SAILING: Close finish as Prior picks up win

The fleet on Sunday
The fleet on Sunday
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Sunday’s Grounds Trophy at Welland Yacht Club saw a total of 11 boats compete for overall victory in the personal handicap regatta.

With Phil Robinson, Niall Holland and Emma Agar all having their handicap reduced following recent success, the competition was going to be even closer.

Andy Prior

Andy Prior

Together with the fact that no two boats were on the same handicap, it was all about sailing as best as you can and hoping it was good enough once the handicaps had been applied.

The strong wind and 10 boats made for a challenging start to race one.

As the fleet spread out, a few boats where finding the gusty conditions hard work with several capsizes.

With most boats making good speed for their class, the race was finished in a quick time.

Junior participants (left to right) Lucy Burton, Emma Agar and Niall Holland

Junior participants (left to right) Lucy Burton, Emma Agar and Niall Holland

Race one result: 1 Andy Prior, 2 Paul Burton, 3 Emma Agar, 4 Brian Cobb.

The second race saw a lengthening of the course to take advantage of the speed available.

With one boat dropping out and another joining the start, there were still 10 boats with a few deciding to hang back to keep clear of the near misses.

Again a few found themselves in the water, for the more experienced there was the chance for some high speed sailing.

Agar made the best of her topper to gain a place.

Race two result: 1 Prior, 2 Agar, 3 Burton, 4 Gerri van Haren.

With no sign of the wind dropping, the course was changed for race three to take advantage of its strength and direction.

With one fewer boat, the start line was no less hectic.

Again for the more able there was some exhilarating speed sailing with a few getting more out of their boats and making up places.

Race three result: 1 Burton, 2 Phil Robinson, 3Prior, 4 Agar.

Overall results were close for first and second with Prior taking the win from Burton then juniors Agar and Holland in third and fourth.

Personal handicaps have been used this season for the first time at the club and have provided some very close 
racing – resulting in all boats finishing within three minutes of each other after handicaps were applied.

Also with the first four boats having handicaps ranging from -5% to +4% it has allowed all members to compete on equal terms.

Sunday’s junior session is followed by the cadet two race at 11.30am.

The last session of the season is on September 25 followed by the cadet regatta.

The club are also hosting ‘Bart’s Bash race’ on September 18 with results feeding into the ‘world’s largest sailing race’.

Visitors, ex-members and guests are welcome to take part.

Anyone wanting to try sailing or find out more should contact the club via email