Kippford season finale
Light wind sailing under Screel Louisa Birdsall and Philippa Howie making slow progress towards the windward mark After another season of great sailing in Kippford, Saturday was the finale of the club championship series, counting double to the overall result.
Unfortunately, the weather hadn’t got the message and it was pretty unpleasant for those after a good placing. With fierce gusty winds offshore but fickle and shifty up river, race officer John Colbeck had the job of setting a fair course in the tricky conditions.
Race one started against the incoming tide with Ian and Margaret Purkis risking a shallow water start out of the main tide in their Firefly while the rest were in the main channel. The Purkis boat quickly built up a good lead while John Broadbent and his crew Finlay Train (GP14) led the others. Early casualty was Rhys Williams in his Laser with a rig failure but a quick pitstop and he re-joined last.
The Purkis crew rounded the first turning mark well ahead but once the tidal advantage was lost, Broadbent closed and took a narrow lead as they headed back upriver. At the line, and after handicap corrections, the two boats were tied with race two to follow. Williams recovered but could only manage a distant third.
Race two was a very different story. Fresh from his strong second in the Laser Grand Prix Open two weeks earlier, Rhys Williams, rig now sorted, powered away into the distance to a clear win. The Broadbent/Train GP14 sailed a steady second with the Purkis Firefly just too far behind to offer them a serious threat. Retirements in the tricky conditions included Richard and young James Colbeck in their Mirror, son and grandson of John, the race officer – a real family affair!
It was also craning out day for the big yachts at the end of their season. Always a delicate operation but nevertheless successfully completed and a spectacle for Kippford visitors.
After the traditional end of season craning out supper social, it was back on the water on Sunday for the autumn pursuit race. Held over 90 minutes, conditions could hardly have been more different – bright and sunny but no wind in the estuary and only light shifty puffs offshore. Race officer Ian Murgatroyd arranged for competitors to be towed out and finding just enough wind set a triangular course off Almorness Point.
With the slowest rated boat first to start, Solway Yacht Club cadet captain Philippa Howie and her crew Louisa Birdsall led off in their RS Feva but being “over the line” they were immediately disadvantaged having to return and restart. The Purkis Firefly was next up with Dewi Williams, father of Rhys, starting well in his Laser. Patiently waiting and last to start, the powerful Dart catamaran of Chris Nurney and his first time catamaran crew Mhairi Herrick had little chance of a result in the light wind conditions but weren’t giving up.
Rhys Williams wasn’t showing much respect for his elders and relegated his dad to fourth by the windward mark. The Purkis Firefly caught and passed the Howie/Birdsall crew on 10 minutes and led until Rhys Williams, sailing beautifully, took the lead on 48 minutes, never looking back to another clear win, proving he is a young master and the leading Solway Laser sailor in all weathers.
After a tow home, it was talk of the next but last club races of 2017 in a fortnight’s time.
Below Mhairi Herrick in her first catamaran sail enjoying the chase. Chris Nurney is on the helm. The RS Feva of Philippa Howie and Louisa Birdsall is still a long way ahead
Left Timing the autumn pursuit race, race officer, Ian Murgatroyd, keeping control of proceedings.
Above Squeezing the last once of energy from the light wind, Ian and Margaret Purkis roll-tacking their Firefly