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SAILING: Tom's up for challenge

Tom Bell (right) leads from Gail Follington
Tom Bell (right) leads from Gail Follington

Sunday’s racing at Welland Yacht Club was a regatta with a twist as the Lowland Trophy featured three races with a variety of extra challenges on route.

The racing also formed part of the club’s camping weekend and competitors were encouraged to wear fancy dress in the theme of movies and TV.

Race one was contested by 15 boats and featured a downwind start closely followed by a chicane which had been added to force the dinghies to gybe at each mark.

Tom Bell made the best start, managing to reach the chicane slightly ahead of the chaos as the bulk of the fleet all tried to round it together.

This in turn allowed Bell to pull out a lead which he was never to lose.

Gail Follington and Mark Holland both had a harder job of negotiating the chicane but eventually worked their way through the pack to challenge for places.

Lucy Burton, in her smaller Byte, managed to avoid the confusion to finish mid-fleet.

Chicane chaos
Chicane chaos

Six juniors in their Toppers were also competing with the seniors and put in some noticeably good performances.

Once the results were worked out using the individuals own personal handicaps, Bell was first ahead of Follington and Burton.

First junior was Katie Follington with an excellent sixth place. Next were Freya Willerton and Neo Thorpe who had their own close race.

Competitors waiting for the start
Competitors waiting for the start

The second race was similar format to the first with the addition of a ‘treasure hunt’ where competitors had to spot hidden letters to spell the mystery word and avoid penalty points.

Bell was again at the front of the field but this time with Gail Follington following closely behind.

Only a short distance behind came a three-boat pack containing Alan Cox in his Laser Radial, Mark Holland in his Laser and Burton doing very well in her smaller and slower Byte with the rest of the fleet a short distance behind.

Although Bell crossed the line first, Follington was close enough to win comfortably once personal handicaps were applied.

Burton took second spot from Bell who had to be content with third while Cox was fourth, Neil Tack and Rebecca Slator finished fifth, Holland was pushed back to sixth, Paul Burton came seventh and Katie Follington was eighth and also first junior.

This meant Follington senior went into the 3rd race with a one-point lead over Bell and a three-point advantage against Burton junior.

The race featured a Le Mans-style start with sailors having to run to their boats which had been moored up in the reverse order to how they finished the second race.

This allowed Burton senior to achieve a flying start in his Graduate and as a result carried a good lead into the first mark with both Bell and Follington senior leading the chasing pack.

Follington junior’s boat become tangled in the weed on the banks of the Welland which put her to the back of the pack.

As the race developed, a slightly stronger breeze and a long reach to the top of the course allowed the Lasers of Bell and Follington senior to overtake and pull out a lead - although Burton junior stayed in contention in her Byte.

By the end of the race Bell’s lead was 90 seconds ahead of Follington which was just enough to take first place from Burton junior who had done well to stay close enough to pip Follington to second.

Holland took fourth ahead of Tack and Slator, Cox, Burton senior and Follington junior.

Overall winner Tom Bell
Overall winner Tom Bell

Overall result: 1 Bell, 2 Gail Follington, 3 Lucy Burton, 4 Holland, 5 Tack & Slator, 6 Katie Follington (Junior Trophy), 7 Cox, 8 Paul Burton, 9 Freya Willerton (second junior), 10 Neo Thorpe (third junior).

Fancy dress prizes: 1 Slator & Tack (Mary Poppins & Burt), 2 Lucy & Paul Burton (Moana & Maui), 3 Rosey Willerton (White Rabbit).

Fancy dress
Fancy dress

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