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Topper Worlds at Yacht Club de Carnac

by Helen Evans 1 Sep 2004 08:53 BST 22-27 August 2004

Yacht Club de Carnac, in Brittany, hosted the Topper World Championships for the second time, the first being in 1998 when 133 competitors sailed. The 2004 championships had an entry of 252 from nine countries, which resulted in the management team splitting the fleet into six flights.

Qualifying races commenced on Sunday 22 August with an on shore southerly wind and an ebbing tide creating difficult waves and conditions for the first launch. The quickly appointed beach-master and his team worked hard and all boats were launched in a little over half an hour. To quote one of the French team referring to the sea state in the harbour “it is like a washing machine”

The practice race enabled one or two competitors to repair breakages before the start of the first points race. The race was testing for some of the less experienced but the down wind legs gave helms the opportunity to enjoy surfing the waves. Unfortunately a number of helms finished the wrong side of the finishing mark and were awarded a DNF result.

That evening the opening ceremony was held. ITCA Chairman Martin Smith welcomed all the competitors and their supporters and introduced YCC Team Director Francois Pedro. Chairman – Joel Louvel Chairman of the Jury – Francois Grosgogeat. PRO – Jack Ramecourt and the Mayor of Carnac - Monseur Bruneau.

Racing was postponed for a short time on Monday morning due to the committee boat having engine trouble. The fleet finally sailed in 12 – 15 knots of wind that eased as the day progressed and all three races were completed. The fleet came ashore having enjoyed sailing and to quote one senior sailor – “it was windy, choppy, hard work, good fun and I was beaten by the kids”

A French Government severe weather warning was given on Tuesday and the PRO was obliged to cancel racing for the day.

With the final series starting on Wednesday the fleet split into Gold, Silver and Bronze. Positions after the four qualifying races showed consistency with GBR sailors Thomas Dawber followed by Rob Partridge, Paul Craig and Eifion Mon in the lead. First Irish was Theodore Murphy. First Jebel Ali – Daniel Kilsby. First German – Andreas Jung.

The PRO had some difficult decisions to make during the week with gusts of up to 24 knots recorded out in the race area. The safety of the fleet became an important issue on Wednesday with a number of casualties, two of which required hospital treatment. The Gold Fleet completed two races and the silver and bronze one.

Thursday proved to be ideal conditions with a steady north westerly force three the gold and silver fleets were the first to commence racing followed by the bronze fleet and the days schedule was completed.

The competitors dinner took place in the evening and entertainment was provided by the Brittany Band followed by an impromptu performance on the beach by the Irish contingent.

With early start on the final day the Gold fleet were sent out in winds of between 15 and 18 knots. They handled the conditions well and the silver and bronze fleets followed. Those that started at the port end of the line lost out to the starboard side and the first helm in the gold fleet to cross the line was James Boyce GBR.

The event closed with Eifon Mon GBR being declared the Topper World Champion 2004 at the prize-giving ceremony held in the marquee.

Overall Results:

Gold Fleet:

1st Eifion Mon (GBR/Red Wharf Bay)
2nd Paul Craig (GBR/Lochaber)
3rd Thomas Dawber (GBR/Leigh and Lowton)
4th James Hopson (GBR/Corus)
5th Adam Fox (GBR/Stewartby Water)
6th Rob Partridge (GBR/Budworth)

Silver Fleet:

1st Sam Eversfield (GBR/Island Barn)
2nd Stephen Webb (GBR/Loch Erne)
3rd Thomas Salt (GBR/Chelmarsh)

Bronze Fleet:

1st Willie Wendler (Germany/Allemagne)
2nd Katy Stewardson (GBR/ Ullswater)
3rd Elizabeth Teague (GBR/ Bristol Corinthian)

1st Lady, Melissa Addy (GBR)
1st Junior, Eifion Mon (GBR)
1st Jebel Ali, Daniel Kilsby
1st Irish, Rory Murphy (Quoile)
1st Koenigsbrunner, Andreas Jung
1st Biwaki, Izumi Kazuki

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