SAILING: Juniors enjoy experience in first major event

Niall Holland and Lucy Burton (left)
Niall Holland and Lucy Burton (left)
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Welland Yacht Club had three boats competing in the Tiger Trophy at Rutland Water over the weekend.

Andy Prior and Tom Bell (Scorpion) and juniors Niall Holland and Lucy Burton (RS Feva XL) took part on both days while Paul Burton (Phantom) joined them on Sunday.

With 137 boats entered, this was a first major event for Holland and Burton with three races back-to-back on the Saturday and a two-hour pursuit race on Sunday.

With brilliant sunshine but light winds, both boats headed out with the rest of the fleet to the starting area for what was expected to be three hours of sailing.

In race one, experienced sailors Prior and Bell were hoping to do well against a fleet including national and world champions plus a Olympic silver medallist.

With race two getting under way, the sun was still shining but it was cold out on the water so Holland and Burton decided to call it a day and head back in.

Andy Prior and Tom Bell

Andy Prior and Tom Bell

With Prior and Bell still out and ready for race three, they compared progress against similar boats and checked which settings worked in preparation for Sunday’s race.

With the wind having died away completely, it took a good 40 minutes to get back to shore as the light faded and the temperature dropped.

Sunday morning’s fog put doubt in most minds to the scheduled start but all three boats were set up ready.

Briefing details of the pursuit race course were handed out and the start was delayed.

With Holland and Burton being one of the first in the start sequence, they ventured out to the start line with her dad Paul in his boat.

Once at the clubhouse area, one of the support boats told them to stay in the club area while the start was delayed further.

They headed back in and the race was abandoned.

The club’s season starts on Sunday, April 2, with the opening regatta.

Junior sailing sessions will start on Sunday, April 16 (9.30-11am).

Anyone wishing to find out more about starting sailing can email