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Opening race of the new season for Welland Yacht Club




Welland Yacht Club finally got their season under way on Sunday following the previous weekend’s cancellation due to high winds.

With various measures put in place to keep to the latest guidelines on social distancing, it was also decided that pursuit racing was the most appropriate for the current situation.

A pursuit race is where the boat class handicap is applied at the start to give each class a separate start time. The theory was that all boats should be level at the end of the race duration.

Overall victor Tom Bell.
Overall victor Tom Bell.

The result was then the order of the boats once race duration ends which helped reduce the number of boats starting at anyone time.

With the forecast still for little wind, six people in five boats took to the water for the first of the day’s two races.

However, with only two different boat classes being used – one graduate and four laser full rigs – the staggered start theory didn’t really play out.

With no topper class, the 60 minute duration began and the first boat away was at 8.40am. Into the duration would be the graduate of Neal Tack and crew Rebecca Slator.

Making little initial progress in the light winds, the lasers of Tom Bell, Alan Cox, Gail and Katie Follington would have to wait another three minutes for their start.

Once the lasers got under way, Cox led from Bell then Gail Follington from daughter Katie as they set off in pursuit of Tack and Slator.

The final run down the clubhouse straight sees Alan Cox (centre) edge out Gail Follington (left) and Tom Bell (right).
The final run down the clubhouse straight sees Alan Cox (centre) edge out Gail Follington (left) and Tom Bell (right).

Bell passed Cox as they got to the first bend and by the time they had reached three quarter distance to the windward mark had managed to take the outright lead with Cox having now moved to second with Tack and Slator in third, Gail Follington still in fourth from daughter Katie in fifth.

As they came back down the clubhouse straight for the first time, Gail Follington had moved up to third, starting the second lap with 20 minutes to go.

During the tacking back to the windward mark, Cox started to make gains on Bell with Gail Follington also closing in with Tack and Slator still comfortably fourth from Katie Follington.

Having rounded the windward mark for the second time, the lead boats headed down the clubhouse straight in the closing minutes of the race.

Bell now edged out in the lead from Cox and Gail Follington who were neck-and-neck, with Follington managing to take second as time was called, having completed one and three-quarter laps.

Race one results: 1 Tom Bell, 2 Gail Follington, 3 Alan Cox, 4 Neal Tack and Rebecca Slator, 5 Katie Follington.

Neil Tack and Rebecca Slator lead from Tom Bell, Alan Cox and Gail Follington at the end of the second race’s first lap.
Neil Tack and Rebecca Slator lead from Tom Bell, Alan Cox and Gail Follington at the end of the second race’s first lap.

With a 20 minute break to take on some much-needed fluids, race two got under way again with Tack and Slator first to start.

With more breeze they pulled out a reasonable lead prior to the lasers starting.

As the start time approached for the lasers, a gust blew through, nearly catching Cox and Gail Follington a capsize.

The stronger breeze allowed Tack and Slator to hold onto the lead for the entire first lap.

It would be towards the end of the clubhouse straight before Bell finally took the lead, then followed by Cox and Gail Follington as they headed up to the windward mark for the second time.

With just under 10 minutes to go, the lead three rounded onto the clubhouse straight with Gail Follington ahead of Cox with Bell third.

Leading the way are Neil Tack with crew Rebecca Slator from Alan Cox, Tom Bell, Gail and Katie Follington.
Leading the way are Neil Tack with crew Rebecca Slator from Alan Cox, Tom Bell, Gail and Katie Follington.

Cox took the lead with five minutes to go from Follington in second and Bell third at this point which would mean the overall result would be a three-way tie with all on four points.

Having rounded the leeward and tacking back up the course, Bell passed Follington in the final minutes and once time was called just over two laps had been completed.

This would provide Bell with the overall victory from Cox in second and Gail Follington third.

Race two results: 1 Alan Cox, 2 Tom Bell, 3 Gail Follington, 4 Neal Tack and Rebecca Slator, 5 Katie Follington.

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


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