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SAILING: Handicap series title for Holland

The start of the second race
The start of the second race

Mark Holland claimed overall victory in Welland Yacht Club’s Munson Cup personal handicap series.

Following on from the morning’s junior session, the first race of the day was the third in the Morning Points Series.

With the sun still shining and a reasonable breeze, 10 boats including four juniors from earlier prepared for the five-minute countdown.

With a couple of good gusts, the juniors found themselves in the water.

The start was delayed until they were brought to shore with one adult also deciding the conditions were too much.

Five boats were ready for the start. With a minute to go, one boat capsized on the line, followed by a coming-together between two others, resulting in another capsize and a retirement.

Mark Holland
Mark Holland

The remaining boats got under way with Andy Prior leading from Geri van Haren.

The two capsized boats of Holland and Brian Cobb got themselves righted and under way to try to recover as much lost time as possible.

The continuing gusts still proved challenging for some.

Prior had pulled out a considerable lead over the rest by the second lap.

Andy Prior and Will Cook
Andy Prior and Will Cook

Position on the water remained unchanged with just the gaps varying, holding hope that handicaps could recover some places.

In the end, Prior retained the lead from Holland, Cobb and van Haren.

The afternoon saw the final two races in the Munson Cup personal handicap series.

With the best four results counting in the six-race series, overall victory was in sight of three competitors.

Andy Prior
Andy Prior

The wind eased slightly with eight boats – including three juniors – lined up for the penultimate race.

This time the start got under way without incident with Cobb taking the lead from the pairing of Prior and Will Cook, followed by Neal Tack and Rebecca Slator, Rosie Willerton, Gail Follington, Holland and Freya Willerton.

Soon the faster boat of Prior and Cook took the lead and tried to capitalise on clear water to shake off their handicap deficit.

Cobb held onto a strong second followed by Holland, Tack and Slator, Follington and then the Willerton sisters led by Rosie.

Varied personal handicaps made judging actual position virtually impossible.

Despite a commanding lead, handicap pushed Prior and Cook to third with Holland taking the win, Cobb holding second and Follington fourth.

The final race saw Cook take the helm, with Prior as crew, plus Tack and Slator, Cobb, Holland and Follington was joined on the water by daughter Katie in another topper line up for the start.

Cook and Prior took the lead from the off followed by Cobb, Follington snr, Tack and Slator, Follington jnr and Holland – having suffered another capsize at the start.

As the race progressed, apart from Cobb retaining second, the boats filtered into speed of class order.

The race was completed without further incident and the final result gave the win to Gail Follington from Cobb, Holland and Cook and Prior.

The end result was close with Holland taking overall victory by the narrowest of margins from Gail Follington.

Anyone wanting to experience sailing for themselves should attend the club’s open day on Sunday, May 13.


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