On Saturday 3rd September, twelve Topper sailors including five of the home fleet enjoyed a day of coaching from International Topper Class association coaches, Andy and Ed. The session began with some shore based discussion on sailing in tidal waters and exercises in small groups. The sailors then launched to put their strategies into practice on a small course upriver of the Club. The wind over tide conditions of 15-20 knots were too taxing for some of the sailors, and the fleet returned to the Club. After lunch, the fleet was divided into two groups, one of which worked on boat handling and boat trim in strong winds in the water inside the trots, and one of which practiced upwind and downwind technique near Upnor Castle. The day’s coaching ended with a debrief, and unanimous agreement that everybody had taken something from the day.
On Sunday 4th September, over twenty five boats competed in the open meeting with visitors from twelve clubs joining the local fleet. The visitors were strong with two of the sailors featuring near the top of the recent Topper World Championships and several other sailors with Championship experience.
With a WSW wind of 14-22 knots and a flood tide the race team set a windward leeward course between the Club and Upnor Castle for two races in the morning. The boat handling of the better sailors was outstanding especially in the gusts downwind which caused other capsizes for others. The first race was won by Scott Wilkinson from Rye Harbour SC and the second by Morgan Archer from Blue Circle SC. Other boats performing well in the morning were sailed by Liam Schiess from Chipstead SC and Coco Barrett from Island Barn Reservoir SC.
With sufficient water now in Hoo Bay and similar wind conditions, a triangle/sausage course was set for two more races in the afternoon, with the start line close to the houseboats. Scott Wilkinson took the third race after a race long battle with Morgan Archer, while the fourth race was won by Magnus Handley from QMSC. The strong wind continued to take its toll on the less experienced sailors and only seventeen boats finished the last race.
The overall results were dominated by visitors. The event was won by Scott Wilkinson, with Morgan Archer runner up only a point behind. Henry Townsend was the best placed home based sailor, in ninth place overall, although he was only a couple of points out of sixth. William Hudson, from Newhaven and Seaford SC was the best placed 4.2 sailor in tenth place. The day finished with a prize giving on the terrace.
This was a great weekend for MYC and put the Club back on the map so far as Topper sailors are concerned. The sailors who attended the training day benefited from top quality coaching, and the competitive fleet of sailors out racing on Sunday provided close racing from first to last and presented a spectacle for those on shore.
Naturally, the success of these events depends upon a lot of hard work from volunteers; in this case the organisation was led by Andrew Baker and Mark Breare, but the sailors also thanked the crews on safety boats on Saturday and Sunday, and the race team and mark layers on Sunday who laid the courses and turned the races round efficiently. We have to thank the staff in the galley for the catering too. Last, but not least, we are grateful as always for the support of the event sponsors, Pirate’s Cave, who provided gift vouchers for the winners.
Report by Tim Townsend