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Solway Yacht Club Autumn Open Spectacular

by Ian Purkis and Stewart Mitchell 3 Oct 2023 12:51 BST 30 September - 1 October 2023

Several leading racing dinghy classes were invited to Kippford for the Club's big late season Open leading to a strong entry including Finns, International OKs, ILCAs (Lasers) and National 12s.

Crews had arrived from the Highlands to the English South Coast and everywhere in between. As the Vintage National 12 Championships had been cancelled by gales earlier in the year, the Club was happy to accommodate the revised vintage champs as part of the open.

Saturday dawned dull and almost windless but with a threatening forecast of strong winds and heavy rain. Most of the thirty plus boats sailed out to the Committee boat with only a few needing a tow. Zephyrs came and went from any direction for about 90 minutes trying the nerves of everyone while it became increasingly obvious that bad weather was coming up the Solway from the South-West. - but RO Stewart Biggar held his nerve until, Wallop!!, a wall of wind and torrential rain woke everyone up, rising from zero to 20 knots plus in 10 seconds. Game on. A short triangular course was set and race one launched.

The Finns and OKs started first, followed by the N12s, ILCAs and the rest. In the Finns competition was immediately fierce with Fergus Allan claiming first victory followed by David Kitchen then Stewart Mitchell - the local sailors had claimed first blood.

In the N12s, ILCAs and others, shortly after starting from the starboard end of the line, Ian Purkis and his SYC Cadet Crew Toby Iglehart, tacked onto port and into the ebbing tide. Helped by the tide and most other competitors initially heading for the wrong mark, they were delighted to be first to windward mark in Ian's venerable Proctor Mk 6 N1620. They held their lead to the wing mark but going downwind, first Tim Hampshire and Tanya Copsey N3502, then Philip David and Jacqui Massie N3499 got past. With Alan Mason and local crew Richard Colbeck N2066 in close company, the sight of four "ancient and modern" National 12s leading the entire fleet of ILCAs and others was particularly pleasing for the only double handed class. By the leeward mark, the David/Massie crew were ahead and won with Hampshire/Copsey second, and Purkis/Iglehart holding off Mason/Colbeck for third.

The second race was launched into decent wind and now with an ebb tide against wind, the "Finnsters" and OKs had some waves to play in on the down wind; a bit of "yeehah" to finish day two after a long wait put smiles onto everyone's faces. The winner of race two was Ivan Burden from Hayling Island, second to John Mackie, and Third to Fergus. In the N12s race 2 saw David/Massie first to the windward mark and with the strong winds returning, Purkis/Iglehart were survival sailing in the 65-year-old Mk6, desperate to make the finish, well behind the leading trio.

A very full Clubhouse and a fantastic SYC meal served to over sixty members, visitors, and volunteers, and with more time at the warm Club bar, a most sociable evening was guaranteed, the charity collection raising over £300 for Marie Curie.

Sunday was a different day altogether. Bright sunshine and a freeze breeze from the so'west with high teen temperatures showed Solway at its best. The fleets were soon out to the committee boat and planing around in 10 to 20 knts of shifty gusty breeze. A long course was set for the Finns and OKs. This time there was no doubt who was the winner with John Mackie leading from the start and making steady gains throughout the race. Soeren Vonslid followed a close second but had to retire after finding out he had rounded a mark incorrectly. Ivan Burden close behind came second followed by David Kitchen making a strong comeback after making a similar error and overtaking Stewart on the downwind section and new to Finn sailing Scott McColm came sixth in a fifty year old classic.

In the N12s and ILCAs race 3 got under way but not before one of the ILCAs broke its mast right on the start line. Nevertheless, David/Massie led the N12s again, Hampshire/Copsey second with Purkis/Iglehart having another very close race for third at the line.

Wind easing and steadying a little race four got under way now with an ebb tide kicking the chop up in the outer bay, Stewart Mitchell was leading the Finns for legs one and two in spectacular reaching conditions, Mackie got by to lead just at the leeward mark. Mitchell was then chased by Ivan and David for a very close finish in that order to complete the regatta.

In the N12s and ILCAs, after his broken mast at the previous start, James Bishop was re-rigged and back to start race 4. Clearly Philip David must have decided it was time to let someone else win and that his crew, Jacqui, needed a swim, capsizing on the start-line. Recovering they caught and past everyone except Tim Hampshire and Tanya Copsey giving them the consolation win. Mason & Colbeck were third over the line, but Purkis and Iglehart were just close enough to win the Derwent Trophy by eight seconds after vintage handicap corrections.

The glorious Sunday weather and the hospitality of the club led to a happy bunch of sailors delighted to race Finns, OKs, N12s and ILCAs in a beautiful area an friendly club.

Overall Results:

1st John Mackie; WFSC
2nd Ivan Burden; Hayling Island SC
3rd Stewart Mitchell; SYC
4th and 1st Legend David Kitchen; Port Edgar SC
5th Soeren Vonslid; West Riding SC
6th Fergus Allan; Loch Earn SC
7th Richard Phillips; Christchurch SC, furthest travelled
8th Scott McColm; SYC
9th David Richardson; Annandale SC
10th Keith Veasey; SYC

1st Chris Turner; Lyme Regis SC
2nd Tony Woods; Glossop SC
3rd Keith Byers; Morecambe SC
4th Karen Robertson; Loch Earn SC
5th Kevan Gibb; Largo Bay SC
6th Sarah Meyer; Loch earn SC
7th Chris Baines; Morecambe SC
8th Nigel Orkney; Largo Bay SC

National 12
1st N3499 Philip David/Jacqui Massie; Yorkshire Ouse SC
2nd N3502 Tim Hampshire/Tanya Copsey; Ripon SC
3rd and Gill Half Model Trophy vintage winner N2066 Alan Mason/Richard Colbeck; Redesmere SC / SYC
4th and J&T Hancock Derwent Trophy vintage winner N1620 Ian Purkis/Toby Iglehart; SYC
5th N20153 Angus Beyts/Berry Berhane; Newburgh SC

ILCA: (Saturday 30th Laser Grand Prix only)
1st Finlay Train; SYC
2nd Jonathan Nicoll; Ullswater YC
3rd Simon Wilson; SYC
4th James Bishop; SYC
5th Finn Harris; SYC
6th James Colbeck; SYC
7th Paula Kent; Yorkshire Dales SC
8th Connor Rennie; SYC

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