Topper South East Championships - Island Barn Reservoir Sailing Club
The final Open Meeting in the Topper South East Traveller Series was also the Area Championships and the decider of the Traveller Series. Much hung on the result, particularly for Ben Palmer from Island Barn and Oscar McViegh from Wimbledon Park, who were neck and neck in the Traveller Series. The winner would take the prestigious South East Traveller Trophy.
33 boats took part, 4 of them opting for the Regatta Fleet.
Conditions were very light and variable, with no improvement forecast, so, after a short delay, the Race Committee went ahead and hoped for the best. The briefing warned strongly against illegal propulsion and none was spotted - a credit to the sailors who must have been sorely tempted. The committee just managed to get in the 5 scheduled races, albeit with some very drifty conditions at times.
Race 1 saw the fleet get away cleanly with 20 boats within a foot of the line -fantastic sailing. Oscar McViegh led from start to finish, with Ben Palmer a close 3rd. They were split by Mark Lambert from NSSC.
In Race 2 McViegh and Palmer again shared the lead throughout and together with Freddie Connor from Bexhill pulled away from the rest. McViegh shaded it from Palmer and Connor. Could Ben Palmer reverse things after lunch?
Race 3 had a starboard biased line. McViegh chose mid line, Palmer the committee boat. McViegh got away cleanly but Palmer was caught in a bunch at the starboard end and had to tack away onto port immediately. Tacking back, he looked good in clear air but the breeze came in from the left and that was that. McVeigh, who had kept going on starboard from the start, caught it first and sailed away to score another 1st. Ben Palmer did very well to recover to 3rd.
With 2 races to go it was McVeigh 3 points, Palmer 8, Connor 13. Palmer needed to make a move and McVeigh needed to have two stinkers to change the pecking order.
Race 4 had Palmer and McVeigh over at the start at the pin end. Both returned but the skills of these two is such they were in both in the top 8 by the windward mark, and top 6 by mark 2. McVeigh managed to get a last second overlap on the two leaders at Mark 3. Freddie Connor, in second, did not leave quite enough room for 2 boats to round inside him and lost the ensuing protest. Alex Grassick, from Papercourt, led from start to finish, with (after protest) McVeigh 2rd, and Palmer 3rd.
McVeigh was now unbeatable but that did not prevent the last start being the most competitive so far, Palmer keen to score a 1st. Unfortunately he was over by six inches with McVeigh an inch on the correct side of the line. Palmer was called back and finished 8th, but McVeigh sailed away to take his fourth 1st, a perfect score of 4 from 4, the Area Championship and South East Traveller Series. Not a bad day out for a sailor that arrived half an hour after the published start time.
1st Oscar McVeigh (Wimbledon Park)
2nd Ben Palmer (Island Barn)
3rd Alexander Grassick (Papercourt)
4th Freddie Connor (Bexhill)
5th Max Richardson (Hastings & St Leonards)
6th Alex Groves (Island Barn)
1st Female - Alison Baldwin (10 o/a) (Island Barn)
1st Under 13 - Julia Beck (12 o/a) (Papercourt)
1st Under 12 - Tom Howard (2 Rggta) (Island Barn)
1st Adult - Caroline Baldwin (24 o/a) (Island Barn) 1st Regatta - Josh Hobbs (Island Barn)
Endeavour - William Scott (4 Rggta) (Island Barn)