Llangorse SC strengthened its reputation as a Topper class stronghold with another best turnout at the ITCA National Series 3 event at Carsington Water SC. Twelve sailors made the trip to the Peak District from Llangorse (more than double the numbers of any other club) and they had a weekend of tight racing, hard work and lots of fun.
A schedule of ten races and a breezy forecast meant a challenging weekend. The Saturday programme was six championship length races back-to-back in order to get as many in before the high winds on Sunday. Sailors went afloat in 12 to 14 knots with gusts into the 20s and racing got underway on schedule in the gusty conditions. Tactically there would be a lot of emphasis on the start and covering the fleet as there wasn’t time on the beats to expect the wind to swing back again if there was a significant shift – so being on the line was key along with good awareness of how things were changing around the course. With some heavy Peak District rain at times, line transits weren’t always easy to get… On top of that the line bias was changing all the time too. For many sailors it was a game of snakes and ladders but they were rewarded by keeping eyes open and reacting to what they could see, linking pressure and percentage sailing.
After a full day afloat on Saturday the tired sailors packed up with one eye on the forecast for Sunday… Next morning came and the forecast breeze hadn’t arrived so the main fleet launched and got under way, going into sequence in around 20 knots and with a forecast to freshen. However as the leaders approached the top mark they already had 25-30 knots across the course and with safety teams busy and no likely let up in the weather, CSL abandoned racing and the fleet were sent back ashore. The rest of the day was dominated by stories of fast planing, tired arms and capsizes; and with no more racing that concluded the championship.
We saw some exceptional performances from our sailors. With 140 sailors entered from all over the country it was a big occasion, racing at the highest possible level within the UK. Some of our sailors were sailing at their very first major event, taking part at this level for the very first time. They all did themselves proud.
In the Topper 4.2 class Ceri Roberts took second step on the podium not dropping out of the top ten in all six races. He took second overall and a big haul of prizes.
Over in the main fleet Oliver Smoult ran home with an amazing 114th in his first major championship; not far behind squad mate Madeleine Vowles in 107th. Tommy Willett knocked in three races mid fleet and despite counting a DNC posted a creditable 92nd, just behind Georgia Phillips who showed some brilliant sailing to come in 89th. Iwan Roberts posted his best result of the day in race five showing excellent concentration to pull himself up to 84th overall. Miles Everett banked three results in the 20s to secure 71st overall while Aimee Stephenson had a super regatta to finish 55th with some great consistency. Aled Llewelyn-Jones improved throughout the day to come 41st just a couple of places behind Ollie Vowles who banked several results in the teens to place 39th. Finally Ben Willett showed great consistency to finish all his races inside the top ten, placing top five in four of them for the lowest overall points total in the fleet. His win in race five earned him 3rd place overall just 3 points behind event winner Brandon Banner of Leigh & Lowton SC.
The next event in the Topper National Series is the Inland Championships (NS4) at the end of April. In the meantime many of our young sailors will also be at the Welsh Youth & Junior Championships at Pwllheli in mid-April with racing for all the junior classes including a regatta fleet for inexperienced racers. Do come and join in the fun.