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
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
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
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!