2021 ITCA Midlands Topper Championship held at Notts County Sailing Club by Kathryn Hinsliff-Smith
19TH and 20th June
It was with great delight that Notts County Sailing Club (NCSC) hosted this annual event and for the 6th time. With 30 pre-entered, including 18 from the host Club along with plenty of wind forecast this promised to be another great Championship. With online entries and an online briefing for sailors this enabled the race team, led by RO Ross Ryan, to be all fired up for the scheduled 11am kick off and the two planned back to back races followed by lunch. Unfortunately, the forecast wind shift didn’t arrive quite in time so AP was flown whilst the junior sailors waited on the shore. The 90-degree wind shift arrived shortly afterwards allowing the race sequence to begin with a trapezoid course set.
Heather Quinn, from NCSC took the bullet closely followed by Sam Grayton (NCSC) and 3rd Caitlin Thomas (NCSC), 1st visitor was Katherine Burgess from Royal Harwich in 10th. There was little home advantage as this type of course is not often seen at NCSC with a predominance of class racing round the cans. Race 2 saw Heather Quinn dominating all the legs to take another bullet, closely followed by Katherine Burgess and Sam Grayton. Lunch was calling which was perfectly timed for the forecast building wind, so after some mark moving – there was plenty of this until the wind eventually settled. The race team were planning on two more back to back with the NOR allowing 3 back to back races which they delivered. The young sailors returned to the shore somewhat exhausted but fired up for Day 2 which was forecast for stronger winds and thankfully no rain. The overnight leader board showed Heather Quinn (3 bullets), Gwyneth Lanyon (NCSC) and Sam Grayton, closely followed by Caitlin Thomas (NCSC) who secured a 1st in the 3rd race, Edward Paling (NCSC) a 1st in the 4th race leaving no room for any sailing errors. Due to Covid there was no social planned for Saturday night and it was cold so many retired to their accommodation ready for the scheduled 9.30 start.
Day 2, many bleary-eyed junior sailors but quickly alert as the RO had already set and published a change of course, the back to back races were going to be run over a windward, leeward course with a spreader mark, due to the favourable wind conditions and providing some potential thrilling racing for the competitors and the shore-based supporters.
Just to mix up the results Ed Quinn (NCSC) took the 5th race holding off his sister so there was going to be some rivalry for the following races, especially as Dad was on the water as Safety Driver. Further down the pack there was some very close racing between Samantha Mason (NCSC), Georgina Riddell (NCSC), Tara Ewbank (Staunton Harold) and Imogen Green (Draycote SC) all flying down the course and having to decide which was the favourable leeward buoy to round. The optimum winds conditions and course format created close racing throughout the fleet.
Sunday’s racing saw longer 5 lap races taking advantage of the steady 12 knot breeze and 3 further back to back races to make it a 8 race Championship. It was by no means all cut and dry as the competitors entered race 7 and 8. Race 7 saw some very close racing between Heather Quinn and Gwyneth Lanyon leaving the rest of fleet to fight it out for the remaining places. Race 8 saw a competitive start-line and an individual recall for Joe Rowe (Draycote) which compounded some bad luck during day one racing where his clew-strap multifunction cost him a 1st place.
Heather is we believe the first girl to win the Midland Topper champs and with Notts County 1,2,3 (first two girls) its a great achievement and testimony to the hard work put in by many.
Special mention for two young and new to the fleet sailors, Alex Chadborn (NCSC) and Morris Mellow (Carsington) both completed all 8 races and received special and were awarded Endeavour prizes.
At the prize giving thanks were expressed to Russ Dent from Topper International who attended the event providing a useful Topper clinic and fixing boats where required. Mike Powell, ITCA Midlands Rep thanked Notts County Sailing Club for hosting an excellent event, his 1st visit to the Club but definitely not his last.
This event fits in nicely for the Topper sailors to prepare for the next NS event to be hosted at Grafham next weekend.
Overall Heather Quinn (17) from Notts County Sailing Club won the Midlands Topper Trophy, the 1st time a female has won the Trophy, followed by Gwyneth Lanyon (15) and 3rd Sam Grayton (14) who is the current 4.2 Topper National Champion. Chloe Grayton (10) took the 4.2 1st place and 3rd under 13 sailor, Jessica Powell 1st under 13 followed by Cillian Dyne 2nd Full results here
The club looks forward to hosting the 2022 event.
Photos below from Sam Buchan (watermarked) and Kathryn Hinsliff Smith (Topper van) thanks to both