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GJW 2018 728x90

Topper GJW Direct National Series 1 at Marconi Sailing Club

by Chris Woodard 23 Sep 2018 20:05 BST 8-9 September 2018
Topper GJW Direct National Series Round 1 © Mark Pressdee

Strange as it might seem, September marks the start of the "New Year" in the Topper class! The competition year is tailored to accommodate those sailors who are coming to the end of their time in Toppers and moving on to their next Youth or Pathway class (usually at around the age of 15, give or take a year depending upon when the growth spurt kicks in!) so the annual National Series runs from September until July each year, allowing these sailors to complete the full series and then "finish on a high" at the Worlds and/or the Nationals.

And so, for the GJW Direct National Series 1 on 8-9 September many familiar faces from the past few years were sadly missing, but conversely it was great to see the arrival of the "new intake" with plenty of young sailors embarking on their first ever National Event.

And what a great event it was! With Topper National Series events routinely attracting 180 to 200 boats it is inevitable that the class is largely restricted to the familiar venues that are known to be able to cope with such numbers, but in the knowledge that NS1 usually has a slightly lower turnout it was decided to strike out to a new venue; Marconi SC on the Blackwater Estuary in deepest, remotest, Essex. This proved to be an inspired decision and a revelation to many slightly sceptical participants, sailors and supporters alike. The club could not have been more welcoming, the clubhouse coped admirably with the influx of people, the launching ramp was wide enough to get 148 boats launched and recovered without any delays, and the vast club grounds comfortably accommodated all the cars and boats with plenty of room to spare for the large proportion of families who came and made a weekend of it, with around 40 campervans and motor-homes and numerous tents. There was even live music in the bar in the evening, with one of the competitors, Max Robinson, topping off his best day yet on the water, having clinched two third places, with a great live music set in the bar – watch out Ed Sheeran!

Saturday provided ideal sailing conditions with the wind relatively stable throughout the afternoon at around 8 to 15 knots from the SW, but, as was highlighted at the competitor briefing, there were three important factors to bear in mind at this venue; the tide, the tide, and the tide! And so it proved to be – the carnage at the first windward mark had to be seen to be believed as boat after boat got swept on to the mark. The majority of the miscreants instinctively took their 360 degree penalty, and the handful who didn't were remiss not to notice a Jury boat in close attendance, leading to a smattering of "XPA"s applied after post-race arbitrations! However the competitors proved to be quick learners and it was evident that tidal judgement improved rapidly through the day.

One advantage of the strong tide, which together with the wind was pushing the competitors back from the start line throughout the afternoon, was that the PRO Graham Louth was able to successfully get all six starts away without any recalls, with just a small number of boats caught out on the wrong side of the line as the U flag came down (with one minute to go).

In the 124-boat 5.3 fleet Oliver Smoult and Freddie Howarth (fresh from Oppies) found the conditions to their liking, each scoring a brace of firsts, with the other race victories going to Leo Wilkinson and Ed Baker.

Meanwhile in the 24-boat 4.2 fleet the race course was initially set just up-estuary from the club, but here the tide proved too strong for the smaller-sailed competitors, and with just one race on the scorecard the fleet were brought ashore to wait for the tide to slacken. Later, with the course re-set in a less tidal part of the estuary, another two races were completed, with the day's race victories shared between Charlie Hopkinson, Daniel Holborn and Chloe Mills.

On Sunday the wind was a little stronger at around 10 to 18 knots, again from the SW, but with racing starting earlier, and high tide later, it was always going to be much more challenging to get the flights started cleanly.

With quite a bit of tide pushing boats over the line it took a number of attempts to get the first race started, with the black flag having to be used for both fleets. The red and white fleet lined up first, but far too close to the start line, as a result of which at least half of them were over the line at the start (pushed over by the tide). They learnt their lesson quickly however, lining up at least a couple of boat lengths back from the line at the second attempt (under the black flag), which got away successfully. Unfortunately the blue and yellow fleet weren't so quick on the uptake, with large numbers of boats over the line on both their first (U flag) and second (black flag) attempts. After posting the championship numbers of the boats identified as over the line in the second start on the back of the committee boat (BFD are not allowed to race in the restart), the remainder of the blue and yellow fleet lined up for their third attempt, and this time were able to get away successfully.

Kindly, but perhaps rather optimistically, PRO Graham opted to use the U flag for the first attempt for each fleet for the second race too. Unfortunately this was not successful, with both fleets having to be recalled; but both did get away successfully at the second attempt (under the black flag), albeit a number of individual boats were identified as being over the line in the last minute (and hence BFD).

By the time of the third race the tide had turned, and consequently was pushing the competitors back from the line, but time was running out, and so the black flag was in use from the outset, with both fleets getting away successfully at the first attempt, and for the third consecutive NS event this was achieved with just minutes to spare!

In the 5.3s the stronger breeze and exhilarating downwind sailing was clearly to the liking of Leo Wilkinson who won all 3 races in his flights, with the other race victories going to Ben Purrier, Ed Baker, and James Deaton.

Overall 5.3 victory in NS1 therefore went, convincingly, to Leo Wilkinson, but it was much tighter in the chasing pack with just one point separating each place from second to fifth, with Freddie Howarth taking the runner-up spot and Ed Baker third. With the boys, unusually, locking out the top-10 overall, first girl was Emily Proctor in eleventh, with Kate Robertson and Iris Singleton completing the girls podium.

Meanwhile in the 4.2s PRO Paul Jackson completed a full 5-race schedule on Sunday, with two victories each for Chloe Mills and River Green, and one for Alissa Marshall. With six top-3 placings Chloe Mills secured a comfortable maiden NS victory, with River Green and Alissa Marshall tied on points, with River clinching the runner-up spot on count-back and Alissa third – great to see the girls in the 4.2 fleet making up for the boys' dominance in the 5.3s on this occasion!

Thanks as always to everyone involved in making this event such a success, and to our sponsors GJW Direct, Harken, Rooster, Optimum Time and, new for this event, Sailing Chandlery. This was the final selector for the 2018-2019 RYA and ITCA winter squads which all start in October, so the National Series now takes a break, regrouping at the end of February for the NS2 Winter Championships at WPNSA, traditionally now a brutally cold and windy event but who knows, maybe this year the winds will moderate and the sun will shine – you'll have to be there to find out! For those who can't wait that long there is a new event, the Final Fling, at Draycote Water on 3rd-4th November, details and entry online at

Overall Results:

5.3 Rig

PosSail NoFlightHelmClubZoneR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st48249RedLeo WilkinsonMaidenhead SCSE13‑51117
2nd48513YellowFreddie HowarthPoole YC 1132‑10714
3rd46364YellowEdward BakerFOSSC/Paignton SCSW‑112156115
4th47484BlueGeorge VincentParkstone YCSW26‑1642216
5th46970BlueOliver SmoultLlangorse SCWales411(BFD)3817
6th47426WhiteJames DeatonRHYCSE27821‑1120
7th47016Bluesamuel ShackleBroxbourne SC ‑122934321
8th48105YellowBen PurrierParkstone YCSW9(XPA)713222
9th48066WhiteOliver WilcoxFOSSC/Paignton SCSW3‑12945324
10th46731BlueMax RobinsonFishers Green SC 33‑2276625
11th46927WhiteEmily ProcterPaignton S CSW44‑1989631
12th46770RedWilliam ThomasNotts County SCMid105‑1958735
13th47028BlueToby BloomfieldPaignton SCSW5810‑158536
14th48258YellowOliver MillsPennine SCN6‑1712114942
15th48050RedKate RobertsonSwarkestone SCMid1168182‑2045
16th45700WhiteAndy PengWarsash SCS‑42966101445
17th47740RedSean WoodardWaldringfield SC & Deben YCE711‑213121649
18th48259RedRichard ThurlbyHill Head SC / JetsS‑144141471049
19th47950WhiteOliver HicklingWembley SCSE155‑221213853
20th48102YellowJames CurtisBosham SCS‑207414171254
21st47181BlueIris SingletonHollowell SCMid18‑29410171564
22nd48246YellowLawrence DonnellySurrey DocksSE30‑3951218469
23rd47725WhiteMaisie BristowIBRSCSE8‑24149152470
24th47860YellowCharlie GranCYCS281626(UFD)1971
25th47386YellowTimothy EvansGrafham SC 16‑40109142372
26th47338RedHarry PressdeeMumbles YCWales5838720(BFD)78
27th48364BlueHonor ProcterCardiff Bay YCWales21111125(BFD)1280
28th47664RedEdward Schuster‑BruceParkstone YCSW2228‑33205984
29th48093BlueTom CampbellParkstone YCSW10‑39391814485
30th48138BlueThomas WillettLlangorse SCWales27(RET)220271187
31st45506RedAnnabel TurnbullRYA 202424109‑3587
32nd48325WhiteRhys PowellLlandegfedd SCWales17201622(BFD)1388
33rd47537WhiteAustin WrightPennine SCN2432‑4813111090
34th46148YellowArchie BurtonBeaver / PennineN14102813‑312590
35th47806BlueLuka FranklinBough Beech SCSE81920‑27192591
36th45735BlueGus MCKENZIEYorkshire Dales SCN252615‑30121492
37th48309RedCharlotte KnightNBYC/Horning SC/Snowflakes/W&OBYCE1325‑3124112194
38th48452BlueAnnabelle Pierce‑jonesPDSCWales3514‑44873195
39th45633BlueLloyd TaylorBlackwater SCEast32167‑34241796
40th47461BlueWilliam HarrisonGrafham Water SC/Marconi SCE13‑37XPA17231399
41st48476WhiteJames ClarkeGrafham Water SCE2817112620‑30102
42nd47099YellowHarry NewtonHampton Pier YCSE‑411318332315102
43rd47077BlueJoseph WarwickerBough Beech SCSE1715‑41261630104
44th46942YellowAmelia EatonSnettisham Beach SCE2215‑39192722105
45th46610RedAimee TaylorBlackwater SC/Heybridge Basin MaldonE45206‑531522108
46th47101WhiteJude SingletonHollowell SCMid6(DSQ)1716BFD5110
47th47647WhiteCharlie MerryweatherGoring Thames SCS212123‑392818111
48th48153RedHarry SomervillePoole YCS16(RET)3481932118
49th47654RedJames SmaggasgaleHOAC / QueensmeadSE2636‑49231619120
50th46127WhiteCeri RobertsLlangorse SCWales9274519(BFD)21121
51st47393RedWilliam BurbedgeChester Sailing and Canoeing ClubNW3226231526‑37122
52nd46578YellowLlion MorrisLlandudno SC/Rydal Penrhos SchoolWales4092138(BFD)16124
53rd45451RedJoseph EvansPriory SCE2314361736‑54126
54th47902Redhenry koesouth bank SCSE1848‑53112129127
55th48252WhiteThomas LinkLeigh and Lowton SCN121331‑463635127
56th46888WhiteDaisy DesorgherRutland SCMid3035‑53252217129
57th47794BlueImogen DAYHollowell SCMid‑522225421823130
58th46625YellowEva MillerSnettisham Beach SCE292329‑522427132
59th48147WhiteDaniel CoupeParkstone YCSW19183232(BFD)32133
60th48345WhiteFelix CorsonLlandudno SC/Rydal Penrhos SchoolWales‑442524273820134
61st48409BlueMatthew LloydSnettisham Beach SCE15(OCS)42282527137
62nd44631YellowScarlet DesorgherRutland SCMid‑421834312928140
63rd47796BlueCameron SwordQueen Mary SC/PapercourtSE1936‑55212641143
64th47748YellowCiara WoodardWaldringfield SC & Deben YCE3335‑49163237153
65th47684BlueMolly Hinsliff‑SmithNotts County SCMid‑532827432134153
66th48079RedGeorge WelshChester Sailing and Canoeing ClubNW292935‑453724154
67th46548WhiteAlice RussellWorcestershire Youth Sailing AssocMid35234028(BFD)33159
68th47172RedRose EdmondsSnettisham Beach SCE3945‑63211346164
69th48232YellowJames CrossleyDatchet Water SC/Dovey YCSE‑463226234143165
70th45299RedAlex AssiratiCastle Cove SCSW5221123051(DNC)166
71st47462BlueGeorge Colquittwest kirby SC 37402924‑4536166
72nd47765BlueOliver KeenanTamworth SCMid383026(BFD)2943166
73rd48350BlueDru TownsendPortishead Yacht and SCSW23‑5047224233167
74th44484RedElin JonesGresford SCWelsh36224834(UFD)28168
75th47023WhiteHeather QuinnNotts County SCMid‑403138294031169
76th47636RedAlexander BairdSheffield VikingN(RET)123442UFD18172
77th47414YellowElla SpainUpton Warren/WYSAMid‑554246372226173
78th47569WhiteCadan PearceTresaith Mariners SCWales4333‑47333036175
79th46923BlueFlorence HawkerSouth cerney scSW‑474628293340176
80th47680RedFinley WebbHarwich Town SCE333045‑563042180
81st47732BlueSophie RennieParkstone YCS4448183239‑55181
82nd47926YellowPeter WalkerParkstone YCSW‑544715504329184
83rd45440RedLucia AikmanChester Sailing and Canoeing ClubNW473317‑504047184
84th45991BlueKeiran BrayBanbury SC ‑493837353539184
85th46979BlueWilliam ThorogoodOrwell YCE3947‑52403726189
86th43581YellowArthur BakerFishers Green SCE‑504325453940192
87th47777YellowFinley HartshornBowmoor SC/FOSSC 4341‑54362846194
88th46768RedAnya MorrisMYCWales3437563633(BFD)196
89th48185RedIslay GoodmanHill Head SC / JetsS‑544930374438198
90th46274RedHarriet SackerBurnham Overy Staithe SCSE‑583143512549199
91st47220YellowMark RIPLEYPaignton SCSW265136(BFD)4739199
92nd47625WhiteTom ThwaitesRoyal Norfolk and Suffolk YCE38(XPA)52383141200
93rd47790BlueBen PalingNotts County SCMid710(UFD)BFDBFD52201
94th47219RedJolyon SmoultLlangorse SCWales275432‑593851202
95th48348YellowXavier DunnHillhead SC /JetsS‑484427414545202
96th48069WhiteMatthew StubbinsLlandudno SCWales41‑4443434334204
97th46459YellowIsabelle SmithBrixham YC/Paignton SCSW3638‑51513450209
98th47658WhiteAlicia CondieGoring Thames SCS3756135549(DNC)210
99th48600WhiteJohnny WoolgarPapercourt SCSE4842423544‑51211
100th45586BlueRyan WalfordHickling broad SC/SFSC/Snowflakes SC 24‑5450445045213
101st48101BlueFelix McMullanHollowell SCMid345240‑534148215
102nd47646YellowMadeleine VowlesLlangorse SCWales4552(DNC)394238216
103rd46919WhiteAntonio PascaliIBRSCSE495141‑603442217
104th44200WhiteThomas OldriniPennine SCN46(XPA)33444748218
105th48365YellowIwan RobertsLlangorse SCWales312735DNCDNC(DNC)225
106th48092RedLouise DavisWarsash SCS‑563446414956226
107th48257WhiteJessica PerkinsHill Head SCS‑595555314644231
108th47853WhiteDaniel PerkinsWarsash SC / JETSS51‑5737405252232
109th46920BlueTara EwbankStaunton Harold S.C./Swarkestone SCMid5745‑58493250233
110th46733WhiteDaisy RobinsonFishers Green SCE5043444948‑53234
111th45562WhiteMalcolm McLeod FlemingHunts SCE5760204753(DNC)237
112th48332YellowAnna FosterGoring Thames SCS‑514650465047239
113th47835WhiteNoah FitzgeraldAlton Water SC/ WSCE314930DNCDNC(DNC)242
114th47388YellowAimee BrayBanbury SCMid‑605556483549243
115th44495RedIsabella FerneyhoughMarconi SCE53(RET)51544644248
116th40729BlueEmily RussellWorcestershire Youth Sailing Assoc 5958‑61475159274
117th47649RedJibriel BostanTideway ‑625057575460278
118th48141RedFfion WoodCHIPACWales‑605759525357278
119th44416Redelanor shelterBlackwater 5556‑62614861281
120th44422RedEd RollestoneNewhaven & Seaford SCSE‑615360585258281
121st47306YellowAndrew ScottDale YCWelsh615857(BFD)5554285
122nd48307WhiteCatherine AlboneCYC/Milton Keynes SCS25RET(DNC)DNCDNCDNC290
123rd45772BlueGeorgia HughesLlangorse SCWales5853(UFD)BFDBFD53296
124th47795BlueSeren CollierLlangorse SCWales565954BFDBFD(DNC)301
125th48261RedLeah FidlingChester Sailing & CC/Leigh & Lowton SCNDNCDNC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC331
126th45828WhiteMegan GreavesElton SCNDNCDNC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC331
127th47350YellowAlex HolbornParkstone YC/Paignton SCSWDNCDNC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC331
127th48196YellowJames Laurie‑ChiswellLlangorse SCWalesDNCDNC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC331
127th48082YellowRoan BriggsNewhaven & SeafordSEDNCDNC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC331
127th48177YellowWilliam HudsonNewhaven & Seaford SCSEDNCDNC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC331

4.2 Rig

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8Pts
1st47536Chloe MillsPennine SC32112‑156116
2nd45757River GreenPoole YC2‑12421211527
3rd19145alissa marshallRhs‑6325164627
4th48216Charlie HopkinsonNotts County SC16‑88452329
5th43814Daniel HolbornParkstone YC/Paignton SC717678‑14238
6th45770Bjorn HandleyQueen Mary SC47575‑93839
7th48535Samuel GraytonNotts County SC843361011‑1445
8th48193Immi ReesWarsash SC5969‑1147949
9th44192Oliver JenningsWaldring Field‑1659101328451
10th46223Graydon McLeod FlemingHunts SC9111041035‑1752
11th28630jessica taylorBlackwater SC1110‑121231110764
12th48318merryn attridgeSwarkestone SC‑1717151397131084
13th47768Charlotte CooperWest Lancashire YC1081111‑2013161584
14th46292Ellie ThwaitesRoyal Norfolk and Suffolk YC / NBYC1216‑1817812121895
15th5180Matilda PhelpsParkstone YC‑151313151514151196
16th46686Alex PurrierParkstone YC14151718‑1916913102
17th47021Isabel AssiratiCastle Cove SC1814141414‑211712103
18th47766Emma CurtisBosham SC131816201719‑2319122
19th45450Noah WoodCHIPAC19‑23201922181816132
20th46205Caitlin ThomasNotts County SC2020191618‑221921133
21st21337reuben HudsonNewhaven and seaford SC2121‑222116172020136
22nd43150Camilla AssiratiCastle Cove SC2219212221‑232122148
23rd41020Rebecca SmithBrixham YC/Paignton SC242223(DNC)232022RET159
24th46303Harriet WoodJumbles/Ullswater YC2324(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC172

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