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Kippford Regatta and Kippford Week 2015 at Solway Yacht Club

by Ian Purkis 17 Aug 2015 08:45 BST 1-6 August 2015

Galloway girls put the wind up the men... and make history on the Scottish South Coast!

The all-girl, under 21, crew of the yacht 'Hunca Munca' sailed to a stunning victory in the main RNLI Kippford Regatta race, the first all female crew to do so in the 111 year history of the Kippford Regatta, and the first under 21 crew to win it. Several weeks earlier they'd asked Hunca Munca's owner, Solway Yacht Club's Cadet Officer, Willie Patterson, if they could join him as crew in the Regatta Open Race. A firm 'No' was the answer, '... but you can sail her yourselves, without me!' The girls, all experienced Solway Yacht Club Cadets, mostly in racing dinghies, got their team organised and well practised, joined the start-line alongside the other large cruiser yachts, all helmed by experienced male skippers.

The race was on, initially in heavy weather, and soon it was clear the girls were a very competitive force. For a while they were close behind 'Tara', skippered by David Henderson but as the wind eased and race progressed, they overtook and pulled clear, taking a convincing win.

The prize-giving was a great celebration, but first the Solway Yacht Club Commodore, Jim Holland presented Gareth Jones, the Kippford RNLI Operations Manager, with a cheque for £550, all raised by competitors on the day.

The 'Hunca Munca' crew, decked out in matching pink 'Hunca Hunnies' shirts got a rousing cheer as they collected their trophy, joined on the podium by 'team owner', Willie Patterson, now wearing a matching pink 'Hunca Hero' shirt! Congratulations to 'The Hunca Hunnies'!

RNLI Regatta: (top three)

Cruiser Class
1st 'The Hunca Hunnies' sailing 'Hunca Munca', Solway YC
2nd David Henderson & crew, 'Tara', Solway YC
3rd John Searle & crew, 'Kintra', Solway SC

Flying Fifteen
1st Anna Grafton and John Grafton, Solway YC
2nd Jim Holland and Christine Benson, Solway YC
3rd Gordon Daly & Bill Russell, Solway YC

Handicap 1
1st Neil Towart, ISO, Holy Loch SC
2nd Euan Towart, ISO, Holy Loch SC
3rd Sandy Gass, Laser, Wembley SC

Handicap 2
1st Ian and Nicola Holden, GP14, Scaling Dam SC
2nd John Broadbent & Ben Horwood, GP14, Scaling Dam SC
3rd Finn Mitchell, Laser Radial, Annandale SC

Handicap 3
1st Hamish & Sally Mackay, Mirror dinghy, Royal Highland YC and Solway YC
2nd Tim Colbeck and Dominic Colbeck, Mirror dinghy, Solway YC
3rd Jane Gasgoigne and Mairi Herrick, Mirror dinghy, Solway YC

After the excitement of the Solway Yacht Club's RNLI Regatta Race the previous Sunday, it was down to business for the annual week long Kippford Week series of races. With entries from as far away as the Caribbean, the week was full of promise but unfortunately the forecast gales and bad weather arrived and on Monday the Race Committee had little choice but to cancel all racing. A few competitors decided to launch for a heavy weather practice session but after one boat suffered a broken mast and another with ripped sail, the Committee's decision was clearly vindicated.

Tuesday and the wind increased further to a full gale and not even the bravest launched. Things weren't looking good when on Wednesday morning the catamaran 'Elle', the Committee Boat for the racing offshore was found to have broken loose from the SYC pier overnight and suffered damage. However a change of plan, running the big boat cruiser race from the 'Starting Hut' ashore, and the wind easing down saw the first races get underway at last. The evening hog roast and Ceilidh raised everyone's spirits and no one was sorry it was an afternoon start the next day!

Thursday, 'Elle' repaired and improving weather enabled a full race programme to be run and by Friday it was light winds, sparkling seas and competitive sailing, Kippford at its best! There then followed an anxious couple of hours while the Race Officer, Lindsay Tosh and his team did the difficult job of sorting out the results and confirming the overall winners. With results all in, the prize-giving had the trophies presented, it was especially pleasing to see John Clark amongst the winners, his first trophy in a lot of years sailing! Concluding grateful thanks were expressed by all to the Race Committee who had a tough week but managed brilliantly in the difficult conditions.

Kippford Week: (top three)

Cruiser Class
1st John Searle & crew, 'Kintra', Solway YC
2nd John Clark & crew, 'Remus', Solway YC
3rd David Henderson & crew, 'Tara', Solway YC

Flying Fifteen
1st Colin Filer and Jamie Gasgoigne, Solway YC
2nd Scott Train and Anne Stewart, Solway YC
3rd Sandy Mair and Kevin Paul, Antigua YC & Solway YC

Handicap 1
1st Rebecca Bryant, Annandale SC
2nd Neil Towart, Holy Loch SC
3rd JoJo Barrie, Annandale SC

Handicap 2
1st Ian and Nicola Holden, GP14, Scaling Dam SC
2nd Finn Mitchell, Laser Radial, Annandale SC
3rd Stewart Biggar, Laser 4.7, Solway YC

Handicap 3
1st Zak Holland, Topper, Solway YC Cadet
2nd Emily Biggar, Topper, Solway YC Cadet
3rd Stevie Gaston, Topper, Solway YC Cadet