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Solway Open Meeting & Vintage Champs

Solway Yacht Club Spectacular

The National 12s were again invited to Kippford for the Club’s big late season Open with a strong entry, including Finns, OKs, ILCAs and a handicap fleet. 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. With originally six N12s entered it wasn’t the biggest fleet but as almost the only double handed class, it was the most sociable!

Saturday dawned dull and almost windless with a very 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. The little wind there was doing nothing but shifting through 360 degrees, giving the Race Committee a nightmare, trying to organise fair courses. For an hour and a half everyone drifted about but it became increasingly obvious that bad weather was coming up the Solway from the South-West. Angus Beyts, who’d just flown in specially from Canada having apparently survived an encounter with a grizzly bear*, and his crew Berry Berhane didn’t fancy a weather encounter as well so decided to “lead the fleet home” by heading back to the warm Club bar; very sensible. Wallop!! Within seconds it had gone from nothing to F5 gusting 6 and very heavy rain and cold. Most saw it coming and were ready but with the initial blast passing, the RO Stewart Biggar was at last able to set a course.

At last race 1 got underway. The N12s got a clean start; Ian Purkis and his SYC Cadet Crew Toby Iglehart, soon tacked onto port and into the now ebbing tide. Helped by the tide and most others initially heading for the wrong mark, they were delighted, if not astonished, to be first to windward mark in Ian’s venerable Proctor Mk 6 N1620 “Mock Turtle”. 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 very pleasing for the Class. By the leeward mark, Philip and Jacqui were ahead and won with Tim and Tanya second, Ian and Toby holding off Alan and Richard for third.

Race 2 followed a similar pattern, but this time Philip was first to the Windward mark and with the strong winds returning, Ian and Toby were survival sailing in the 65-year-old boat, desperate to make the finish without filling up, well behind the other three. Meanwhile Angus and Berry amazed the Clubhouse galley volunteers who thought they were first back because they’d won! Allegedly they enjoyed saying or doing nothing to indicate otherwise!

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. Overnight, Paul Turner, remote as the Derwent Trophy telephone handicapper, wrestled for hours with timings before awarding appropriate PNs to the Vintage boats for the second half of their Championships.

Warm sunshine welcomed day two but still strong winds. Angus was now suffering jet lag or worse sat out the racing while Berry jumped into a Safety Boat with Scott Train, the SYC Commodore for an off-duty grand tour of the nearby coast.

Race 3 got underway but not before one of the ILCAs broke its mast right on the start line. Nevertheless, Philip and Jacqui again led away, Tim and Tanya second with Ian and Toby having another very close race beat Alan and Richard to the line.

Race 4 and clearly Philip decided it was time to let someone else win or that Jacqui needed a swim, so capsized on the start. Recovering they caught and past everyone except Tim and Tanya giving them the consolation win. Alan and Richard were third over the line, but Ian and Toby were just close enough to win the Derwent Trophy by eight seconds a credit to the excellent handicapping by Paul!

The prize winners

Overall results

1st N3499 Philip David and Jacqui Massie; Yorkshire Ouse SC
2nd N3502 Tim Hampshire and Tanya Copsey: Ripon SC
3rd and Gill Half Model Trophy Vintage winner N2066 Alan Mason and Richard Colbeck Redesmere / SYC
4th and J&T Hancock Derwent Trophy winner N1620 Ian Purkis and Toby Iglehart; SYC
5th N2153 Angus Beyts and Berry Berhane; Newburgh SC

*After clarification, it turned out that it was only a grizzly bear warning road sign that Angus had actually encountered in Canada!


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