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Solway Yacht Club June Open

by Ian Purkis 15 Jun 2021 14:44 BST 12-13 June 2021
Paul Hignett at full stretch in his winning Lowrider Moth during the Solway Yacht Club June Open © Nicola McColm

From International Moths to the Laser Grand Prix and both the Olympic Finns and the National 12 Scottish Championships; all in one weekend!

If variety is the spice of life, the Solway Yacht Club's June Open meeting had it all. From the ultra-lightweight, Lowrider Moths slicing through the waves at phenomenal speed to the heavier, Finn class powering away, the Lakeland Laser Grand Prix and the double handed National 12 Class Scottish Championship races and many more, it was a very busy weekend in Kippford.

The Open weekend had attracted a big entry with boats from opposite ends of the UK; Hayling Island on the English south coast, another from Wales, others from all over Scotland, including some outstanding sailors, particularly John Greenwood in the Finns, a double Worlds Masters Champion. The weather was promising and by early on Saturday the pier was a hive of activity.

Starting with the essentials, the competitors were briefed by Principal Race Officer, Chris Nurney and his team. To make the numbers manageable, boats were divided into four groups with four separate starts, three minutes apart for each race.

First off were the fast handicap class incorporating the Moths, Flying Fifteen keelboats and others. Next up the Finns, the big entry necessitating their own start, then the Laser Grand Prix and finally the medium handicap fleet including the varied National 12 designs. The gusty westerly wind made for challenging conditions with several capsizes and many incidents, but the glorious late Spring sunshine ensured there was plenty of great sailing.

After one long race, the course was changed to make best use of the wind conditions but with big windshifts and strength varying from virtually calm to fierce gusts, crews had to sharp to make the best of the conditions. With all the races being run from the Club's "Starting Hut" on The Merse, bringing the fleets close inshore, it was quite a spectacle for the many visitors to Kippford over the weekend.

The Laser Grand Prix was only a one-day event but that only increased the competitiveness while the other fleets, enjoying two-day events, were all trying to get a couple of good results in early so well up the leader board on aggregate as they headed into day 2.

Lakeland Laser Grand Prix Result:
1st Richard Benson (Tynemouth SC)
2nd Jonathan Nicol
3rd Myles Ripley (Sedburgh School)
4th Dewi Williams (Solway YC)
5th Guy Liggins (Derwent SC)
6th James Bishop (Solway YC)

Day 2 and a change in the wind now from the South gave a much steadier and more favourable conditions. Sadly, the change also now meant overcast skies and gone was the early summer sunshine.

The first race of the day saw a huge lead built up by the Moth of Paul Hignett from Loch Lomond, demonstrating how the helmsman has to be a gymnast as well as a tactical sailor and just how fast these astonishing but diminutive eleven-footers are, and that's before the add the foils and cease to be lowrider Moths. Next up was Solway YC's own Colin Filer and Jamie Gascoigne in their Flying Fifteen, followed by Richard Bryant from Annandale.

In the Finns, John Greenwood scored another first place, adding to his two from Saturday, with Dave Walker from Yorkshire, second and Solway's Stewart Mitchell a popular third. In the National 12 class, very close racing between the top four continued with Mark and Emma Simpson just ahead when it mattered.

Race 4, the decider, was another demonstration of how to do it with both Greenwood and Hignett dominating their classes. In the National 12s it seemed that Philip David and Emma Hampshire had won and done enough to clinch the Scottish Championship but video evidence from the start line showed they had been "OCS", sadly for them over the line when it mattered, so were disqualified. Further down the fleet in the older "Admiral's Cup" classification, Angus Beyts and Berry Berhane had held off Ian and Margaret Purkis to pick up the "Mariner Mug" trophy, very well deserved as Beyts has been one of the most consistent competitors over many years, regularly supporting the Solway YC events.

With the weather deteriorating fast, prize-giving was a Covid compliant outdoor event held in the pouring rain, but it didn't spoil what had been a great weekend of very competitive sailing.

Overall Results: (top six in each class)

Fast handicap
1st Paul Hignett (Loch Lomond SC) Lowrider Moth
2nd Richard Bryant (Annandale SC) D-Zero
3rd Colin Filer / Jamie Gascoigne (Solway YC) Flying Fifteen
4th John Edwards (Abersoch SC) Lowrider Moth
5th Katie Hughes (Loch Lomond SC) Lowrider Moth
6th Alex Glendinning (Solway YC) Vortex

Finn Scottish Championships
1st John Greenwood (West Kirby SC)
2nd Dave Walker (Yorkshire Dales SC)
3rd John Deleeuw (South Africa / Stirling)
4th Russel Ward (Loch Tummel SC)
5th Stewart Mitchell (Solway YC)
6th Oliver Murray (Yorkshire Dales SC)

National 12 Scottish Championships
1st Mark & Emma Simpson (RYA)
2nd Philip David and Emma Hampshire (Yorkshire Ouse SC)
3rd Tim and Christopher Hampshire (Ripon SC)
4th Patrick Hamilton and Gayle Kaye (Burwain SC)
5th Angus Beyts and Berry Berhane (Newburgh SC)
6th Ian and Margaret Purkis (Solway YC)

Medium Handicap
1st Guy Wheeler (Annandale SC) Streaker
2nd Rhys Williams (Solway SC) Laser
3rd Finlay Train (Solway YC) Laser Radial
4th James Bishop (Solway YC) Laser
5th Dewi Williams (Solway YC) Laser
6th Elaine Ross (Annandale SC) Streaker

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