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Grantham sailor Val Millward gets back to winning ways

After two second place finishes, Grantham amputee Val Millward returned to winning ways.

After winning at Burghfield, Val found the competition stronger in the Challenger Open at Oxford.

It was not particularly ‘Challenger’ weather but the lack of wind required different sailing skills.

Val Millward leads the fleet at Grafham Water. (13301754)
Val Millward leads the fleet at Grafham Water. (13301754)

Val made a shaky start on the first day with four points between herself and the leader, fellow Rutland Sailability member Nick Bett.

The next day was better for her but the gap was too great, needing a win in the final race which did not happen.

The final results for Rutland Sailability members were: 1 Nick Bett, 2 Val Millward, 3 Graham Hall, 4 Jack Alderdice, 5 Mark Fletcher, 6 Di Faulks.

Val sailed her Hansa Liberty, GBR3068, at the Hansa TT at Notts County SC, a one day event with four races.

Val said: "The wind was quite strong but with trees and hills surrounding the water, it became gusty from any which direction."

She accrued five points by the end of the day but so did fellow Rutland Sailability member Pat Crowley. Pat had two firsts to Val’s one, so Val again finished second.

It was definitely Challenger weather for the Hansa TT at Oxford SC, but the high freeboard of the Hansa Liberty kept the water out.

There were 10 Libertys taking part in the event.

Val made a slow start with two third places in the morning session. All the Liberty sailors, except Val, suffered some form of gear failure.

After lunch, she recorded two wins, giving her a total of five points after the discard. David Durston from Whitefriers also had five points but Val had two firsts and David only one.

Val said: "If you can’t win at Oxford in a Challenger, go back and win in a Liberty."

The Oxford volunteers christened Val’s little boat the ‘baby jester’ as they are more used to seeing her in her trimaran.

Val was among the eight members of Rutland Sailability taking part in the Challenger Open at Grafham Water.

It was not very windy but the direction of the wind made it very patchy.

Val said: "It was just as easy to sail into a hole in the wind as to find a gust and fly."

Val, Graham and Nick, all Rutland sailors, vied for the lead with Graham the overnight leader after Val was taken out on the start line and gave every one a head start in race three.

On Sunday, working out the best course to take concentrated everyone's minds.

Again the three fought it out at the front of the fleet, but the two gentlemen gave way in the end.

Val said: "After all, it should be ladies first!"

The results for the eight Rutland members were: 1 Val Millward, 2 Graham Hall, 3 Nick Bett, 6 Jack Alderdice, 7 Mark Fletcher, 9 Diana Faulks, 10 Alan Bradley, 16 Declan Flanagan.

Val is hoping her good form continues in the RYA Sailability Multiclass event at Weymouth this weekend.

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