Sailing: Top Toppers take some beating at Chichester

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The Topper Open held at Chichester Yacht Club saw 30 boats lining up with less wind than they hoped for.

Sailors included many members of the southern zone squad as this was the last in their Southern Traveller series.

In the first race many lighter craft did well in the lighter winds. This was especially notable among CYC sailors in race one, in which Charlotte Reading, Jessica Carter and Hannah Thompson were the leading CYC boats.

The second race started with a little more breeze. Some sailors had forgotten the tide had turned and took the wrong line to the first mark, which resulted in the fleet becoming quite spread out right from the start.

This led to a contest very different from the first race.

After more mark moving and the wind picking up, race three was dominated by William Birch-Tomlinson, who made full use of the tide and had an impressive lead after completing lap one.

There were two girls fighting for second and third who almost crossed the line together - but by completion of race three Elizabeth Sherwood had taken a small lead over Chloe Barr.

There were a couple of capsizes during the last race but all finished smiling.

The overall winner was William Birch-Tomlinson with three firsts.

First placed CYC sailor was Ross Watkins in ninth, with Charlotte Reading 13th, Jessica Carter 15th and Hannah Thompson 17th. Sophie Kirk, Jessie Hodge, Susanna Olliff and Stuart Alford also competed.

Results: 1 William Birch-Tomlinson (HISC); 2 Elizabeth Sherwood (HISC); 3 Rhiannon Flack (Spinnaker SC); 4 Elliott Kuzyk (Parkstone YC); 5 Chloe Barr (Hill Head SC).

- Hannah Thompson

GMT is here and that means it’s time for Chichester YC’s open winter series, which starts this Sunday.

The series is split into the Frozen Toe, which takes place from now until December 16 with eight races, and the ten-race Snowflake series running from December 30 to February 24.

Both are open meetings, and dinghy sailors who wish to be active through the winter are welcome. The series are normally well-supported by members and visitors from other clubs.

Sailing instructions can be found on or

Competitors are able to enjoy the sheltered waters of Chichester Lake and the hospitality of Chichester Yacht Club.

The fleets can include 70 to 100 boats from a variety of classes. There are three fleets - fast, medium and slow handicap.

All three fleets are supported by good numbers throughout the series.

In 2011/12 many competitors were young sailors trying out their newly-acquired skills. Racing is in beautiful if chilly conditions, the variable winds and tide make for interesting racing.

Entry forms are available on arrival or by direct contact with Chichester YC on 01243 512918. Full details and dates are available at

Club secretary Martin Buckley will be available to assist anyone with an interest in taking up sailing.

Sunday kicks off with a formal briefing at midday and race start at 1pm.


Paul Hemsley won three races and two trophies in one weekend at Felpham.

The finale of the two Summer Series for the Porte Shield and the Hago cup, plus phe postponed Wannop & Falconer

pursuit race and the Endeavour trophy, made it a busy weekend.

For the Wannop & Falconer, the weather was calm after the midweek southerly gales had dumped tons of shingle

on the Felpham prom.

At the first gun Tony Lord set off in his Solo and the chasing Lasers had to wait for three-and-a half minutes before setting off in pursuit. They were followed by Colin Mead in his Vago and, eventually, by Hemsley in his Blaze.

By the time the fourth and final lap started Hemsley was breathing down Lord’s neck. After close racing up the beat Hemsley kept his new-found speed and took the line by just over a minute. Lord was second and Graham Mathews the best of the rest in his Laser.

The Porte Shield would be decided over races nine and ten to finish the series.

The leaders were Peter Jones and Mark Philips but they were not sailing. Hemsley needed to win both races to nick the trophy at the death.

A square course was set providing a mix of close fetch, run, broad reach and a final beat for all three races.

Hemsley made a clean getaway for both races making the most of his free air. David Brown in his Blaze gave hot pursuit throughout race nine, but Hemsley’s determination saw him through.

In race ten Jones and Philips could only watch as Hemsley repeated his stunning start and mastered the increased wind and gusty conditions that developed to claim his second win - and the trophy. Further back the conditions caused several capsizes.

The third race of the day was the final one for the Hago Cup series.

The series winner had already been decided as Jones had chalked up three wins and could not be beaten. The conditions suited Luke Mapley, sailing a Topper - he was a clear winner on handicap managing to keep his slow boat up with some of the faster boats, who were struggling in the stronger wind.

Guy and Alex Mayger in their RS200, who had had spinnaker problems in the earlier races, sailed faultlessly but Mapley remained best overall.

Richard Bentley in his Vago finished fifth in this final race, giving him a series total of 14 points, just losing out on second overall to Phillips by a point.