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Topper South East Traveller at Newhaven & Seaford Sailing Club

by Ian Lambert, Race Officer 23 Jul 2013 10:28 BST 20 July 2013
Toppers at Newhaven & Seaford © Trevor Quinnell

A consistent 15 knot wind off the land gave a flat sea and exhilarating sailing for 20 Topper sailors who were not on their way to the Topper Worlds in France.

It was clear from the start of Race 1 of the four race event that the wind conditions would favour the heavier adult sailors, but there was some splendid sailing from the younger helms and only 3 minutes between first and sixth boat after 30 minutes of sailing at the end of the first lap.

Alex Mills-Barton, a local sailor from the host club who is currently Laser National Champion and a member of the Olympic development squad had taken the opportunity of using one of his few days at home between International Regattas to help his club get a good turnout on an event and fleet that held many happy memories. Not surprisingly, Alex led the fleet, from start to finish, in all 4 races, however he was hard pressed on the first lap by Molly Sacker of Bewl Water Sailing Club who unfortunately ruled herself out of the prizes by sailing the wrong side of a buoy throughout the first race.

After three laps of quite a large course the fleet was well strung out with close to a 4 minute gap between each of the first 5 boats, four of whom were adults, but with Alice Smith of Papercourt showing stamina and skill to secure 4th place.

Race two was limited to two laps and saw Clive Jackson of Papercourt, a regular adult Topper competitor, pushing Alex hard with a gap of only 7 seconds at the end of the first 17 minute lap and 19 seconds at the end of 36 minutes of competition to take second place. Molly had now got a grip on the correct course and gained a very credible 3rd only 2 minutes behind the first two boats. Matt Springall, another local adult sailor who had arrived on the course with only seconds to spare in the first race, was clearly getting in the groove and took 4th just 20 seconds ahead of Alice Smith of Papercourt in 5th. Another very experienced local helm, Rupert Smith gained 6th, beginning to show the capability that would earn him 3rd place overall at the end of the day.

Following an opportunity for competitors to replenish lost energy ashore over lunch, the race officer took the decision to pull the 'sausage' much closer and to shorten the start line, making the course more interesting and less a trial of stamina for the fleet.

The outcome in race 3 was clear competition for the starboard end of the start line, however Jas Sayed from Newhaven and Seaford pulled off a case-book 'port hand flyer' that was to earn her a Race Officer special prize, and showed that despite only having started to sail seriously in the last nine months, that she could be a rising star of the future.

The results for both race 3 and race 4 were very similar, with Alex Mills-Barton leading from start to finish but hard pressed throughout by both Clive Jackson (2nd) and Rupert Smith (3rd). Despite some spectacular capsizes in the wind which continued to blow a steady force 4, the majority of the fleet stuck it out until the end of the 4th race and despite not featuring in the top 3 prizes, many of the newcomers for whom this was their first Open event will have gained tremendous confidence in their abilities and be fired with the vision and self-confidence from which future champions are made.

One visitor particularly, Morgan Archer of Blue Circle Sailing Club, who at 11 was the youngest competitor to complete all four races demonstrated the spirit that makes Topper sailors special – and took the time to sail around and thank the Race Team with a great smile at the end of Race 4, he then went off for a quick final blast of free sailing before returning ashore, another Ben Ainslie in the making.

Overall Results:

Pos & PrizeHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1Alex Mills BartonNewhaven & Seaford S.C.11113
2Clive JacksonPapercourt22226
3Rupert SmithNewhaven & Seaford S.C.36339
4Molly SackerBewl Water SC1734512
5Alice SmithPapercourt458413
6Matt SpringallNewhaven & Seaford S.C.547716
7Hannah KunertOrford6752118
8Nia HallNewhaven & Seaford S.C.7912622
9 & R.O. prizeMorgan ArcherBlue Circle81091027
10 & R.O. prizeJas SayedNewhaven & Seaford S.C.101361228
11David MurleyNewhaven & Seaford S.C.118102129
11Nicholas PanzeraNewhaven & Seaford S.C.91216829
13Andrew O'DriscollCrawley Mariners1711111133
14Alex CameronNewhaven & Seaford S.C.122113934
15Bea CameronNewhaven & Seaford S.C.1514211342
16Zoe McaigNewhaven & Seaford S.C.1315152143
17Anya Gorringe Newhaven & Seaford S.C.1616141444
18Manuel PanzeraNewhaven & Seaford S.C.2121171553
19Christina GorringeNewhaven & Seaford S.C.1421212156
20Emily and Lucy McCaigNewhaven & Seaford S.C.1721212159

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