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Topper Midland Travellers' Series Round 6 at Staunton Harold Sailing Club

by Scott Keenon 1 Jul 06:07 BST 22 June 2019

A Topper fleet consisting of nineteen boats was welcomed to Staunton Harold on a bright, sun filled Saturday, alongside the Optimist fleet who were also sailing the same course with a Traveller event of their own, the Optimists starting 5 minutes after the Toppers.

Race 1 started with light patchy winds and tricky conditions for the Race Officer. However, this was no problem for Heather Quinn who sailed off into the distance having mastered the conditions. Initially Heather was followed by Iris Singleton, however, on the down wind leg of lap 1 Iris sailed into a hole and was absorbed into the chasing fleet. In the remainder of the fleet positions changed frequently as the wind filled and subsided for the duration. Finn Morgan finished second followed by Thomas Ling.

Race 2 brought a welcome shift in the wind direction and the committee boat was quickly dispatched to a new starting location and a mark dropped to windward. The breeze dropped immediately after the start and the sailors must have thought they were in for a repeat of the frustrating conditions they had seen in Race 1. However, the breeze kicked in and a race ensued with Ben Paling first to the windward mark opening up a lead followed by Will Thomas and Thomas Ling. The conditions of variable wind led to the fleet being spilt into various groups across the course. However, the first three positions remained unchanged for the duration whilst they were chased by Iris Singleton and Tom Temple.

Over lunch the wind direction remained constant whilst the strength increased to welcome the re-fuelled sailors back to the water for Race 3. The windward beat was extended by some distance with the starting line also moving back into the creek. This made for greater competition on the upwind leg, Heather Quinn making it their first followed by Ben Paling and Oliver Keenan. Will Thomas and Iris Singleton closing in from behind. During lap one there were a number of position changes through the fleet, however, as they turned the windward mark for the second time the top three positions were the same as for lap one. The lead was taken by Ben Paling on the third beat who held the lead until the final downwind leg where he was pipped by Will Thomas, Heather Quinn finishing third.

Onto Race 4 and the wind conditions remained much the same so the Race Office kept the longer first beat to again make for a competitive upwind leg that seen many position changes through the course of the Race. Will Thomas was first to the top mark followed by Ben Paling, Heather Quinn and Iris Singleton who had a consistent afternoon. By the third mark Will Thomas had an unassailable lead in the blazing sunshine and left the rest of the pack to fight for the remaining positions. Mid fleet remained tight around lap one with boats from positions 6 to 18 making it in close succession around the leeward mark for lap two. The long beat required careful concentration and rewarded those who concentrated on the shifting conditions.

Finishing first overall was Will Thomas, with Heather Quinn taking second and Ben Paling third. Chase Sailing Club next weekend!

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