The local Kippford RNLI has a special relationship with the Solway Yacht Club, just up the village. Every year the Club holds a special Regatta Race as part of Kippford Week to celebrate the connection and raise money for the RNLI. 2017 saw the event much expanded with the local RNLI holding an Open Day and bringing the lifeboats and crews from Silloth, Kirkcudbright, Workington and the Nith Rescue boat, all alongside Kippford’s D class lifeboat.
A big entry gathered on the start line but strong winds and stormy conditions challenged everyone to their limit, resulting in a much reduced list of finishers and many retirements. Nevertheless, the winners list had many familiar names with David Henderson and David Butler in the cruisers, Colin Filer and Jamie Gasgoigne in the Flying Fifteens, Alex Glendinning (fast handicap) in his Vortex, father and daughter John Broadbent and Claire Horwood (medium handicap) in their GP14, Rhys Williams winning in the Lasers while another father and daughter crew of Hamish and Sally Mackay won the slow handicap fleet in the family Mirror.
However, with almost half the fleet retiring, either through being overpowered in the near gale conditions, breaking boats and gear, or simply through sheer exhaustion, the Solway YC Safety boats were kept very busy. The fleet of RNLI lifeboats was never far away powering round the estuary and as the wind rose and the rain started lashing down, they were pressed into picking up damaged boats while the Club safety boats took charge of the crews.
With everyone accounted for and boats secured, it was time for a welcome break and the opportunity to visit the lifeboat house or to consult David Wisdish from RNLI Largs, paying a return visit to the Kippford, running his life-jacket clinic and providing much valuable advice.
By evening, the prize-giving was a further chance to celebrate and David Wisdish kindly staying on to do the honours. With prizes distributed, it was left to Solway Yacht Club Commodore, Ian Purkis to present Gareth Jones, Kippford RNLI Operations Manager with a cheque for £1365, a record sum raised on the day by the sailors. With more raised at the Lifeboat house, this hopefully rounded off a great day for our lifeboat.
After the stormy RNLI Race, it was straight into Kippford Week: three “Challenger” trimarans entered, boats designed for disabled sailors, alongside a variety of other boats. Entries varied from young cadets who’d recently progressed from the Solway Yacht Club Cadet Week to highly experienced racing sailors from all over the UK.
Day 1 Monday and conditions were much better than for the previous day’s RNLI race, with everyone going well. Early winners were David Henderson (Hawk 20) in the cruiser class, Colin Filer and Jamie Gasgoigne in the Flying Fifteens, Ian and Nicola Holden (RS400) in the fast handicap class, Simon Roberts (Lasers), John Broadbent and Ben Horwood (GP14) in the medium handicap class and Emily Biggar (Topper) in the slow handicap class.
Tuesday and lighter winds inshore allowed the smaller racing dinghies to get off to a good start but there was surprisingly little wind offshore. As a result, the big yachts race was delayed and eventually started but was abandoned as the wind died completely. However, one lone boat did just make it to the finish and the crew were understandably miffed that they felt they’d been deprived of a win. This led to a series of protests but in the interests of fairness to all, the abandonment was confirmed, the race being rerun later in the week.
Day 3, Wednesday and initially more wind but this time it was inshore that the wind died forcing a second abandoned race and a long slow tow home for several.
Day 4 Thursday and now a steady light wind gave the advantage to the lighter crews. Despite the change, it was still a win for Broadbent but in the second race he tangled with the Club Commodore Ian Purkis at the leeward mark, while both were focussed on chasing Mark Lewis and Beatrice Overend in their GP14, leading and winning for the first time. This resulted in retirement for Purkis and eventual recovery to fifth for Broadbent. However, after dominating his class, this was enough to give Broadbent the series win with a full day to spare.
Final day and foul weather resulted in a much depleted fleet coming to the launching area with many deciding to stay dry and warm. Not put off were the three brave Challenger crews, the disabled sailors really showing the others who has the guts to face the adverse conditions and not only launching but all three crews finishing.
Prize giving and the historic trophies were presented to the winners, along with permanent momentos. Jessica Campbell’s 2nd in her Challenger in the medium handicap class was particularly popular. Two special awards were made, one for outstanding achievement, the Prince of Wales Ailsa Cup going to John Broadbent, often in the past pipped for an overall win but this year getting it right every time. The second, the Poser Trophy, to the crew “not-getting-it right”, Jim Holland and Ian Murgatroyd who at one point managed to hoist their anchor up the mast when it was their spinnaker they’d intended!
Overall Podium results, Kippford Week 2017:
1st “Hunca Munca” crew of Fin Macaulay-Smith, Pip Benson, Caitlin Ross, Richard Carson, and Zoe Dupuy
2nd “Ben” David Henderson & David Butler
3rd Hawk 20 Angus Campbell & crew
1st Scott Train and Anne Stewart
2nd Colin Filer and Jamie Gasgoigne
3rd Jim Holland and Ian Murgatroyd
1st Stewart Mitchell (Finn)
2nd Ian and Nicola Holden (RS400)
3rd Alex Glendinning (Vortex)
Lasers (Full rig)
1st Simon Roberts
2nd Stephen Brisley
3rd Rhys Williams
1st John Broadbent and Ben Horwood (GP14)
2nd Jessica Campbell (Challenger)
3rd Jack Dobbin (Laser Radial)
1st Boo Coles and Anna Miller (Mirror)
2nd Emily Biggar (Topper)
3rd Jacob Colbeck and Tim Colbeck (Mirror)