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ITCA Midlands Topper Traveller Series 2021-2022 Round 8 at Draycote Water Sailing Club

by Mike Powell 23 Mar 06:21 GMT 19 March 2022
Start line action during the ITCA Midlands Topper Traveller Series 2021-22 at Draycote Water © Jon Hughes

For the final round of the Midlands Topper Traveller 2021-2022 Series, the sailors headed to Draycote Water Sailing Club on Saturday 19th March.

This has been an 8 Event Series; starting September and running through to March and after the 2 previous events being windy, most of the sailors were hoping for slightly less breeze and the initial forecast looked like their wishes would be granted, however when race day arrived, the sailors were greeted with Easterly winds that looked stronger than expected with beautiful blue skies. Draycote Water Sailing club has a very active Youth and Junior Fleet and benefits from a large expanse of useable water area, with this being the largest expanse on the Midlands Topper Traveller calendar. This enabled the Race officer to set a large trapezoidal course, giving the Topper sailors great experience of the size of course they would to see at the Topper National Series events.

Race 1 started with the winds remaining high and it would be the Draycote home sailors Joe Rowe and Jessica Powell who would set the early pace followed by Graydon McLeod Fleming (Hunts SC). Due to the size of the course, the race office correctly opted to make it a 2 lap race and on the 2nd lap, Joe had extended his lead further, ahead of Jessica in 2nd place, who had also increased the gap to 3rd place Graydon. The finishing order would not change and Joe would take Race 1 honours.

For race 2, there was an individual recall which a number of sailors deciding to play safe and duck the line, rather than risk an OCS, where in reality there was only Kitty Davy who needed to go back. This enabled Joe Rowe to move immediately into a strong lead, followed this time by Graydon McLeod Fleming and then Jessica Powell. Disaster then struck for Graydon as he touched the windward mark and had to perform his penalty turn, enabling Jessica to capitalise on his error, moving into 2nd place. Close behind was another battle between Harriet Temple (South Staffs SC) and another Draycote home sailor; Clem Middle. While all this was going on, Joe was able to further extend his lead, taking his 2nd race win of the day followed by Jessica. Graydon continued to fall down the pack and it was Harriet and Clem who would now be in a match race for 3rd place honours. Clem would narrowly lose out, enabling Harriet to take an excellent 3rd place result.

Following a quick lunch break ashore the sailors were back out for race 3, where there was a slight wind shift towards the south resulting in the windward mark moving slightly towards the clubhouse. This brought with it some shifty wind conditions that would challenge the sailors further as they tried to get onto the lay line to approach this mark. However even with this, it would be a similar pattern to the morning racing with Joe making the windward mark first, followed by Jessica and then Graydon with a strong 3rd place. The wind started to shift around at the windward mark with sailors underlying and over stepping as they approached the mark. Places down the fleet kept changing as the approached the windward mark and it was Clem Middle who navigated her way through to 4th place as she tried to chase Graydon down.

Joe would continue to hold his lead, securing his 3rd race win of the day and event honours. Jessica came home in 2nd place which cemented her 2nd place at the event, followed by Graydon.

So with 1 race remaining and the Top 2 positions already decided, it would be a duel between local sailor; Clem Middle with 3 straight 4th places and East region regular attendee of the Midlands Series; Graydon Mcleod Fleming looking to discard an 8th place from race 2 and add to his 2 x 3rd place finishes.

Race 4 would start badly for Joe Rowe as he did not make the front row and decided to tack off. This enabled Jessica Powell to take an early lead with Clem Middle pushing hard; followed by Polly McMullan (Draycote) in 3rd. Joe had made his way back up to 4th place at the windward mark and was clearly looking to make it 4 straight wins for the day. As Clem and Polly battled for 2nd place, Joe was able to jump ahead of them both and start to chase down race leader Jessica. As Joe and Jessica entered the final downwind run, there was less than a boat length in it and Joe just sneaked round on the leyward mark ahead of Jessica. Not giving up on trying to take the last race win of the series, Jessica continued to hound Joe on the reach to the final mark and as they headed up towards the finish line, Joe was just able to stay ahead of Jessica, to take 4 straight wins for the day, followed by an excellent sail from Polly McMullan in 3rd place.

The race for the 4.2 honours was dominated by William Mawby-Groom (Banbury SC) with a very consistent set of results throughout the day. Williams regular 4.2 contender in the form of Oscar Rowe (Draycote) finished in 2nd place.

After a great day of sailing, it was Joe Rowe winning the event convincingly, ahead of fellow Draycote Sailor; Jessica Powell and Graydon Mcleod Fleming taking 3rd place on count back from Clem Middle.

Benjamin Turner (Midlands Sailing Club) won the "Top Topper True Grit" award for the day. This was a nomination from one of the race officers observing that Benjamin never gave up and kept trying so hard to sail the course in windy conditions. This is something he managed to achieve, obtaining finishing results in all of the races.

Congratulations to Joe Rowe (Event Winner), William Mawby-Groom (4.2 Winner) and Benjamin Turner (Top Topper True Grit).

Thank you to our hosts Draycote Water Sailing Club for excellently organised event and also to the Draycote Youth and Junior Race Team for the setting a great course and making everyone so welcome. We are looking forward to returning to Draycote Water SC as part of our 2022/2023 series.

Thanks also to our event Sponsors; Topper Sailboats (and to Russ Dent for attending this event) along with Rooster for their continued support of Midlands Topper Traveller Series.

The 2021/2022 Series has now finished and it is Jessica Powell who has won the series, followed by Joe Rowe and then Caitlin Thomas. 4.2 honours were taken by William Mawby-Groom, and then Oscar Rowe. Look out for a full Series report coming soon in Yachts and Yachting.

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

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmRigR1R2R3R4Pts
1st44036Joseph Rowe5.3‑11113
2nd46391Jessica Powell5.3‑22226
3rd48744Graydon McLeod Fleming5.33‑83612
4th47181Clem Middle5.3‑444412
5th45197Polly McMullan5.35‑65313
6th48571Kat Gunn5.375‑10517
7th48651Harriet Temple5.3103‑13720
8th46205Caitlin Thomas5.3699‑1224
9th48193Jasper Focardi Dolling5.3‑12107825
10th31767William Mawby‑Groom4.297‑11925
11th4Jake Blakeway5.3‑141281131
12th47316Vincent Shorter5.3111112‑1534
13th46241Oli Rogers5.3(RET)13141441
14th46971Oscar Rowe4.21714(RET)1344
15th48667Bronny Thomas5.3(RET)DNC61045
16th47222Georgia Riddell4.2151615(DNC)46
17th48798Izzy Ritchie4.2181516(DNC)49
18th47384Benjamin Turner5.3‑1917171650
19th47219Henry Powell5.38(DNF)DNCDNC66
20th48907Keali Rhodes5.313(DNC)DNCDNC71
21st48675Kitty Davy5.316(RET)DNCDNC74
22nd48664Toby Gammond5.3(DNC)DNCDNCDNC87
22nd48367Matthew Gayler5.3(DNC)DNCDNCDNC87
22nd48318Merryn Attridge5.3(RET)DNCDNCDNC87
22nd48970Will Powell5.3(DNC)DNCDNCDNC87
22nd43754Eliza Powell5.3(DNC)DNCDNCDNC87
22nd41858Harry Mallen5.3(DNS)DNCDNCDNC87
22nd48675Kitty Davy4.2(DNC)DNCRETDNC87

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