SAILING: Home win puts Welland in command

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WELLAND Yacht Club will take an 11 point lead into into the second leg of their annual regatta against Ferry Meadows after impressing on home water.

The wind was blowing from 15-18mph, providing some exciting racing and more than the odd capsize at the River Welland.

As usual, the contest was a series of three races with all of the scores being carried forward to the return leg at Peterborough in September.

Welland provided eight boats and Ferry Meadows four, two of which were Toppers sailed by teenage brother and sister Ciaran and Carys Randeria – who are members of the Junior East development squad run by RYA.

In race one, the Randeria duo got away cleanly, with Welland’s Andy Prior and crew Charlotte Jackson battling with Ferry’s Andy Belson.

The rest of the fleet jostled for position, with Ros Nickols having to capsize to avoid Adam Wilson. Belson and Prior used their faster boats to overtake the Toppers and vied with each other down to the top mark.

Belson rounded first but with the lowest handicap (the fastest boat) needed to extend his lead. Will Cook, shaking off the cobwebs and showing great off wind speed, overtook the Toppers and was closing on Prior before a quick dip slowed his progress.

Belson took the win from Prior (2nd), Cook (3rd), Carys Randeria (4th) and Nickols (5th).

Race two started in stronger winds as Brian Cobb and Will Cook got a flying start. Wilson was involved in a tussle with the Randerias and Nickols, while Prior got caught mid-fleet.

Tom Bell was doing well to stay dry aboard his dancing Laser, but Wilson went for a swim during a hairy downwind run. With the race over a shorter course, the Toppers could not be overhauled on handicap and finished in first and second with Cook third, Nickols fourth and Belson fifth.

In the final race Prior and Jackson were firing on all cylinders and followed Cobb closely over the start line. Welland’s situation was further improved when Belson capsized just before the start and the fourth Peterborough boat did not start the race.

This time Prior led to the line from Cook (2nd), Belson (3rd), Nickols (4th) and Ciaran Randeria (5th).

Overall that made Cook the winner from Belson (2nd) and Prior (3rd), with Welland winning the team stakes 31-20.

The safety boat crew of Andy Agar and Paul Wilson and shore crew Jane Thacker and Vanessa Cook were invaluable, while junior sailor Joseph Twigg made his competitive debut crewing for Neal Tack.