After months of planning, the first ever “Sailability” regatta for disabled sailors was arranged by Solway Yacht Club in Kippford. As the Clubhouse facilities weren’t entirely suitable, the Club was most grateful that the Kippford Association had made the fully accessible Village Hall available for the whole weekend, without which it couldn’t have happened at all.
Sibling Rivalry: Girls Won; Boys Nil!
Despite pretty foul weather, it was a brave band of Cadets and not a single adult, apart from the safety boat crew, who turned out for the next in the midweek evening races in Kippford. Unusually the racers had a spectator fleet as several of the larger offshore yachts were moored on the Club pontoon enjoying a sumptuous evening meal aboard “Joy” while the Cadets launched into a strong wind and heavy rain.
Even before the start, Emily Biggar and Ben Ibbotson hit trouble, capsizing their 29er, the junior Olympic training boat, but once flag dropped, it was the all-girl crew of Philippa Howie and Louisa Birdsall who set off in the lead, beating down river into the Southerly wind. Not far behind their two brothers, James Howie and Charles Birdsall, were trying hard to keep the girls within striking distance and not far behind them, the youngest crew in the race, James Bishop and his sister, Katie were going well, all three crews in RS Feva class boats.
Once round the first turning mark, the Howie/Birdsall lads tried to raise their assymetric spinnaker in the hope of catching their sisters. It was never going to work! Completely out of control in the strong wind, they were nearly driven ashore and while getting sorted out it allowed the young Bishop crew up to second. Far from catching their sisters, Howie/Birdsall girls were now further ahead and while the boys retook their second place, all hope of catching the girls was gone. Meanwhile the Biggar / Ibbotson 29er retired before breaking anything, leaving the girls a clear win.
With conditions deteriorating, Race Officer Ian Purkis cancelled the second race so back to the Clubhouse for an early shower and well-deserved refreshments! The midweek series ends on 29th June and the Howie/Birdsall girls now hold a clear series lead.
Soon after first light next morning on the early tide, before most of Kippford was awake, the previous evening’s spectator fleet slipped their moorings and were off. Now windless and thankfully dry, they motored out and set course, heading to round the Mull and then up the West Coast. “Fair Winds” to them!
Held in glorious Solway sunshine and light winds, the next two races in the Club’s 2017 championships were run under the watchful eyes of Race Officer, Duncan Gillespie.
Both races featured race long tussles between Gordon Daly and Jane Gasgoigne in their Flying Fifteen, first time out for them since Daly’s late season injury in 2016, the Lasers of Stewart Biggar and Duncan Blandford and the 420 of Emily Biggar and her crew. Despite places changing frequently, Stewart Biggar’s two second places gave him the lead in the series. Next best Cadet was again Lilli Bell in her Topper with a rather distant tail-ender Gavin Phillips and his crew, the Club Commodore Ian Purkis “propping up the rear” in Phillips’ pretty but traditionally rigged Drascombe Dabber.
Cadet Week is Solway Yacht Club’s youth jamboree of learning, coaching, racing and fringe games. Once again, the club will be running a variety of activities during Cadet Week There will be something for every standard of sailor from complete novice to hotshot racer.
The fleets will be:
- Les Kepis Rouge this is RYA certified basic training to RYA level 3 – beginner
- Les Kepis Blancs this is development coaching open to those with level 3 skills - intermediate
- Les Kepis Bleus this is for race ready novices but with the benefit of active coaching –advanced
- Racing fleet - this is for fully fledged racers
Wrapped round all of this is our famous fringe games activities such as raft building, forest trails and Mudlarks out in the mud at low tide. For more detailed information and application please click here!