Please select your home edition
GJW Direct 2020

Topper GJW Direct National Series 1 at Poole Yacht Club

by Chris Woodard 22 Sep 2017 17:40 BST 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

Midlands Toppers have a blast at Bartley
Event fully subscribed to the 30 boat limit The second event of the Midlands Topper Traveller Series took place on Sunday 1st November at Bartley S.C. with the event fully subscribed to the 30 boat limit demonstrating, yet again, what an active Topper fleet there is in the Midlands. Posted on 3 Nov
Topper Southern Area Championship at Warsash
A bright and crisp Autumn day for the 41 sailors A bright and crisp Autumn day greeted the 41 entries to the Rooster Southern Topper Traveller & Area Championship hosted by Warsash SC. Along with 21 sailors from the home club we welcomed visitors from across the South. Posted on 20 Oct
Topper Training & Open Weekend at Bosham
Tip Top Topper sailing at top harbour club Bosham Sailing Club once again proved what brilliant sailing it can offer youngsters as it hosted a weekend of training and racing in conjunction with the International Topper Class Association (ITCA). Posted on 13 Oct
Sailing provides a glimmer of light
September has been a busy month for the sport September has been a busy month for sailing in the UK. A few of the major venues, such as the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) and Datchet Water Sailing Club, managed to host major events in a Covid-secure fashion. Posted on 28 Sep
Regional Junior Championships conclude
The young racers were rewarded with blue skies and a brisk wind The second part of the Regional Junior Championships took place this weekend - with sailors, parents and volunteers enjoying safe and fun racing at four regattas around the country. Posted on 28 Sep
Bayside Marine Topper SW Area Championships
39 young sailors take to the water at Brixham YC Brixham Yacht Club hosted the first South West topper event of the season on the 12th and 13th of September generously sponsored by Bayside Marine Chandlery. Posted on 24 Sep
RYA Northern Ireland Youth Championships
More than 90 Youth and Junior sailors at Ballyholme More than 90 of Northern Ireland's Youth and Junior sailors have taken part in the RYA Northern Ireland youth Championships, which were hosted by Ballyholme Yacht Club. Posted on 24 Sep
Minima Annual Regatta
First club in this neck of the Thames to hold a regatta during COVID The turnout for Minima's 2020 Regatta was good with 22 sails, bearing in mind that many double-handers are off the water due to social distancing. Minima is the first club in this neck of the Thames to actually hold a regatta in the year of Covid-19. Posted on 7 Sep
Royal Harwich Yacht Club Junior Race Week
A fantastic week of racing for 60 junior and youth sailors A team of 25 volunteers under the leadership of the Handicap Class Captain Stephen Olle and Race Officer Joe Hunt delivered a fantastic week of racing for 60 junior and youth sailors from 17th to 21st August. Posted on 24 Aug
All the Fs in sailing
Fantastic full on fast, fun, and FLAT bottomed - the scow Is windward-leeward is the only true measure of a sailors prowess in a race? Some boats simply don't reach at all, but if there is one genre of boat that has 'reaching master-blaster' written into its DNA, then it has to be the scow. Posted on 30 Jul