A busy weekend in Kippford and another gathering of sailors from far and wide, along with club members, gave the Race Management team a challenging time. Led by Principal Race Officer Stewart Mitchell, the one-day Laser Grand Prix for the single-handed Olympic class boats and two-day GUL sponsored National 12 Championship for two-man development class dinghies started on time on Saturday. The heavy weather and strong winds forced a few to withdraw from day 1 and several retirements during the three scheduled races. However, those that did master the conditions were rewarded with exciting sailing and some great results.


The Lasers were dominated by Greg Liggins but a strong performance from Solway Yacht Club member Rhys Williams saw him come home second overall. In fourth place overall was George Thomas from Sedbergh School winning the prize for the highest placed Youth. The third race was marred by a nasty head injury to Steve Roberts from South Windermere but its seriousness was only realised after he’d battled on and bravely completed the race, finishing fourth. Fortunately, a trip to A&E at Dumfries Royal Infirmary saw him sufficiently recovered to return to Kippford mid evening and be reunited with his support team. He later publicly thanked the Club members and first aid team, fellow competitors and the excellent care received at the Infirmary for their support and concerns.

The National 12 Championships were dominated by Mark and Toby Simpson from Scaling Dam Sailing Club winning all three races on Saturday. However, pushing them in every race was the scratch crew of Angus Beyts from Newburgh and Solway YC Cadet, Douglas Copeman. The Beyts-Copeman crew got the lead at one point after the Simpson boat had capsized but it didn’t last and the Simpsons recovered to win.

Day 2 saw a single off-shore race for the National 12s before the final Championship race was combined with the Club’s up-river Palnackie Pursuit Race. The offshore race was again won by the Simpson boat but not before an impressive chase by Paul & Karen Brotherton from Glossop in a much older boat showed there was more to come.

The popular annual Palnackie Pursuit Race had been postponed by a fortnight given previous bad weather so a reduced Club fleet joined the National 12s. With the slower rated boats starting first it was a short sail out into the bay before turning up river, picking a course through the moored yachts then round the twists and turns, up the Devil’s Reach across the shallows and up to the turning mark just off the entrance to Palnackie Harbour before heading back to the finish. Dewi Williams led off in his Mirror followed by the rest of the Club fleet before the fast rated National 12s, the last to start. Yet again it was the Simpson crew that took a narrow lead among the 12s but as the fleet bunched up in the light winds up-river, the Brotherton crew crept past and round the Palnackie harbour mark to win the 12s. The Simpson boat slipped further but just retained their second spot among the 12s, just ahead of another scratch crew of Gerald Copsey from Ely and another Solway Cadet, Bruce Copeman.

Scottish National 12 Championships Overall result:

1st Mark & Toby Simpson, (Scaling Dam SC)
2nd Angus Beyts and Douglas Copeman, (Newburgh SC / Solway YC)
3rd Paul and Karen Brotherton, (Etherow SC)
4th Gerald Copsey and Bruce Copeman, (Ely SC / Solway YC)
5th Ian and Margaret Purkis (Solway YC)
6th Brian Herring and Ros Stevenson (Redesmere SC)

Solway Yacht Club Palnackie Pursuit Race
1st Dewi Williams
2nd Ian & Margaret Purkis
3rd Philippa Howie & Louisa Birdsall