Hosted by the MYA Scottish District at Castle Semple Loch, there were 65 entries comprising 57 from the UK and 8 overseas (4 from Sweden and 1 each from Ireland, Norway, Turkey and the USA). When competitors arrived for registration and pre-event boat measurement on Friday 29th April, it was a warm, sunny day with a gentle breeze for some informal post-travel tuning races.
Saturday was a different matter! Initially, it was overcast and much cooler. Following the Skippers’ Briefing, John Owens (PRO) and Peter Baldwin (ARO) set a windward leeward course. Additional marks were also laid to accommodate the forecast wind shifts. Five seeding races were run with the winners being Brad Gibson, Rob Walsh, Graham Elliott, Odd Ørnulf Stray (Norway) and Graham Bantock. The fleet was then sorted into five heats each for Races two and three and following Race 3, the fleet was sorted into four heats.
As the day wore on the waterproofs were donned and the rain came down. There was not a constant wind direction and the course had to be continually reset despite the additional marks. Amongst unconvincing mutterings of “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear”, the heats continued. At the end of Day # 1, five races had been completed with Graham Elliott leading with 10 points, followed by Rob Walsh (12 points) and Peter Feldman of the USA (13 points). The soaking-wet Race Team and skippers then rigged down and retired to the warmth of their accommodation to dry out, warm up and have some sustenance!
Sunday was dry (hooray!) but the wind conditions were again challenging for the Race Team to set fair courses. Castle Semple Loch is aligned NE-SW and the breeze was generally southerly. There were numerous frustrating delays due to significant wind shifts. In addition, with the start line just offshore from the control area, the windward mark had to be laid near at a fair limit of clear vision (if not beyond for some!) to have a reasonable distance for the first beat. The compromise was not ideal but you cannot control the wind direction. To compensate for the comparatively short course, three beats (rather than two) were sailed.
Unfortunately, the consequence of a short first beat was too many port tack boats chancing their luck trying to get through the starboard tack boats laying the mark with numerous collisions forming rafts of yachts. Following a number of heats where this behaviour recurred, a conversation was held with the fleet encouraging good sportsmanship and appropriate application of the Racing Rules of Sailing.
Throughout the day, each race was comprised of 4 heats per race with 6 boat promote/6 demote. Despite the challenging wind conditions, by the end of the day a further four races had been completed. In the lead was Peter Stollery (20 points) followed by Brad Gibson (also on 20 points), Rob Walsh (22 points) closely followed by Graham Elliott (23 points).
On Sunday evening the Event Dinner was held at the Bowfield Hotel and Country Club. Grateful thanks were extended to our sponsors who donated prizes - BG Sails and Design, Catsails, Housemartin Sails, Potter Solutions, Robot Yachts, Smartwinch UK, Soch Sails and P.J. Sails.
Monday, 2nd May was the third and final day with it all to play for throughout the fleet. However, the forecast was for fickle winds during the day making for another testing time for the race team and skippers alike. Despite laying a spread of marks, the very light and shifty winds made for slow progress and culminated in a delay of 90 minutes waiting for a breeze to return. Once it did return and a fair course could be laid, it was initially a similar course to the previous day beating into a southerly breeze. However, for the last two heats, the wind shifted to the north-east and significantly increased. This breeze with the associated chop, really brought the boats alive in the A rig although one skipper in A Heat chose a B rig. This optimum wind direction allowed for an extremely long course to be set and some excellent racing was seen.
With only two further races on Day # 3 a total of eleven races had been completed across a range of wind directions, strengths and courses providing a test of skipper’s skills (and patience!).
2022 UK IOM National Champion Brad Gibson
2nd Rob Walsh
3rd Peter Stollery
4th Graham Elliott
Brad thanked the MYA Scottish District Race Team (with supporting members!) for doing so well in very testing conditions to host such a high quality and enjoyable event.
Trophies were also presented to:
MYA Junior Skipper – Oliver Stollery (highest ranked under 18 skipper)
MYA Novice Skipper – Peter Feldman, USA (highest ranked skipper sailing for the first time in the UK IOM National Championship)
MYA David Perkins Memorial Award – David Smith (for his organisational contribution to the event over many months)
MYA Scottish District Boussy Medallion – Andrea Roberts