BOAT-TO-BOAT: Andy Prior and Tom Bell battle it out at Welland Yacht Club.

Prior edges ahead in Welland Yacht Club’s Munson Cup standings after two podiums

Welland Yacht Club’s new season continued on Easter Sunday with three races in two different competitions.

The first race of the day saw three adults and three juniors take to the water for part two of the Morning Points Series – and the wind was a healthy 10mph with gusts edging towards 15mph.

The start line was hotly contested, with all six boats crossing within a few seconds of each other.

As the race developed into two groups, with the three adults in their faster boats moving ahead and the three juniors competing amongst themselves.

At the end of the first lap Paul Burton (Phantom) had already opened a lead, but the two lasers – sailed by Andy Prior and Tom Bell – were hot on his heals but found themselves engaged in their own tactical battle.

At the finish line Burton managed to keep his nose in front, with Bell just six seconds behind and Prior finishing in third.

The three juniors finished within a couple of minutes of the adults, with Emma Agar in fourth closely followed by Lucy Burton in her byte in fifth. Harry Whitelman, in his first race of the season, was sixth.

The two afternoon races were for the Munson Cup series and comprised of races three and four, but the wind was rapidly decreasing in strength and at times the boats found themselves in almost drifting conditions.

Despite this, eight boats lined up for the second race of the day – but the variable conditions meant the racers had to fight for every puff of wind and the gaps between boats soon opened up.

The adults were able to capitalise on the lighter winds with their much bigger sails – and at the finishing line there was eight minutes between the first and fifth adult boats.

But, once the handicaps had been applied, the range narrowed considerably.

Bell took first place with Paul Burton in second, while Prior had his second third place of the day.

Prior spent the first lap in a tacking duel with Brian Cobb in a Europe, who finished fourth closely followed by the second Europe of Ros Nichols.

The three juniors all finished within a couple of minutes of the adults.

The final race of the day saw the wind drop even further, although now accompanied by rain.

This time, six boats took to a shortened course. It was Prior who managed to pull out a short lead by the first mark and, although Burton managed to pass him once, he retook the lead to cross the line first.

Bell, who had had a bad start, struggled for the first part of the race but eventually pulled ahead of Cobb and got close enough to Burton to beat him on handicap and secure a much needed second.

Cobb, in his Europe, was third with Paul Burton only 15 seconds further back.

With the final two races this Sunday, Prior holds a slender one point lead from Bell.

Leave a Reply