Topper Inland Championship and National Series 4 – A British bank holiday weekend will without fail muster breeze and so with full confidence 208 sailors arrived at Grafham Water to compete in the 5.3, 4.2, 4.2 Regatta and Masters fleets.
Peter Saxton, Peter Baldwin, Andy Moore and their on water teams got racing underway on time in the middling breeze with some strong gusts.The 5.3s were flighted into yellow and blue as first start and white and red second.
Dylan Walendy Wrigley showed his intentions from the start extending on the run with some fine downwind sailing to take the first bullet of the day. The second flight’s first race was not so clear cut with Tom Walker and Billy Vennis – Ozanne emerging out of a swathe of red white and blue to round the weather mark one and two with Niamh Harper, Alex Mcfarlane and Frances Fox with some distance to make up. This flights race differed from the first flight as Niamh with amazing off wind speed and technique overhauled the boys and pulled out a comfortable lead to win. The wind built marginally and gusts a plenty,some milling around while the course was shifted.
Peter Saxton forever planning ahead had an eye on the next days forecast which pronounced early 30 knot peaks and he wisely shoe horned in a forth race. Joe Drake took this bullet and a second for Eleanor Hutchings,Billy kept Ollie Dixon at bay to take the final bullet of the day, As the sailors came off the water tired from a lot of racing Naimh with some amazing consistency had secured two bullets and a third to lead the fleet overnight with Joe and Billy tied on points for second.
Well those who camped may not have appreciated it but the strong wind and rain came through during the early hours of the morning and this allowed racing to start on time if with a fairly light breeze from the SSE. Race five with the breeze around eight knots turned into a Black flag for Niamh while Billy took a bullet and Joe a third making it a show stopper for the final race. With four boats all able to take the title but starting in different flights it was without doubt time to get the rabbit out of the top hat. Niamh started well and sailed superbly to take a bullet seal the event and left it to the boys to fight for first loser spot which in the final tally up Joe took. Well done to the whole fleet of 5.3s who sailed in testing conditions.
Topper Inlands results (top ten)
1 Niamh Harper (Loch Tummel /RTYC) 10pts
2 Joe Drake Royal (Norfolk and Suffolk YC) 11pts
3 Billy Vennis-Ozanne (Hill Head /Stokes Bay) 12pts
4 Alex Macfarlane (Castle Cove) 16pts
5 Ollie Dixon (Royal Harwich YC) 22pts
6 Eleanor Poole (Starcross YC) 24pts
7 Eleanor Hutchings (Roadford Lake) 26pts
8 Ewan Gribbin (Paignton SC) 28pts
9 Emma Crane (RYA 32)pts
10 Luke Gribbin (Paignton SC) 33pts
The 4.2s under the guidance of PRO Andy Moore had an informative briefing going through the flags he would be using and helping less experienced sailors understand the U flag. With Grafham’s Club house providing a perfect viewing gallery for the supporters, the fleet launched once the bustle of the 5.3s had settled and one of the three standard courses was set. Andy had planned for four races with a short break for lunch, the first race started with the 4.2s first with the regatta fleet five minutes later, Jack Berry and Sam Jones tussled around the course with Matty Cohen not far behind with a finish in that order. The second race reversed the roles and Sam took the bullet, a quick spot of lunch and out for two more with a course change with the weather mark even closer to the club viewing gallery. Race three saw Jack take the bullet with Ollie Vennis-Ozanne taking race four holding off Jack in fine style. Overnight Jack lead but Sam, Ollie his sister Monique and Benjamin Jukes – Bennet were all close on points and keen for another days sailing. Sailing conditions were good for the fleet and three races were fired off in quick succession. Jack, Sam and Monique along with a chasing pack had some fine battles with first places swapping back and forth. With the final scores tallied up Jack took the win from Sam with Monique coming in third.
4.2 Fleet results (top five)
1 Jack Berry (RHS) 10pts
2 Sam Jones (Hill Head SC) 21pts
3 Monique Vennis-Ozanne (Hill Head SC) 22pts
4 Ollie Vennis-Ozanne (Hill Head SC) 27pts
5 Benjamin Jukes-Bennett (Llyn Brenig SC) 30pts
The regatta fleet with seven boys and one girl sailed the same course as the 4.2 but started five mins later Zeb Fellows and Luke Jones shared the wins on the first day with Harriett Sacker keeping close to them with good consistency. The race team gave guidance and encouragement where appropriate and all eight sailors had a good time showing off their skills in gusty conditions. On Sunday the PRO sent them out for two races and at the final wash up Zeb won,Harriet second and Luke third full marks to all the sailors showing true determination skill in sailing 4.2 Toppers at a very young age.
With all the serious sailing being completed on Saturday afternoon 16 relaxed and uncompetitive Masters and Mistresses ambled out to the race area where a fine breeze pushing on 18 knots at times settled for a three lap trapezoid course over seen by Andy Moore and Sally Dugdale. With some strong gusts and some limbering up manoeuvres pre start it looked anything but controlled but once the gun went all sailors settled down to race. With plenty of kicker on some had ducking under the boom issues and a few chuckles and curses were heard. Tom Walker left the fleet for dust while Peter Gordon, Simon Jones battled around for the next spot with Simon coming out ahead. The gusts during the reaches provided most entertainment and Ian Burrows on one run tested the water quality much to mosts entertainment but also trepidation just in case the same fate visited them. With a course shortened much to mosts relief Tom was the Master and Claire Gribbin the Mistress. Back on shore the consensus was that a great time had been had and if another opportunity arose more old bones would limber up again. A big thank you to Andy Moore for sticking on in a somewhat chilly race area running the race from the committee boat. On behalf of the sailors a big thank you to all the volunteers that made it all happen and to GJW Insurance Magic Marine and Jonti the on site chanderly for sponsoring the event.
The next Nationl Series event for 5.5 and 4.2s is at the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club on June the sixth full details can be found here along with the national series each area have a fixture of great localevents. Coming up this weekend are these events South East Traveller at Papercourt SC and the RoosterSouthern Area Traveller at Bosham SC and the weekend of the 16th /17th May Southeast traveller at Pevensey Bay SC, Rooster Southern Traveller at Stokes Bay, Midlands Traveller at Carsington, the Eastern Travller at Broxbourne and the Northwest traveller at Redesmere.
For more information gbrtopper.co.uk
by Andre Ozanne