Three podium finishes helped Mark Holland win Welland Yacht Club’s Lowlands Trophy on Sunday – in what was a regatta with a difference.
This event always comes with a fancy dress theme – anybody not conforming was given a 30 second penalty in race one – with pub signs chosen as the 2017 option.
Race one had a novel start, with competitors having to cross the start line backwards. There were also letters placed along the course to note, which spelt a pub name.
Again, time was added on for those who didn’t get the name. With Holland managing to make the most of the unorthodox start, he took the early lead from Paul Burton and Brian Cobb.
And, with very little wind, the fleet headed up river with now the more experienced Burton and Cobb managing to find the best of the breeze out in front. By the time they had rounded the top mark Tom Bell and Geri van Haren had also worked their way to the top four on the water.
Another added feature was a chicane for the return leg, but with the wind still absent the race was reduced to one lap.
Once the personal handicaps had been applied and time penalties added it was Cobb who took the win from Emma Agar in second, with Holland third and Burton fourth.
Race two saw the boats line up in reverse finishing order, with the competitors starting by running to their boats on the signal.
This time floats were placed on the river, each with a time ranging from five to 30 seconds, with each competitor having to collect one on the way. That figure would be deducted from their finishing time.
The race was again shortened to one lap, with the more experienced Bell, Burton and Cobb filtering through to the front. However, it was Holland who took the win from Lucy Burton, with Neal Tack and Rebecca Slator third ahead of Bell in fourth.
Going into race three Holland was in the lead, with Cobb and Lucy Burton tied in second. Other than the chicane having to be negotiated, the final race was conventional.
The breeze had picked up slightly and it was Bell who made the best start, followed by Lucy and Paul Burton.
Once the top mark had been rounded it was Bell from Paul Burton then Cobb, Holland and Lucy Burton.
Not being too sure on how much the personal handicaps would alter the positions on the water and knowing that a third place would be enough for outright victory, Holland could only hope that his current fourth place would be enough as catching the three ahead was getting increasingly difficult with the light shifting breeze causing him to stall a few times.
After two laps – and once handicaps were applied – Cobb won with Holland second, Bell third and Lucy Burton fourth.
That was enough for Holland to take the win overall, with Cobb (second) and Lucy Burton completing the podium.