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Topper Midlands Traveller Round 6 at Draycote Water Sailing Club

by Midlands Topper Fleet 11 Sep 2017 16:47 BST 9 September 2017
Will Thomas, David Peaty, Eve Bhogal chasing down the leaders during the Topper Midlands Traveller Draycote © Midlands Topper Fleet

The final round of the Midlands Topper Traveller Series rolled into Draycote Water S.C. after a 2 month lay off for the final round of the series and the first of three RYA Zone Squad Indicator events. It was great to see 14 new faces join in the series for the first time including 5 from the host club.

The racing got under way promptly with series leader Gemma Mcdonnell, Kamran Ewbank and David peaty leading the fleet round Mark 1. A little further back in the fleet there may have been a few sailors who had not heeded the hints in the briefing from the race officer that reefing may be a good idea, as one or 2 valiantly struggled with the near 18 knot gusts that were coming through at times. Very close racing at the front of the fleet as Charlie Turnbull and Will Thomas joined the leaders and after numerous place changes Charlie lead Gemma and Kamran home to take the first win of the day.

Race 2 got underway with a slight shift to the right making the port end the favoured place to start. The whole fleet had picked up on this and a pin end scrum ensued. Kamran was pushed over the line with 4 seconds to go and duly restarted after the individual recall was sounded. Charlie meanwhile hit the pin end and was carrying out his turns as Gemma, David and Will headed off towards mark 1. At the end of lap 1 Gemma and David were pulling away, David gaining with some fast by the lee sailing. Kamran had made his way back up the fleet to 4th Charlie had managed to scrape up to 7th with Dan Keenan getting involved with the back end of the lead group. Gemma managed to pip David for her first win of the day and went in for lunch leading overall with Charlie 2nd and David 3rd.

After lunch some very large black thundery clouds were hanging over the South West corner heading our way so the fleet were held ashore until the risk of thunder, strong winds and torrential rain had disappeared.

Race 3 got under way with a realigned course due to the wind moving more to the right. The startline scrum ended up just off the back of the committee boat with quite a bit of argy bargy and David Peaty taking the early decision and heading off the startline early to re round the committee boats and start at the back. Whilst all this was Going on oppy sailor Hazel Mcdonnell was sitting bang on the lie in clean air in her 4.2 rig awaiting the start eagerly and got away in clean air with plenty of space to take advantage of any (and there were a few) shifts that came along. The wind by now had just started to drop away a little and the smaller younger sailors were all able to get themselves around the course at a good speed and keep in touch with the sailors ahead. At the front of the fleet Dan Keenan was giving chase to Charlie who was stretching out his lead and managed to hold 2nd place throughout the race until the last part where Gemma managed to get by somewhere on the last lap to move up to 2nd nudging Dan back to an unlucky but worthy 3rd place. Behind the leading group Jude Singleton and Kate Robertson had managed to get ahead of Will and score a 4th & 5th Respectively.

The course was reset again for race 4 as the wind had moved right again and the fleet got away cleanly again as they were all a boat length behind the line apart from the days ace starter Hazel who again had done her homework and was sitting just over the line managing to just dip below and get away first in clean air. Due to the earlier delay for the weather time was running out and this race was shortened to 2 laps. Gemma and Charlie lead the fleet With Will, Kamran, Dan & Ben Paling chasing them down. As the fleet came through the gate at the end of lap 1 Annabel Turnbull & Jude had managed to overhaul those in front to go through lap 1 in 3rd and 4th places by tacking off at the leeward mark and finding better wind to the left as the fleet went right. Charlie Had done the same and had ducked Gemma as she crossed the gate on starboard. By the top mark Charlie had taken the lead by some safe distance and apparently later, had time to wave to his grandparents walking on the dam as he sailed down leg 4. Gemma came in 2nd with Annabel in 3rd and Will in 4th.

All the younger members of the fleet including the Draycote boats all aquitted themselves admirably in what some found very testing conditions. Ted Ball and Remy Mcwhinnie were extremely tenacious in tackling the blustery conditions and despite a few capsizes were there at the end to take the finish gun at the end of race 4.

Overall Results:

1st Charlie Turnbull
2nd Gemma Mcdonnell
3rd David Peaty
1st Home Boat: James Knight
1st U13 Sailing age: Felix McMullan

Thanks go to Richard, Scott & David for running the racing, Annemarie and Victoria for sorting the results, Annie for registration and Kathryn and lisa for organising the prize giving and the Top hat draw.

Full results can be found at

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