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Topper Open Weekend at Waldringfield Sailing Club

by Chris Woodard 6 Jun 16:48 BST 1-2 June 2019

Waldringfield Sailing Club held their first ever Topper Open Weekend on the 1st and 2nd of June.

The club's strength lies not only in its idyllic setting on the River Deben estuary in Suffolk, but also its focus on class racing, with handicap racing held on only a handful of weekends each year, and club racing otherwise restricted to just half a dozen adopted classes. This results in these fleets attracting good turnouts and enjoying close class racing, but to date there has not been a single-handed junior class. That has all changed this year with the newly adopted Topper class, and this weekend was the first opportunity to showcase the Toppers at the club.

On Saturday the club hosted an ITCA Eastern Region Coaching Day. This attracted 16 sailors of varying abilities, from current Zone Squad sailors through to those who had learnt the basics but had not yet started racing. The day was enthusiastically led by ITCA coaches Adam Barker and Beth Albone, and was blessed with perfect weather conditions, enabling the participants to enjoy a full day on the water interspersed with three knowledge-packed shore-based sessions. It was clear that everyone had a great time and learnt loads, with great feedback from the participants afterwards, and for many it opened their eyes to how enjoyable and beneficial these ITCA Regional Coaching Days are.

In the evening the club laid on a relaxed social, with a BBQ, bar, and the traditional Waldringfield game of rounders, with free on-site camping overnight, as the majority of the sailors were staying on for the open meeting the next day.

Sunday's Open Meeting attracted a remarkable 28 entries, with 20 visitors joining 8 boats from the new home fleet, and with five sailors from current National Squads and ten from the Eastern Zone Squad we were guaranteed some great competitive racing.

Again the weather conditions were near-perfect, with bright sunshine, a decent southerly breeze blowing straight up the river, and with racing scheduled to cover the last of the flood tide and slack water the setting couldn't have been better. PRO Alan Krailing ably assisted by ARO Stephen Videlo (both multiple National Champions and Endeavour Trophy participants!) took the fleet slightly up river and set a variety of great courses in the area between Tips and the island, and set about achieving four back-to-back races before the ebb set in.

The first three races all got away cleanly, with the tide helpfully holding the fleet back, and saw three different race winners in Tom Thwaites (Norfolk Broads YC), Ciara Woodard (Waldringfield SC) and Tim Evans (Grafham Water SC). Consequently it was all to play for going into the final race, with three potential event winners. With the tide now having turned a general recall was always on the cards, but the fleet got away cleanly at the second attempt under the U flag. The wind had increased significantly by now, with plenty of capsizes and some carnage at the gybe mark, but Ciara Woodard quickly established a huge lead which never looked threatened, finishing almost a leg ahead to secure the overall event victory. Tom Thwaites was next home, to clinch the runner-up spot, with Amelia Eaton's (Snettisham Beach SC) consistency securing third overall.

So, at the halfway point in the 2019 ITCA Eastern Region Travellers Series Tom Thwaites leads, with victory at Snowflakes SC, James Clarke is in second having won at Norfolk Broads YC, and Ciara Woodard is third, and first girl, with victories at the last two events, Royal Harwich YC and now Waldringfield SC. The series continues at Horning SC, Ely SC, Snettisham Beach SC and Marconi SC full details on the ITCA-GBR website under Area Pages.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4Pts
1st47662Ciara Woodard21‑314
2nd47625Tom Thwaites1‑10225
3rd48140Amelia Eaton34‑22512
4th47386Tim Evans‑1131913
5th47385Noah Fitzgerald466‑1216
6th47796Ben Knight‑1329617
7th43581Arthur Baker9‑157319
8th46733Daisy Robinson6510‑1421
9th48409Matthew LLoyd8‑1241123
10th47302Jemima Gotto109‑11423
11th45562Malcolm McLeod Fleming7‑168823
12th48476James Clarke‑161151026
13th46979William Thorogood‑14712726
14th44192Ollie Jennings5814‑1627
15th46223Graydon McLeod Fleming121313‑2538
16th48120Isabella Ferneyhough1514‑171544
17th47680Finley Webb‑1717151345
18th45565Bill Walker18‑19191754
19th42046Bea Walker‑2220162056
20th44144Lucy Rains201818‑2156
21st47039Sam Cooper192120‑2260
22nd42006Jocelyn Glen Gowing(DNF)22251966
23rd20050Grace Jaycock21‑24232367
24th36720Jess Cooper2626‑271870
25th45335Celia Mason232721(DNF)71
26th46929Ellie Thwaites242324‑2671
27th29989Hannah Baker2525‑262474
28th21Chloe Cooper(DNF)DNC28DNF86

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