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Grantham sailor Val battles conditions at Derbyshire race weekend

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Grantham sailor Val Millward battled the wind and waves at this year's Ogston Open Handicap last weekend.

The event took place at Ogston Sailing Club in Derbyshire, with the weather for the weekend giving rain and strong winds for Saturday and fine but very strong winds for Sunday.

The first race before lunch on Saturday began in steady rain and a brisk easterly wind.

Val Millward and her Challenger boat battle the waves at Ogston. (52048732)
Val Millward and her Challenger boat battle the waves at Ogston. (52048732)

Val led from the start, picking the right wind shifts and maintaining her lead to gain first place in the opening race.

After lunch there were two races. In race two, Val’s start was not good but she rounded the first mark in the lead and again maintained this position throughout the race, gaining another first place.

The wind was dropping rapidly in the third race and although Val led for the first lap, Graham Hall led for the second. They took turns to lead in the third lap and Val gained what seemed like an unbeatable lead, squeezing every zephyr of wind out of the air.

Alas, the wind filled in from behind and Graham, never one to give up, drifted past to take the race by less than half a metre, with Val a frustrated second.

On Sunday, the wind came back with a vengeance, blowing from the south with huge gusts bouncing off the hills and trees, causing large waves on the water.

Val’s start was less than commanding, so by the first mark she rounded in second place. Reaching away, a gust swept her along past her rival and she then led for the rest of the race, giving Val a third first place.

Whilst it was exhilarating to be sailing so fast, 13.3 knots, it was also exhausting.

Val Millward and the Harry Fisher Shield. (52048729)
Val Millward and the Harry Fisher Shield. (52048729)

In the final race, Val went from fifth to second, to third, to fifth, and finally to third.

Overall, Val finished third and was awarded the Harry Fisher Shield as first Challenger boat.

Val said: "An excellent weekend, enjoyed by all. Good food, good company, at a very scenic venue."

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