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Vaikobi 2023 Gloves - LEADERBOARD

Topper Eastern Traveller Round 2 at Royal Harwich Yacht Club

by Ed Medcalf 15 Mar 02:00 PDT 4-5 March 2023

Apprehension was mounting on arrival at the car park of Royal Harwich Yacht Club for the 2nd in the Eastern Traveller Series 23 for 5.3s and 4.2s. The Troll from Trondheim (or Trimley maybe?) was raging, scattering debris, litter and some of the smaller members of the 4.2 fleet before it. A wind-battering was in store for competitors and spectators alike.

RHYC's state of semi-hibernation had been disturbed by 20 Topper sailors whose energetic chat echoed around the distinguished halls; half analysing the association's prototype hull launched this weekend and half arguing whether M&Ms are better than Skittles. PRO Gordon welcomed the travellers warmly and set the scene, then signalled for battle to commence.

Race one, a windward leeward, witnessed exemplary coached behaviour wherein the majority of both fleets were positioned on a notional start line at the 1min gun; it would be churlish to state that the actual line was about 30yds further forward. On the "t" of "toot" triggers were pulled for the force 4 beat though Toby Turner (Snettisham Beach SC) in the 4.2s got his only bad start of the day by dint of an untimely capsize at precisely that moment. Ellie Thwaites (Snowflakes/NBYC/RSWSC),, Jago Jennings (Waldringfield), Jensen Jakob (NBYC) and Harry Wemyss (Hickling Broad SC/Snowflakes) got strong midline starts but were pipped to the first mark by Magnus Medcalf (Brancaster Staithe SC) who picked the first of the day's major windshifts.

The entire fleet then pursued a guide boat that wasn't a guide boat, were redirected to where they should actually be going and swung round the leeward mark. The leader could then look back at 7 boats closely dog-fighting each other up the 2nd beat and used his clear air to extend the advantage to 100 yds. Confusion incident #2 then occurred as the Orwell's transient restaurant boat cruised cheerfully through the course necessitating some major CMG deviations. Anya Gittin's burst of speed to the final mark resulted in a dipping, and Magnus claimed line honours followed by Ellie and a resurgent Nathan Clark (WOBYC). In the 4.2s, Toby had recovered and motored through the fleet to take the win (10th place overall, he should start like that as often as he can), followed by Faith Turner and William Mott, (both Snettisham Beach SC).

Race two; Gordon now reached deep into his box of tricks and set a cunning figure of eight course. The wind had picked up again for the start which witnessed Toby and Harry getting flyers. Ellie hounded Harry round the entire course but his defence, inside lines and cover tacks, was exemplary. Kieran Vanhoutte (Ely SC) and Henry Moss (Burnham Overy Staithe SC) noticeably moved through the fleet well to gain places and both took advantage of the windshift on the 2nd beat which made the windward mark accessible in one tack. Toby elbowed Faith out for the 4.2 spoils. Nathan completed the 5.3 podium.

Race three; the PRO was spoiling us. He plucked a trapezoid course from his bag of talents. The wind dropped. Start sequence under way, suddenly the wind pumped back in and the gun heralded pin end chaos where a group of over-powered chargers had all ended up in the same place. The course variation favoured Henry and Ralph Leftley (NBYC) who maximised the balance between angles and speed. A couple of racers neglected to pass through the line gate on lap 2 and had to make expensive detours; meanwhile Ellie, Jensen and Nathan powered through to finish in that order with Keah Edwards (Cam SC) in pursuit while the 4.2s repeated the previous race order.

Race four. What treat would be in store this time - surely a triangle sausage or perhaps Round Britain. But no, time was not on our side so the series was bookended with a condensed windward leeward. Energy levels and finger temperatures were clearly depleting as there was no line-sitting at the P flag. Instead, most chose to beam reach to anywhere on the line and for the 3rd time Toby nailed it to the micro-second at the boat end. Harry and Ellie counter-punched each other up the beat followed by Henry and Abbey Penny (Horning SC). However, Nathan mastered consistency with a further 3rd place having gained an advantage on the 2nd beat, along with Magnus who finished 4th ahead of Henry and Abbey.

So Ellie returns home with another well-deserved Traveller win. She demonstrated control of each situation and immense humbleness in congratulating others, a great example and fleet leader. Harry and Nathan must also take credit as close runners-up.

Mentions must be made of Josh and Tabi Blackman-Northwood (Hunts SC) who finished each race pretty much on top of each other. Claudia Savory (Snettisham Beach SC) persevered with her reduced sail area, gaining confidence with each race. And William will be returning home to eat some more sausage rolls, further building his brawny stature in order to beat the conditions next time.

RHYC has once again showcased uncomplicated and friendly hospitality to the Eastern Topper fleet which is why we hope to return again and again. The vistas, the warm changing-rooms, the encouragement offered to these young aspirants. Our thanks to Gordon, Amanda, Mike, other Mike and attendant volunteers who worked hard to provide us with great racing. Gratitude also to John Blackman-Northwood for his frozen-finger photography and the indomitable Anna Clark who keeps us organised, on time and on our best behaviour. Onwards to Hunts!

Hunts Sailing Club is where the next Eastern Traveller event in the series takes place with training on Saturday 18th March and Racing on Sunday 19th March 2023. Entry is now open and booking is through the ITCA GBR website.

Any junior sailors in the Eastern region are interested in participating in 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 area

Overall Results:

PosRigSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st5.347625Ellie ThwaitesSnowflakes/NBYC/RSWSC‑22125
2nd5.348679Harry WemyssHickling Broad SC/Snowflakes‑71517
3rd5.348974Nathan ClarkWaveney & Oulton Broad‑33339
4th5.316517Magnus MedcalfBrancaster Staithe SC19‑10414
5th5.348709Jensen JakobNorfolk Broads YC662‑714
6th5.344192Jago JenningsWaldringfield456‑915
7th5.348246Keah EdwardsCam SC5104‑1419
8th5.349034Kieran VanhoutteEly SC‑949821
9th5.347634Abbey PennyHorning Sailing Club8‑118622
10th5.343784Henry MossBurnham Overy Staithe SC147(DNS)526
11th5.314109Robert HoleHunts SC‑128111029
12th5.346929Ralph LeftleyNorfolk Broads YC‑151271130
13th4.244888Toby TurnerSnettisham Beach1013‑151336
14th5.344144Joshua Blackman‑NorthwoodHunts SC111413‑1638
15th5.345701Tabitha Blackman‑NorthwoodHunts SC13‑16121540
16th5.312322Anya GittinsHorning Sailing Club‑1715141241
17th4.245500Faith TurnerSnettisham Beach16‑17161749
18th5.311885Claudia Savory 18‑19171954
19th5.348573Jack FranklinSnettisham Beach20(DSQ)181856
20th4.245562William MottSnettisham Beach191819(RET)56

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