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Sailing Chandlery 2024 LEADERBOARD

Topper Eastern Area Championships at Snettisham Beach Sailing Club

by John Blackman Northwood 10 Jun 05:23 BST 1-2 June 2024

Expectations were high for the Eastern Area ITCA Championships at Snettisham Beach Sailing Club (SBSC). The last two years of events at Snett', the weather has been glorious. This year we had promises from the SBSC "Junior Convenor", Nathan Franklin, that the weather would be even better!

The event flyer, "popped" like something from a glossy magazine, with connotations of West Indian, Tropical sailing conditions. As we approached the event date, it was clear the strong Northerly wind was going to deliver something different from previous years.

We arrived on Friday, in the early evening, ready to pitch our tent. The wind was "howling" and there was little protection on the sandy bank, in front of the club house. It didn't help that our tent is large enough to provide shelter for the population of a small village. We pitched the tent with the help of Jenson Jakob, Harry Wemyss, Toby Turner and Laurie Lamb. If ever there was a lesson in good communication, it was erecting a large family tent, in strong winds. We don't just send our kids to these events to win prizes, we send them to learn life lessons. Not a peg was left unused to ensure a carefree, restful sleep. Others choose the security of vans and motorhomes, all easily accommodated within the confines of SBSC. Those that shall remain nameless and less adventurous, procured a holiday cottage further along the beach.

Come morning, the cold North wind was still blowing and arguably may have increased. The rumour from "Topper Russ", who was on-site to do his usual magic tricks with any boat repairs, was that a National Series event wouldn't proceed if the wind speed was over 30 knots. We would have to wait for the official verdict from John Eaton, our Race Officer for the event before we could stand down. The schedule for the day continued as planned, while we waited for the water to fill the wash. Briefings were held and safety boats were lined up on the shore in anticipation of the day's events.

The water rolled in and the wind remained. At 12:30 the announcement was made. Racing would not take place on the sea! All was not lost, though. SBSC were prepared with a back-up plan. Plan B would be to race on the "lake" behind the club. Although not large enough to accommodate the whole fleet all at once, sailors would be assigned flights and two flights would race at a time, rotating through the flights. The 4.2 rigs would race as their own fleet.

The SIs were updated and a race briefing re-convened. Racing would go ahead!

Race 1

After the second lap, Jensen Jakob (NBYC) had a sizable lead, over Laurie Lamb (Draycote water SC) with another good gap before a tight race between Robert Hole (Hunts SC) and Josh Blackman Northwood (Hunts SC). After a capsize from both Laurie and Josh, Robert managed to move up into 2nd place. The various position changes and capsizes in this fast paced, close-quarters, sprint style racing had the crowd on their feet in the "grandstand" that was the slightly elevated picnic area, near the slipway to the lake. With every near-miss, capsize or, in particular, spectacular "death roll" there would be moans of "oooohhh" and "arrrggghh" from the gathered crowd. By the end of the first race it was Jensen, Robert and Laurie in 1st, 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

Race 2

Four of the nine sailors had chosen to reef their sails, with great starts from Tabitha Blackman Northwood (Hunts SC) and Harry Mitchell (Erith Yacht Club and King George SC). Although, Tild Phillipps (SBSC) was first to the windward mark followed shortly after by Tabitha who then capsized coming out of the rounding. Tild had what everyone thought was an unbeatable lead over Harry M, but capsized allowing Harry M to catch up and ultimately force Tild to the end of the finish line. Harry M did a final tack to cross the line in first. Further down the fleet, the racing was also close, positions were changing right up to the line with Thomas Matthews (Grafham Water Sailing Club) dropping to 8th as Claudia Savory (SBSC) and Faith Turner (SBSC) battle to the line with Claudia finishing 6th and Faith 7th. First place went to Harry M. with Tild in 2nd and Harry Wemyss (Hickling Broad SC) in 3rd.

Race 3

This was the first of the races from the 4.2 sailors with Toby Hailey (WOBYC), Henry Lambert (Hunts SC) and Noah Hughes (Waldringfield SC) maintaining their positions throughout the race giving the spectators a much needed break from the adrenaline fuelled races of the 5.3 rigs.

Race 4

There were a number of capsizes during the starting sequence. There was some pushing of the line and both Jensen and Robert were over the line as the klaxon sounded at the start of the race. Robert returned to the start line making a clear start, but Jensen was unaware of his infringement and was disqualified from the race. Robert managed to progress up through the fleet again to take 1st place and with Jensen not in the running Sofia Eaton took 2nd and Faith Turner 3rd.

Race 5

Josh took an early lead, but didn't manage to maintain it as another one of the many capsizes of the day meant Harry M was able to gain the lead. Yet again, there was a nail biter of a finish between Tabi and Tild as Tabi managed to gain the advantage just before the line and push Tild into 4th, making Harry M, Josh and then Tabi in the top positions.

Race 6

The second of the 4.2 races, the only thing different in this race compared to the first 4.2 race was the number of capsizes. Positions remained the same throughout, with Toby H in first, then Henry, then Noah.

Race 7

This was another close quarters race, so much so there was a collision between the front sailors, Jensen and Harry M. While they were a tangled mess, Tabi found a Topper sized gap between them and the leeward mark. Tabi's first position was short lived as Harry M was hot on her heels, while Tild got her own back from the fifth race, pipping Tabi at the post to gain second, pushing Tabi into 3rd.

Race 8

This time it was Harry W way out front with Laurie tracking behind. Harry W taking one risk too many meant he went for a swim on the downwind leg allowing Laurie to catch up and even overtake. The wind dropped slightly, which meant Faith and Toby, the lighter sailors, were not being overpowered, were pointing much higher and not being pushed sideways. There was a bit of healthy sibling rivalry at the windward mark as Toby capsized and Faith overtook, shouting words of "encouragement" as only a big sister could. By the end of this race Harry W managed to gain back his prime position from Laurie moments before the finish. Behind them there was another position change between the leeward mark and the finish line as Faith didn't see Josh tack early and he managed to sneak 3rd place from her.

Race 9

The last race of the day and the last race of the 4.2s. This race was the opposite of race 6. This time the capsizes stayed the same, but the positions changed. Henry managed to finish in front, followed by Toby H and Noah.

Day 2

The Sun came out and the wind dropped. The tropical Snet weather had arrived. Everyone was excited to be getting out onto the sea. The first race went ahead without a hitch, but by the end of the race the wind had continued to drop. We went from "The Fast and the Furious" on day one to "Dead Calm" on day two. In the 5.3 fleet, Harry W crossed the line in 1st with Thomas in 2nd and Robert in 3rd. In the 4.2 fleet, Toby H was 1st, William Mott (SBSC) and Noah 3rd, that is about all that can be said about that race! By the start of the 2nd race, the wind was almost non-existent and the tide was on the turn. Without any wind the sailors were unable to fight the tide to get into position for the start. After 2 general recalls the second race got under way. With the wind dying further, the race was abandoned at the discretion of the Race Officer, much to the annoyance of Toby T who rounded the windward mark first and has declared he is no longer speaking to John Eaton.

Prizes

It was clear from those watching the first day's racing that there was an unusual amount of capsizing. Some of the spectators started to collect a tally of who and how many capsizes occurred. They counted 105 in total with prizes being awarded to the the most number of capsizes by an individual sailor. This accolade was shared by 2 sailors, Jack Franklin (SBSC) and Emily Seaton (SBSC) with 10 capsizes each. Robert was the only sailor who did not capsize on day 1 and therefore also earned himself a prize.

For this event, as a trial, SBSC organisers designed a scoring system intended to reward a Sailors Personal Improvement, "The Development Trophy". The aim is to recognise and encourage progressing Sailors who might not yet be at the top of the fleet, to perform and work to improve. This system took into account previous ITCA results, for those that have competed Regionally / Nationally. For those who had not competed enough, or at all, they were given a base "Performance Rating". All competitors were included.

The top spot and winner of the "Development Trophy" went to Laurie with a 26.4% improvement on his PR rating, receiving the 1st place Trophy together with a complete set of new toe straps supplied by Topper International, A fantastic performance by Claudia to attain a 2nd place overall with a 24.4% improvement, 3rd place went to Tild 22.6%, with Chloe Seaton (SBSC) achieving a 5th place in only her 2nd ITCA event ever, with a 20.9% improvement on her PR rating.

The top positions in each of the fleets were Robert Hole in 3rd, Harry Wemyss 2nd and overall winner of the Eastern Area Topper 5.3 Championships was... Harry Mitchell. In the 4.2 fleet, in 3rd place was Noah Hughes, in 2nd Henry Lambert and the overall winner of the Eastern Area Topper 4.2 Championships was... Toby Hailey. Each first place winner received a carbon fibre tiller extension from "CF by L and L". Congratulations to all the winners at the event!

All the parents and sailors thank John Eaton, Race Officer; Nathan Franklin, Junior Convenor; Adrian Tebbutt, Commodore; Lucy Dunne, bar/galley; Askers for providing the wood fired pizza, Tommy Philpott for the live music on Saturday night, and all the behind the scenes helpers at SBSC for their hospitality and organisation.

The next Eastern Region Traveller event is at Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club on 14th July and is the 4th event of the series. As usual, there will also be training on the 13th July. The Third National Series event (NS5) at Derwent will take place on the 28th June and we hope to see as many of you at this event as possible.

Overall Results:

PosDivisionSail NoAltSailHelmClubR1R1R2R2R3R3R4Pts
5.3 Fleet
1stWhite48320352Harry MitchellErith Yacht Club & King George SC 1 11 ‑73
2ndRed48679878Harry WemyssHickling Broad SC / Snowflakes SC / GYG 3‑4  115
3rdYellow14109194Robert HoleHunts SC2 1 ‑4 36
4thWhite46731246Tild PhillippsSnettisham Beach SC 2 42 ‑158
5thBlue44144209Joshua Blackman NorthwoodHunts SC4  2 3‑149
6thWhite45701568Tabitha Blackman NorthwoodHunts SC 4 33 ‑810
7thBlue47181250Laurie LambDraycote Water SC / Staunton Harold SC3  7 2‑1212
8thYellow45374232Sofia EatonSnettisham Beach SC7 2 ‑8 413
9thRed47625691Faith TurnerSnettisham Beach SC ‑73  4613
10thWhite46007575Thomas MatthewsGrafham Water SC ‑8 86 216
11thWhite47450229Claudia SavorySnettisham Beach SC 6 5‑7 516
12thBlue44888169Toby TurnerSnettisham Beach SC5  6 5‑916
13thYellow48709521Jensen JakobNBYC1 (OCS) 5 1117
14thRed44016118Nate SparrowBASC / Waveney and Oulton Broad YC 96  6‑1721
15thRed32832 Chloe SeatonSnettisham Beach SC 5(RET)  71022
16thYellow18046185Nimal De SilvaSnettisham Beach SC9 5 10 ‑1624
17thBlue48069348Sally KerrySnettisham Beach SC8  10 8‑2026
18thYellow44547605Robin HaileyWaveney and Oulton Broad YC6 (RET) 9 1328
19thYellow4857332Jack FranklinSnettisham Beach SC10 7 11 ‑1828
20thBlue46825349Emily SeatonSnettisham Beach SC11  9 10‑1930
21stRed31919308Hugo JuryNBYC (DNS)DNS  9DNS53
4.2 Fleet
1st 44163606Toby HaileyWaveney and Oulton Broad YC11‑21   3
2nd 16708268Henry LambertHunts SC221‑4   5
3rd 45796310Noah HughesWaldringfield SC‑3333   9
4th 45562174William MottSnettisham Beach SC(DNS)DNSDNS2   12

Development Trophy:

PosClassSail NoAltSailClubHelmPerf Improvement
1stTopper 5.347181250Draycote Water SC / Staunton Harold SCLaurie Lamb26.4%
2ndTopper 5.347450229Snettisham Beach SCClaudia Savory24.4%
3rdTopper 5.346731246Snettisham Beach SCTild Phillipps22.6%
4thTopper 5.332832 Snettisham Beach SCChloe Seaton20.9%
5thTopper 5.344144209Hunts SCJoshua Blackman Northwood20.0%
6thTopper 5.347625691Snettisham Beach SCFaith Turner17.3%
7thTopper 5.345701568Hunts SCTabitha Blackman Northwood10.9%
8thTopper 5.348069348Snettisham Beach SCSally Kerry10.3%
9thTopper 5.344016118BASC / Waveney and Oulton Broad YCNate Sparrow4.7%
10thTopper 5.318046185Snettisham Beach SCNimal De Silva4.0%
11thTopper 5.345374232Snettisham Beach SCSofia Eaton2.7%
12thTopper 5.344888169Snettisham Beach SCToby Turner0% NIL
12thTopper 5.344547605Waveney and Oulton Broad YCRobin Hailey0% NIL
12thTopper 5.348709521NBYCJensen Jakob0% NIL
12thTopper 5.34857332Snettisham Beach SCJack Franklin0% NIL
12thTopper 5.331919308NBYCHugo Jury0% NIL
12thTopper 4.245796310Waldringfield SCNoah Hughes0% NIL
12thTopper 4.245562174Snettisham Beach SCWilliam Mott0% NIL
12thTopper 5.346825349Snettisham Beach SCEmily Seaton0% NIL
12thTopper 5.346007575Grafham Water SCThomas Matthews0% NIL
21stTopper 5.314109194Hunts SCRobert HolePlaced so excluded
21stTopper 4.244163606Waveney and Oulton Broad YCToby HaileyPlaced so excluded
21stTopper 4.216708268Hunts SCHenry LambertPlaced so excluded
21stTopper 5.348679878Hickling Broad SC / Snowflakes SC / GYGHarry WemyssPlaced so excluded
21stTopper 5.348320352Erith Yacht Club & King George SCHarry MitchellPlaced so excluded

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