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Welland Yacht Club stage the Carl Bilbie Pursuit Regatta




With strong winds forecasted, Sunday’s Carl Bilbie Pursuit Regatta at Welland Yacht Club was always going to be a lively one.

A few of the usual competitors were absent, and in the end five boats took to the start of race one.

With pursuit racing, the class handicap is applied at the start to give each class of boat different start times; the theory being at the end of the allotted race duration, all boats should be together.

Richard Stedman.
Richard Stedman.

With the race set for 50 minutes, first to start was new member Eric Murray in a Mirror dinghy. Eight minutes and 35 seconds later, the next boat was the Laser Radial of Richard Stedman

He was followed by Mark Scourfield’s Solo (8.45), the RS Vision of Mark Holland and crew Monika Nowak (8.55) and finally Clive Herd’s Streaker (9.15).

The wind had started to pick up further as the boats tacked their way to the windward mark.

Scourfield and Herd had soon passed the boats ahead of them and were pulling out a considerable lead over the following boats.

As the back three approached the windward mark, Holland/Nowak had moved into third place. However, once on the run downwind, they slipped back to last.

Scourfield and Herd were within a few boat lengths of each other as they rounded the clubhouse buoy and began their second lap.

Winners of race two Mark Holland and Monika Nowak.
Winners of race two Mark Holland and Monika Nowak.

Once the trailing three of Stedman, Murray, Holland-Nowak had rounded the clubhouse buoy and began the tacking back up to the windward mark, the Vision of Holland-Nowak started to gain on Stedman and Murray.

Once around the mark, Scourfield still led from Herd - with the pair of them commanding a decent lead.

During his run back to the clubhouse, Stedman broached and ended up in the water.

Holland/Nowak managed to pass Murray and the time ran down to the finish of the race.

Results: 1 Mark Scourfield, 2 Clive Herd, 3 Mark Holland/Monika Nowak (crew), 4 Eric Murray, 5 Richard Stedman.

After a short break and with the wind still getting stronger, Stedman elected not to take part and helped man the safety boat.

Eric Murray in a classic Mirror.
Eric Murray in a classic Mirror.

With the start sequence the same, Murray set off followed by Scourfield then Holland-Nowak and finally Herd.

Herd soon elected to also retire having only just returned to sailing following months of recuperation.

As the boats headed their way upwind, Scourfield was first around the mark - shortly followed by Holland-Nowak then Murray.

As all began their run back to the clubhouse, Scoufield this time found himself in the water following a broach, allowing Holland-Nowak to take the lead with Murray in second.

With Scourfield struggling to right his boat, the other two stretched out quite a lead over Scourfield - who finally got back underway.

By the time Holland-Nowak had rounded the windward mark for the second time and began their run back to the clubhouse, they had built up a considerable lead over Murray and Scourfield was gaining on the second spot.

Mark Scourfield (foreground) and Clive Herd battle for the lead.
Mark Scourfield (foreground) and Clive Herd battle for the lead.

With two minutes to go, Holland and Nowak found themselves in the water where they decided to stay until the 50 minutes was up, with the wind blowing them down river towards the clubhouse where they could see Scourfield gaining on both Murray and themselves.

With 15 seconds to go, Scourfield passed Murray but didn’t quite get past Holland and Nowak before time was up.

Results: 1 Mark Holland/Monika Nowak (crew), 2 Mark Scourfield, 3 Eric Murray.

With the wind getting even stronger, it was decided not to run the final race, so with a win and a second place Scourfield took overall victory from Holland and Nowak second - with Herd claiming third spot, Murray fourth and Stedman fifth.

Anyone wanting to find out more about sailing should email secretary@wellandyachtclub.co.uk.

The club is holding its open race meeting on Sunday, October 17 for the Richard Thacker Trophy. The race is open to anyone who wishes to bring their dinghy and join in.



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