Full racing risks
New for old cover
The first event of the Scottish Skiff Racing Grand Prix sponsored by www.trident-uk.com was held on Kielder water over the weekend of the 22nd 23rd of April. Once again we got an amazing welcome from all the members of Kielder Water Sailing Club.
A total of 32 boats turned up in the SSR (Scottish Skiff Racing) Class: 15 Musto Skiffs, three Vortexes, three Cherubs and a couple of representatives from most of the fast classes sailed in Scotland and the North of England including I14s (2), 29ers(2), RS600 (2), RS800 (1), and an 18 foot skiff.
Saturday was cool and cloudy and with gusty and shifty breeze that was up and down all day between about 5 and 20Kts but with most of the day spent in the mid to high teens. There were two Cherubs on the water for Saturday's racing, Will and Lucy Lee in Atum Bom and Phil Alderson and Carol Low in Primal Scream. The start line was quite short for the number of boats which lead to a few general recalls, which gave us all some more starting practice.
Atum Bom and Primal were quite close in upwind speed in the first two races swapping places regularly after the start. Atum Bom showed better pace when the breeze was up but did not seem as powered up when it dropped. Down wind both boats were reasonably close with Atum possibly going slightly deeper. The combination of teething problems of the new boat and far tighter boat handling aboard Primal Scream meant that Primal had pulled out a good lead by the end of each of the first two races. By race three the wind had increased again and the gusts and shifts had got more severe Primal was struggling with up wind pace, while Atum Bom showed some serious bursts of speed. Tiredness was starting to be a problem for the Scream team in the third race and several icy dips while avoiding an RS600 and a plethora of upside down Musto Skiffs. Some spinnaker issues on Primal also meant that Atom Bom was just ahead by the end despite a broken tiller extension.
The fourth race left Primal as the only Cherub on the water but after the third general recall and another increase in wind speed Primal decided to call it a day and head for the shore with about half the fleet. Those that stayed out on the water treated the spectators to a fine display of heavy weather sailing and wipe-outs including an impressive pitchpole by the 18 still under their No 1 rig.
Some very tired sailors were presented with a filling beef stew with Yorkshire puddings in the club house followed by yet another Kielder composite repair masterclass from the Tuna Team repairing their tiller extension and the tip of a Musto skiff mast.
Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny to greet Neil and Ken arriving with Born Slippy. By the time everyone launched for the start of the first race the wind had built to a force three, however it was very shifty and did not last. Up wind if you could get into a patch of wind you could just twin wire but then it would shift 20 degrees and drop to almost nothing. Atum Bom seemed to be making better use of the conditions and had pulled out a good lead, until the last down wind leg where they sailed into a big hole allowing Primal to cruise past at the finish.
The wind was all over the place and just after Born Slippy got out on the water the committee postponed the racing and then abandoned it after it failed to settle into a consistent direction. If you did not want to get anywhere particular the wind was fine for pottering so the three Cherubs stayed out and did some boat swapping and drifting and occasional bit of twin stringing as the wind allowed.
We had loads of fun, some slight sun burn and much food for thought on the planned rig upgrade to Born Slippy. The SSR class was won overall by Richard Stenhouse in his MPS. Primal Scream ended up as lead Cherub, followed by Atum Bom with Born Slippy third. Prizes of some nice Kielder Water sailing club bowls were given out to the first boat of any class with more than two boats and to Team Tuna for being the furthest travelled. Thanks again to KWSC for running the event and another excellent welcome.