SAILING: One-point lead in series with two races left

The first race is under way
The first race is under way
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Welland Yacht Club’s new season continued on Sunday with competitors looking to add more points to their tally for the opening two series events.

The first race of the day saw three adults and three juniors take to the water for part two of the morning point series.

The wind was a healthy 10mph with gusts edging towards 15mph.

The start line was hotly contested, with all six boats crossing within a few seconds of each other.

As the race developed into two groups, with the three adults in their faster boats moving ahead and the three juniors competing among themselves.

At the end of the first lap, Paul Burton in his Phantom had already opened a lead.

Close racing between Tom Bell and Andy Prior.

Close racing between Tom Bell and Andy Prior.

The two lasers sailed by Andy Prior and Tom Bell were hot on his heels, but found themselves engaged in their own tactical battle.

At the finish line, Burton had managed to keep his nose in front with Bell just six seconds behind and Prior 
finishing in third.

The three juniors finished within a couple of minutes of the adults, with Emma Agar in fourth closely followed by Lucy Burton in her byte and Harry Whiteman in his first race of the season in sixth.

The two afternoon races were for the Munson Cup series – but the wind was rapidly decreasing in strength and at times the boats found themselves in almost drifting conditions.

Despite this, eight boats lined up for the second race of the day but the variable conditions meant the racers had to fight for every puff of wind and the gaps between boats soon started to open up.

The adults were able to capitalise on the lighter winds with their much bigger sails.

At the finishing line there were eight minutes between the first and fifth adult boats – but once the handicaps had been applied, the range had narrowed considerably.

Bell took first place with Burton in second as Prior had his second third place of the day, having spent the first lap in a tacking duel with Brian Cobb in a Europe who finished fourth closely followed by the second Europe of Ros Nichols.

The three juniors again finished within a couple of minutes of the adults.

The final race of the day saw the wind drop even further, although now accompanied by rain as six boats took to a shortened course.

Prior retook the lead to cross the line first while Bell pulled ahead of Cobb and got close enough to Burton to beat him on handicap and secure a much-needed second.

Cobb, in his Europe, was third with Burton only 15 seconds further back.

With the final two races this Sunday, Prior holds a one-point lead from Bell.

Junior sailing sessions start on Sunday (9.15-11am).

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