Andy Prior is victorious in Welland Yacht Club events
Welland Yacht Club were able to stage three races on Sunday despite the ever-evolving weed situation on the river still ongoing.
Their late decision to get racing underway was rewarded with a fairly weed-free Sunday morning, with only a light breeze as eight boats started the opening race for the third outing in the Sunday Points series.
The fleet was also joined by new members Nick and Helen Bonsor in one of the club’s RS Vision double handlers, who sailed the course while keeping out of the way of those racing.
Tom Bell made the most of the start from Andy Prior, Ben Parsons, Alan Cox, Andy Agar (OK), Mark Holland, Richard Stedman and Richard Holland.
The last six positions changed a few times during the short tacking sequence to the windward mark.
With Bell having opened up his lead over Prior on the run to the top mark again, the lower positions kept on switching as they picked their way through the odd patch of weed.
On rounding the top mark, Bell still had a several boat length lead over Prior with Cox third followed by Stedman, Parsons, M Holland, Agar and R Holland.
Prior would close up on Bell during the tack back upwind and they started the second lap neck-and-neck.
Once around the top mark for the second time, Prior had just edged out a lead over Bell with Cox still in a strong third, M Holland fourth, Agar fifth from Stedman sixth and then Parsons and R Holland.
With the wind having dropped off, what had started as a three-lap race was cut to two, and Prior would end up crossing the line some four minutes ahead of Bell with Cox 10 minutes further back.
M Holland had closed up to be only 30 seconds off Cox, while Agar had gained hoping as the only boat with a handicap to play that he may leapfrog into third. However, it wasn’t to be.
Results: 1 Prior, 2 Bell, 3 Cox, 4 M Holland, 5 Agar, 6 Stedman, 7 Parsons, 8 R Holland.
The second race of the day saw the first of two of the Autumn Points series as the same eight participants took to the line.
This time Prior was marginally ahead of Bell from Cox and then Stedman, M Holland, Parsons, Agar and R Holland.
Bell then took the lead with Prior and Cox tied, while Agar moved into fourth as the remainder were bunching up as they rounded the windward mark.
As they all filed around the mark, both Hollands struck it and had to take penalty turns during their run downwind.
With the light breeze constantly shifting direction and the surface weed starting to build up, progress became slow.
Bell, Prior and Cox started their second lap but Stedman, who on the initial approach to the windward mark, wasn’t too far behind in fourth until the ever changing wind and weed got the better of him and he elected to take a single lap time.
M Holland then chose to carry on and complete the second lap as the following boats all elected to take a single lap time.
During the final tacking sequences to the finish, Prior would again take the lead while Bell was still determined to get a win and kept close behind, finishing only five seconds back from Prior.
Results: 1 Prior, 2 Bell, 3 Cox, 4 M Holland, 5 Stedman, 6 Parsons, 7 R Holland, 8 Agar.
The final race of the day still saw eight boats take to the start, but by now the surface weed had gathered even more hugging the far bank.
This time Cox took the initial lead from Prior and then Agar, Bell, Parsons, M Holland, R Holland and Stedman.
On rounding the mark, the positions altered several times as each boat on the run blocked the boat in front wind.
By the time they approached the top mark, M Holland found himself in the lead and first to round.
With the following pack all bunched together in light breeze, they all came to a halt having stalled each other’s sails.
Prior managed to break away into second and then, as they struggled to find the direction of what little wind there was, he edged out into the lead.
With the wind almost gone completely, the race was finished after one lap.
Results: 1 Prior, 2 M Holland, 3 Parsons, 4 Cox, 5 Bell, 6 Stedman, 7 R Holland, 8 Agar.
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