Topper Midland Championships at Notts County 2024

The Topper Midland Championships are held at the club every year. Toppers are the mainstay of the juniors starting and progressing in racing at the club, and a fun boat to sail. Unfortunately the club fleet was not up to the normal strength, and many of our juniors have now moved to ILCA and some are doing well nationally.

Club member James Burton, one of our rising stars in the Toppers, had his first go at leading a race for 2 laps, he was rewarded with fourth overall, and I expect we shall see more of James in the results as he continues to improve.  

First timers from the club on their first go at the open circuit were Jack Rowsell, Stirling and Herbert Parker – they did brilliantly in challenging conditions: Jack got 2 completions, and Herbert and Stirling kept giving it a go hopefully they have got the bug and will be racing more often.

It was great to see newcomers trying an open event for the first time in difficult conditions.  The back marker coaching brilliantly undertaken by Steph Gun and Glyn & Isabel Ritche, providing hints and tips. James Logan and the safety team expertly navigated the dual challenge of good racing for the front of the fleet and safe fun at the back. Special thanks also to Alison Ritchie who organised all the prize allocation.

The ITCA Midlands Topper Traveller Series finished recently and the sailors were back on the water for the Topper Midlands Championships held at Nottinghamshire County Sailing Club on 8th and 9th June 2024. This was a two-day event, consisting of a total of seven races with five held on the Saturday followed by a further two on the Sunday.

The first day started looking as though it would be a fairly light day but the Westerly wind quickly picked up with gusts of 18 mph to a point where some of the lighter sailors reefed their sails. The unpredictable gusts made day 1 racing challenging for everyone as the wind went from steady to flat hiking in seconds. The windward leeward course also added challenge, as whilst being simple, the long dead run back down to the gate caused many death rolls.

Overnight, Jake Blakeway (Trimpley) was unassailably positioned with 5 wins from 5 races, but skilful sailing had left 4.2 sailor Hari Clark (Draycote) in second place overall, with Alex Stainton (Hollowell) just a couple of points behind.

Fortunately for most sailors, the wind died down slightly overnight which meant a lot of the racing was more competitive as lighter sailors could show their skills. Jacob Blakeway was the dominant force of the weekend, winning every race despite some good challenges by a variety of sailors, inclusion Alex Stainton, Will Clarke, Hari Clark and James Burton (Notts County), who was the under 13 winner and fourth overall with some consistent results.

Aside from the battles at the front of the fleet, there were some courageous battles for survival towards the back, particularly from Audray Yang who completed every race, and a number of first time racers including Elizabeth Stainton, Jack Rowsell (Notts County), Herbert Parker and Stirling Parker.

The sudden gusts throughout the weekend proved challenging not only to sailors but also to equipment. We were incredibly grateful to have “Topper Russ” Dent on site to work his magic getting boats back out onto water to rejoin racing.  As Russ says;  “For me, helping a  sailor facing  a problem with their boat and getting them back out on the water with a smile on their face means more to me than anything. Happy sailors is what we are all about at Topper International.”

Final results were

U19 Champion Jacob Blakeway, 2nd U19 Alex Stainton, 3rd u19 Will Clarke;

U13 1st James Burton, U13 2nd Tom Moriarty, U13 3rd Fred Seddon. 
4.2 Champion – Hari Clark – (3rd place overall).

Midlands ITCA Rep Allison Blakeway was also onsite all weekend and presented Values Awards for not giving up to Dan Riley, Ed Croxton and Harry Fenton and a further award to Thomas Croxton was also rewarded for lending his boom to another sailor.  Allison was also able to present the Winner Jackets for the 2023-24 ITCA Midlands Topper Traveller series to 5.3 winner Jacob Blakeway, and 4.2 winner Hari Clark.

Report: James and Emily Burton (with additions from James Logan & David Eberlin). Photos: James Logan, Stephanie Gunn and the Burtons.

Topper Midlands Results

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