It was intimated that, unless we changed the date of our spring Topper open, turnout would suffer because too many potential contestants would be away skiing. So we changed it to Sailboat weekend. What were we thinking? The forecast was rather less than encouraging too, with little wind forecast. Sadly that turned out to be correct. However it was also a glorious early spring day, with bright sunshine most of the day, and maybe even just enough UV making its way past to make the skin glow a little. So, anyway, it was a rather reduced turnout that found itself wearing too many layers as the day progressed.
It was also something of a nightmare day for the race team, with little wind and that highly variable in the morning. Frankly many adult classes (and certainly mine) would have plain refused to launch. The Topper fleet, however, are made of sterner stuff, and were very keen to start. At one stage a despairing voice was heard over the radio saying “well, shall we just set a course for the forecast and see what turns up?” What turned up was a painfully slow one lap race in which 3 of the four legs of a roughly square quadrilateral were one sided fetches on port tack for at least part of the time, whilst the finale was a dead run with a gust compressing the entire fleet as they approached the finish line. Nancy Scott, who had had a comfortablish sort of lead, held on to win by a good three inches from Patrick Croghan, with William Cook third and Daniel Thompson 4th. Fifth went to Morgan Archer, and 6th to Kiyo Wong.
At this point we elected to break for an early lunch. Good idea. Lunch was good. In fact lunch was very good. So after a good break we resumed, hoping for a good race, and with the RO promising: “one more race if its no good out there, two more if a bit of wind comes in”. Well, you really couldn’t say that race two was much better than race one, being another painfully slow 40 minute one lap job. A big shift on the gun saw most of the top end of the fleet discovering they were now comprehensively at the wrong end of the line and in deep trouble. After craftily shutting out a couple of others who had designs on the committee boat end Nancy found herself going from first to close to last in the space of one vicious wind shift. And then the wind came in from the other side as well. Still, in spite of this, the erstwhile leaders salvaged their race and finished Scott, Croghan, Thompson, Wood with Archer 5th again and Magnus Handley 6th.
The last leg of the race did see a bit more wind, and the consensus amongst the gathered sailors was that they'd like another race, so they were sent off again. They "hurtled" round the first lap, probably even achieving single digit speeds in knots, and so the RO, with a bit of mark moving to optimise the course for what seemed like steadyish wind, sent them round again. Hubris, I think the Ancient Greeks called it. The wind promptly died. However this did lead to some slow motion ballet round the windward mark. The top 4 from the previous races had broken free again, and as they approached the windward mark on lap 2 Thompson was leading Scott, with Croghan and Cook not far behind. A big header saw Thompson and Scott ejected from the layline and unable to reach the mark. Scott tacked off first, and took the transoms of the followers, whilst Thompson waited a bit, but found himself pinned by Croghan and Cook, who were laying the mark. Unable to break free he was forced to gybe round behind everyone, ending up fourth as they headed for the last downwind legs. Nancy came through again on the downwind legs to win the race and the event with a perfect score. Her win meant Croghan couldn't be caught for second, whilst Thompson's second place was just enough to give him 3rd in the series ahead of Cook. The hyper consistent Archer took another 5th to wrap up 5th place, whilst Magnus Handley took a second 6th for 6th overall.
Archer also picked up the U13 prize, and Handley the prize for first sailor without having (yet?) had the benefit of squad training. Nancy Scott also took the prize for first local boat, Kiyo Wong second local boat and Cormac O'Brian third local to round off the prizewinners.
all photos © Jim Champ
If you'd like copies of photos I took from the event you can email me here, but my enthusiasm for trawling through 120 odd photos to email out a selection is not unlimited - a SAE and a USB stick/SD card with 300MB free coming to me in the post is my preferred route, or for local sailors/parents there are copies on the club laptop.