Thirty five toppers entered The Midlands Topper Championships that took place at Notts County Sailing Club on 23 June. Two days of racing were planned, however, the forecast suggested that there would be a light-ish breeze on Saturday and no breeze at all on Sunday. The Midlands Topper Traveller series has been plagued by the severe lack of breeze, sometimes, nothing at all, and the BBC weather man who cheerfully predicted on Thursday evening that Sunday would be a perfect, sunny, summers day, with little or no wind, was unfortunately absolutely correct in his forecast.
We were lucky, however, to have Ken Twemlow as our RO again this year and he battled the testing conditions to get five races off on Saturday. The racing was close and in these races four sailors, Greg Cornes, Kate Robertson, Will Thomas and Ben Paling scored first places. In at least two races, massive shifts left half of the fleet flying and the other half floundering, experience, it would appear, counted for naught, if you were in the wrong place you were stuck, whilst the lucky few made massive gains.
For some of the sailors this was their first opportunity to sample fleet racing in larger numbers than perhaps they are used to and some were pleasantly surprised by how well they did. Charlie Hopkinson, from Notts County SC, was first under 13 (in 8th place overall) and a special mention must go to Libby Weston, who won the Endeavour prize, having recently started to learn to sail over the road at the new Notts. Scouts Adventure activity centre, and in a borrowed club boat, took to the water for her first race, only the sixth time in a boat.
On Sunday Ken decided that the weather gods might be smiling on everyone else, but not on the sailors and racing was quickly abandoned. By that time the competitors had gone on strike and most were already de-rigging!
Greg Cornes, of Chase SC and RYA Intermediate Squad, continued his fantastic 2018 winning streak, having already won the Midland Traveller Series with two events to go, picked up a clear first place, and has now been crowned Midlands Topper Champion for 2018, a worthy and very popular winner. Ben Paling from Notts County SC sailing a fantastic series, picked up three particularly good results in the shifty winds and squeezed into second place on final race countback, pipping Kate Robertson, from Swarkestone SC, into third place.
Thanks to Anne-Marie Thomas for the report and results
Footnote from editor: Congratulations to our club sailors with some great results, Ben Pailing 2nd, William Thomas 6th, Charlie Hopkinson 8th (first under 13), Sam Grayton 17th, Raife Piggott 19th, 27th to 35th were from the club, so a great turnout and well done all. Good to see the Desorghers (ex Notts County) down as well.