HD Sails Scottish Championship

Wednesday, May 22, 2019


Everyone that arrived on a dreich Saturday morning for the 2019 HD Sails Scottish Solo Champs was greeted with the familiar refrain “Och, you should have been here yesterday, it was a braw day!” Andy ‘Taxi’ Davis had kindly driven up a day early to deliver a great training day in perfect breeze and glorious sun on the Costa del Fife. The trainees gratefully consumed half time pies generously donated by David Sword, sadly side-lined through injury.


Saturday was a different affair, the biting cold NE breeze proved tricky to read as it bounced over the hills and onto the Forth. Veteran Laser sailor Peter Malcolm was the PRO and his very efficient team laid a big course with a pin-biased line. The standard opening general recall was followed by an ‘all clear’ under the threat of a U flag. Gibson, Todd & Milroy led the way for Scotland at the first mark with Taxi trailing in 5th but Todd’s mini swim at the gybe mark saw him lose several places. Taxi went hard left on the second lap, lee-bowed his way into first and maintained his lead until the finish. Meanwhile, back in the pack the majority of the fleet converged at the bottom mark. Claymores were drawn and Culloden was re-enacted, with Fox and Worsley coming together in the middle of a 10-boat melee. No spins were seen, so the decision was deferred to the protest room.

Race 2 saw the first U flag casualty of the event with Gibson OCS. Hopwood and Davis led the way for England from the start, with Taxi eventually wriggling free up the second beat and finding a favourable shift to get a second bullet.

Gibb won the pin end start in the 3rd race. Most of the fleet stayed left however Gibson sensed a right shift and climbed from 6th to 2nd. There was an offset wave pattern and some clever tweaking was needed on the different tacks to make the most of the conditions. Great boat speed up and downwind saw Taxi once again take the lead and keep it to the line. Further back in the fleet all could hear Gibb loudly discussing his lack of boat speed – with himself.


With a forecast of very light winds for day 2, the PRO quickly adjusted the marks for an additional 4th race. The breeze was as unstable as a Brexit ‘yes’ vote and with a 30 deg left shift during the start sequence the congestion at the pin resembled Cairo in rush hour. At the gun a collective crash tack onto port left half the fleet in irons loudly discussing how they had got there and how unfair it was and that it wasn’t their fault. A lucky few were spat out the front, led by Hopwood whooping like a warship celebrating a great naval victory. The front four congratulated themselves on a job well down whilst cruising serenely around the course. 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed sailors’ smug smiles were upgraded into much laughter at the end of the first lap when Hoppy was informed that he was OCS and could go in for an early bath. As the race progressed an epic dual between Milroy in 1st and Davis in 2nd was fought with Davis taking 1st on the final run whilst. As the wind died, featherweight Whyte cruised past an over-excited McCombie to take 3rd.

Once ashore Judge Malcolm donned his black cap and extinguished former firefighter Malcolm ‘No Mates’ Worsley’s flames. Foxy had a convincing witness whereas Worsley couldn’t find anyone whose recollection was anything better than ‘extremely confused’.

Saturday night saw a surprisingly couth dinner at the nearby Manor Hotel followed by less couth and significantly louder beers in the ever-popular Railway Inn. In an unexpected moment of weakness, Class Vice-President Patrick Burns was seen to buy a round, albeit under signs of extreme duress.

Day 2 initially delivered an oily calm that the Firth of Forth is not at all famous for. Fortunately a decent 6-8 knot breeze kicked in from the SW and the fleet launched. Race 5 once again saw Taxi & Milroy battling it out at the head of the fleet, this time Milroy coming out on top for a well earned 1st place.

The final race saw Davis & Gibb OCS at the pin under a U flag start. Gibson led the pack going right whilst McCombie went left in search of more tide. This nearly worked until he hit the first mark and dropped from 3rd to 10th in one penalty turn, such is the competitiveness of Solo racing. Gibson extended his lead and took a comfortable bullet from Hopwood and Milroy.

The overall winner with a deceptive 1-1-1-1-2-DSQ scoreline was Andy Davis of Blithfield SC, followed by first Scot, Keith Milroy of St Marys Loch SC. Stuart Gibson of the CCC & Ian Hopkins representing Nantwich SC took 3rd and 4th respectively. A huge thank you from all the competitors to Largo Bay SC for hosting the event and providing such a slick & welcoming performance both on and off the water. A special mention must go to Kevan & Lynn Gibb for organising the weekend social events and accommodating half the fleet.

Paul McCombie


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