SAILING: Winning start to season for Prior
Easter Sunday saw the start of the new season at Welland Yacht Club.
The previous few days’ rainfall created a fast flow on the water.
The first race came in the morning points series with five competitors.
Andy Prior and Mark Holland were both in Lasers with Emma Agar, Katie Follington and Christopher Seaborn all in Toppers.
With the starting leg being downstream, this added another challenge of not being pushed over the start line by the fast-flowing river.
Everyone managed to get under way without penalty with Prior taking the early lead from Holland followed by Agar, Follington and Seaborn.
With the faster Lasers having to keep handicap distance in front of the slower Toppers, Prior held onto first place with Holland second and Agar third.
The afternoon saw races one and two of the Munson Cup personal handicap series.
With one of the Toppers dropping out, the fleet was joined by Gail Follington in her Laser Radial.
With the same direction of start as the previous race, again all competitors were conscious of being pushed over the line by the current.
This time Gail Follington got the best start with her daughter Katie managing third behind Prior with Agar fourth and Holland fifth.
Although Prior took an advantage from Follington snr as they approached the first mark, she regained the lead as they rounded it.
Struggling with the ever shifting wind from around the clubhouse and the current, Prior soon retook the lead with Holland in third and Agar taking the decision to retire, leaving Follington jnr fourth.
Once clear of the clubhouse and in clear air, all boats were able to make good progress up the course.
Prior tried to open up a big enough lead to retain position once the personal handicaps were applied.
In the end Follington snr claimed the win from Holland second with Prior hanging onto third from Follington jnr.
With a change in course and direction of start, the final race of the day got under way with Holland making the best start from Follington snr followed by Prior then Follington jnr.
Managing to make the most of the patches of breeze, Holland and Follington pulled out a bigger lead over Prior – ever aware that when it came to the head wind return leg, the superior sail craft of Prior would enable him to close in.
Once around the top mark, Prior was soon up to second and closing on the lead.
The second leg resorted back to a down wind drag against the current with both boats struggling to round the final mark.
Prior soon took the lead, leaving Holland to stay ahead of Follington snr by enough to keep out of handicap reach.
Once personal handicaps were applied, Holland took the win from Follington snr with Prior third and Follington jnr fourth.
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