SAILING: Tom takes handicap honours

Tom Bell
Tom Bell
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Tom Bell claimed overall victory in Welland Yacht Club’s Carl Bilbie personal handicap pursuit regatta over three races.

Still revelling from last week’s Cadet Trophy, several of the new juniors stayed to take part in the first race.

Emma Agar

Emma Agar

A pursuit race is where the different boat handicaps are applied at the start of the race to give staggered start times which are further adjusted for ability - the theory being after the 50-minute race duration all boats have an equal chance of being in the lead and taking the win.

With strong gusts and an ever increasing wind forecast for the day, nine boats took part.

First off were newcomers Rosie & Freya Willerton and Christopher Seaborn each in a Topper then Emma Agar (Topper), Shelley Woolridge & Conor Clarke (RS Feva), Flo & Eliza Rudd (Topper Magno), Mark Holland and Tom Bell (each in a Laser Radial), Gerri van Haren (Phantom) and Andy Prior (Laser full rig).

With constant coaching from the safety boat crews, the juniors made their way up the course.

Christopher Seaborn

Christopher Seaborn

By the halfway mark Agar, Holland, Bell, van Haren and Prior were the lead boats.

On the run back down to the clubhouse, Prior passed van Haren and was making gains on Bell with Agar still out in front from Holland.

As they started the second lap, the up wind leg allowed Holland to gain slightly on Agar with Prior closing in on both of them.

This was the case until the end of the 50 minutes with Agar taking the win from Holland and Prior third.

Meanwhile among the juniors, Christopher Seaborn took the lead from Freya Willerton with the Rudd sisters third.

With the wind now stronger, five boats took part in the second race with Agar starting off first from Holland, Bell, van Haren and Prior.

During the up wind start Prior soon caught van Haren and Bell caught Holland with a few capsizes from Holland, Prior and Agar as the fleet closed up.

On the run down wind van Haren positioned his boat perfectly to block the wind from Holland and take fourth.

In front Bell was close on the back of Agar and with 10 seconds to go in the end he took the win by half a boat’s length.

With a mathematical chance of any of the remaining four boats taking overall victory, race three got under way.

Seaborn joined in but with the wind now even stronger was accompanied by instructor Neal Tack.

Holland was soon passed by Bell and Prior while after a capsize Agar was also overtaken.

Prior managed to get ahead of Bell, only to be passed later by Bell with the smaller radial rig now suited to the conditions better - leaving Bell to take the win from Prior with Agar third.

Despite being tied on points Bell’s two wins to Agar’s one gave him overall victory.

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