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5 Castles Inter-Schools Regatta 2019

by Stewart Biggar 12 Jun 21:48 BST 7 June 2019
5 Castles Regatta © Pete Hammond / Dave Richardson

On Friday 7th June, around 50 young people representing schools from across the region gathered at Galloway Activity Centre for the annual 5 Castles Regatta. The event attracts sailors and non-sailors, who can either compete in a top-class racing event in teams of three Laser Pico single-handed dinghies for the Castle Loch Trophy, or enjoy a day of taster activities on the water, kayaking, paddle-boarding, wind-surfing or sailing, competing for the Spirit Trophy.

The main sponsor for the event is Common Thread Group and the regatta is a hugely successful collaboration between members and volunteers from Solway Yacht Club and Annandale Sailing Club, with Galloway Activity Centre providing the venue, the equipment and staff time. Its main purpose is to get kids out on the water enjoying themselves.

After months of planning by Regatta Principal, Lindsay Tosh, current Commodore of Solway Yacht Club, five racing teams entered the Regatta. They competed in a league, with each team racing each other team in a series of races through the day.

At 10am, the scheduled start time, the Race Officer measured the wind strength in the race area at 0 mph and called a one-hour postponement. Fortunately, a light to gentle breeze developed from the South East and held steady all day, a perfect wind for some of the youngsters who were new to racing and for the taster fleets.

Racing got under way at 11am, with the composite team from Castle Douglas High School / Dumfries High School quickly establishing themselves as favourites. Every member of this team was a member of an RYA Youth or Junior squad and they certainly showed us their skills. At the other end of the scale, one competitor from St Josephs College was competing in his first ever race.

Sailors were ferried out from the shore to a muster platform moored adjacent to the race area, allowing sailors to swap in and out of the dinghies quickly and efficiently for each race. Racing kept to schedule and even allowed time for a little coaching for less-experienced racers. Other than the runaway winners, competition between the other teams was close and league positions were not decided until the last race was completed.

Results:

Gold medal and winners of the Castle Loch Shield - Castle Douglas High School / Dumfries High School - 26 points
Silver medal - Kirkcudbright Academy - 42 points
Bronze medal - St Josephs College B - 45 points
Fourth - Wallacehall Academy - 46 points
Fifth - St Josephs College A - 51 points
Spirit Trophy for effort and commitment (taster fleet) - Castle Douglas High School 1

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