history made

From the start the all girl, under 21, crew sailing Hunca Munca, an Evloution 25, were determined to show the rest of the fleet just who was in charge.  A few weeks earlier they had asked Hunca’s owner, Willie Patterson, If they could crew for him at the RNLI Regatta at Kippford on the Solway coast.  His reply was a resounding “No……but you can sail it on yourselves.”  The girls, calling themselves “Hunca’s Hunnies” are all very experienced racers,  knew the boat so quickly got themselves organised.

Starting in a Force 5 their main rival Tara, skippered by David Henderson took the advantage and led for the first lap.  Rounding the bottom mark the girls capitalised on Tara’s slight error to take pole which, as the breeze eased, they held until the finish. This is a double whammy, because it is the first time in the 111 year history of the regatta that it has been won by an all girl crew and the first time by a cadet crew.

Just to put the area in perspective, or on the map. Kippford is a picturesque village in South West Scotland, located on the Solway Coast and is famous for it’s Granite. A short day sail to the West is Kirkcudbright (pronounced ker-cu-bry) 25 miles to the South is the Cumbrian port of Whitehaven and round the corner Eastwards is Cairsethorn where John Paul Jones sailed from as an apprentice. I wonder what ever happened to him?

The Solway Yacht Club hold 2 week long regattas each year. The first in July is Cadet Week for competitors under 21 years of age and attacts up to 50 boats. In addition to the serious racing there is training for beginners and novices and the Keppie Blancs an intermediate group aiming to give those who can sail the confidence to race. Two of Hunca’s crew were the coaches for this group. The racing is split into fast and slow handicap fleets. The highlight of the week is Mudlarks where the cadets attempt to rescue valuable treasure from the evil pirates who appear on one of the (many) mud banks. Needles to say, those taking part need to be hosed down before they are allowed into the clubhouse for a shower.

In August, Kifford week and the RNLI Regatta take place. This is an open event and racing is divided into: Cruisers, Flying Fifteens, fast, medium and slow handicap dinghies. Being in a holiday area it attracts competitors from all over. Including this year one from Antigua! It must be the glorious weather!

Dotted throughout the season the club has hosted Flying Fifteen, National 12 and Laser open events and a number of fun races. The Round Rough Race is a picnic with a light hearted race where competitors have to collect plastic ducks on their way round the course. Well Rough Island is a bird reserve! The Palnackie Pursuit is a race up the river to the village of Palnackie and back. The winner is usually the competitor who has run aground the fewest times. – Anarchist Chris.