SAILING: Fancy that - Niall takes top spot again

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The Lowland Trophy was Sunday’s regatta at Welland Yacht Club, with an added twist.

Although it’s a usual three-race regatta, there were a number of added challenges.

One of the races on Sunday

One of the races on Sunday

With the theme this year being ‘Something Topical’ 12 people took part with 11 in fancy dress.

Costumes were worn by Rebecca Slator and Neal Tack (Wimbledon tennis players), Paul Burton (Boris Johnson), Lucy Burton (Iceland), Gayle Follington (Olympic sailor), Jack Follington (Prince), Mia Dignal (Super Girl), Niall Holland (tennis player), Mark Holland (demise of the EU), plus Phil Robinson and Shelly Woolridge who went ‘tropical’.

Following the fancy dress judging, race one got under way with the added excitement of a chicane halfway down the course and the need to spot letters of an anagram hidden around the course.

Following competitive racing Martin Cook (Solo) took a well-deserved first place despite a punitive personal handicap, with Niall Holland (RS Feva) building on last week’s success to take second place ahead of Robinson (Laser) and Lucy Burton (Byte).

Race two, which featured a Le Mans-type start and each competitor having to collect a plastic duck on route, began in a slightly freshening wind and again saw a very compact fleet with a lot of close racing.

This time Niall Holland benefited from a very good start and the stronger breeze to take first place ahead of Robinson and Gayle Follington, with Cook slipping back to fourth, which was to prove costly.

With the boats going into race three, any number of people could take the regatta so a good start was essential and it was Cook who got away first, closely followed by Gayle Follington with Niall Holland, who now had Lucy Burton crewing for him, mid-fleet and Robinson firmly at the back.

This race included some backwards sailing with Paul Burton in his Phantom demonstrating how it should be done as he crossed the line well ahead of the fleet, but finishing only mid-table once the handicaps had been applied.

Cook maintained his advantage to take a comfortable first place but despite finishing at the back of the fleet Niall and Lucy claimed a second place ahead of Gayle and ever-improving Mark Holland in fourth with Paul Burton tacking fifth.

Things were very close when it came to working out the overall results but for the second week running Niall took first spot, which earned him the trophy as a well as a reduction in his personal handicap.

Cook, one point behind, secured second place with Robinson coming third, on countback, from Gayle Follington.

Paul Burton took fifth, Tack and Slator sixth, Lucy Burton seventh and Mark Holland eighth.