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ITCA Midlands Topper Traveller Series 2021-2022 Round 3 at Bartley Sailing Club

by Mike Powell 19 Oct 09:50 BST 17 October 2021
Midlands Topper Traveller Round 3 at Bartley - Startline Action © Simon Hardiman

Round 3 of the Midlands Traveller 2021-2022 Series was held at Bartley Sailing Club on Sunday 17th October 2021 where the Midlands Topper Sailors were back on the water to see who could take top honours.

This is a planned 8 event series starting September and running through to March visiting a variety of Midlands based clubs who our supporting our Topper Traveller Series.

The weather forecast was an interesting one with predictions of 8 knots, gusting to 18-20 knots in a generally Southerly direction. With the layout of the reservoir, Southerly would make for some very long beats and the organisers really took the opportunity to set a great course around the fixed Buoys. This would make for some of the closest Midlands Topper Racing that we have seen for many years!

Race 1 was initially led by Jessica Powell (Draycote); however it was to be Joe Rowe (Draycote) and Caitlin Thomas (Notts County) who were pushing each other hard and overtaking Jessica on the 2nd upwind beat. Approaching the final mark after the reach, it was Joe narrowly leading from Caitlin; however Joe made an incorrect mark rounding and had to complete a penalty turn. With Caitlin being so close behind, she was able to seize the advantage and take the lead and hold it comfortably to take the first race win.

Race 2 was to be one of the closest finishes we have had in Midlands Toppers. At the start it was Joe Rowe leading from Jessica Powell, with Caitlin Thomas and Katherine Burgess (Royal Harwich YC) close behind. As the race progressed, the positions did not change however the gap between them did with this closing considerably and onto the final downwind leg it was Caitlin covering Jessica, who was in-turn covering the leader, Joe. Katherine, lying 4th, decided to take a higher line down to the finish gate and as the front 3 boats closed in on the finish, the gap was down to less than half a boat length between them and Joe just managed to hold on to the win from Jessica, then Caitlin. Katherine's high line strategy looked at one point like it was going to work, however the finish line came just too soon for this to pay off.

For Race 3, the race officer changed the course, moving to a Windward/Leeward arrangement with a reach half way down the leeward section. It was Jessica Powell who took the early lead with a considerable gap at the windward mark, followed by Caitlin Thomas and then Katherine Burgess, just ahead of Joe Rowe. This would be race of 2 separate battles with Caitlin set to try and catch Jessica with Joe doing the same with Katherine. The gap consistently closed between them with Caitlin reeling Jessica in and Joe and Katherine crosses each other on the upwind beat. Jessica would hold on to claim her first race win of the day from Caitlin and it was Katherine who managed to just fend off Joe on the final run to take 3rd place.

As we moved onto the final race of the day there was only 1 point separating the top 3 places of Caitlin, Jessica and Joe. The event winner looked set to come from one of these 3 sailors who had each won a race, but it was not known in which order it would be.

Race 4 did not disappoint as the close racing again continued. Katherine Burgess made a great start taking the early lead, followed by rising Topper sailor, Jasper Focardi-Dolling (Shropshire/Dovey) and then Jessica Powell. Joe Rowe tacked off early and halfway through the upwind beat, this looked to have paid off when disaster stuck for Joe with his traveller breaking. This would rule Joe out of the race and more importantly removing any chance of Joe winning the event. Katherine continued to extend her lead, with Jasper continuing to sail a great race in 2nd as Caitlin and Jessica followed behind, continuing to race each other for the event win. On the 2nd upwind beat, Jessica and Caitlin managed to get past the resilient Jasper; with Jessica then just managing to keep ahead of Caitlin, but at no point during the race was the gap any more than 2 boat lengths. Katherine won the last race by a commanding margin with Jessica finishing 2nd just ahead of a rapidly chasing Caitlin.

So with 4 different winners from 4 different races, it was a thrilling day of great Topper sailing. Jessica Powell (Draycote) took the honours with her 3rd Midlands Traveller Event win of the series, followed by Caitlin Thomas 2nd; just 1 point behind and then Joe Rowe taking 3rd.

For the 4.2's fleet, it was Oscar Rowe (Draycote) who took top 4.2 honours for the first time with 4 commanding races wins, followed by Charlie O'Neill (Northampton) taking 2nd place.

Congratulations go to Jessica Powell (Event Winner) and Oscar Rowe (4.2 Winner).

A huge thank you goes to our hosts; Bartley Sailing Club for organising a brilliant event and setting 2 amazing courses. We look forward to returning very soon.

If any Junior Midland Topper sailors are interested in participating at the ITCA Midlands Traveller events, it is a great opportunity to enter a friendly and local race series. Please contact us on the email address if you would like any more information.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmRigR1R2R3R4Pts
1st46391Jessica Powell5.3‑32125
2nd46205Caitlin Thomas5.31‑3236
3rd44036Joseph Rowe5.3214(DNF)7
4th47777Katherine Burgess5.3‑54318
5th47764Tara Ewbank5.345‑9514
6th48193Jasper Focardi Dolling5.37‑85416
7th48667Millie Hardiman5.3107‑11623
8th48907Keali Rhodes5.3‑1197723
9th48675Kitty Davy5.3610‑13824
10th47488Matthew Chadderton5.39610‑1125
11th48664Toby Gammond5.38‑118925
12th44012Jake Blakeway5.312‑1461028
13th46241Oli Rogers5.3‑1313121237
14th46971Oscar Rowe4.2‑1515141342
15th45772Rupert Ash5.31412(DNC)DNC44
16th42830Charlie ONeill4.2‑1616151445
17th28381Beth Edwards5.3(DNC)DNCDNCDNC54

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