With the IOM World Championships awarded to Brazil in November, the GBR IOM fleet ventured to Scotland to close out final ranking positions for Brazil and also begin the qualifying process for the 2020 European Championships in Orbetello Italy. The event was hosted by Levenhall Radio Yacht Club at the Castle Semple, Lochwinnoch.
With 40 skippers competing, comprising of the best radio sailors in the UK, world champions from radio and dinghy disciplines combined with a warm Scottish welcome why would you want to be anywhere else?
The day started with a light NE breeze, with PRO Richard Ennos taking the decision to sail three fleets due to the size and constraints of the control area, racing got underway on time with Rob Walsh, Darin Ballington and Lincoln RSC stalwart Mick Chamberlain winning the seeding races.
(photo Lindsay Odie)
The breeze gently increased during the day veering more towards the East, however with a flick at times to the NNE it was often a question of how far you dare sail towards the bank with less pressure.
With the breeze at times interacting with the landscape thus creating some challenging snakes and ladders for the skippers to negotiate. At the end of the Day One, current National champion Ron Walsh once again topped the leaderboard with current Marblehead World champion Brad Gibson taking second place in a 1994 pimped Sailsetc Red Wine design, proving that you don’t need the latest design to be at the sharp end of the fleet. Fellow Birkenhead skipper Graham Elliott taking third and Darin Ballington fourth. Back in a credible eighth position was Aberdeen’s Steve Taylor finishing as top Scottish skipper.
The fleet retired to the Uplawmoor for the traditional Scottish social event and to reminisce on any points left out on the water.
(Rob Walsh Collecting first place for day one from PRO Richard Ennos, photo Lindsay Odie)
With an earlier start and a stronger A rig breeze, racing once again got underway on time with Rob Walsh, Graham Elliott and Brad Gibson winning the seeding races.
Whilst Seeding C was sailed in a good breeze the following seeding race (B) was sailed in a Zephyr, whilst disconcerting at the time, from there on in, the wind played ball, building throughout the morning until race 4 b proved to be too much for the larger A rig with the majority changing down. By race 5 even the die hards of David Potter in his Lintel MMX had changed down!
(photo Lindsay Odie)
The Afternoon races from 4-6 were all closely competed, however with two firsts and a second in the last three races Peter Stollery took out day two to win with 11points.
Rob Walsh dwindled after a very impressive start of, three first places and a second finishing two points back on 13 and securing second place.
Back in third overall was the evergreen Graham Elliott continuing where he left off on day one to have a very consistent weekend.
The leader board very much changed from day one with many skippers enjoying the stronger winds. One such skipper Craig Richards improved eighteen places between day one and two & in the process winning the final race. Aberdeen MYC once again produced day two’s top Scottish skipper in District Councillor John Owens.
(Peter Stollery, collecting first prize for day two from PRO Richard Ennos, photo Lindsay Odie)
Castle Semple has been a favourite among travelling IOM Skippers for many years due to very good race management manned by the Scottish District, great racing and warm Scottish cheer, 2019 was another year that did not disappoint. The racing was always close no matter what fleet you sailed with skipper behaviour of the highest quality, leading to a single protest and maximum time on the water.
Our Thanks to the race team of Richard Ennos, Alistair Law, Richard Rowan, David Smith, Nick Cowern, John Handley, Lindsay Odie & Ian Davidson.