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Topper Training & Open Weekend at Bosham Sailing Club

by Sarah Shepherd 13 Oct 10:17 BST 10-11 October 2020
Toppers at Bosham © Sarah Shepherd

Bosham Sailing Club once again proved what brilliant sailing it can offer youngsters as it hosted a weekend of training and racing in conjunction with the International Topper Class Association (ITCA).

Saturday saw varied conditions, starting very light with winds building up to 20 knots before lunch and then dying down slightly in the afternoon, as 35 keen sailors underwent an intense but rewarding training session with some of ITCA's best coaches. The training covered some key racing skills including starting and mark rounding as the youngers from 12 - 16 learnt new skills just off Cobnor Point. All the youngsters came off the water having improved their racing skills and looking forward to putting them to practice the next day.

Sunday was what one would call champagne conditions with a bright blue sky, shining sun and a consistent 14 knot Northerly breeze. Over 53 sailors from Bosham, Itchenor, Dell Quay and Itchenor as well as other sailing clubs along the South Coast including Warsash and Shareham gathered for the annual Bosham Topper Open in what was the first event of the Rooster Southern Traveller Series that had been managed since the coronovarius outbreak in April.

The sailors all launched from Cobnor and sailed to the start-line up harbour in the vicinity of Rookwood. There the Bosham Race Officer set a classic Olympic triangle course taking the boats across the harbour to Thorney and back. The fleet was divided into two, with the majority sailing in the 5.3 fleet with larger sails and the less experienced, younger sailors in the 4.2 fleet with smaller sails. Over the course of the day, each fleet sailed 4 highly competitive but fun races each lasting about 40 minutes, with positions frequently changing and an excellent standard of sailing shown by all.

Simon Radford, Principal Race Officer commented, "It was brilliant to see so many youngsters on the water, having fun but sailing competitively and fairly. I was very impressed with the quality of sailing that I saw. The starts in what was a large fleet were not easy but everyone performed very well indeed."

In planning for the week-end, Bosham Sailing Club drew upon the Covid compliant rules and processes that it had developed for Bosham2020. Strict social distancing was ensured with boats launching in bubbles of 6. All briefing and communication was done by WhatsApp. The only thing missing were the infamous Bosham tea and drinks at the beautiful Bosham club afterwards. Something everyone fondly remembers from years gone past and looks forward to in the future. Special thanks go to the Beale Family for allowing the boats to launch from Cobnor.

The whole week-end was masterminded by Lucy Chaplin, Topper Class Captain at Bosham Sailing Club who commented, "I can't say organizing this type of event was easy as we had to ensure we met all Covid requirements but what a joy to see so many children on the water sailing so well and enjoying themselves. The Topper is a great boat for anyone from 12 - 16 and can be sailed for fun or very competitively and Bosham is the place to do it. We cater for everyone from the beginner right through to the regional and national sailor."

Bosham Sailing Club is one of the most active sailing club in the beautiful Chichester Harbour and boasts a large group of youngsters (which Bosham calls cadets) who sail in Optimists, Toppers, Fevas, 420s and Lasers. The club offers regular sailing from April - November with a mix of racing, training and good old fashioned messing about on the water. Katherine Rose, Commodore of Cadets commented "Bosham Sailing Club is really unique with a truly special spirit. We offer something for everyone, whatever their age and sailing ability with a focus on providing access to the water in a fun and secure environment."

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Overall Results:

5.3 fleet
1st Hugo Valentine
2nd Immi Rees
3rd Oscar Fry
First Bosham boat: Zac Shepherd

4.2 fleet
1st Thomas Peace
2nd Greg Czura
3rd Marcus King

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