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Round-up of the sailing action from Welland Yacht Club

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Sailors at Welland Yacht Club were met with the first strong wind of the season on Sunday.

With strong gusts on the forecast, this led to some hesitation from the group of sailors on launching - but the sunshine persuaded them to go ahead with the fifth race in the Munson Cup series.

There were some strong gusts as the six boats set off, and Mark Scourfield in the Solo was a victim to one of these before the race got under way. He found himself taking a swim but managed to recover to make the start line in time.

The start of the first race of the day
The start of the first race of the day

At the start Andy Prior in the laser radial found himself in trouble heading into wind as Scourfield led from Neil Tack – crewed by Rebecca Slator – in the Graduate, who made a start to buoy one which was a short but eventful beat and buoy rounding.

Helen Boyd, Prior and Arden Follington in the Topper were followed by Eric Murray in the Mirror, rounding safely - with the run before the wind the next test with it still gusting and a gybe awaiting the crews at some stage on the run down .

All negotiated the gybe without mishap and it was Scourfield and Prior who led the fleet down the mile buoy straight, where everyone enjoyed some fast planing conditions.

Scourfield rounded number four buoy just ahead of Prior and in pursuit were Tack, Boyd, Follington and Murray.

On the tack back Prior overtook Scourfield, who took another swim and called it a day and retired - as did Follington in the Topper.

But the remaining boats completed the two-lap race in the same order, with Eric Murray in the Mirror also enjoying what the Welland water had to offer.

After handicaps, Prior was first, second was Neil Tack and Rebecca Slator in the Graduate with Helen Boyd in the solo a well deserved third place.

The sixth and final qualifying race for the Munson Cup got under way with the wind and gusts not relenting.

Gail Follington joined the fleet in a Topper for the start, although once again there was a capsize before the start - this time from Helen Boyd, who righted in time to join in the start and continue the race.

Prior, followed by Tack and Slator in the Graduate and Gail Follington, all coped with the wind direction changing, with Boyd and Arden Follington and Murray in the Mirror all following.

The same course was set, which once again gave the crews some interesting moments and tested their boat handling skills in windy conditions.

Prior led from start to finish in the Laser, followed by Neil Tack and Rebecca Slator in the Graduate and Helen Boyd in her Solo - with Gail Follington in the Topper and Eric Murray in the Mirror the finishers.

Winners of final race of the day were Neal Tack and crew Rebecca Slator
Winners of final race of the day were Neal Tack and crew Rebecca Slator

Unfortunately, Arden Follington had to retire as the Topper was filling with water and unable to continue.

At the completion of the Munson Cup, it was awarded to Andy Prior - with Tom Bell in second and Alan Cox in third, all in Lasers.

The third Afternoon Points race in the series of six got under way with a slight decrease in the strength of the gusts, but still testing conditions for the crews.

With only four boats coming to the start-line it was a little less hectic sail to the first buoy, with Arden Follington arriving first but getting into a head-to-wind situation which allowed Tack and Slator in the Graduate to steal through as the direction fluctuated - followed by Eric Murray in the Mirror and Helen Boyd in the Solo .

The course remained the same and it was Helen Boyd who made ground to chase Tack and Slator round the course, with Murray along in third . By the second lap Arden Follington had to once again retire from the race.

The remainder of the race went without too much incident, and it was Neil and Rebecca in the Graduate who finished in first place - followed by Helen in the Solo and Eric Murray in third in the Mirror.

At the halfway stage in the series it is Arden Follington in first place, followed by Neil Tack and Rebecca Slator in the Graduate - with Helen Boyd in the Solo in third position.

This Sunday sees the three-race series for the Tulip Trophy. The club are holding their open day on May 15 from 10.30am-3.30pm for anyone wanting to try their hand at sailing.

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