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Craftinsure 2023 LEADERBOARD

OK class Northern and Scottish Championship at Solway Yacht Club

by Karen Robertson 4 Oct 2023 09:58 BST 30 September - 1 October 2023
Sunday at the OK class Northern and Scottish Championship at Solway © Richard Bishop

After a successful OK event at Ullswater earlier in the year, the growing OK fleet in the North of England and Scotland had the opportunity to sail alongside their larger cousins the Finns at the Solway YC Autumn Open Regatta for the OK Northern and Scottish Championship.

After a couple of last minute cancellations eight OKs turned up at Kippford on the Solway Firth for two days of racing. While the forecast was for gusty southerly winds on the Saturday with heavy rain later, it was into a light northerly wind that the fleets launched on a rising tide, making their way down the estuary to the race area where they sat watching the wind coming and going from various directions while the committee boat waited patiently for the forecasted gradient wind to arrive.

When the gradient wind did arrive it arrived literally in a solid wall of wind like a nuclear blast, preceded by torrential rain that reached simply biblical proportions. After the initial blast came through the race officer set a short windward/leeward course with a short offset after the windward mark to get two out of the three planned races in before he ran out of the available tidal window for sailing.

The OKs started alongside the ten Finns attending their Scottish Championship and the two fleets remained enmeshed for two laps with lots of boat to boat action at marks and on the beats. Tony Woods (Glossop) took a comfortable first win from Chris Turner (Lyme Regis) with Keith Byers (Morcombe Bay) taking third.

Race two followed immediately before we ran out of water to sail on, with Turner taking the win from Kevan Gibb (Largo Bay) and Karen Robertson (Loch Earn / Dalgety Bay). With racing curtailed for the day, the fleets headed back up river to Kippford and refreshments at the SYC clubhouse.

Sunday dawned with the promise of sunshine, and soon enough the Kippford estuary was looking very much the 'Salcombe of the North' in the warming sun and moderate SW wind. With only two races planned, the Race office set a much longer course for the OKs and Finns consisting of a short beat from the start line, followed by a long, long reach out to sea south of Rough Island where the wind was much, much stronger.

The course then had a beat/run/beat before a long reach back into the estuary and a short beat to finish. It was certainly a challenging course and the more exposed legs benefited the hard hikers upwind and the brave downwind.

Race three was won by Chris Turner who recovered from a mid fleet position to pip Tony Woods at the last windward mark before leading Woods and Keith Byers on the reach into the estuary.

Race four was over the same course, but with a single offshore beat and was again won by Turner from Woods with Byers again taking third after taking the low route through the lee of Karen Robertson (who also got rolled to windward by Kevan Gibb at the same time!).

While focus is always on the leaders, the competition was good all the way down the fleet with places changing even on the last short beat to the finish of the last race as Sarah Meyer came from close behind Chris Baines to pipe him at the leeward end of the finish line.

The final results were Chris Turner from Lyme Regis taking the Northern and Scottish championship from Tony Woods (Glossop) and Keith Byers (Morcombe Bay).

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
144Chris TurnerLyme Regis SC‑21113
22252Tony WoodsGlossop SC1‑4225
32276Keith ByersMorecambe SC3‑6339
414Karen RobertsonLoch Earn SC‑434411
52148Kevan GibbLargo Bay SC‑525512
62218Sarah MeyerLoch Earn SC6‑8DNF620
72166Chris BainesMorecambe SC‑776720
82021Nigel OrkneyLargo Bay SC85DNF(DNC)21

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