Last weekend, junior members of Dale YC competed in the Topper Winter Championships in Weymouth, the host venue for the 2012 Olympics. Over 150 sailors competed in the blustery and challenging conditions over the weekend, with gusts of 30 knots. Saturday brought heavy gales that forced the Race Committee to postpone all races for both 5.3 and 4.2 fleets for two hours eventually making the decision to postpone until the next day. Similar conditions were seen on Sunday with only a small three-hour window shown in the forecast to race in before the wind increased above 30 again. Many sailors in the 5.3 fleet reefed onshore before the early morning launch – including myself who is about a foot shorter and 20kg lighter than my competition.
In the first race of the day, I rounded the windward mark 5th and was 1st boat with a reefed sail. But being reefed, sailors with full sails had the advantage of having a bigger sail so I lost a few places overall and finished 12th but still 1st reefed. As the wind increased with every race, more and more sailors chose to reef their sails so that capsizing wasn’t a constant battle. Four races were completed in total with one discard. The Welsh sailors had very good results, including those representing Dale YC: Jake Scott finishing 43rd, me – Lou Boorman with 30th and Finn Robarts with 17th in the 5.3 fleet of 122. Andrew Scott (age 10) in the 4.2 fleet, completed every race and finished 29th.
Junior sailors from dale have also been selected for high-standard squads this year: Lou Boorman and Finn Robarts are in the British Topper Squad, Jake Scott in Youth Development Squad and Andrew Scott following in his brother’s footsteps in South & West Regional Squad. If there are any sailors trying for a place in the higher squads such as Intermediate, British, Youth, you definitely need to compete in these events to be considered after applying, especially the qualifying events. If you’re trying for any Regional Squad, my advice is to compete in as many local CYRC’s, racing and training as you can to gain experience and confidence and to learn. If you’re trying for Welsh Squad, you’ll need to compete in the national events to show commitment to the selection panel but most importantly you’ll gain the experience of racing in larger fleets with bigger starts.
Coming up next
The next event in our calendar is the 3rd event in the national series at Carsington, a reservoir in Derbyshire, on the 18th and 19th of March. However, there are various training camps for different squads in the week prior to this event.
Everyone in the topper world has two big events that are taking over their calendars. The World Championships which will take place in Loctudy on the east cost of Brittany, France, drawing competitors from all corners of the globe for the week-long championships. Somewhere the sea will be warm!Topper National Championships hosted this year in Wales at Pwllheli SC where sailors from Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland will be competingagainst each other in a week-long competition in the sea of North Wales. Jake, Finn, Andrew and I will not only be representing Dale, but Wales and Britain as well.
I wish everyone good luck in their events, training and squad applications – Lou Boorman.