SAILING: Bell celebrates double success

The start of a race
The start of a race

Races two, three and four of the personal handicap series at Welland Yacht Club again saw a boat and crew joining from Witham Sailing Club.

The morning’s race started under a darkened sky with a reasonable breeze blowing and with stronger gusts all eight boats got away cleanly from the start.

The faster boats of Paul Burton, Andy Prior and Tom Bell pulled out an early lead.

Burton in the fastest boat needed to be ahead as Prior and Bell on equal handicaps and identical boats were racing each other for actual race position.

The rest of the fleet knew that if they could keep within reasonable distance to the front three, they stood a chance of the win.

On the return back of the first leg the Witham duo managed a capsize and had to retire while bailing the boat. With the handicaps applied only 37 seconds covered the top four.

Race two: 1 Martin Cook, 2 Bell, 3 Prior, 4 Burton.

With clearer skies for the afternoon’s races and four more competitors joining, it made for a challenging start line.

With three boats right on the line at the start, Burton found himself over at the start and had to do penalty turns.

Again the lead pack of Burton, Bell and Prior broke away, leaving the rest of the field to try to keep close enough to be in with a shout of a win once the handicaps had been applied.

Cook managed to get his Solo tangled with the Laser of Mark Holland after misjudging his avoiding manoeuvre.

Holland then managed a capsize while avoiding a right of way boat of his own.

One-and-a-half minutes covered the top four.

Race three: 1 Bell, 2 Prior, 3 Phil Robinson, 4 Burton.

The last race of the day saw 11 boats take part and all got away cleanly.

Again the same pattern emerged as the boats spread out after rounding the first mark, with Prior and Bell ever determined to keep Burton within their time difference. This time Cook managed the capsize.

Race four: 1 Bell, 2 Prior, 3 Burton, 4 Ros Nickols.

With no more than two minutes covering the top four, the personal handicaps are providing some close racing.

This Sunday sees the final three races of the series with a few options for overall winner.

The end-of-season social is on November 12 at 7pm.