Forty Six boats: 122 Acres of water: well, that's nearly three acres of water each: plenty of room! Of course it doesn't quite work out like that when you're all crowded together on a not excessively generous length start line.
For quite a few competitors this was their first Topper Open, and the crowds on the start line were a bit overwhelming for some on race one. As the day went on they seemed to get geared up for it though! For others, of course, veterans of 300 boat Championship entries, this was all the game as usual, and the only surprise really was that the day got away without a single general recall.
So, anyway, a conventional quadrilateral course and a pleasant racing breeze with enough variation to make it interesting, but not enough to intimidate even the newest competitor, I suppose somewhere in the top of F1/F2 range. The sun, however, refused to put in a significant appearance.
Some added spice at the top of the fleet was provided by this being the last event of the Topper South East traveller's series, and Clive Jackson and Michael O'Driscoll were just one point apart in the points score.
So Race One. As said, a hotly contested start with competitors spread right along the line. Patrick Croghan declared his intentions for the day by leading the race at the end of every lap, whilst behind him Messrs O'Driscoll and Jackson swapped places with Clive eventually 2nd and Nancy Scott working up to 4th at the end of the race.
Alice Smith from Papercourt led round the first lap in race two, with Andrew O'Driscoll in second. William Cook then worked his way up and eventually won the race, with Patrick 2nd and Nancy 3rd.
At this point we took the lunch break.
Race three saw a notable battle between Patrick and Nancy, as shown in the headline photo. They separated appreciably from the rest of the fleet, but not so much from each other. Patrick took 1st and Nancy second, which left Nancy needing to win the last two races. Clive was third ahead of Michael, neither having placed well in race 2.
Patrick secured the event with another start to finish win in race 4. Michael kept his travellers hopes alive with a second place, and Nancy took 3rd ahead of Clive.
So whilst Patrick was secure for the event, Nancy needed to consolidate second place, and the destination of the SE Travellers was to come down to a "who beats who" between Clive and Michael.
Patrick led round every lap again, and Nancy overtook Lewis Humphries to secure 2nd by an appreciable margin. On the second lap Michael had worked up to 4th, two vital places ahead of Clive, but on the last lap William Cook got past both of them, and Clive slipped ahead of Michael to secure third overall and the Traveller's Trophy.
Between them the top four cleaned up most of the minor prizes – first O18, first Lady and first local boat going to the appropriate candidates. Morgan Archer from Blue Circle was the first U13, and Riley Boult from Island Barn won the regatta fleet, the competition for those not feeling ready for the hurley-burley of the main start.
|2nd, 1st IBRSC, 1st Lady||46623||Nancy Scott||Island Barn Reservoir SC|
|3rd, 1st O18||17501||Clive Jackson||Papercourt SC|
|4th||47039||Michael O'Driscoll||Crawley Mariners|
|6th||45732||Alice Smith||Papercourt SC|
|3rd, 1st O18||46223||Morgan Archer||Blue Circle SC|
|1st Regatta Fleet||21671||Riley Boult||Island Barn Reservoir SC|
Here are the full results.
all photos © Jim Champ
If you'd like copies of photos I took from the event you can email me here, but my enthusiasm for trawling through 120 odd photos to email out a selection is not unlimited - a SAE and a USB stick/SD card with 300MB free coming to me in the post would be my preferred route, or for local sailors/parents there are copies on the club laptop.