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Topper North Traveller Series Round 4 at Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club

by George Spence 16 May 07:46 PDT 14 May 2023
Topper North Traveller Series Round 4 / Northern Area Championships at Tees and Hartlepool YC © Fiona Spence

14 Toppers arrived at Tees & Hartlepool on Sunday 14 May to a light wind forecast for the Northern Area Championships.

After a technical fault in the marina docks caused a delay in the safety teams and committee boat going to sea, the fleet eventually got away cleanly for the first race. The fleet split with some taking the far right and others taking the centre route up the first beat. The right-hand side paid and the leading pack of Ava Harris-Scott (Elton), Jasper Bramwell (Hollingworth Lake), George Spence (Ripon) and Tristan Shaw (Budworth) rounded the mark a short distance ahead.

The next group of Emre Frankland (Yorkshire Dales) and Kyla Baxter (Covenham) & Reuben Lawrance (Budworth) rounded the windward mark and gave chase.

On beat two Spence again headed right with Harris going hard left and Bramwell taking the middle. Bramwell's attempt to hold Harris out from rounding the windward mark led to them both doing turns allowing Spence to capitalise and develop a good lead by the leeward mark.

The final beat saw Spence maintain and protect his lead, lower positions were still in hot contention with Frankland, sailing in his first full competitive season taking the far-left side of the beat to round the windward mark in 4th after Bramwell and Shaw who had gone right with Harris losing ground to round 5th after taking the middle route up the beat.

Shaw's dramatic death roll on the penultimate downwind leg allowed Frankland to capitalise further on his gains to finish 3rd with the other positions unchanged.

Meanwhile further down the fleet Connie Murphy (Budworth), Matthew Baird (Budworth) & Xavier Bramwell (Hollingworth Lake) had a brilliant race between themselves with positions changing regularly on each leg. Baird sailed an intelligent final beat to finish ahead of Murphy & X Bramwell.

10-year-old Toby Eagleton sailing his 5.3 rig for the first time, in his first event on the sea, put in a solid sail to complete 2 laps before being 'whiskied'.

Race officer Andy Young took advantage of the building breeze to get Race 2 away promptly with another clean start.

This time Harris was having none of it and was ahead by the first leeward mark with J Bramwell and Spence in hot pursuit. Fred Buckley (Yorkshire Dales) rounded the windward mark in 4th but deathrolled in a gust allowing Baxter and Lara Eagleton (Scaling Dam) to nip past and make use of the building pressure to surf downwind to catch the leading trio.

The second beat saw significant position changes with the right-hand side continuing to pay, Eagleton capitalised on this to round the windward mark 2nd behind Harris with Baxter just behind J Bramwell. Spence had gone up the middle and lost out to Frankland but Buckley sailed a determined beat to catch up lost places after his swim to round in 8th behind Shaw. Harris and Eagleton continued to pull away from the chasing pack to finish with a good lead over Bramwell and Baxter.

The next 3 planed in for a close finish with Frankland pipping Shaw & Spence to 5th. Meanwhile, Murphy exacted revenge on Baird & X Bramwell after another battle up & down the course with Lawrance & Buckley also having a good race for 8th & 9th. T Eagleton again sailed well in the building wind and showed great determination to finish the race despite starting to be overpowered.

After a two great races in a building wind, spirits were high but the weather gods hadn't got the race officer's memo and the wind dropped completely, the rain came down hard for 10 minutes and the wind swung 180 degrees. After two attempts at starting race 3 and a lengthy postponement to hopefully give the conditions time to settle the Race Officer signalled AP over A and the fleet headed in.

J Bramwell took the overall win on consistency over Harris & Spence who had a 5th & 7th to count respectively.

A big thank you to Tees & Hartlepool YC who hosted the Toppers on Saturday for open training as well as the racing event on Sunday, race officers Andy & Sam Young and the safety crews and mark layers who supported the event. The final round in the Topper North series is at Pennine SC on Saturday 10 June.

Overall Results:

Endeavour prize - Toby Eagleton

1stJasper BramwellHollingworth Lake SC235
2ndAva Harris‑ScottElton SC516
3rdGeorge SpenceRipon SC178
4thEmre FranklandYorkshire Dales SC358
5thTristan ShawBudworth SC4610
6thLara EagletonSDSC9211
7thKyla BaxterCovenham SC8412
8thReuben LawranceBudworth SC6915
9thFred BuckleyYorkshire Dales SCSCP819
10thConnie MurphyBudworth SC111021
11thMatthew BairdBudworth SC101121
12thXavier BramwellHollingworth Lake SC121224
13thToby EagletonSDSC131326

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