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Topper UK National Championships at Weymouth

by Andre Ozanne 14 Aug 2015 22:58 BST

With 251 Topper sailors descending on the 2012 Olympic sailing venue with a great range of wind strengths forecast you know we were going to have a spectacular 2015 National Championships. The class association and the sailors are very appreciative of the support given by Magic Marine, GJW Insurance, Harken, Optimum Time and Sailing Solutions by Rooster for the 4.2 fleet.

Many sailors and their families had spent an amazing week at Riva del Garda for the 2015 World Championships, many taking a leisurely route back to arrive in Weymouth in perfect time for a little familiarisation and then down to some very competitive racing.

60 boats made up the 4.2 fleet including the regatta fleet with 21 races completed, George Vincent (Parkstone YC) and Finlay Swanton (Felpham SC) battled all week with George finally coming out on top. Toby Pearce (Horning SC) was third just pipping Erin Mcilwaine (Carlingford Loch SC) into fourth place placing first girl.

In the Regatta fleet Zeb Fellows (Yealm YC) all of 8 years old really kept the pressure on his competitors with a string of firsts, second was Tristan Hills (Saltash SC), third Andrew Scott (Dale SC), Jess Cochrane (Yealm YC) next up and first girl. With so many young sailors from around the country coming together to take part the adaptability of the 4.2 metre rig is showing how well it works in feeding sailors in to the big fleets of the 5.3 rig once they have cut their teeth in this competitive but also fun environment.

With 190 sailors all after the title of National Champion was always going to be a very exciting week for sailors and everyone involved in the management and support.

With a good range of weather conditions Joe Drake (RNSYC) showed how to put a qualifying series together though being pushed hard by Dylan Walendy Wrigley (Harwich Town SC), Niamh Harper (Loch Tummel YC) and Eleanor Poole (Starcross YC) sailing very consistently to keep the boys in close contact.

With finals day arriving tension and excitement could be felt in the dinghy park. Eleanor fresh back from her 7th position at the world championship changed into a new gear with a string of firsts she controlled the finals series with immense skill. Joe Drake kept up some great sailing to finish second with Niamh following for third.

Silver fleet was also hotly contended and 12 year old Charlie South (Stokes Bay SC) got the trophy with Murray Scott (Chew Valley SC) second and Victoria Cowan (Portchester SC) third.

Bronze fleet was just as nail biting with the top three all finishing within 5 points of each other. Theo Philips took the trophy with Benjamin McElroy second and Isabel Wallwork third.

As always a massive behind the scenes group of volunteers make such an event happen and on behalf of the sailors a massive thank you to these dedicated people.

With the Nationals being for many the event that they have set their goals to achieve its a time when sailors may be thinking of moving on to new classes and the class wish them every success in the future. A word of experience is that as sailors move to Radials/29ers/420 they are more likely to race in fleets of 40 or 50, the youth category that exists in the national series gives opportunities for older/heavier sailors to keep coming back for more big fleet racing, keeping in mind all the benefits that this can have on your continuing skill development. The two Italian sailors that were first and second at the 2015 Worlds were 17 years old and weighed 68 kilos.

With some 4.2 sailors moving up to 5.3 and lots of new sailors gearing up for the first National Series 2015 /2016 the new season is looking very exciting. The first event is at Rutland on the 5th and 6th of September for 4.2 and 5.3 were new and old sailors will be welcomed by the friendly class.

Full results for each of the five fleets

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