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Munson Cup races are held at Welland Yacht Club

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Welland Yacht Club staged the first in a series of six races for the Munson Cup on Sunday.

Nine boats gathered for the second weekend of racing in the calendar on a sunny day with light and variable winds.

The course was set upriver to the number three buoy, which allowed a tacking start away from the clubhouse.

Tom Bell takes an early advantage at the start of Welland Yacht Club’s racing on Sunday
Tom Bell takes an early advantage at the start of Welland Yacht Club’s racing on Sunday

It was Tom Bell in the Laser who was first away, closely followed by Alan Cox in his Laser, Gail Follington in the Comet and Gerri Van Haren in the bigger Phantom.

The fleet were bunching at times due to the fickle wind strength and direction constantly changing but, at the turning mark, it was the Lasers of Bell and Cox who had mastered the conditions best.

On the first run back to the clubhouse turn, Bell in the Laser had to complete a 360 degree penalty turn for hitting the turning mark - which allowed Cox through.

However, he suffered a hole in the wind which Bell took advantage of to catch and round buoy one just in front, with Van Haren in third place.

These three boats pulled away from the chasing pack which was led by Ben Parsons, sailing well in his Laser, and Follington followed by Arden Follington sailing well with a full sail rig on the Laser.

Lap two was as frustrating as the first with the wind non-existent at times, leaving boats becalmed.

Alan Cox took the honours in the third race on Sunday
Alan Cox took the honours in the third race on Sunday

But the leading three boats managed to maintain the gaps on their handicap and finished with Bell taking first, Cox second and Van Haren in third - far enough ahead of Gail Follington in fourth and Parson in a well-deserved fifth place.

With the same conditions and same nine boats for race two, the course was changed to a shorter version by popular demand as the first was an unusually long race.

The wind had increased at times for this and the start saw a long and short beat with Bell once again timing his start well, followed by Gail Follington, Cox, Van Haren and Helen Boyd in the Solo.

After rounding the buoy, it was Bell leading from Cox and Van Haren. They once again were able to pull away from the rest of the chasing pack led by Arden Follington getting to grips with the Laser full rig.

This remained the same and, after the shorter timed handicaps were applied, it was Bell who took the honours with Cox in second and Gail Follington in third, with Van Haren and Arden Follington separated in fourth and fifth place respectively.

Wind conditions had improved for the last race of the day with the shorter course remaining, and there were seven boats that came to the start line.

Neil Tack and Rebecca Slator in the Graduate made a cracking start, followed by Arden Follington in the Laser - with Cox and Parsons in hot pursuit.

It was Cox who came through by the turning mark and went unchallenged for the remainder of the race.

The chasing boats, however, remained closely bunched, with the Solo of Martin Cook making his way through the fleet.

However, he could not catch Gail Follington, who finished second with Cook taking third place on his first outing of the season, followed by Tack in the Graduate and Helen Boyd in the Solo.

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