SAILING: Cobb claims overall glory at Welland regatta

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BRIAN Cobb took the overall spoils as 11 boats lined up for the first race of the Flag Officers Cup at the Welland Yacht Club.

Three of the fleet were juniors, who have graduated well from the very successful ‘junior club’ – which is held on a Sunday morning prior to normal sailing.

Conditions were perfect, with a ten knot northerly wind, glorious sunshine and plenty of water greeting the competitors.

Cobb in his Solo and Roz Nicholls, sailing a Europe, made good use of a port end start and were comfortably ahead of the pack as they rounded. Andy Prior (Laser), Tim and Nicky Wilson (Enterprise) and Tom Bell (Laser), who chose the slower starboard side, gave chase.

On the downwind leg Bell quickly overtook Prior, who was making up good ground on both Cobb and Nicholls – and by the time the four boats reached the number three mark there was little to separate them.

Prior made use of a favourable gust to overtake the other three boats and rounded the top mark in first, closely followed by Bell. Prior managed to extend the lead on the beat back to the clubhouse, but Bell was overtaken by the Wilsons and was struggling to hold off Cobb and Nicholls.

Further down the fleet Paul Wilson (Solo) was having his own personal race with Neal Tack and Peter Quirke in a Graduate, with the newcomers all making good progress and staying in contention. The race finished in that order but when handicaps were applied Prior won by ten seconds from Cobb, who in turn was seven seconds ahead of Nicholls with the Wilsons in fourth, followed by Bell in fifth.

Other results: 6th Paul Wilson; 7th Neal Tack; 8th Joseph Twigg; 9th Nial Holland; 10th Dominic Twigg; 11th Hannah Nicholls.

With the wind filling in over lunchtime it was the Laser of Prior who made the best start in race two, closely followed by Bell, Cobb, Wilson and Nicholls.

Bell was again quicker down wind and quickly caught Prior, with the two boats dicing for position. This continued until Prior capsized, allowing Cobb Wilson and Nichols all to pass.

After that Bell continued to open up a lead and took lines honours, but failed to beat the chasing Nicholls on corrected time. Cobb took third place, with the Wilsons fourth, Prior fifth, Tack sixth and Wilson seventh

Only four boats had a realistic chance of winning the regatta in the finale. Prior got the best start, closely followed by Bell, with Cobb just edging ahead of Nicholls by the first mark.

As in the first two races Bell’s downwind performance was better than Prior’s and he was in the lead by the time the boats got to the bottom of the course. In the long beat to the clubhouse, Prior gradually caught Bell – but a collision occurred as he tried to pass, resulting in Prior having to take two penalty turns.

Cobb was excelling in the increasing wind and wasn’t far behind the lead two, with Bell keeping his cool to take both line and race honours.

Prior was second, but on corrected time finished behind Cobb.

Results (overall): 1st B Cobb 7pts; 2nd Tom Bell 8pts; 3rd Roz Nicholls 8pts; 4th A Prior 9pts; 5th Tim & Nicky Wilson 13pts; 6th Neal Tack 19pts; 7th Paul Wilson 20pts; 8th Joseph Twigg; 9th Niall Holland; 10th Dominic Twigg; 11th Hannah Nicholls.