Bill MacKay

Bill MacKay


Event Campaigning

If you are preparing a yacht or a team for an important event, I would be pleased to assist (or lead) in this area. From thorough yacht preparation to on the water performance optimization. With my careful and thorough preparation both Sigma 33's, "Lilt" and "Pepsi", have been very successful in large fleet racing - We had an overall 1st. place in the Sigma National Championships in 2001.

If you are planning to compete with one of our Elans, I'd be more than happy to forward preparation details.

Choice of Vessel & its Suitability

Whether you intend to race around the world, visit far off continents or simply plan to holiday in the Med. - Choice of vessel is important and many owners buy several yachts before their suitable vessel is chosen, thus often wasting time and money. Here I can help you to choose the yacht which will be most suitable for your requirements.

Blue Water Cruising

Planning a cruise to foreign climes? I can assist with details on storm sails, bimini's, holiday tanks, rig suitability, provisioning and so on.

Rig Set-up

Correct rig set-up is vital for optimum performance whether it be in a 25 footer or a Maxi Yacht.

It is essential to mark sail positions for repeatability and note wind speeds, thus building up a list of optimum performance boat speed numbers for each wind speed, as a tenth of a knot is a large amount in fleet racing. Ideally, one has the designer VMG (speed made good) details to use as a yardstick, as it greatly helps to attain the highest boat speeds on untested new yacht designs.

If new sails are purchased, always compare their performance with the existing sails - Don't just presume they will be faster! They may need adjustments and quite probably the rig will need resetting and reducing the mast prebend.

Safety Equipment

I can advise on requirements from lifelines and harnesses to life rafts and dan buoys. Safety is vital and it is important to be very thorough in this area.

Yacht Deliveries

To anywhere from anywhere. With many thousands of sea miles of experience - whether delivering a small vessel or one of 100 feet plus, deliveries are carried out with care and safety.

Personal Profile


In 2007, won the O/shore Championship, IRC Class 2 Championship, Ailsa Craig Race, Tobemory Race, Troon/Largs Race and Tarbert Race.

In 2006, won Tobemory in IRC and Cumbraes Regatta.

Between 2001 and 2006, I did little sailing in the UK due to having a new knee and shoulder replaced, courtesy of the NHS, although I did have many sorties afloat in the Adriatic & other European venues.


Cable and Wireless "Adventurer"

Started off 1990 trying to improve our performance in the Half Tonner. Again wins in all the local events made us hopeful of success at the Worlds being held at Le Havre. But unfortunately the yacht was no match for the much larger, more powerful, French yachts at that time in all points of sailing.

In 1992, commenced building a very fast jet powered boat for Ivor Tiefenbrun. This boat when launched exceeded our expectations; it proved to be very fast and incredibly manoeuvrable. Plans were made to put the boat into production were shelved when the early 1990 recession commenced. Was invited to join a company building 'J Boats' in Slovenija. For two years produced the J 24's for Europe and made the moulds for the new J 92.

Delivered the first J 92 'Jellyfish' to Cowes Week with Stuart Johnston, where the boat might have won the class but for a broken rudder during the Monday race.

In the mid 1990's, competed in various regattas in the Adriatic with some success including winning the Austria Cup with Peter Mezek in the J 39 'Jaywalker'. Was approached by Elan in 1995 to act as consultant to introduce new models. Was involved with the introduction of the new range of Elan Yachts designed by Rob Humphreys. These new boats are already winning races around the World. During spells at home from Slovenija, sailed with Alan Milton on the Sigma 33 'Pepsi' winning West Highland Week on three occasions. Another trip to the Southern Hemisphere in 1997, to take part in the inaugural Cape Town to St.Helena Race. Sailing with Carl Van de Merwe in 'Freedom' this race was won by a convincing margin.

In 1998, was asked to join Jock Wishart as watch leader, on the Cable & Wireless 'Adventurer' in an attempt to break the round the World power boat record. This was achieved, breaking the existing record by nine days.

In 1999, we campaigned Alan Milton's second Sigma 33 'Lilt'. After a mixed start to the season while we tried various rig settings, we succeeded in winning the Sigma 33 National Championship.


In 1980 built and campaigned a Tony Castro 'Mini Tonner'. This boat was a class winner in Scottish Series and Clyde Week amongst other wins. In 1981 went back to 'school' and took a post graduate/post experience course in Hydrographic Survey.

Carl Van de Merwe's Farr 38

Spent the next three years surveying pipelines in the North Sea and Persian Gulf. There was not much time for sailing but managed to win the Offshore Championship with Ivor Tiefenbrun's 'Windo'.

During the middle of this decade was involved with the refit of 'Southern Flight' for Ivor. Campaigned the J 29 'Lingo' for Ivor. Won our class in Scottish Series and Cowes Week and again won the Off Shore Championship.

Was invited down to Capetown to sail Carl Van de Merwe's Farr 38 in Rothmans Week where we won the class. Subsequently asked back to defend the Trophy, which we did for five successive years (Thanks Carl!)

In 1989, built and campaigned a Rob Humphreys designed ½ Tonner. Wins at Clyde Week, Scottish Series and 2nd at Cowes Week made us very hopeful for success at the Half-Ton Worlds at Poole. However it was not to be, and we finished in the middle of the fleet.


Became more and more involved with racing. In 1971 competed in first Half Ton World Championship with a Kings Cruiser 29. We were so slow that we elected to watch the last race to find out why these guys were so fast! Bought the winning boat 'Scampi 111' from Peter Norlin and brought it to the Clyde. Won many races entered in 1972 including Comet Wheel series, and took the boat to Marstrand in Sweden for the Half Ton Cup. Amongst the crew were well known Clyde faces such as Pat Johnston and the then sailmaker John Black.

In 73 campaigned a Norlin 34, which we collected from the factory in Sweden and sailed home to Scotland. The Norlin was widely campaigned including Fair Isle, Cowes Week and Fastnet races. Took part in the classic S.O.R.C. in Florida.

In 74, campaigned a One Tonner designed by Ron Holland (I think only Ron's third design). The hull was built in Ireland by Ron Holland and John McWilliam, the well-known sailmaker, and fitted out in Glasgow. Events included the One Ton Cup, Cowes Week and Fastnet races.

In 75, campaigned a Ron Holland ¾ Tonner. Again this boat was campaigned extensively and included the Worlds at Hanko. Once again competed in the S.O.R.C and Newport - Bermuda races.

In 76, sailed with Alan Milton in the Contention 33 'Pepsi', winning our class in Tomatin Series.

101 Class Yacht

In 78, campaigned a '101' in which we won many events including the Offshore Championship and 2nd in the National Championships at Brighton.

During the seventies was involved in deliveries such as Bermuda to Lymington in War Baby (ex 12 metre American Eagle), (Tony Castro was in the crew), and many others from the U.K. to the Med.

Throughout this decade, apart from sailing, several yachts were marketed in Scotland including the very successful Ballad, Scampi and Vegas from Sweden.

In 1979 took part in Cowes Week and the very sad Fastnet Race. Sailing with Alan Milton on the Swan 39 'Pepsi' we lost our rudder and were eventually towed into Kinsale.


After a severe crash during the Le Mans 24 Hour race, injuries precluded sailing in the early sixties. In the mid sixties, became involved with rallying and was runner up in the Championship for three successive years, although time was still found to race in the newly formed West of Scotland Junior Offshore Group. Was elected 'Captain of JOG' in late sixties, and took a Scottish team to the Solent to compete against the English JOG for the John Rodger Trophy which was won by Scotland. Worked with Ronnie Scott of Euroyachts importing Folkboats, built in East Germany.


Family acquired 'Islay', a seven-ton teak sloop. Continued cruising the West Coast, and started competing in local races such as the Tobermory Race. Many of the navigation aids of the West Coast (such as the arrow at Acarsaid Mohr) were painted in with the help of Joe Baird, now secretary of the C.C.C. Became involved with motor racing, driving cars such as 'D'type Jaguar and Aston Martin DB3S, which restricted time spent on the water. Did however manage to win several local races such as Round Bute and Tobermory Race.


Cruised the West Coast of Scotland and Irish Sea with parents in family boat 'Aphrodite'. Remember having to wait for the anti-submarine boom, between Cloch Point and Dunoon, to open before proceeding down the Firth of Clyde.