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Topper and RS Tera open meeting at Paignton Sailing Club

by James Ripley on 16 Sep 2016
Topper training and open meeting at Paignton © Nathan Gribbin

A fantastic turnout of 10 RS Teras and 54 Toppers turned out for the Paignton Sailing Club Open Meeting. For the Toppers, it was a selector event for this year's South West Zone Squad, so the pressure was on.

As the sailors arrived and rigged, the glassy bay looked disappointing – in fact even as the committee boat headed out to the race area, there wasn't a breath of wind. However after a short postponement ashore for only around 15 minutes, the breeze quickly filled in to a solid 10-15knts with gusts up to 20knts.

The first start was for the Toppers who were sailing an outer loop course. Eager after the delay, a general recall was inevitable so the U flag came out, and stayed out. A second attempt to start was successful with Milly Jinks taking the first race from Will Adler with Oliver Fellows third.

The Teras got away with only an individual recall and one boat having to return. After initially sailing the wrong course, Ben Meek took the win from Evie Booth with Tess Walsh in third. With a lot of the younger sailors struggling in the fairly fruity conditions, many decided to return to shore. A special mention must go to Tera sailor Millie Miles who escorted her younger sister back to the beach before returning to sail in the subsequent races.

In Race 2, the top 3 in the Topper fleet were reversed with Oliver Fellows taking the bullet, Will Adler again second and Milly Jinks third. In the Teras, Evie Booth was first, Ben Meek second and Maddie Farmer third. The penultimate race saw the only UFD of the day with the Topper fleet now appropriately disciplined. Will Adler was this time quickest to sail the 2 beat, outer loop course with Oliver Fellows second and an improving Scott Parker third. With now only five Tera Sports still on the water, it was Ben Meek who took his second bullet of the event with Evie Booth once again runner up. Maddie Farmer completed the top three.

That meant going into the final race, the overall event win was still very much up for grabs in both of the competitive fleets.

After a clean start under U, Oliver Fellows took the final race win and with it, the event with a very respectable (3), 1, 2, 1. Will Adler discarded his fourth in the last race to finish runner up overall – just one point behind the event winner and only a point ahead of Milly Jinks who rounded off the podium after finishing second in the final race. Fourth in the final rankings was Scott Parker whilst Dani Middleton took third in race four which moved her up to fifth overall.

A special mention must go to Paignton sailor Nathan Gribbin who, after a long absence from Topper sailing, managed to finish a very respectable sixth. First 4.2 overall was Eleanor Cooke whilst the endeavour prize went to Ashleigh Farmer.

In the RS Tera class, Evie Booth won the last race and Ben Meek took second. This meant both sailors were joint on two wins, and two seconds apiece. This tie could therefore only be broken by looking at who scored better in the ultimate race – in this case Evie. Maddie Farmer was third in the last race and overall.

In conclusion, a fantastic day of racing in near-perfect Tor Bay conditions. A welcome relief for the Topper sailors who only had two days of racing out of six at their recent National Championships.

A big thank you to all the volunteers who helped make this event happen – it makes my job as Race Officer much easier with such a skilled group of people behind me.

Also, a big well done to all of the competitors, especially the younger ones who had a long day on the water in very tough conditions – future champions in the making I'm sure.

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