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Welland Yacht Club stage an open race for the Richard Thacker Trophy



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Welland Yacht Club was joined by three visiting boats from three different clubs on Sunday to take part in their open race meeting for the Richard Thacker Trophy.

Although the club has held an open meet for many years, it has been since the passing of former club commodore and treasurer Richard that it was renamed in his memory.

With 15 boats taking to the start of the first race of the day, the wind was not as strong as forecast and an upriver start was chosen to buoy three, heading back to one for three laps (giving the option to shorten and give lap times for the slower boats).

Andy Prior and club commodore Tom Bell in Richard Thacker’s old Wayfarer.
Andy Prior and club commodore Tom Bell in Richard Thacker’s old Wayfarer.

Visitor Paul Burton (Supernova) took the early lead from Alan Cox (Laser Radial) and then Andy Prior and crew Tom Bell (in Richard Thacker’s old Wayfarer), Andy Agar (OK), Mark Scourfield (Solo), visitor Phil North (Supernova), Gerri van Haren (Phantom), visitor Patrick Corke (Mirror), Gail Follington (Comet), Mark Holland, Richard Stedman (both Laser), Katie Follington (Laser Radial), Richard Holland (Laser), Niall and Ellie Holland (RS Feva) and Eric Murray (Mirror).

As the fleet tacked its way to the windward mark, the Mirror of Corke soon slipped backwards through the fleet - but knowing his fight was not on the water but against the clock plus handicap, Corke did not let this put him off
his own race.

As the lead boats of Burton, van Haren and Scourfield headed towards the club house to complete their first lap, it became apparent that three laps would be too long, so the course was reduced to two.

During the second lap Mark Holland would move to third with Scourfield fourth, Cox fifth and Agar sixth.

Although Corke had now dropped to ninth, he was confident that handicap would pull him back up the results.

Burton would hold onto his lead until the end, with van Haren crossing the line second and Mark Holland third, Scourfield fourth and Agar fifth before Cox.

Winner of race one and three and overall victor Paul Burton.
Winner of race one and three and overall victor Paul Burton.

With two boats only recording a single lap, Burton would maintain the win after handicaps applied from Corke second and Gail Follington third.

With the wind having freshened slightly, the course was kept to two laps to gain some time back from the first race running over.

The fleet was now down to 13 and, although Burton took the early lead, it was soon lost to van Haren followed by Agar and Prior-Bell as Burton had to tack and give way to the following boats, while Corke again found himself back in eighth as he was still sailing his own race.

Van Haren would maintain his lead throughout the race, and crossed the line with Burton second and Prior-Bell third and Cox fourth.

This time Corke would take the win from a ninth place finish, with Burton second and Cox third.

After a short break for lunch and the wind starting to look more like that forecast, the final race got underway with Agar taking the early lead.

Commodore Tom Bell, left, and James Thacker, centre, present overall victor Paul Burton, right, with the Richard Thacker Trophy.
Commodore Tom Bell, left, and James Thacker, centre, present overall victor Paul Burton, right, with the Richard Thacker Trophy.

With Agar still managing to hold the lead from Burton as they began their second lap, the wind died away at this point.

Burton would gain the lead as they approached buoy three on the windward mark and go on to the cross the line first, followed by Agar, Prior-Bell, Mark Holland, North, Scourfield, Cox, Katie Follington, Stedman, Richard Holland and Murray.

Once the handicaps were applied, Burton would maintain the win from Agar second, Corke third and Prior-Bell fourth.

With two wins and a second, Paul Burton from Girton Sailing Club took overall victory and was presented with the trophy by Richard Thacker’s son James, with commodore of neighbouring Witham Sailing Club Patrick Corke second and Welland member Alan Cox third.

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



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