Annandale Sailing Club Hold Regatta For Disabled Sailors From Across The UK

Disabled sailors of all ages and from all over the UK visited Annandale Sailing Club at Lochmaben for a weekend regatta on April 29 and 30.

It was the first time in its 27-year history that the club has hosted a disability sailing event which was held in conjunction with Sailability Scotland SCIO for Challenger trimarans.

The club’s new Commodore, Stephen Thomas Bate, who competes in a Challenger himself, said: “Ever since I was introduced to the Challenger, it has been a dream of mine to see a fleet of them sailing on Castle Loch. I was very humbled to see this dream come to fruition last weekend”.

The Challenger is a stable dinghy that offers less mobile sailors the opportunity to sail competitively and in all conditions.

Saturday saw very light breezes posing a challenge for Race Officer Chris Nurney and assistant Willie Patterson, but they managed to get the scheduled three races completed.

The nine-strong fleet was split into Gold and Silver sections, the Gold fleet of Val Millward, Duncan Greenhalgh, Rory McKinna, Chi Chian and Alex Hodge having more experience.

Pre-regatta favourite, Val, visiting from Rutland Sailing Club, took the win in the first two races, closely followed by Duncan Greenhalgh from Eastriggs.

Stephen, representing ASC, was surprised to take two thirds and, in the second race, had a very close battle with Chi Chian, a student in Glasgow, originally from Chinese Taipei.

Rory McKinna, a talented Hansa 303 sailor, who has competed for Great Britain all over the world but is relatively new to Challengers, found his feet in race three, finishing fourth. The race was won again by Val.

Saturday evening saw competitors gather at the Crown Hotel in Lochmaben for a very enjoyable evening meal.

After a short postponement due to no wind, Sunday’s racing got going in a light breeze, which saw fortunes change at the front, with Duncan taking two wins and Val a second and a third.

Rory flourished and finished with two fourths, and Chi Chian took his second second place of the event.

The final results were very close, with Val beating Duncan by just one point. Rory McKinna and Stephen were tied for 4th and 5th, Rory taking 4th place on countback.

Everyone’s star of the weekend was Ronnie Cameron from Bardowie (Clyde Cruising Club), who recently turned 93-years-old.

Stephen said: “Ronnie is a legend and an inspiration to us all. His enthusiasm is unrelenting and it is always a pleasure listening to his stories. He always sails with a smile on his face, whatever the weather decides to throw at us.”

Final results: 1 Val Millward, 2 Duncan Greenhalgh, 3 Chi Chian, 4 Rory McKinna, 5 Stephen Thomas Bate, 6 Steve Laycock, 7 Ronnie Cameron, 8 Dorothy Bennett, 9 Alex Hodge.

Commodore, Stephen Thomas Bate presented the prizes and thanked the sailors for their support in bringing the Challenger class to a new venue.

He also thanked Kate and Jean for keeping everyone fed and watered and all the helpers from Annandale Sailing Club, who gave up their weekend to support the event.

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