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Ocean Safety 2023 - New Identity - LEADERBOARD

Eastern Region Topper Traveller Series Round 9 at Waveney & Oulton Broad Yacht Club

by Edward Medcalf 28 Oct 2023 10:07 BST 22 October 2023
ITCA Eastern Region Topper Traveller Series 2023 Round 9 at Waveney & Oulton Broad © Jo Savory

From the ridiculous to the sublime. 27 of the East's brightest sailing prospects gathered at Waveney & Oulton Broad Yacht Club (WOBYC) on 22nd October 2023 for the Eastern Region Topper Traveller finale with the championship title up for grabs and reputations to be forged.

This was the showdown in Low (estoft) town, the discord on the broad, the thriller with a tiller, the rumble in Carlton Colville, [getting worse, please desist. Editor].

Proper Topper season-stopper

As race day dawned 3 sailors were mathematically in with a chance of taking the title in this, the last of nine events stretching back to the season's opener at Snowflakes on 8th Jan. Ellie Thwaites (Snowflakes/NBYC/RSWSC) led Jensen Jakob (NBYC/Snowflakes) by a point, meaning that whoever beat the other one would most likely win overall. Local hero Nathan Clark (WOBYC) had made a late charge up the leader board and was in contention; now he had lured the fleet to his back yard and if he could scrape Ellie and Jensen off into the pack using his guiles and insight, that glistening silverware in the plastic bag under the desk would be his. The 4.2s had already crowned their series champion who was feet up on the beach in Lanzarote but one distinctiveness of the day was that new names were to come to light across both fleets.

In contrast to the biblical deluge of the previous 48hrs bright sunshine, gin-clear air and a steady F2 rippled the broad apart from around the clubhouse where clouds of smoke implied that bacon baps were very ready. WOBYC's proximity to its racing area, about 38 inches of patio, meant that some of the slower breakfasters were casting off midway through the start sequence and still able to nail the gun.

Race 1 in the 5.3s was a demonstration of gauntlet-throwing by Ellie, who started in the middle of the line, appeared first at the windward mark and proceeded to control the situation from over the horizon. Behind her, Sofia Eaton (SBSC) and Robert Hole (Hunts SC) emerged from a competitive pack of 7 and completed the podium. In the 4.2s William Mott (SBSC) strolled to his first win of the day.

For race 2, WOBYC played its joker card by unleashing several Waveney One Designs (sail area 26.9 sq m) into the melee. Having one of these upwind of you, rounding a mark alongside you or even on occasion mercilessly tacking in front of you was somewhat compromising, and sager Topper helms prepared to apply proactive avoidance tactics. Ellie was pinged for an individual recall and now we saw Tabitha Blackman-Northwood (Hunts SC) and Sofia AGAIN, not only mixing it with but also beating Magnus Medcalf (BSSC) and Abbey Penny (Horning SC). Jensen advanced confidently and positioned himself well with covers and outstanding CMG to take the win. William repeated the trick in the 4.2s followed by Toby Hailey (WOBYC).

A win each for Ellie and Jensen. Race 3 would be a biggie. The wind picked up to a Race Officer's dream F3. No individual recall was sounded but Jensen wasn't sure whether it was him anyway so thought about returning from halfway up the beat then astutely changed his mind; that vacuum at the front was filled by an energetic charging Josh Blackman-Northwood (Hunts SC) and the relaxed style of Kieran Vanhoutte (Ely SC). Ellie held Kieran off to the finish line. In the 4.2s the uncongested start line allowed Noah Hughes (Waldringfield SC) to execute a worldie port-hand flyer but the precision could not be sustained quite long enough to prevent William from grasping his 3rd win of the day.

Ellie was now on 8 points for the event, Jensen on 9, both with a big discard to play. Nathan had acted the gracious host and not wrecked the party so Jensen needed to beat Ellie by 2 places for the grand title. Atmospheric conditions at the clubhouse were crackling (may have been the oven again) - the maths had been a bit complicated so in truth no one really knew who to cheer for but it was getting good and rowdy. Kieran, Sofia, Tabitha, Abbey and Josh wrestled the shifts in a close group for the 2 laps while Ellie and Jensen scrapped it out ahead.

The leaders rounded the final downwind mark neck and neck, then match-raced each other up the 200-yard beat to the line. A final split tack saw Jensen take the win with Ellie rightly confident that her 2nd place was enough to secure the 2023 Eastern series - well-deserved by a consistent and sporting competitor. Both sailors were quick to congratulate each other and other finishers before heading shoreward and diving into the local mud bath as you do.

William executed his 4th win of the day to cement 2nd place in the series. Another promising emerging talent.

Such was the high quality of the fleet, there wasn't a capsize all day and the safety boats simply acted as tan top-up platforms. WOBYC put on a typically unflustered event without batting an eyelid - great to have the venue on the circuit, many thanks to them for inviting the fleet.

Round 9 Results:

5.3 Fleet
1st Ellie Thwaites
2nd Jensen Jacob
3rd Sofia Eaton

4.2 Fleet
1st William Mott
2nd Toby Hailey
3rd Noah Hughes

Overall Series Results:

5.3 Fleet 1st Ellie Thwaites
2nd Jensen Jacob
3rd Nathan Clark
4th Harry Wemyss
5th Magnus Medcalf
6th Abby Penny

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

In the prize-giving ceremony, awards were presented to the overall top six in 5.3 and top three in 4.2 In addition four special awards were presented to Robert Hole, Tabitha Blackman Norwood, Noah Hughes, and Claudia Savory. Special huge thanks to Michael Wemyss for all his unseen hard work, coach corralling and suave peacekeeping; there should be a lot of pride in building the fleet to the upper twenties with some serious talent starting to shine and prospects to watch. Sailors leaving the fleet for classes new include Ellie, Magnus, and Kieran all with great groundings in friendly but fair regional racing that they will use for years to come.

This is Ed's last report. A huge thanks from everyone at ITCA East Region for the entertaining reports and good luck as 048 moves on.

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