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5 Castles Inter-Schools Team Racing Regatta 2018

by Ian Purkis 20 Jun 06:50 BST 15 June 2018

The annual 5 Castles Schools Regatta, held on Friday 15th June was hosted once more this year by the Galloway Activity Centre on Loch Ken. It combines a Team Racing Regatta for experienced young sailors with a separate opportunity for others to try a variety of different water-sports.

Sponsored by Common Thread Group and run jointly by Solway Yacht Club, Annandale Sailing Club and GAC, secondary schools from all over SW Scotland and NW England are invited to send race teams and, for others, "Tasters" who can enjoy taster sessions in sailing, kayaking, canoeing and more. Around fifty young people joined the taster sessions.

Four racing teams of three boats each competed in the regatta. Sailing team racing is likened to chess; where you put your "pieces", or in this case boats, relative to the opposition, is more important than being first over the finish line. A 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, (scoring 9 pts) easily beats a 1st, 5th & 6th (scoring 12 pts). Holding up (within the Rules) a faster opposition boat to help your lower placed boat can make all the difference. Lowest total score wins! A steady breeze was forecast from the South West, which promised good racing, and the organisers scheduled each team to sail against each other team twice in a league competition.

Rain threatened all day but thankfully never arrived. The wind, however, took some time to settle, resulting in the need to move the racing marks more than once to achieve the best course. The first race was run in light and changeable winds and saw Castle Douglas High School complete an early win over Dalbeattie High School.

As the day progressed, the wind direction steadied and its strength increased, with the strongest gust recorded at 23 knots, or 26 miles per hour. This made for some exciting and challenging racing. One competitor from Kirkcudbright Academy, who had only sailed a few times before, received a special prize for determination; despite capsizing many times, he completed all his races.

Racing between the other three teams was very close and up until the final race any one of them could have won the regatta. In the end, with five wins out of six races, it was Castle Douglas High School that topped the podium.

Overall Results:

  • Gold medal - Castle Douglas High School, 50 points
  • Silver medal - Dalbeattie High School, 55 points
  • Bronze medal - Lockerbie Academy, 60 points
The Spirit Trophy for effort and commitment in the taster fleet was awarded to Wallacehall Academy.

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