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Midlands Topper Traveller Series - Overall

by Midlands Topper Fleet 18 Jul 16:03 BST
Midlands Topper Traveller Series podium: (L-R) Ben Paling 3rd overall, Will Thomas 1st overall, Kate Robertson 2nd overall © Victoria Turnbull

72 sailors from 16 clubs across the Midlands took part in the eight rounds of the Midlands Topper Traveller series 2018-19 which started at Draycote in September 2018 and ended at Hollowell in July 2019. Fantastic friendly racing was held throughout the fleet with several new sailors joining in for the first time. During this series there were four different event winners with seven sailors winning their first ever Traveller race and nine different sailors all won at least one race during the series.

This seasons series saw the closest most competitive racing seen on the Midlands Series. The season started with established front runners Kate Robertson taking three wins, and Will Thomas one, in the first round at Draycote. This was to be the last time that these two top Midlands sailors would be comfortably leading the fleet at a traveller event.

The rest of the field had started to catch up and by October's visit to Carsington Heather Quinn was out front and gaining her first race win and mixing up the established front runners with Charlie Guyett showing promise. Round 3 at Banbury saw Charlie take his first race win along with Ben Paling in an event where all four races were won by different sailors and the result being decided on count-back for first place. Will took the event by winning the last race of the day and his first for the event just in the nick of time with Ben following in second to score his best ever traveller result.

Will was now leading the table and though everything was close and competitive this was a position he would stay in until the last round. Round 4 at Northampton saw Iris Singleton win the event with a consistent score despite Kate winning two races she finished 2 points clear. Ben and Will yet again were separated by count-back for third and fourth overall with Be'ns score pipping will into third.

The midway point saw Will leading Kate by 1 point and Ben in third 3 points adrift of the leaders.

As the fleet headed for Swarkestone for round 5 the winds were forecast to be light, really threatening to mix things up and give the lighter sailors a chance. As it turned out an improving Ben won his first traveller in light shifty conditions and in a brave move Will had decided to call it a day in the light stuff and score a discard. Ben had now closed the gap and was in third overall with Will on 4 points, Kate on 5 and Ben on 6.

Round 6 saw Will come back and win whilst Kate was absent on other duties and scoring a discard. Heather was second and Ben third. Other sailors were now starting to get in amongst the leaders, Thomas Link, Charlie Hopkinson, Oli Keenan and Iris were all there or thereabouts.

Round 7 at Chase saw the return of last years series winner Greg Cornes join the fleet again. There was to be no upset to the fleet front runners as Greg after his recent successes in the Midlands Laser events was only able to finish fifth overall as Kate, Will, Charlie H and Oli managed to demonstrate how much they had improved since the previous series.

We now looked forward to Hollowell and the final round with Kate needing to win to have equal points with Will and to win the series by virtue of who beat who in the final round so it was all to play for. At the lunch break with two sailed the top three sailors were all on 5 points. Race 1 had been won by Ted Ball, Will was on 11 points and Kate in third on count-back with Iris leading and Ben second.

After the break Ben won and with no discards at this stage was leading the event. Kate had scored an eighth and Will a seventh. The final race saw Charlie H lead home a trio of Notts county sailors of Ben and Will with Kate having been recalled at the start, recovering to ninth and to finish fifth overall on the day. Ben won his second event of the year and finished 3 points off the lead, both Will and Kate scored a discard of 7 and 5 respectively so Will Thomas won the 2018-19 series by 1 point with Kate finishing a very close second.

Running alongside this we also have the Phoenix Marine U13 championship running. Matt Chadderton, Remy MacWhinnie and Sam Grayton were the front runners in the first half of the series with Merryn Attridge moving up the order in the second half of the series to finish in second place behind this years Phoenix Marine U13 Champion, Sam Grayton.

Prizes were awarded for the series to the winners and all the qualifiers:

1st overall and 1st Boy, William Thomas - Notts County SC
2nd Overall and 1st Girl, Kate Robertson - Swarkestone SC
3rd Overall and 2nd Boy, Ben Paling - Notts County SC
4th Overall and 2nd Girl, Iris Singleton - Hollowell SC
5th Overall and 3rd Boy, Charlie Guyett - Cransley SC
6th Overall, Thomas Link - Leigh and Lowton SC
7th Overall, Oli Keenan - Tamworth SC
8th Overall, Charlie Hopkinson - Notts County SC
9th Overall and 3rd Girl, Heather Quinn - Notts County SC
10th Overall, Finlay Morgan - South Staffs SC
11th Overall, Felix McMullan - Hollowell SC
12th Overall, Taylor Berry - Chase SC
13th Overall, Kieron Bray - Banbury SC
14th Overall and Phoenix Marine U13 Champion, Sam Grayton - Notts County SC
15th Overall, Tom Temple - South Staffs SC
16th Overall, Merryn Attridge - Swarkestone SC
17th Overall, Aimee Bray - Banbury SC
18th Overall, Tara Ewbank - Staunton Harold SC
19th Overall, Ed Paling - Notts County SC
20th Overall, Arlo Turner - Glossop SC
21st Overall, Ted Ball - Draycote SC
22nd Overall, Eddie Quinn - Notts County SC

As the top sailors look to move on after the summer, next year Charlie H and G, Ted, Oli, Thomas, Felix, Taylor and Finlay to be the early front runners, however there is always a surprise and after this winters training others may find the right gear to be at the front of the fleet.

The 2019-20 series starts on 21st September at Shustoke Sailing club for round 1 of the 2019-20 series and this is also The first of three RYA Zone Squad Qualifier events.

All Midlands Topper information can be found at www.itca-gbr.co.uk/area-pages/midlands including the full results [PDF]

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