complete without him bouncing around in ‘Lochnagar’ on at least one windy finish line! Lochnagar comes equipped with new engine and onboard computer for printing out those all important race results. John also takes many event photos and his excellent albums can be found via links on the Galleries page.
Norna Hall – Secretary
Norna started sailing in one of the first ever Mirror dinghies Since then she has
had many years of just "messing about" in boats big and small. She joined Sail Caledonia
in 2007 as press-
Graham Wickenden -
Graham has approximately 20 years of sailing experience in smaller (5-
Ishbel Eunson -
Ishbel graduated from Edinburgh university in 2012 and works in Fort William, living by the canal. She has competed in Sail Caledonia since 2005 , crewing for her Dad on the lovely Auk and has won the Highlander Trophy more times than is healthy. She also helps out on Fingal / Ros Crana as an assistant and as a volunteer at CHAS head office.
Mike Tatham and Jim Poole -
Mike has been involved with the sea since leaving school, making his living in the merchant navy and the oil industry, but only started sailing in 2009 when his friend built him a boat. He came on his first raid in 2011 and, despite capsizing twice (once without any sails up!) was hooked to such an extent that it has rapidly becoming an all consuming passion.
Jim has been sailing on and off since his childhood in Plymouth but his interest was rekindled 17 years ago when he crewed aboard a 30' yacht that raced in the Humber and at Cowes Week. After this he owned a J24 based in Bridlington and then turned his hand to building boats in his spare time. To date he has built a 13' SwallowBoats Storm Petrel, the 22' Caledonia Yawl "Elsie", a 13' Melonseed Skiff and rebuilt a mirror dinghy (adding a bit more style). Jim first entered Sail Caledonia in 2011 and was smitten with the event: the beauty of the location, the competing design requirements of rowing and sailing together with its challenge. Read about Jim’s thoughts on participating in Sail Caledonia here.
It wouldn’t be Sail Caledonia without “Swampy” Dave at the helm of Ros Crana. Few folks are aware of all the work that he does quietly in the background, smoothing the way for the fleet as it makes its way down the canal. He is an independent skipper on the canal and when not on the barge he can be found taking tourists down the loch at stupid speeds in a fast rib, or at a more sedate pace on the Royal Scot. When the winter comes you will find him praying for snow as a member of the ski patrol at Nevis Range.