SAILING: Prior ends Bell’s spell of success

Tom Bell
Tom Bell

Eight participants in seven boats took part in Sunday’s Welland Paddle regatta despite summer holidays and the fact several members were taking part in Deepings Raft Race.

With Tom Bell having won this event for the last four years he was hoping to make it five.

Together with Andy Prior, they opted for the slightly smaller radial rig sails for their lasers.

With the europe of Brian Cobb and the phantoms of Paul Burton and Jerry van Haren having no reduced sail option, things were going to get interesting.

Juniors Harry Whitelam in a double reefed topper and Lucy Burton crewing for Niall Holland in a RS feva made up the rest of the fleet.

With just over a minute to go Bell was caught in a gust and capsized – deciding to sit the first race out.

Brian Cobb

Brian Cobb

Once under way Prior and Burton soon pulled out a lead that wouldn’t be caught as van Haren was still getting to grips with his new phantom’s settings and earning an early bath thanks to a capsize.

Cobb had a delayed start due to a technical issue then Whitelam capsized after rounding the last mark on the first lap.

Holland and Burton managed to keep their boat upright despite several close calls with the water.

Race one: 1 Prior, 2 P Burton, 3 Holland & L Burton, 4 van Haren.

Andy Prior

Andy Prior

The afternoon should have seen the wind ease slightly but if anything it had strengthened and a longer course was set for race two.

The fleet was reduced to six with 20 seconds to go – Holland and Burton were over and finally in the water and, once righted, they retired.

Again Prior managed to make the most of the start, pulling ahead of Bell with Cobb close behind.

On the run down from the top mark Prior had increased his lead considerably.

However, on the upwind start to the second lap Bell managed to close the gap to about a boat length.

Prior’s technique for running down wind allowed him to pull the lead out again on the run back down to the 
final mark with Cobb still closely in pursuit.

Bell then was caught by the mix of wave and safety boat wash which saw him capsize.

Race two: 1 Prior, 2 Cobb, 3 Bell, 4 van Haren.

With three boats taking part in the final race, again just before the start Holland and Burton capsized. Then, just after the remaining two got under way, Paul Burton lost his rudder so the race was abandoned.

Overall result: 1 Prior, 2 Cobb, 3 Bell, 4 van Haren.

This weekend sees races three and four of the Sunday points series.

Junior sailing sessions resume on Sunday, August 28 (9.30-11am).

Anyone interested in trying sailing should contact the club via email secretary@wellandyachtclub.co.uk