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GJW Direct 2020

ITCA Midlands Topper Traveller Round 4 at Hollowell Sailing Club

by Mike Powell 17 Nov 2021 10:02 GMT 13 November 2021
Joe Rowe wins the 5.3 fleet at the ITCA Midlands Topper Traveller at Hollowell © Jessica Powell

Round 4 of the Midlands Traveller 2021-2022 Series saw the Midlands Toppers head to Hollowell Sailing Club on Saturday 13th November as part of a planned eight-event series starting September and running through to March.

It was great to finally get a Topper event on at Hollowell, having previously been defeated by both the weather (no wind) and the pandemic. This time, we had none of these issues and the sailors were greeted with a consistent 10-12 knots coming from a North Westerly direction, which was perfect for creating some very close racing.

The race director took the opportunity to set an excellent course around the fixed buoys that would maximise the water space creating some very long beats and in particular the longest run downwind we have seen in the Traveller calendar so far this series.

After the last round at Bartley where we could not believe how close the racing was, this event at Hollowell would again prove how close and competitive Midlands Topper racing really is.

Race 1 was initially led by Joe Rowe (Draycote), followed by Jasper Focardi Dolling (Shropshire), both deploying perfect port end flyers with visiting sailor Graydon McLeod Fleming (Hunts SC) closely behind. As the race progressed, it would be Graydon who was getting to grips with the local wind shifts and began to catch Joe; resulting in a very close race on the final run down to the leeward mark. With Joe and Graydon battling it out with each other and pushing higher and higher, Jessica Powell (Draycote) was as able to seize the opportunity and sail inside of them both on the leeward mark and snatch the win, just beating Joe to the finish line by less than half a boat length.

For Race 2, it would be Graydon and Joe again pushing for the lead, with Katherine Gunn (Notts County) chasing hard in 3rd. With the long downwind run and a small reach to the finish, the sailors were finding it hard to protect their lead. This again would prove to be the case in race 2, with Graydon putting amends to the first race overtaking Joe on the final lap taking a very strong race win, followed by Katherine. Tara Ewbank (Chase/South Staffs) and Jasper Focardi Dolling rounded out the top five with an amazing race and both finishing within 5-6 boat lengths of race winner.

So at the mid-point of the event, it would be Graydon and Joe on equal 4 points as joint leaders, followed by Jessica on 7 points. With the winds forecasting to drop as the day progressed, it was going to be critical to make Race 3 count, in case it would not be possible for Race 4 to take place.

Joe Rowe came straight out the blocks in race 3 and took a commanding lead, with the battle for second place being between Caitlin Thomas (Notts County), Graydon and Jessica. Joe was able to use the second place close racing to his advantage and sailed away from the fleet to take his first race win of the day. The close racing for second place would continue and it would be Graydon who would finally lose out, having to complete penalty turns due to clipping the mark. Caitlin was then able to take a closely-fought second place followed by Jessica in third.

For the second event running we would have three different winners from three races; however Joe Rowe was in a commanding position due to his consistency in the first two races and then taking the race 3 win. His main rivals for the event win would come from either Graydon or Jessica, who both mathematically could still win the event if they won the last race of the day.

Race 4 saw Katherine Gunn storm into the lead on the first upwind beat, picking out the wind shifts perfectly as the wind continued to drop. Graydon followed in second and Jessica in third, both knowing they must catch and pass Katherine to have any chance of winning the event. Disaster then struck for Graydon as his rudder picked up weed which would effectively end his campaign for the event win. Only Jessica could take the event win away from Joe, however Caitlin put in an amazing second lap upwind beat to overtake Jessica and start to chase Katherine down. Katherine defended her lead brilliantly onto the final reach to take the race 4 win.

So with four different winners from four different races, it was another great day of Topper sailing. Joe Rowe (Draycote) taking top honours with his 1st Midlands Traveller Event win of the series, followed by Jessica Powell second and then Caitlin Thomas taking third place.

For the 4.2 fleet and not to be outshone by his older brother, it would be Oscar Rowe (Draycote), following his recent success at Bartley who would take top 4.2 honours again with four convincing race wins, followed by William Mawby-Groom (Banbury) taking second place and Alex Chadborn (Notts County SC) third.

A huge thank you goes to our hosts; Hollowell Sailing Club for running a brilliant smooth event and making the Topper sailors and families so welcome; we look forward to returning very soon.

Thanks also to our event sponsors; Topper Sailboats, Rooster and Harken for their continued support of Midlands Topper Traveller Series.

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:

PosClassSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4Pts
1st5.344036Joseph Rowe221‑55
2nd5.346391Jessica Powell1‑6337
3rd5.346205Caitlin Thomas‑84228
4th5.348571Katherine Gunn63‑7110
5th5.348744Graydon McLeod Fleming316‑710
6th5.347764Tara Ewbank47‑9415
7th5.347777Katherine Burgess‑755616
8th5.348193Jasper Focardi Dolling5‑104817
9th5.348667Millie Hardiman‑1098926
10th5.347488Matthew Chadderton98‑101027
11th5.345197Polly Mc Mullan‑1211111234
12th5.348664Toby Gammond111212‑1335
13th5.346241Oli Rogers‑1313131137
14th4.246971Oscar Rowe‑1514141442
15th5.347384Benjamin Turner1415‑161645
16th4.231767William Mawby‑Groom161615‑1747
17th4.236182Alex Chadborn171717‑1851
18th5.347762Alex Stainton‑1919181552
19th5.324614Charlotte Humpheys2018(DNC)DNC59

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