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Sun, fun and close racing; Solway Yacht Club Cadet Week 2022

by Ian Purkis 30 Jul 2022 06:30 PDT 25-29 July 2022

Third time lucky! After two years of no Cadet Week 2020, and a severely Covid restricted Cadet Week 2021, finally it was almost back to normal for 2022. Fifty cadets plus a similar number of volunteers, instructors, safety crews, race officers, galley staff and pier helpers were rewarded with a great week, all but one day in warm sunshine and mostly favourable winds.

Day 1 Monday started early! Tide times required cadets to be on the pier at 07.15 ready to sail. The forecast had been poor, but the early arrivals were greeted with a light wind and clearing skies.

Further out the "Kepis Noir" Black Cap racers, were soon manoeuvring to get the perfect start to race 1, run by the Principal Race Officer, Stewart Biggar's expert team ashore in the Start Hut. Onshore, the coached racers, the "Kepis Bleu", were thinking about race craft with plans for timing practice starts, mark rounding in close company and learning tactics.

The improvers group, "Kepis Blancs", were soon picking up where they left off in the previous year's beginners' group. Split into two age groups, the "Kepis Rouge" beginners were excused the early start, letting the pier clear before starting their basic training.

Racing was split into fast and slow handicap fleets. Despite little or no wind at the start / finish line, James Bishop got the first fast handicap win in his Laser with Oliver Bennet winning both the slow handicap races in his Laser Pico. Race two for the fast fleet rewarded Sam Bennet with his first win in the Laser Radial, getting the better of Bishop.

After tea in the Clubhouse, dozens of squeaky-clean cadets couldn't wait to get covered in Solway mud in Mudlarks 2022! Sliding into the incoming salt water down the high mud bank, getting covered in the stuff isn't everyone's idea of fun but thanks to the brave adult safety supervisors, not least SYC Cadet Officer, Joanne Harris, and after the tug o' war and capture-the-flag games ended, more muddy fun was assured.

Parents and friends later had to try to identify their younger ones as they were finally persuaded to bring the fun to a close, coming up the slipway covered in mud, ready for hosing off with cold water before a warm shower to clean up.

Day 2 More warm sunshine, light winds and the racing and training resumed. With the Race Officers switching to a Committee Boat in the bay, making the best of the wind, it was race wins for James Bishop and Oliver Hardman in the fast fleet with Toby Inglehart winning twice in the slow handicap races. After non-starting on day 1 in the powerful Fireball dinghy, Ellie Rowand and crew Lilli Bell, getting her first taste of trapeze sailing, were rewarded with third in the first race. Visitors from the Royal Yachting Association Scotland were treated to observing cadet sailing at all levels, at its best. A barbecue at the clubhouse with parents and friends followed by a treasure hunt ended the day in a lovely evening.

Day 3 and at 10.00 it was flat calm in bright sunshine but by 10.30 a pleasant sea breeze had arrived. Also arriving was a crew from ITV Border television as well as a return of the RYA Scotland officers. Creating much interest and excitement, several of the trainees were interviewed on camera before reporter Natasha and cameraman Mike boarded a high-speed RIB for a tour round the on-the-water activities, culminating in a grandstand view of the second race start. The evening "Look Around" report showed cadet sailing and Kippford at its best, blessed with near perfect weather, stars of the show being Katie Bishop and Nicola McColm in their RS400 and Ellie Rowand plus her crew Lilli Bell on the Fireball trapeze. The coached racers now had their own Committee Boat starts, getting their first experience of race action. Games and quiz night brought the days activities to a close.

Thursday and not such good weather, wet and windless. After a delay, conditions improved enough for activities to resume. The evening "parents-prohibited" Cadet Dinner, served to the cadets by the Club Commodore and Committee followed by the Ceilidh, led by Caller and DJ Ross Kennedy "on fire" guaranteed a great night.

It seemed to have hardly started but Friday already! The final races were sailed in the best winds of the week including several capsizes but all recovering, even though, by now an expert on her trapeze, Lilli Bell managed to lose her harness in the process. Later in the day the trophies and prizes were awarded, training certificates presented and then the Cadet Captains' novelty prizes, poking fun at some with much laughter, brought proceedings to a close for another year.

Overall Results:

Fast Handicap
1st James Bishop (Laser full rig)
2nd Sam Bennet (Laser Radial)
3rd Oliver Hardman (Laser Radial)
4th Monty Low (Laser full rig)
5th Katie Bishop & Nicola McColm (RS400)
6th Ellie Rowand & Lilli Bell (Fireball)

Slow Handicap
1st Oliver Bennet (Laser Pico)
2nd Toby Iglehart (Topper)
3rd Katie Harris and Sally Mackay RS (Feva XL)
4th Tamsin Wallace & Mollie Keiley RS (Feva XL)

Coached Racers
1st Lucy Leyshon (Topper)
2nd Jack Vivers (Topper)
3rd Murray Wilson (Topper)
4th Thomas McKendrick (Topper)
5th Callum McRobert & Finn Harris (RS Feva XL)
6th Breagha Johnstone (Topper)
7th Anastasia Yaoyao (Topper)
8th Hannah O'Dwyer & Maria McMiken (Laser Pico)

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