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Grantham sailor Val wins at second Challenger Open Meeting

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Grantham sailor Val Millward contested the second Challenger event of 2022, held at Burghfield Sailability, Burghfield Sailing Club, near Reading, on Friday and Saturday.

Three races were held on Friday afternoon. Graham Hall, also a fellow Rutland Sailability member, won the first race with Val second and local sailor John Draper third.

All sailors were having to work very hard to work out how best to deal with the gusting and fluky winds.

Val Millward shows off the spoils of victory. (56539771)
Val Millward shows off the spoils of victory. (56539771)

Val must have figured it out as she won the next two races and became the overnight leader by one point.

On Saturday, the wind became northerly and everyone had to work out a completely different approach to the new direction.

At the start, both Graham and John were ahead of Val but she tacked off on to port early and sailed into stronger wind. Taking advantage of this, she led by the first mark and remained in the lead for the whole race.

As the second race started, Val knew she had to finish first or second for a chance to win the event. Graham came first with Val second, so when the final race began Val, again, knew she must come first or second.

The race was fiercely contested with the lead changing many times. Val again tacked for the stronger wind and in the final lap took the lead and the overall trophy.

Val Millward in the thick of the racing. (56539774)
Val Millward in the thick of the racing. (56539774)

A triumphant Val said: "It was wonderful to meet friends and competitors who had not met for two years due to Covid."

Val asked the Journal to point out that Rutland Sailability needs shore crew and disabled people to join them in the sport of sailing at Rutland Sailing Club, Edith Weston, Rutland Water, on Thursdays and Saturday mornings.

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