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Midlands Topper Traveller Round 5 at Swarkestone Sailing Club

by Clare Singleton 28 May 18:13 BST
Ben Paling, Kate Roberstson and Charlie Guyett form the winners podium at the Midlands Topper Traveller Round 5 at Swarkestone © Clare Singleton

Swarkestone SC, hosted a fleet of 25 Topper sailors for round 5 of the series despite the forecast for light winds. The race officer succeeded in getting the first race away with even wind across the start line but sailors made slow progress around the course, trying hard to avoid the holes.

Those that got stuck allowed others to make gains, Ben Paling, finished first in the first race followed by Heather Quinn in second and Thomas Link in third, whilst Polly McMullan, one of the youngest sailors, struggled at the back of the pack with no wind at all.

Between race 1 and 2 the wind shifted and the course was reset, the sailors overcompensated for the light winds and pushed the line resulting in a general recall. Once away Ben Paling was first to the top mark and lead the second race for much of the course with Thomas Link and Felix McMullan close behind. The fleet split into two groups with Ben extending his lead; looking for wind to establish the lead position seemed to be key. The light winds were a challenge for all sailing, but seemed more consistent during the second race so there were once again gains to be made.

The fleet split into two halves and the back of the fleet lost the wind finding it a slow beat up to the top mark. Meanwhile at the front of the fleet Ben Paling and Thomas Link broke away from the lead pack, which were fighting it out for third with Home club sailor, Kate Robertson, holding position on the first leg. Despite the light winds good competition was held at the front with some tactical sailing for the top three positions. Ben Paling and Thomas Link were battling it out for first place, Thomas advanced on Ben as he got stuck in a hole, allowing Thomas Link to finish in first and Ben in second with Charlie Hopkinson in third. The chasing group was lead by three home club sailors, Merryn Attridge, Tanya Weighill and Jonathan Hill.

After a break for lunch and a no-wind delay to the third race, the fleet made their way to the start line, eager to get another race away. Once again it was a game of two halves, with half the fleet who choose starboard side of the course coming to a standstill, whilst the home sailors chose port side and gained, with Taylor Berry taking the lead which he held until Felix McMullen took the lead away at the bottom mark and firmly established himself out in front with Charlie Guyett close behind.

Felix McMullen was first round the windward mark, with Ben Paling, Charlie Guyett, Taylor Berry, Iris Singleton and Kate Robertson hot on his heels, only to lose the wind on the second lap giving an opportunity to everyone. The third lap saw a change to the leaderboard once again with Charlie Guyett going into first, Felix dropping back into second, having led most of the race and Kate Robertson taking third.

Unexpectedly the day allowed four races, although the fourth race saw several retirements and a black flag, leaving a reduce pack of 16 sailors to compete for a win. Iris Singleton, Kate Robertson and Charlie Hopkinson held the front positions around the 1st lap, with home club sailor, Kate Robertson taking a firm lead, rounding the windward mark and increasing the lead further still as she pulled away at the bottom mark. Charlie Hopkinson, Charlie Guyett and Iris Singleton continued to pursue but could not take first from Kate Robertson.

Despite low expectations in the morning of little sailing it turned into a full day, with plenty to concentrate on and some difficult and strategic thinking on the water and ended with a great first traveller event win for Notts County sailor Ben Paling and another first race win at a midlands went to Thomas Link.

Will Thomas still leads the series by 1 point in the most open series for the past three years. We have now had three different event winners and seven different sailors have all won one or more races.

Next event is the standalone event at Notts County SC for the Midlands Topper Championships on the 15th and 16th June, followed by round 6 at Staunton Harold SC on the 22nd June.

Overall Results: See also Series to date results

PosHelmSail NoClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1Ben Paling47790Notts County124‑67
2Kate Robertson48050Swarkestone‑84318
3Charlie Guyett48098Cransley SC‑55139
4Thomas Link48252Leigh & Lowton31‑8711
5Charlie Hopkinson48216Notts County73‑9212
6Heather Quinn47023Notts County26‑7513
7Felix McMullan48101Draycote492(DNC)15
8Iris Singleton47101Hollowell‑1385417
9Finn Morgan48586South Staff97‑11824
10Taylor Berry48437Chase‑12116926
11Oli Keenan47765Tamworth61012(DNF)28
12Tom Temple46467South Staff101410(DNC)34
13Sam Grayton48535Notts County‑1512151239
14Callum Anderson48585Chase‑1713161140
15Merryn Attridge48318Swarkestone‑1616141343
16Gwyneth Lanyon46168Notts County18‑20171045
17Tanya Weighill26713Swarkestone191713(DNC)49
18Patrick Hill24413Swarkestone‑2019191452
19Stefan Murfin28661Carsington1415(DNF)DNC55
20Jonathan Hill5Swarkestone221820(DNC)60
21Elspeth Quarmbyno numberSwarkestone‑2424221561
22Edward Paling42613Notts County212318(DNF)62
23William Thomas46770Notts County11(DNC)DNCDNC63
24Eddie Quinn27192Notts County232221(DNF)66
25Polly Mc Mullan796Hollowell2521(DNC)DNC72

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