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Topper 5.3 and 4.2 Eastern Traveller Series at Waveney & Oulton Broad Yacht Club

by Edward Medcalf 7 Nov 2022 11:42 GMT 23 October 2022
Topper Eastern Travellers at Waveney and Oulton Broad © John Blackman-Northwood

A strong early indicator of one's proximity to Waveney & Oulton Broad Yacht Club was the constant two-way stream of Topper towing/bearing traffic looking for where the club actually was, sat navs having unreliably directed many early anxious contenders into the driveway of an old people's home.

On arrival, however, WOBYC's unfussy hospitality for a weekend of Eastern Regional Topper training and racing prevailed, setting the theme for friendly but competitive sailing for 27 eager juniors.

Area hotshots, local strategists and seasoned tourists lined up for 4 races which would conclude the Eastern Traveller 2022 series. The sager competitors had studied the forecast, many determining that it would be prudent to prepare for the worst and launching with reefs such was the anticipation of damaging gusts as the day progressed.

Race 1 saw a clean start from which Ellie Thwaites led Jensen Jakob and Nathan Clark to the first windward mark. In the initial instance of what became a pattern for the day, Ellie and Jensen then fell into a clubhouse-shaped windhole which allowed local expert Nathan, using a cunning circular CMG to compress the gap. Jensen got an inside line at the wing mark but forgot to defend on the exit, allowing Ellie back through. Meanwhile in the 4.2s, Muen Zhong led Faith Turner round the first lap and looked clean away.

Behind the leaders an armada 9-abreast then attempted to round the wing mark as the heavens opened. Some aggressive post-mark luffing sorted matters out, combined with an unreasonable wind swing which allowed Magnus Medcalf to catch up with the front three. Leader Ellie then threw a cast-iron cover tack on Jensen who instantly wriggled out of it and sailed away for his first victory of the day on a shortened course. Meanwhile there had been an incredible shake-up in the 4.2s as Toby Turner sprang out of nowhere to pip William Mott for the win, with sister Faith hot on their transoms for 3rd.

As the starting sequence for Race 2 began the tricoteuse crowd on the clubhouse balcony drooled over the blackening sky and the stratocumuli accelerated. Surely this would be the moment the predicted gale would strike, the fleet would be decimated and the banks of the Waveney would be peppered with unrecognisable fragments of what used to be the Eastern Regional Topper fleet. In fact the start was momentarily delayed when a local Scorpion unfortunately lost its mast slap bang in the middle of the Topper startline but when the impediment was cleared, Harry Wemyss headed right, Nathan, Abby and Magnus fired off left in a battle from which Nathan emerged ahead at the windward mark, a position he maintained to the end of the race despite a strong challenge from Ellie. Muen Zhong led the 4.2s but in another unobserved reshuffle, William Mott overtook and led Toby Turner to the finish.

The fabled gale was still just about to kick in. Post-lunch Race 3 began with individual recalls for 3 boats including Ellie. That allowed Keah Edwards to challenge Jensen for the front and their intense battle occurred in a different weather system to the rest of the fleet, with Jensen narrowly prevailing. William led Toby and Muen in the 4.2s to set up a winner takes all situation for Race 4.

Now the heavens properly opened. Oulton Broad gained about 6ft of depth in 10mins as the excellent PRO Kyle bemoaned his luck to be waterbound whilst receiving thoughtful words of support over the radio from the race office. Race 4 saw further individual recalls and a short beat, culminating in a swarm at the first windward mark which defined the rest of the race. Ellie, Tyrii Bell and Jensen escaped the melee first and Ellie nonchalantly stretched her lead around the treacherous windholes. In the 4.2s, one could have walked across the decks of the front 5 as they approached the leeward mark though one would have got wet feet because it was still chucking it down. As the event culminated, Ellie took the 5.3 win from Jensen but there was a well-deserved guest appearance on the Race 4 podium from stalwart Sofia Eaton as she took 3rd and a McDonalds. In the 4.2s, Faith Turner defied the laws of physics to emerge as the winner with brother Toby 2nd and William 3rd.

The WOBYC event was therefore won by Jensen Jakob, followed by Ellie Thwaites with Nathan Clark 3rd.

By the tightest of margins the 4.2s were won by William Mott, with Toby Turner 2nd and Faith Turner 3rd.

And about 2hrs later the storm with its biblical wind and lightning finally struck when most were attempting to drive home.

Thank you WOBYC for being welcoming, straightforward and a wonderful place to travel to for great sailing; we hope to return. Credit to the redoubtable Anna Clark for organising us all and making stuff happen - the Eastern Region is producing more and more incredible talent while providing its constituents with a love of friendly competitive racing from a wealth of outstanding locations.

Overall Results:

PosClassSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1stTopper47209Jensen JakobNBYC1‑3124
2ndTopper47625Ellie ThwaitesSFSC/NBYC/RSWSC2‑4316
3rdTopper48974Nathan ClarkWOBYC31‑559
4thTopper47634Abbey PennyHSC‑754413
5thTopper48679Harry WemyssHBSC/SFSC528‑1115
6thTopper48246Keah EdwardsCam SC6‑82715
7thTopper16517Mago MedcalfBrancaster St466‑916
8thTopper48148Sofia EatonSnettisham Beach SC‑15117321
9thTopper46921Tyrii BellCam SC‑10710623
10thTopper40848Nate SparrowBASC910‑12827
11thTopper49034Kieran VanhoutteEly SC‑12991028
12thTopper44144Joshua Blackman‑NorthwoodHunts SC111311‑1435
13thTopper43784Henry MossBOSSC1312‑141237
14thTopper45701Tabitha Blackman‑NorthwoodHunts SC815(OCS)1538
15thTopper29734Yasmine BrahamNBYC1414(DNC)1341
16thTopper48573Jack FranklinSnettisham Beach SC‑2017131646
17thTopper 4.245562William MottSnettisham Beach SC17‑23151850
18thTopper 4.244888Toby TurnerSnettisham Beach SC161816‑1950
19thTopper 4.249000Muen Zhong 191617‑2252
20thTopper 4.245500Faith TurnerSnettisham Beach SC18‑20181753
21stTopper 4.244163Toby HaileyWOBYC21‑24192060
22ndTopper 4.222862Claudia Savory (DNC)19202362
23rdTopper 4.244547Robin HaileyWOBYC(DNF)21.5212466.5
24thTopper 4.247596Noah HughesWaldringfield SC(DNF)21.5232670.5
25thTopper 4.223991Annabel HootenWOBYC24‑25222571
26thTopper 4.240777  2226(OCS)DNF78
27thTopper 4.231919Hugo JuryNBYC(DNC)DNFDNC2181
28thTopper 4.228643  23(DNF)DNCDNC83
29thTopper43767Ben Beardshaw (DNC)DNCDNCDNC90

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