Tom Bell takes victory in Welland Yacht Club's paddle regatta
Tom Bell claimed a countback victory in Welland Yacht Club’s Paddle regatta on Sunday.
Bell took second spot behind Andy Prior in the first race before the positions were reversed in the next outing.
That was enough though to secure overall victory for Bell as, although he finished level on points with Prior, the countback rule awards the win to whoever has the later success.
With a stronger breeze than the previous two weeks, nine boats took to the start for race one of the regatta.
With Katie Follington in her Topper the first boat to be away, she was followed by the Graduate of Neal Tack with crew Rebecca Slator.
The Laser Radials of Tom Bell, Gail Follington, Alan Cox followed, ahead of Mark Holland and then the OK of Andy Agar before finally the Lasers of Andy Prior and Clive Herd.
With the first two boats away on their allotted start times, the Radials vied for position but, during these manoeuvres, Holland capsized while trying to avoid another boat.
The other three Radials made their start with the OK of Agar which was closely followed by the Lasers of Prior and Herd.
Once all the boats were away Katie Follington capsized and retired before being followed by Gail Follington.
With Bell catching Tack and Slator and Prior and Herd making up the ground on the rest of the fleet, Cox was next to capsize then disaster struck Agar as the traveller on his boat broke.
With Cox taking a second capsize before retiring, Agar had to be recovered back to the clubhouse.
Bell was now in the lead from Tack and Slator with Prior close behind and Herd fourth from Holland in fifth as the lead boats rounded the windward mark and mde their run back down the course.
Once around the lea mark (clubhouse end), Prior had closed the gap to Bell with Tack and Slator remaining third from Herd fourth while, still at the back of the fleet, Holland took another capsize and retired from the race.
As the lead two rounded the windward mark for the second time, Prior took the lead from Bell in second for an order which would remain until the end of the race.
Race one results: 1 Prior, 2 Bell, 3 Tack and Slator, 4 Herd.
Only five boats took to the start of the second race with Gail Follington now in a Topper the first away and followed by Tack and Slator with Bell starting third in the Radial rig Laser, leaving the full rig Lasers of Prior and Herd to finalise the fleet.
The wind had eased slightly, allowing all boats to stay upright and Bell soon passed Tack and Slator with Prior and Herd neck-and-neck as they tacked their way up the course.
With Follington still holding onto the lead from Bell on the run back down to the clubhouse, Prior and Herd moved up to third and fourth, with Tack and Slator fifth.
The order would remain the same although the gaps between the boats closed up for the entire second lap.
With just under 10 minutes to go and nearly halfway around the third lap, Bell passed Follington to take the lead.
With the two full rig Lasers now closing rapidly on the run back down to the start line, Follington soon found herself in fourth spot despite all her hard work to keep the lead for 50-plus minutes.
Race two results: 1 Bell, 2 Prior, 3 Herd, 4 Follington, 5 Tack and Slator.
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