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Eastern Topper Traveller Series at Snowflake Sailing Club

by Anna Clark 18 Jan 21:22 GMT 7-8 January 2023
Eastern Topper Traveller Series at Snowflake SC, Horning © Trish Barnes

The start of the year and the start of the Eastern Topper Traveller Series was held at Snowflake Sailing Club on the 7th and 8th January 2023, and what a start it was!

The weekend started on the Saturday amidst strong wind and potential rain, but still 18 sailors from across the region dusted off their sails, for a full day of race training with our coaches, Flip Dugdale, James Deaton and Ryan Walford.

The morning session included start line training and gybing round marks, whilst in the afternoon the sailors competed in mini championship races.

On Sunday, the wind had abated ever so slightly for the first Eastern Topper Traveller event of the year. This was going to prove to be challenging for the sailors, especially those new to racing. The number of sailors attending our regional events has been slowing increasing during last year, so it was excellent to have 26 sailors at our first event of the year.

If you don't know the area, Snowflake Sailing Club is situated on a 90 degree elbow bend of the River Bure in Horning.

Both the 4.2 and 5.3 fleets had their individual series to compete for, but to ensure we managed to complete all 4 races, we opted for a single start. So, with 26 boats all jostling for position on the narrow start line it was critical to get a good start. Ellie Thwaites and Jensen Jakob, both Snowflake sailors who rounded the windward mark first, whilst the chasing fleet snapped at their heels being led by Nathan Clark (WOBYC) and Magnus Medcalf (Brancaster Staithe SC).

Despite their best efforts the race position never changed as Ellie dominated the race from start to finish, with Jensen second and Nathan third for the 5.3 fleet. In the 4.2 fleet, it was a close call between William Mott (Snettisham SC) and Faith Turner (Snettisham SC) as to who would finish ahead, ending with William clinching 1st place, closely followed by Faith in 2nd.

After a short recess, race 2 got under way and again Ellie dominated to take the win, with Nathan just beating Jensen. In the 4.2 series despite the smaller sail, Toby Turner (Snettisham SC) had a great result in finishing 11th out of the 26 boats that started, giving him the 4.2 win in the race.

During the lunch break, we were entertained by some very plucky adults who took to the water in the Toppers for a special, one-off race. This proved to be a very raucous event, with the younger sailors all shouting 'advice' and words of wisdom, and in some cases praying that their boats would be returned to them unharmed.

RYA East's race coach, Adam Barker showed his adaptability to all boats and took the lead, but close on his tail was seasoned master, Rob Jakob. It was Rob, who eventually with his greater years of experience, managed to past Adam on the final beat to take the win. 3rd was Lizzie Hole.

It was still all to play for between the top three positions in the 5.3 fleet, and the top four in the 4.2 fleet. As they took to the water for the 3rd race, the clouds had darken and we were left wondering if the predictive rain would start. The wind was still quite tricky and kept the sailors on full alert for the gusts which caught some unaware.

Ellie took a commanding lead that proved to be unbeatable and also secured her the event win with a race to spare. Harry Wemyss (Snowflake) come home in 2nd place. Another win for Toby Turner, increased his lead over the rest of the 4.2 fleet.

Now it was down to the final race of the day to see who would take the remaining podium places in the 5.3. With some great starts for some, unfortunately this time Ellie was over the line and didn't realise until halfway up the beat.

However, this did not deter her and after heading back to restart, she was determined to chase the disappearing fleet down, showing true spirit. The focus was on Nathan and Jensen to see who would come out on top and win the race, and therefore second place overall.

By the end of the race, it was Jensen that got the better of Nathan, taking the final win of the day and overall event 2nd place. Whilst, sibling rival was well under way between Toby and Faith for the 4.2 win.

Both sailors had their best result of the day coming home 10th and 11th overall respectively, proving that despite smaller sails they were just as competitive, and were not being overpowered. 

Overall results in the 5.3 Series went to:

1st Ellie Thwaites (Snowflake SC)
2nd Jensen Jakob (Snowflake SC)
3rd Nathan Clark (WOBYC)

In the 4.2 Series it was a clean sweep for Snettisham SC with:

1st Toby Turner
2nd Faith Turner
3rd William Mott

A huge thank you to our hosts Snowflake Sailing Club for running a superb event, with James Dugdale our race officer for the day keeping an eye on things. Thanks also need to go to our association sponsors - Topper Sailboats, Rooster, Optimum Time and GJW Direct for their continued support.

Our next Eastern Traveller event in the series is round 2 at Royal Harwich Yacht Club on Sunday 26th February 2023. Entry is now open and booking is through the ITCA GBR website. There is Traveller training on Saturday 25th February at Royal Harwich again booking through the ITCA GBR website.

If any Junior sailors in the Eastern region are interested in participating at one of our Traveller events, this is a great opportunity to enter a friendly and local race series. If you would like further information, please contact us on

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