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Marine Resources 2022 - LEADERBOARD

ITCA Topper Eastern Regional Championship at Snettisham Beach Sailing Club

by John Eaton & Ed Medcalf 15 Jun 08:47 PDT 10-11 June 2023
ITCA Topper Eastern Regional Championship at Snettisham Beach © John Blackman-Northwood

Having returned from the water with roughly 16 words of text pulped into a briney paste, this report might be more fairly considered as high-level observations of the event. Your correspondent is disappointed not to be able to apply more detail to proceedings but was half-blinded by spray for much of the second day which astute readers will recognise as the sign of charging through a good F4 over tide.

Such conditions elsewhere are usually labelled champagne sailing but at Snettisham it would be more accurate to describe it as 30 highly-skilled Toppers thrashing across the top of a large vessel of most excellent foamy mild.

The Championships attracted an incredible fifteen local sailors in the 33 strong fleet, fourteen from Snettisham Beach with another from Brancaster Staithe. Sailors competed with either 4.2m2 sails or 5.3m2 depending on their weight.

Both days were scheduled to have three races and with only a single discard to play with, errors threatened to be expensive. Risk Assessments, Competitor and Safety Briefings complete, the first morning dawned as a warm 8 knot Easterly permitting a bang-on-cue, 10am launch and a clean 10:30 first race start time.

Race Officer John Eaton set a full trapezoid course designed to give the mixed fleet of the experienced and less experienced racers opportunity to race an international standard course.

The 30 minute race 1 proved the quality of the field, allowing the Race Officer to extend the course and time to offer further challenges. Confidence was growing, as were the Easterly winds. The start of race 2 saw podium contender Harry Mitchell (Erith SC) earning an instant race disqualification, being inches over the start line. His event discard result spent early, Harry had nothing left to spare if he was to take the Championship trophy back to London.

Race 3, started under U flag after the eager fleet pushed over the line early by the ebbing tide, forcing a General Recall and restart. With wind steadily building towards 14 knots we saw contender Jensen Jacob (NBYC), mis-timing and attempting to start at the 1 minute warning, earning him an instant disqualification from that race.

A very lucky Jensen was saved by the now ebbing tide which forced a second General Recall as half the fleet again pushed the line too hard. The third attempt at starting resulted in an eventual clean getaway.

So overnight, Jensen Jakob sat atop the 5.3 results followed by Abbey Penney (Horning SC) and Magnus Medcalf (Brancaster Staithe SC). Lurking in mid-table having been scarred by his flirtation with the previous day's U flag but sitting on some otherwise strong results was guest to the region Harry. Toby and Faith Turner from Snet headed up the 4.2s.

By all accounts the first day's racing had taken place closer to Lincolnshire than East Anglia sparking earnest queries about the legitimacy of the event; happily, the second day's North-Easterly produced a course parallel to the beach.

Race 4, still under U flag, saw a clean start into a fierce chop and a shifty cold breeze. Pessimists defying the predicted heatwave by donning full winter gear looked much more comfortable than those in shorts and t-shirts and goosebumps. The fleet split up the beat and Harry emerged at the windward mark, remaining unchallenged through the next legs to take the gun and lay down the gauntlet to the locals. Jenson in his rocket ship edged past Magnus and the podium was complete.

Race 5 saw exemplary hovering at the line. 28 boats went left, 2 declined to follow the masses and went right (Nathan Clark, WOBYC and Toby Turner). This gamble paid off as they met the left-hand leaders at the top mark. Harry drew out a commanding lead again despite hot pursuit from Abbey and Jenson. Josh and Tabbie Blackman-Northwood (Hunts SC) displayed sibling camaraderie once again by sailing pretty much on top of each other all race.

Further back multiple examples of commendable behaviour were witnessed as transgressions were exorcised by turns - Toby Hailey (WOBYC) was one to do his without missing a beat - and it does emphasise the competitive but fair-minded attitude within the Eastern fleet.

All eyes were on the battle for first at the start of the sixth and final race. Jenson needed to win and hope Harry was back in fourth or worse.

The tide had turned and half the fleet was over the line which initiated a general recall and raising of the feared black flag. Now the current was running fast so that despite an extended beat many overshot the lay line, not helped by a 70 degree windshift which PRO John Eaton would not have welcomed but the rest of us were secretly overjoyed to feel as the temperature rose to acceptability by about 10 degrees in as many minutes.

The run turned into a reach and the subsequent beat also had a hint of one-sidedness but as someone had pulled the bath plug out and the Wash was rapidly emptying; discretion was deemed the better part of valour and the race continued to a shortened conclusion with a few whiskies at the back. Harry again took the gun.

In the 4.2s, further sibling affection was on display as the Turner twins entered into a formal protest. which was downgraded to arbitration. which then became a game of rock/paper/scissors which Faith won.

Congratulations to Harry Mitchell for journeying up to the north Norfolk coast to take on the Easties so successfully. Well done Jenson and Abbey for completing the top three in the 5.3s, and Toby, Faith and William Mott in the 4.2s.

If any club needs an example of how to organise an event then Snet Beach cannot be beaten: car parkers, guitar players, tally team, pizza man, bar staff, race team, rescue squad and tractor drivers all acting in harmony making it a most efficient and welcoming place.

Thank you also to behind-the-scenes regional ITCA rep Michael Wemyss for his preparatory work while he couldn't actually attend in person.

Overall Results:

PosClassSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st5.348320Harry MitchellErith Yacht Club4(OCS)11118
2nd5.348709Jansen JakobNBYC14323‑913
3rd5.347634Abbey PennyHorning324‑72718
4th5.348246Keah EdwardsCam SC‑111765221
5th5.316517Mago MedcalfBrancaster Staithe‑93238824
6th5.314109Robert HoleHunts SC210556‑1428
7th5.348974Nathan ClarkW&OBYC75‑1094328
8th5.349034Kieran VanhoutteEly SC5‑13689533
9th5.344192Jago JenningsWaldingfield869410‑1837
10th5.346731Tild PhillippsSBSC‑149111071148
11th5.347625Ellie ThwaitesSnowflakes68121512‑1953
12th5.348140Lorien Howard‑McDonaldSBSC‑1512151311455
13th5.344144Joshua Blackman NorthwoodHunts SC‑287814131658
14th5.348148Sofia EatonSBSC13141311‑151061
15th5.345701Tabitha Blackman NorthwoodHunts SC2117‑2912141276
16th5.312322Anya GittinsHorning Sailing Club1615161618‑2081
17th5.344547Robin HaileyW&OBYC102019‑23231587
18th5.346686Leo BoltonKing Georgr SC181625‑2825690
19th5.319266Elisabeth CollinsCams SC‑27221717211390
20th5.348409Tom LloydSBSC‑23182020161791
21stTopper 4.244888Toby TurnerSBSC2219181817(SCP)94
22nd5.348573Jack FranklinSBSC1224‑28242022102
23rdTopper 4.245500Faith TurnerSBSC17‑2322212221103
24th5.347927Freddie ReevesCam SC251114(DNC)DNCDNC118
25th5.347450Claudia SavorySBSC3028(RET)191924120
26th5.331919Hugo JuryNBYC20RET212524(DNC)122
27thTopper 4.245562William MottSBSC2425262229(DNC)126
28th5.346825Emily SeatonSBSC‑292927272623132
29thTopper 4.244163Toby HaileyW&OBYC‑312624302725132
30th5.344629Chloe SeatonSBSC2627232928(DNC)133
31st5.334672Hannah FletcherSBSC1921(DNC)26DNCDNC134
32nd5.329734Yasmine BrahamNorfolk Broads YC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC170
32nd5.319266Skye CollinsCams SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC170

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