Shetland and Orkney Sailing Junior Intercounty
The first inter-county meeting of a new RYA-founded organisation, Shetland and Orkney Sailing (SOS), was hosted by Delting Boating Club over the weekend. Perfect sailing conditions gave a fun weekend for young sailors from Orkney and Shetland, and accommodation with local hosts meant that new friendships were made between the two sailing communities.
SOS was founded just a month ago with help from RYA Development officer Jane Campbell Morrison, as part of their new regional organisation, which aims to encourage neighbouring regions to work together. Office bearers of the new committee were keen to start the Orkney / Shetland links with a junior intercounty event.
Four young Orkney sailors travelled up to join sixteen youngsters from Delting and Sandwick for a weekend on the water. Picos and Mirrors were used, filling Busta Voe with pink, yellow and red sails – on Saturday, there were eighteen boats out on the water.
The three guard boats were driven by a mixture of Orkney and Shetland instructors, who had a good time comparing facilities, training boats, sailing grounds and training techniques across the two counties.
On Saturday and Sunday morning, training sessions were led by visiting RYA coach Kian Sterritt, from Loch Morlich SC. These focused on race techniques. The boats played ‘follow my leader’ to practise control of boat speed, and then looked at well-timed starts and line bias. The success of the training work was evident in the race starts – by the end of the weekend, the whole fleet was jousting for places in an imaginary ‘box’ metres from the start line, and all the boats managed to cross the line within twenty seconds of the starting gun.
Crews and adult helpers enjoyed a barbeque lunch of burgers, sausages, bacon rolls and the Delting speciality, fresh hake. This was eaten outside in the sunshine, and washed down by fizzy juice and home-baked cake.
On Saturday afternoon there were a couple of fun races in the falling wind, followed by soup and sandwiches when they came off the water. In the evening, local sailors and visitors got together at Delting BC for a very enjoyable night at the races.
On Sunday, all five races counted towards the Intercounty Shield, last presented in 2000. Orkney boy Nathan Omand (16) took first place in every race, with fellow-Orcadian Thorfinn Johnston (16) either second or third, and Edward Johnstone (14) well placed Shetland sailors all pushed the Orkney team to sail hard even though a number of there sailors unavailable for the Sunday competition. The points over all the races meant Orkney had won the Intercounty Shield, and Nathan Omand was presented with an individual trophy donated by the RYA.
Closing the event, SOS Chair Marsali Taylor thanked everyone who had made the weekend such a success: the visitors and their Shetland hosts, the people at Delting BC who had provided the food and manned the guard boats, Malakoff Ltd and the RYA for their sponsorship, and all the young sailors who’d turned out to take part.
“It’s been a fantastic weekend,” she said, “and we look forward to a return match in Orkney next year.”