Topper UK National Championship at East Lothian Yacht Club - Days 1-5
by Derek Braid on 11 Aug 2016
7-12 August 2016
Day 1 – Sunday 7th August 2016
As forecast, winds were gusting up to 40 knots, so the Principal Race Officer (PRO) John Burgoine took an early decision to cancel all sailing for the day.
Day 2 – Monday 8th August 2016
There was hope that winds would abate later in the day, but not in time for all racing to be cancelled for the Day.
Day 3 – Tuesday 9th August 2016
Winds look promising and the fleets were released at 10am with an 11am start planned. The Topper 5.3 first qualifying heat was successfully started into a Force 3 westerly breeze. Then within 10 minutes the wind swung round and promptly died. The Topper 5.3s rafted up waiting for wind, and waited, and waited, and with a 6 hour time limit on the water, the PRO was forced to cancel racing for the Topper 5.3s at 3pm. The large fleet of RIBs towed the boats back to the beach. The Topper 4.2s and the Regatta Fleet were more fortunate. When the wind dropped, with the fleets were much nearer the beach than the 5.3s, and were sent ashore for a lunch break. At about 3pm, when the Topper 5.3s were being sent ashore, and breeze picked up and the 4.2s and Regatta Fleet were released from the beach and managed a series of 5 races for the Topper 4.2s and 3 races for the Regatta Fleet.
Day 4 – Wednesday 10th August 2016
To achieve a 'Championship' there is a need for a minimum of 4 qualifying races, which then allows the Topper 5.3 fleet to be split into Gold, Silver and Bronze championship fleets, and then the Gold Fleet must sail a minimum of 3 races. Therefore, there was great pressure on the organisers to hold 4 qualifying races today. The day started calm, with not enough wind for racing, but then the wind perked up, and the Topper 5.3 fleet were released from the beach, but the wind soon died, and the fleet returned to the beach. At last, at about 3pm, the forecast wind materialised, and the Topper 5.3s were released again, and in good 10 knot wind, 4 qualifying races were completed, but with a very late return, in the rain, to the beach at about 8.30pm. This late finish was not to everyone's liking, but at least the qualifying heats had been completed.
Day 5 – Thursday 11th August 2016
With Day 6 forecast to be very windy, there was pressure to hold 3 championship races today. Just after 11.30am, with winds gusting over 20 knots, the Gold and Silver Fleets were released in marginal conditions. The Topper 5.3 Bronze Fleet, Topper 4.2 fleet and the regatta fleet stayed ashore. Two races for the Gold and Silver Fleets were held, but the wind increased, and with numerous capsizes, the PRO was forced to abandon racing for the day, and the fleet sailed ashore, carefully shepherded by the fleet of RIBs. Time will tell, if a minimum of a 3rd Championship Race for the Gold Fleet can be sailed on the final day. The forecast is not promising.