Topper Open Meeting at Aylesbury Sailing Club
by Bill Brassington on 7 Oct 2002
23 visitors joined with 14 home sailors for the fourth annual Topper Open at Aylesbury Sailing Club. With light westerly winds the race officer was able to set a course diagonally across the reservoir. The start of the first race across the south eastern end of the water was only marred by one boat over the line. Most of the fleet started at the committee boat end, with tight pre-start manoeuvring in the confined waters behind the start line. Richard Vallentine (44237, Great Moor), Roger Philips (43510, Great Moor) and Andrew Audley (43981, Redditch) started well to the right of the course and rounded the first mark all together. These three were soon joined by William Espiner (44209, Great Moor) and Jonathan Brown (42765, Norfolk Broads). By the third lap, Richard Valentine had managed to get ahead of the pack but a wonder battle was developing down the fleet, as Jonathan Brown, Roger Spencer (41361, Broxbourne), Tom Weatherhead (42856, Haversham) and Matthew Urdell (43999, Haversham) contested fifth place. With the breeze strengthening the race ended Roger Philips pulled past Richard Valentine and went on to take first place.
The course for the second race was slightly changed as the wind eased round to the north west and continued to rise, and so the race officer was able to set a course that covered the whole reservoir. The start, once again, was closely fought with Richard Valentine and Roger Philips once tight up to the committee boat. Unfortunately Roger Philips misjudged the start and was over the line with two others at the gun. Although Roger Philips was quickly back behind the line he started in 17th position. Richard Valentine was able to pull away from the fleet and by the end of the first lap had a commanding lead. Roger Spencer half way down the line had a good start and followed Richard up the first beat. Andrew Audley, Billy Butler (43807, Brightlingsea), Todd Grady (44201, Brightlingsea) and Nicholas Goddard (43760, North Herts) all had good starts and were well in contention during the first beat. As Richard Valentine pulled out a commanding lead, so Roger Philips worked his way through the fleet and by the end of the third lap was in second place. Superior boat speed on the last lap gave Roger Philips the opportunity to challenge for the lead on the final beat. The two boats matched tacks up the leg until the decisive penultimate tack, when Roger Philips tacked onto port while Richard Valentine stayed to the left. At the gun, Richard Valentine again finished second trailing Roger Philips by less than a foredeck.
The third and final race started with only 27 competitors at the line, but the committee boat end was again crowded. Andrew Audley starting on starboard lead away from the line and was never overtaken. However behind him Matthew Urdell, William Espiner, Jonathan Brown and Todd Grady contested the lower places. Jonathon Brown working his way beautifully through the fleet from fifth at the end of the first lap to 2nd at the end of the race. The failing wind allowed the lead boats to show their skills, though the local sailors by way of Daniel Leslie (32931), and Cathy Brassington (22879) were able you use their local knowledge to the full and there was a close fought battle in the middle of the fleet. At the end of the race, Jonathon Brown took the gun in second place ahead of Roger Philips, however an infringement at the start meant his hard fought race ended in a disqualification.
|1st & 1st Youth||Roger Philips|
|2nd & 1st Junior||Andrew Audley|
|1st Home Sailor||Daniel Leslie|
|1st Lady & 1st Adult||Cathy Brassington|