Finn Open & Traveller Series, Solway Yacht Club 30th Sept, 1st Oct
10 Finns gathered at SYC on an autumnal day at Solway to hear the briefing from race officer Stewart Biggar and his team for the assembled fleets for the open regatta, as well as the Finns a fleet of Oks, national twelves, lasers and mixed handicap. A great turnout for the club for an autumn event.
The Finns and OKs would start the races as a combined start and as the weekend progressed they behaved themselves well with the “U” flag kept rolled all weekend and no general recalls required at all. The forecast earlier in the week had biblical wind at times with force 11 locally midweek but this had moderated to a light northerly switching to a moderate south westerly later in the day.
The fleets sailed slowly out to the mid estuary moored committee boat, whereupon the wind died completely. Zephyrs came and went from any direction for about 90 minutes trying the nerves of everyone – but the RO held his nerve until a wall of wind and torrential rain woke everyone up from the southwest when the wind went from zero to 20 knots in 10 seconds. Game on. A short triangular course was set and race one launched. The wind went light occasionally but the race officer kept it short. Fergus Allan claimed first victory followed by David Kitchen then Stewart Mitchell – the local sailors had claimed first blood. The second race was launched into a decent wind and then with an ebb tide against wind the Finnsters had some waves to play on the downwind and much use of the Oscar flag was executed, a bit of ‘Yeehah’ to finish the day two after a long wait put smiles onto everyone’s faces. The winner of race two was Ivan Burden from Hayling Island, second to John Mackie, and third to Fergus Allan. The sailors came off the water delighted that the RO had managed to rescue the day with two short but great fun races. Warmth and beer were obtained in the clubhouse. SYC hosted a regatta supper for the cruisers which was an excellent meal and social night with a great atmosphere and craic. Tired, tipsy, full of homemade apple crumble and happy the teams retired for the night.
Sunday was a different day altogether. Bright sunshine and a fresh breeze from the so’west with high teen temperatures showed Solway at its best. The fleets were soon out to the committee boat and planning around in 10 to 20 knots of shifty gusty breeze. A long course was set for the Finns and OKs which after a short beat took them onto a long fast reach out of the estuary past Rough Island to do upwind and downwind loops between the Castle and Whiteport headlands. A strong wind gusting into the 20s and a decent choppy sea made for proper Finn sailing with close competition between the sailors, then a long downwind broad reach back into the bay for a short upwind finish. This time there was no doubt who was the winner with John Mackie leading from the start and making steady gains throughout the race. Soeren Vonslid followed a close second but had to RAF after finding out he had rounded a mark incorrectly after a strong race. Ivan Burden close behind came second followed by David Kitchen making a strong comeback after making a similar error and overtaking Stewart on the downwind section. Fergus unfortunately had to go home that day due to work commitments, Richard Phillips came in 5th in a borrowed boat and new to Finn sailing Scott McColm came sixth in a fifty-year-old classic Lemieux. Unfortunately, local sailor David Richardson had to retire after a crash gybe left a nasty head gash but thankfully no lasting damage, and Keith Veasey also retired after a similar gybe and capsized in the energetic conditions meaning a retirement.
With the wind easing and steadying a little race four got underway now with an ebb tide kicking the chop up in the outer bay. Stewart Mitchell was leading for legs one and two in spectacular reaching conditions, John got by to lead just at the leeward mark. The four front boats were in close company in the sporty conditions for the beat but John held on and then extended his lead all the way to the finish to a well-deserved Scottish Championship trophy. Stewart was then chased by Ivan and David for a very close finish in that order to complete the regatta.
The points over the weekend meant close racing for the compact fleet, combined with the glorious weather on Sunday and the hospitality of the club led to a happy bunch of sailors delighted to race Finns in a beautiful area and at such a friendly club.
1st John Mackie; WFSC
2nd Ivan Burden; Hayling Island SC
3rd Stewart Mitchell ; SYC
4th and 1st Legend David Kitchen ; Port Edgar SC
5th Soeren Vonslid; West Riding SC
6th Fergus Allan Loch Earn SC
7th Richard Phillips Christchurch SC, – furthest travelled
8th Scott McColm SYC
9th David Richardson Annandale SC
10th Keith Veasey SYC
Latest Race Reports…
The Finn fleets have a very active racing programme at all levels from Olympic level though to the equally keenly fought Classic fleet. To read the latest regatta reports click the images below.