Flying Fifteen Scottish Championship at Solway Yacht Club

Goacher master-class on and off the water: Steve adds 2016 Scottish Flying Fifteen Champion title to his crown!

Hosted by the Solway Yacht Club and sponsored by Loch Fyne Oysters, the Scottish Flying Fifteen Championships was sailed off the beautiful Solway coast from Kippford, Dumfries and Galloway. The Club was delighted that multiple world champion Steve Goacher had entered, along with many others not least John Hassen from Perth… not locally in Scotland but South of Perth YC, Australia! With months of preparation completed, the event got underway with several competitors practising on Friday.

After briefing in Kippford on Saturday and with both wind and tide forcing the necessity of being towed out into the Solway, racing got underway. PRO Chris Nurney, assisted by Willie Paterson, set “windward-leeward” courses for races one & two with the mass of fully deployed spinnakers, all fighting for the “cleanest” wind, provided a great spectacle for spectators and the many casual visitors enjoying the sunshine along the Colvend Coast. Goacher, with his crew Tim Harper, immediately stamped their authority on the event with back to back wins. The real challenge was who would win the second place race! Nigel and Gavin Tullett, also from Royal Windermere YC got that result in race 1 while the competition for the next places was between John Hassen and his crew Colin May, beaten to the line by Alex Storrar and Alistair Malway from Cowes Corinthian YC. By race 2 the fast improving team from Dovestones SC of David McKee and Mal Hartland took second place, the Tullett boat now third.


Flying Fifteen Scottish Championship – photo © Becky Davison

After short break, Steve Goacher gave an inspiring shore-based masterclass to many present using his boat to demonstrate many fine details of rig setting and technique before most present went on to join the celebration tea party, run alongside the Club, of 50 years of the RNLI in Kippford. Meanwhile David, Alison and Fergus Attwood of Loch Fyne were giving their own masterclass in seafood preparation for one of the most memorable social events held at the Club in many years, culminating in the generosity of all, contributing over £250 to the local Marie Curie Cancer Care branch.

Steve Goacher (right) and Tim Harper win the Flying Fifteen Scottish Championship – photo © Becky Davison

Sunday morning and with lighter winds the Race Committee, opted for a simple triangular course again out in the Solway. Race 3 was another win for the Goacher / Harper crew with McKee / Hartland again second. In rising temperatures but dropping wind, the final race got underway. McKee and Hartland weren’t going to settle for second, this time winning, followed home by Neil Currie and Rory Yardley, another Lake District based boat from Bassenthwaite SC, forcing the World Champion into third. Nevertheless, it was too late; Goacher and Harper were clear winners over the four race series, another master-class in the sport.

Solway Yacht Club members were well represented and it was the young team of Ally Ireland and Pip Benson, just back from the GP14 Worlds in Barbados, finishing seventh overall, upholding local honour and winning the trophy for the highest placed Silver Fleet boat.

The Classic Fleet trophy was taken by Bobby Salmond and Steve Lee, from Loch Lomond SC in the beautiful all wood FF627 “Vamouse” the Salmond family-owned boat from the 1960s, gleaming varnish everywhere. Of the other locals, some didn’t fare too well with Solway Yacht Club Commodore, Jim Holland, only managing a happy but rather distant 18th!

However the real heroes of the whole event were the “SHORE ffORCE”, the Solway YC Cadets. With big tides locally, launching and recovery were critical to the success of the event. Usually hard work for helms and crew, but for this event the Cadets formed themselves into two gangs, decked out in “SHORE ffORCE” tee shirts, taking over the task with incredible gusto delivering an amazing slick operation, led by team captains, Finlay Train and Rhys Williams. Prize-giving afterwards and the competitors and supporters gave them a roof raising cheer in recognition of the great contribution they made to a truly wonderful weekend.

Flying Fifteen Scottish Championship shore fforce – photo © Becky Davison

Article written by  Ian Purkis , shared with permission of Solway Yact Club

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