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Flag Officers Cup action at Welland Yacht Club

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With strong winds forecast throughout the day on Sunday, eight boats took to the line for the first race in the Flag Officers Cup at Welland Yacht Club.

Making the most of the start was Andy Agar (OK), closely followed by Andy Prior (Laser), Gerri van Haren (Phantom) and then Gail and Arden Follington - both in Toppers - Neal Tack and crew Rebecca Slator (Graduate), Mark Holland and Alistair Mitchell - both in Laser Radials.

As they tacked their way to the windward mark, Prior headed out into the lead - with van Haren in second, Agar third ahead of Holland, Mitchell, Tack-Slator, G Follington, A Follington.

Gail Follington.
Gail Follington.

Prior then had a lapse of concentration and turned early around buoy three instead of four, which he was told by van Haren as they passed each other.

By the time Prior had turned again to head on up to the correct buoy, he had slipped to third - and then disaster struck as his out haul snapped and he had to head to the bank to make a repair, which forced him to retire and limp back to the clubhouse.

van Haren had pulled out quite a lead from Agar as he headed back to the clubhouse, with all boats picking up speed with the wind behind them.

On rounding the clubhouse buoy, he capsized and one righted - so had to make a few adjustments to get going, by which time he had dropped right down the field.

The second lap was much of the same with Agar leading from Holland and Mitchell, but the lower handicap boats weren’t far behind.

Agar was first across the line then Holland, Mitchell, Tack-Slator, G Follington, van Haren and A Follington.

However, once the handicaps were applied G Follington took the win - with A Follington second, Holland third, Agar fourth, Mitchell fifth, Tack-Slator sixth and van Haren seventh.

Eight boats again took to the start for the second race, where there was a change of course to reduce the overall distance slightly.

The wind had shifted slightly but was still blowing strong.

Winner of final race Andy Prior
Winner of final race Andy Prior

This time Prior took the early lead from Agar, Tack-Slator, both Follingtons, Holland, van Haren and then Mitchell.

With Holland capsizing and van Haren having to take avoiding action, the faster boat of the latter soon found itself up into second place.

However, this wasn’t to be Prior’s day as, despite pulling out quite a lead again, he forgot the course and on the down wind leg rounded the next buoy down instead of heading to the clubhouse buoy.

By the time anyone passing could let him know the error, he would have lost so much ground on the rest of the fleet that he decided to retire.

This left van Haren now out in front followed by Agar, then Tack-Slator, Holland, Mitchell, G Follington and A Follington.

On the run back, a rig failure befell Agar with his mainsheet block becoming loose - forcing him to the bank to effect a repair.

van Haren was therefore first across the line followed by Tack-Slator, then Holland, G Follington, A Follington, Mitchell and then Agar.

The handicaps would again turn the results around so G Follington took the win from Tack-Slator, with van Haren third, A Follington fourth, Holland fifth, Mitchell sixth and Agar seventh.

Following the break for lunch, the final race of the cup got under way - with now only seven taking part.

Preparing to start race two
Preparing to start race two

Prior took the lead from Tack-Slator, Holland, Agar, A Follington and G Follington, who were followed by Mitchell.

Holland again found himself in the water and slipped to the back, with Agar in second and G Follington and Mitchell having got past A Follington.

Prior had no issues with the course this time and pulled out a healthy lead while, following a few more trips into the water, Holland retired.

Positions on the water remained unchanged, but the gaps between kept altering to make handicaps a decisive factor. First across the line was Prior and then Agar, Tack-Slator, G Follington, Mitchell and A Follington.

Prior would keep the win after handicaps - with G Follington second, Tack-Slator third, Agar fourth, Mitchell fifth and A Follington sixth.

Overall winner of the Flag Officers Cup was Gail Follington, with Neal Tack and Rebecca Slator second, Arden Follington third and Andy Agar fourth.

Anyone wanting to find out more about sailing should contact the club via email secretary@wellandyachtclub.co.uk - or you can come and visit them at South Holland District Council’s ‘give it a go’ event at the Sir Halley Stewart Field on Sunday, August 21, from 11am-4pm.

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