After the long winter lay-off, glorious Spring sunshine greeted sailors, young and old, for the first days afloat over Easter on a beautiful sparkling sea. Good Friday was the turn of the Solway Yacht Club Cadets to enjoy fun and treats on and off the water. Saturday was “craning-in day” while both Saturday and Sunday marked the return of serious competition.
Quite a crowd of Cadets, parents and friends gathered on the pier on Good Friday for the “Eggstravaganza”, superbly organised by Cadet Officer, Joanne Harris, and helpers. At seven locations around the estuary in Kippford, both ashore and on rafts afloat, multi-coloured balls were to be found and collected by crews of Cadets. The older, more experienced cadets skippered the larger club boats with the youngest crews, while the other cadets sailed their own way round the estuary in different boats. After a couple of hours searching, they returned to the pier to exchange balls for Easter eggs and enjoy their Easter treats in the glorious warm sunshine.
More warm Spring sun and a light sea breeze welcomed the owners of the larger cruising yachts for craning-in on Saturday. A large crane had been brought in to lift each yacht in turn and gently lower it into the adjoining creek. The owner could them climb aboard and motor their yacht out onto their mooring. Meanwhile the fleet of racing sailors were launching for the start of the two days, six race opening event of 2023
Entries for the race series included both the 2022 Club champion, Stewart Mitchell and Cadet champion, Toby Iglehart. Sadly, Mitchell’s new boat wasn’t available in time, so he non-started but the others set off on a course set by Race Officer John Broadbent. James Bishop (ILCA 7) had a poor start and quickly found his boat filling with water having left a vital bung out during race preparation. A quick “pit stop” put it right but too late to be in contention. Soon the powerful Osprey class dinghy of Stephen and Linda Gaughan had built a good lead over the Olympic Finn class dinghy of singlehander, Keith Veasey. Gaughan took line honours, but the race win went to Veasey after handicap corrections. Race two and an excellent start by Ian and Oliver Purkis in their slower rated Firefly class boat allowed them to control the early stage of the race from the front. Once clear of the shoreline, the faster boats got away, but the Firefly and Toby Iglehart’s Topper weren’t far behind. In a much closer race, the win again went to Veasey with Bishop second and Purkis third, only six seconds behind the winning boat. A quick crew change had Thomas Purkis hop aboard the Firefly before another good start had them well up with the leaders, close behind the Bishop ILCA7. Another mistake by Bishop required penalty turns and at the finish, after handicap corrections, it was a win for the Firefly, so at the end of day one, Veasey held the series lead with the Purkis crew second.
Day 2 brought a forecast of winds gusting force 7 and both leading crews non-starting, so it was left to the lower placed boats to race for the series win. Another crew change had Richard Colbeck aboard the Gaughan Osprey as the somewhat diminished fleet headed out for a chillier and windier start. This time, Bishop in his ILCA 7 got it right, winning the first race. With the Race Committee carefully monitoring the forecast rising wind, a second race got underway with another win for Bishop. Right on form and in conditions he relished, he then made it three out of three and with it, won the Easter series, despite his previous day’s mishaps. Series Result: 1st James Bishop ILCA 7, 2nd Stephen Gaughan and Linda Gaughan / Richard Colbeck (Osprey), 3rd Keith Veasey (Finn), 4th Toby Iglehart (Topper) and 5th Ian Purkis and Oliver / Thomas Purkis (Firefly)
Next month the Solway Yacht Club is holding its annual Open Day on Sunday 21st May when visitors are welcomed and get the opportunity to try all forms of boating, as guests of the Club, all for free. No experience required, everything needed is provided on the day.