After the Galloway sunshine of Coronation Day, Kippford dawned heavily overcast with sea fog rolling in on Sunday while inland it was bright and warm. By midday and the race start time, glimpses of blue sky gave the promise of the cloud burning off and a sunny afternoon, but with a chilly Southerly blowing, nothing was certain.
Races were the second day of the Sunday Spring series and Race Officer Finlay Train set a course South to Rough Island then across to “Nets” buoy, East of Horse Isles Bay before returning to G Buoy upriver of the Starting Hut. A mixed fleet of fast and just one medium handicap boat got a clean start with the Flying Fifteen of Colin Filer and Jamie Gascoigne leading away, followed by Stewart Mitchell in his latest Olympic Finn, then Stephen Gaughan and crew Martin Metcalfe in the Osprey, Metcalfe soon out on the trapeze wire powering the boat out after the two leaders. Further back the second Flying Fifteen of Peter Hammond and John Sproat was going steadily, then the medium handicap Firefly of Ian and Margaret Purkis having a lonely race, but after handicap corrections it was 1st Filer/Gascoigne, Flying Fifteen; 2nd Mitchell, Finn; 3rd Purkis, Firefly, 4th Gaughan/Metcalfe, Osprey; 5th Hammond/Sproat, Flying Fifteen.
The promised sunshine never materialised, instead the chilly wind increased bringing more cloud, mist, and a choppy sea. Deciding on a change of course for the second race, Race Officer, Finlay, took the fleet from Rough Island across to M buoy closer to Almorness peninsula. Starting in a similar order but this time the Hammond/Sproat Flying Fifteen was much closer to the leading boats. Once off Rough Island the leaders headed across to Almorness but got it all wrong, sailing much closer to the buoy North of Horse Isles Bay while only the Gaughan/Metcalfe Osprey and the Purkis Firefly got it right, correctly rounding M buoy. While their apparently comfortable lead took them across to the finish, both Flying Fifteens and the Finn failed to get a finishing signal having sailed the wrong course, presenting the Gaughan/Metcalfe Osprey and the Purkis Firefly with a well-deserved first and second.
Monday brought the forecast rain and a strong Southerly wind with sailing only for the hardy but that didn’t deter several, including two brave cadets, Finn Harris and Callum McRobert, both sailing identical Laser Picos. Race Officer Lindsay Tosh set a straightforward long course out to the South and back, but the start had several boats “over the line” and being recalled, the exception being young Callum, the only one to judge his start perfectly. Lap 1 and a big capsize for Finlay Train, who’d swopped the previous day’s Race Officer duty for sailing, but nevertheless forced his retirement. The powerful Gaughan/Metcalfe Osprey was relishing the conditions and took “line honours” but after handicap corrections, the Mitchell Finn was declared the race winner. Callum finished second of the two cadets but, in his enthusiasm, Finn had not recrossed the start line after being recalled so his result did not count, promoting Callum to third overall. Race 2 and once again the Osprey led all the way only to have Mitchell win on handicap. This time Finn made no mistake and took third but only after a very close race with Callum, their performance a great credit to both young sailors.
In just over a week’s time on Sunday 21st May, between 11.30 and 15.00, the Solway Yacht Club is holding its annual Open Day 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, refreshments in the Clubhouse and everything needed provided on the day. Here’s hoping for some Galloway sunshine!