SAILING: Prior celebrates second clean sweep this season

Four of the six competitors on the day
Four of the six competitors on the day

For the second successive weekend, Andy Prior won all three races at Welland Yacht Club.

Eight members in six boats prepared to start the first race of Sunday – Morning Points 4 – with the wind between 
18-20mph and stronger gusts.

Andy Prior

Andy Prior

They lined up with Will Cook and crew Emma Hill in an Enterprise, Neal Tack and crew Rebecca Slator in an Graduate, junior Emma Agar in a Topper and three lasers of Andy Prior, Tom Bell and Mark Holland deciding to opt for their smaller radial rigs.

Once on the water, Prior and Bell were questioning their sail choice as the gusts didn’t appear to be as bad as first thought.

After the first mark was rounded, Prior, Bell and Cook started to pull away.

With the first lap complete, it was Prior from Bell with Cook maintaining third while Tack held fourth with Holland and Agar behind.

On the run back to the finish Cook and Hill capsized and in the process of righting the boat, the centreboard broke and that was their day finished.

Then things went wrong for Holland and, after several capsizes, he retired.

Although Bell closed the gap to Prior several times, he just couldn’t get past as Agar kept close enough to take third with Tack and Slator fourth.

With two races left and the best four results counting, it’s looking more like a battle between Prior & Bell – though it’s still possible for third-placed Burton to take victory.

The afternoon’s races were one and two of the Pursuit series where the handicaps are applied at the start of the race and each boat is given a start time accordingly – whoever leads after the allotted time is the winner.

The wind had strengthened slightly with five boats left as Agar started first followed by Tack and Slator then Holland, Prior and Bell who shared the same start time.

Holland was caught out by the gusts and called it a day as Prior and Bell set off in pursuit of the other two.

By just over halfway, Prior and Bell had passed the two other boats.

Agar kept forging ahead –despite three capsizes – and managedto keep Tack behind her.

Prior took his second win of the day from Bell with Agar keeping third from Tack and Slator.

By the time of the last race of the day, the wind had strengthened further and Agar dropped out – leaving three boats to compete.

Tack and Slator got under way and Prior capsized, but recovered in plenty of time, then disaster struck for Bell when his toe strap broke – sending into the water.

That left it to Tack to prevent Prior from getting all three wins for the second week in succession.

With the gusts making both work hard for their position, Tack and Slator suffered a capsize – leaving Prior to take another clean sweep.

The club’s annual open day is on Sunday, May 14. You can contact the club via email secretary@wellandyachtclub.co.uk