Please select your home edition
GJW Direct - Multi Dinghy Insurance

Topper GJW Direct National Series 1 at Poole Yacht Club

by Chris Woodard on 22 Sep 16-17 September 2017
Topper GJW Direct National Series 1 at Poole © Mike Millard

The 2017-18 GJW Direct Topper National Series got under way last weekend at Poole YC – and what a great venue!

Not blessed with a huge site, it was all a bit cosy in the dinghy park, car parking was some distance away in the Ferry Terminal, and launching was a fairly lengthy process from a small seaweed-covered beach, but it was wall to wall smiles from competitors and volunteers alike, the club could not have been more friendly and welcoming, the clubhouse facilities were magnificent, and there was a great view of the racing from the marina breakwater for all the Topper Twitchers with their high powered binoculars!

This is a slightly quieter time of the year for the travelling Topper community, many of the familiar faces from the front of the fleet have moved on up the RYA Pathway and transitioned to their new classes, whilst the new intake through the RYA Zones are not really tuned into the National scene yet and will probably start appearing after the New Year, so it was great to see a healthy entry of 163 boats across the two fleets, significantly up on the corresponding event last year, and boding well for the rest of the series.

Unfortunately the weather didn’t really play ball, and Saturday in particular was a frustrating day for competitors and race officials alike. The forecast was for a light breeze, with a big swing from north to south west in the early afternoon, but in the event the wind tested every conceivable point of the compass at some point, the rain and hail came and went, and with it the wind. The 5.3 fleet made a gallant attempt at racing, in the “top triangle” of Poole Harbour, and at one point racing for both flights was underway, but after about 15 minutes of racing a 50 degree shift to the left meant that the race had to be abandoned. After much course relaying and every effort to get some racing, the fleet were sent ashore with a blank score-card after nearly 4 hours on the water! As usual the 4.2 fleet fared slightly better, and managed to squeeze in one short race between the shifts, but eventually they too had to accept the inevitable and call it a day.

Sunday had always looked more promising, a bit more breeze was forecast, maybe 8 knots if we were lucky, and that was what we had! There were lots of small to medium shifts, and some pressure changes, but the good guys (and girls!) managed to be remarkably consistent and worked their way to the front of the fleet. In the 5.3 fleet there were a few general recalls, as usual, as the tide pushed boats over the line, but relatively few boats were black-flagged, and by the 15.00 cut-off time 4 races had been completed, allowing the first discard to apply – quite a relief for some of the front runners! Again the 4.2s outdid the 5.3s, aided by their slightly shorter courses, no flights, and less tendency towards general recalls, and they completed their full 5-race schedule, getting ashore, showered, and packed away before the 5.3s appeared!

Results wise it was a fantastic event for Sonia Evans, just 2 years after turning up at her first event in a borrowed broken old Topper, she took her first National Series victory in convincing style, testament to the great coaching and support within the Topper community, and to her personal dedication and relentless practice. Some distance adrift from her the next 5 boats were separated by just 5 points, with Hamilton Roaf taking 2nd, and George Vincent and Finlay Swanton tied on 10 points, with George completing the podium on count-back.

In the 4.2 fleet it was very nearly a remarkable double for the Evans family, with Sonia’s brother Tim winning 3 of the 6 races, and missing out on overall victory by just one point, pipped by the ever consistent Tom Thwaites, with fleet newcomer Chloe Mills completing the podium and winning first girl.

Thanks as always to the host club and our event sponsors GJW Direct, Rooster and Harken, and to the hoards of volunteers who enable these big events to run so smoothly. We now have a long break before NS2 at Weymouth on 24-25 February, although for many the time will be filled as they embark on a gruelling winter Squad programme – fingers crossed for all those still awaiting their selection emails. Have a great winter!

Overall Results:

Related Articles

Llangorse SC Single-hander Open
A healthy rivalry Llangorse held its annual Single-hander Open Meeting on 7th & 8th October. The entry list made for a mouth-watering contest and the mix of youth and experience set up several inter-family rivalries with some eye-watering outcomes... Posted on 12 Oct
Toppers at Bosham
Rooster Southern Area Travellers Round 8 The Cobnor location of Bosham Sailing club in the beautiful setting of Chichester Harbour was the setting for the final round of the 2017 Rooster Southern Area Topper Traveller Series on the 8th October. Posted on 12 Oct
RYA Welsh Zone Championships
Callum in command More than 100 sailors enjoyed the sunny weather and gusty conditions on Fishguard Bay with a range of winds from high to manageable. Sailors aged 8-16 competed in six fleets. Posted on 1 Oct
Toppers at Bosham preview
Final Rooster Southern Travellers event of the 2017 season Calling all Topper sailors in the South, South East and South West zone areas. The next Rooster Southern Area Topper traveller will be held at Bosham SC - near Chichester, West Sussex - on Sunday 8th October. Posted on 28 Sep
RYA Zone and Home Country Championships
Winners crowned across the nation Hundreds of the UK's most promising young sailors took part in the RYA Zone Championships this weekend (23-24 September) held at various locations across the UK. Posted on 28 Sep
Scottish Junior Travellers at Annandale
Sailingfast Scottish Travellers' series round 2 Saturday was a light and bright day at Annandale Sailing Club. We had three races in very shifty conditions around fixed buoys on Castle Loch. Posted on 25 Sep
Young sailors raring to race
At Zone Championships across the country Hundreds of youngsters will commence battle at the 2017 RYA Zone and Home Country Championships across the country this weekend (23-24 September). Posted on 22 Sep
2017 Midlands Topper Traveller Series
Six different venues and 61 sailors take part This year the Midlands Topper Traveller Series saw the fleet visit six venues and 61 Midlands topper sailors signed onto the events at some point in the series. Posted on 13 Sep
Toppers at Island Barn
Superb finale to South East Series We all talk up our Open reports but this one is an exception - it needed no talking up. The result of an entire Traveller Series hung in the balance until the last leg of the fifth and final race. Posted on 12 Sep
Toppers at Draycote
Midlands Traveller Round 6 and RYA Zone Indicator 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. Posted on 11 Sep