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September 2022

Midlands Topper Traveller 2022-2023 Series Round 2 at South Staffordshire Sailing Club

by Mike Powell 14 Oct 2022 08:02 PDT 1 October 2022
Startline action during Midlands Topper Traveller 2022-2023 Series Round 2 at South Staffs © Donna Powell

Round 2 of the Midlands Topper Traveller 2022-2023 Series took place at South Staffs Sailing Club on Saturday 1st October 2022.

With high winds forecast on the Friday evening, we were all very keen for this to blow through so the event can take place. Luckily as forecast, the Topper sailors were greeted with blue skies and Westerly reduced wind conditions, whilst gusty it was a lot more friendly than the day before.

South Staffs SC is unique in our calendar as it features an Island in the middle of the water which the sailors have to navigate past and with the gusting wind conditions, this was going to prove to be tricky and certainly had the capability to make or break a sailor's race.

There was also a number new Topper sailors from visiting clubs trying their hand at racing in the Midlands, we are looking forward to seeing them at our future events on the Traveller circuit.

With an excellent team of volunteers in place for the event and the Race officer team consisting of Ex-topper Sailor Finn Morgan and his Father; David, we were certain of a great day of Topper racing.

The wind was forecast to pick up a little, so the PRO was keen to get the fleet into sequence and Race 1 under way on time. This was led by Jessica Powell (Draycote), followed closely by Katherine Gunn (Notts County); fresh from her recent event win at NS1 South. Jessica managed to stretch the fleet out, however Katherine was close on her rudder and managed to overtake on the on the 3rd lap. Jessica kept close behind and fought back to pass Katherine to take race 1 win. A special mention to Chloe Grayton (Notts County) having recently transitioned from 4.2 to 5.3 classification was really getting to grips with the larger sail in the gusty conditions finishing in a very impressive 3rd place.

The course remaining unchanged which enabled Race 2 to quickly get under way and Jessica was keen to build on her race 1 win, taking a very early lead. This would be a lead that she would steadily increase throughout the race, with Katherine and fellow Notts County Sailor, Sammy Mason having an excellent battle for 2nd place. Katherine would win this, taking 2nd place ahead of Sammy.

So, at the halfway point of the event, Jessica, in a dominant position with 2 race wins to her name, needing only 1 more win to take event honours. However, with 2 2nd places from the morning, Katherine could still win if she could win both of the afternoon races. The 4.2 classification was led by local South Staffs sailor; Mia Hateley who was using her knowledge of the venue to great effect, leading just ahead of Alex Chadborn (Notts County)

After a short lunchbreak the sailors were all back on the water getting ready for the afternoon race schedule. Race 3 started and Jessica led the fleet away, with Katherine and Sammy following closely behind at the tricky windward mark that was in a small wind shadow. During the 3 laps, Jessica would be able to gap the fleet, sealing the event with a commanding race win ahead of Katherine who, with her 2nd place in race 3, secured 2nd overall

With the first 2 positions on the event now established, Race 4 would be about deciding 3rd place overall and we had 2 sailors in the frame for this who had both sailed strongly all day in the form of Sammy Mason and Chloe Grayton.

The wind had started to shift and the PRO decided to change the course to accommodate this. Event Winner, Jessica was looking to take 4 event straight wins, taking the lead at the windward mark followed by Sammy, keen to secure 3rd at the event. As the race progressed, Jessica stretched the fleet and managed to take the 4th race win of the day, followed by Sammy who with this result, pipped Chloe for overall 3rd place event honours.

The race for the 4.2 honours came down to the final race and it was Ed Whittaker (Draycote) with his discard from race 1 who leap-frogged Mia Hateley to take the 4.2 Classification win.

The award for the "Top Topper True Grit" awards were presented by the host club to Hari Clark and Alex Stainton who worked hard all day and did not let the tricky conditions beat them. Well Done!

Congratulations to Jessica Powell (Event Winner), Ed Whittaker (4.2 Winner) and our "True Grit" Topper Sailors.

Thank you to South Staffs SC for running an amazing event and making all of the Topper Sailors and families so welcome. We are looking forward to returning to South Staffs as part of our future Traveller Series.

Thanks also to our event Sponsors; Topper Sailboats and Rooster for their continued support of Midlands Topper Traveller Series

The next event in the series is Round 3 at Notts County Sailing Club, Entry will open shortly and booking in will be via the ITCA Website. We look forward to you joining us there.

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

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmRigR1R2R3R4Pts
1st46391Jessica Powell5.3‑11113
2nd48571Kat Gunn5.3222‑36
3rd47354Sammy Mason5.3‑53328
4th48535Chloe Grayton5.334‑5411
5th48193Jasper Focardi Dolling5.3‑654514
6th48907Keali Rhodes5.34‑106717
7th49038Jake Blakeway5.3‑968620
8th48664William Mawby‑Groom5.3787(DNC)22
9th48367Matthew Gaylor5.3107‑11825
10th47222Georgia Riddell5.3‑1299927
11th46971Oscar Rowe5.38‑11101028
12th45747Ed Whittaker4.2(DNF)12131237
13th0Mia Hateley4.2‑1413141138
14th46512Alex Stainton5.316(DNF)121543
15th36182Alex Chadborn4.2‑1816171346
16th42356Oliver Baron5.3171516(DNF)48
17th46124Laurie Lamb5.31114(DNF)DNF49
18th41858Harry Mallen4.22017(DNF)1451
19th42830Charlie Oneill5.315(DNF)15DNF54
20th47101Lizzie Cook4.213(DNF)DNFDNF61
21st47533Hari Clark4.22118(DNF)DNF63
22nd48214Peter Gathergood4.219(DNF)DNFDNF67
23rd123James Burton5.3(DNF)DNFDNFDNF72

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