Launching the Solway Yacht Club’s 2018 sailing season, Saturday brought out the hardy sailors in a stiff and very chilly North-easterly wind, sending fierce gusts across the Urr estuary. Nevertheless, several boats made it out to the start with the Flying Fifteen of Peter Hammond and crew John Sproat leading over the start line. Close behind, the brother and sister cadet crew of James and Katie Bishop gave chase in their RS Feva, sailing really well to keep the Flying Fifteen in sight. Initially third, Deputy Cadet Captain, Lilli Bell was having a battle with the conditions and after multiple capsizes was forced into retirement. This gave Peter and John the first win in the Ice-Breaker series and hard-earned honour of being the Club’s first winners of 2018.
While all this was going on, back on the pier it was Craning-In day with the larger cruising yachts being hoisted aloft and gently lowered back into their natural environment, the salty stuff, always under the watchful eye of Piermaster Charles Elliot.
By the evening, things warmed up with another great curry night thanks to POPPA and DOM, or rather just Poppa (or was it Dom?) as the one half of the dynamic duo couldn’t make the evening, despite having done the cooking in the previous days. Thanks too to Maureen, Deirdre, Chris, Susie, Blythe and others in the Galley and to our Rear Commodore Robert running the bar, along with Fiona, Gordon and more helpers… and the many on the customers’ side!
Easter Sunday and despite the cold, a larger fleet made it to the start with the Pete and John again “winning the start” of race one, leading as the fleet reached the first turning (windward) mark. However, once in the groove, the Flying Fifteen of Colin Filer & Jamie Gasgoigne got ahead and gradually extended a narrow lead. Completing the leading trio, the GP14 of John Broadbent and crew Ben Horwood were right up with them swopping places several times. Further back the Firefly of Ian & Thomas Purkis were holding a steady fourth not far ahead of the James & Katie Bishop back out in the RS Feva. Completing the top six Bruce Copeman was sailing well in his Topper and finding himself promoted to fifth when James & Katie retired after an error left them full of cold salty water. Putting the bung in is really rather important! Completing the busy day, a large vessel was being towed up through the confined channel to Palnackie Harbour for repair.
Race two of the two race Easter Egg mini-series saw a similar pattern but despite leading Colin & Jamie’s Flying Fifteen wasn’t far enough ahead of the John & Ben’s GP14, giving the GP the win after handicap corrections. The F15 of Pete & John crew came home third, the with Ian and his substitute crew Philippa again fourth and James and Katie (with their bung!) now finishing fifth.
Prize-giving started with James Bishop being awarded the 2017 Cadet Boat Handling Trophy before it was appropriate Easter Eggs for the winners, John and Ben, and the runners up, safety crew, race officer Gordon Daly and his team and supporters, all along for the fun!