Great Weekend of Racing at Kippford – Solway Yacht Club

In a busy weekend at Solway Yacht Club, with the Summer Pursuit Race on Saturday and Rounds 5 & 6 of the Club Championship on Sunday, it was an optimistic fleet that assembled ready for the challenge of pursuit racing. Despite a dire forecast of thunder and heavy rain, and with Race Officer Peter Hammond warning of race abandonment if thunder was heard, the 90 minute race got underway on time, in great weather.

Without any slow rated boats entering, Ian & Margaret Purkis were surprised to find themselves the “scratch” boat, first away at the start. Three minutes later, the Laser Radial class started with Stewart Biggar straight into the chase. Cunningly working his way across the shallows against the incoming tide, he progressively closed in on the Purkis boat, getting the inside line at the first turning mark and into the lead. Meanwhile as the progressively faster boats were starting, the four Flying Fifteen keelboats set off, last group but one to go. Last away was the Dart catamaran of Finn Mitchell and Huw Williams, all now in the chase. While Biggar stretched his lead, it was the Flying Fifteen of Master Mariner, Captain Gordon Daly with his crew of Cameron Daly and Jane Gasgoigne who were making up ground fast.

At around the hour mark, the Daly crew were up to second but with Biggar still a long way head. Further back the first retirement with rigging failure saw the Flying Fifteen of Scott Train and Anne Stewart heading home. The Dart catamaran was now going well progressively picking off slower boats until a moment of drama saw them capsize and out of contention. Also going well was Rhys Williams, one of three brothers competing, in his full rig Olympic Laser dinghy but just as he was up to third, “bang” and another rigging failure saw him heading home too. This left father and son Barry and Colin Filer in their Flying Fifteen in third.


With barely five minutes to go, the Daly crew caught and passed Biggar to take a popular, well-deserved win.

Summer Pursuit Top 5 Result:

  1. Gordon Daly, Cameron Daly & Jane Gasgoigne, (Flying Fifteen)
  2. Stewart Biggar, (Laser Radial)
  3. Colin & Barry Filer, (Flying Fifteen)
  4. Ian & Margaret Purkis, (Firefly)
  5. Hamish Williams, (Laser Radial)


Sunday and everyone was back for the two championship handicap races. Despite a delay waiting for the sea breeze, the first race started in glorious sunshine and light wind. With all the leading boats in close company and the Flying Fifteens not getting away, it was the two Laser Radials of Stewart Biggar and Rhys Williams who looked to be dominating but not far behind was the Firefly of Ian & Margaret Purkis, going particularly well downwind, that crossed the finish not far behind the Radials. So now it was down to Race Officer Lindsay Tosh’s handicap corrections to decide the winner with Williams just beating the Purkis boat by seconds and Biggar third.

Final race of the weekend and in now strengthening wind the Flying Fifteen of Colin Filer, now with regular crew, Jamie Gasgoigne who headed off into the Solway for a comfortable win, followed home by Rhys Williams again going well in his Radial with Biggar again third. Of the Cadet crews, best placed was the RS Feva of Philippa Howie and Louisa Birdsall, in fifth ahead of their brothers James Howie and Charles Birdsall in 7th, reversing their positions in the previous race, gaining sweet revenge in the process!


The Championship races are run over selected weekends across the whole season with the final two races on 7th October on “Super Saturday” when result counts double. Still everything to sail for!

Pictures Credit John Sproat



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