SAILING: Grantham sailor Val is Challenger UK champion

Val Millward making the most of the wind.
Val Millward making the most of the wind.
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Grantham sailor Val Millward took part in the Challenger UK Championships 2017 over three days at Rutland Sailing Club at the weekend.

The winds were quite light on Friday and Val had some difficulty reading the signs for more pressure from the existing wind. After the first two races, her results were fourth and third, placing her third overall.

On Saturday, the wind was much stronger with heavy rain at times. Val revelled in the greater speed and gained four first places, leaving her two points ahead of her nearest rival.

There was very little wind on Sunday, leaving the whole fleet looking for that extra gust to get them ahead.

Val came second in both races but, as the leader was different each time, she retained her first place overall, becoming the Challenger UK champion for 2017.

The fleet consisted of 17 Challengers. Among the sailors were Zoltan Pegan from Hungary, Jean-Claude Loiseau from France and Duncan Greenlaugh and Stephen Bates from Scotland, adding an international flavour to the weekend.

Val said that no one travels that far to an event without being very competitive. She said: “The competition was very strong, just one mistake and the others were ready to pounce.”

Val is now looking forward to the winter Sailjuice Series of Open Handicap Races and the Winter and Frostbite Series at Rutland Sailing Club.