Sigma 33 NI Championship hosted by Quoile Yacht Club
The inaugural NI Sigma 33 Championship hosted by Quoile Yacht Club in Strangford Lough and sponsored by Ross Boyd and Company, was won by Signet of Kip owned by Stephen Martin from SLYC. The fleet of seven Sigmas included six who competed in the Class Championship in Dublin, all of whom finishing in the top ten.
The quality and speed in the fleet meant no-one was there just making up the numbers. The two day event in the gorgeous surroundings of Strangford Lough consisted of a five race series with all races counting and included Killyleagh Regatta.
First race Saturday’s morning was a short “around the Lough” race with a superb course set by Championship Race Officer John Magowan. For the majority of the race Blues (Hamilton/Milne) showed the fleet a clean pair of heels; however, the final leg to the finish saw Blues, Impulz (Johnstons) and Signet of Kip (Martin) hug the Killyleagh shore with Squawk (Prentice) on the opposite shore. At the finish it was Blues from Squawk with Signet third.
The second race incorporating Killyleagh regatta tested stamina, skill and patience and not forgetting to mention a 25 knot rain squall on one of the downwind legs! A downwind start took the fleet along the Killyleagh shore up towards East Down. Again, Blues showed everyone their transom with Mithril (Boyd) close behind leading to the first leeward mark. The long first beat highlighted the nuances of Strangford Lough tides with the fleet splitting and this time Challenger got it spot on sailing to what would have been a very impressive win if not for the Skate Rock! At the finish it was Mithril from Signet of Kip with Blues third.
On Sunday the fleet resumed their normal format of Windward/Leewards which again RO John Magowan set excellently. The first race (race 3) was won by Signet of Kip with Challenger second and Cariad (Bell) showing some excellent boat speed to take a well deserved third.
In race 4 Squawk started pin end and port tacked the fleet but the challenges of Strangford kept everyone on their toes and close battle ensued with Squawk, Signet of Kip and Mithril having a ding dong battle for the entire race with that order only changing on the final beat with Signet winning out.
The final race saw Challenger (skippered by Ken Green) taking a well deserved win; the race saw the fleet deal with another 20 knot plus squall just to make life interesting with Squawk second and Signet of Kip third.
Overall placings after a highly enjoyable two days saw Signet of Kip taking the first ever NI Sigma 33 Championship win followed by Squawk second and Mithril third. A fantastic two days racing in an idyllic setting with a most welcoming host yacht club, our thanks to the members at Quoile YC and to Ross Boyd for event organising.
Photo 1 shows competitors: (left to right) Ross Boyd, Stephen Martin and Paul Prentice.
Photo 2 shows the crew of winning boat Signet of Kip with Quoile Yacht Club Commodore Michael Bready and Race Officer John Magowan.
Photo credit: Paul Prentice