Sailing event off the coast at Lowestoft hit by freak weather

YoungTom Thwaites receiving his 4.2 Winners Trophy from RN&SYC Commodore Ruth Davies. Picture: Club.

YoungTom Thwaites receiving his 4.2 Winners Trophy from RN&SYC Commodore Ruth Davies. Picture: Club. - Credit: Archant

Topper sailors rise above a 'freak weather event' at International Topper Class Association Regatta at RN&SYC Lowestoft.

Over 150 of the UK's best young sailors competed in two fleets, 133 of the more experienced sailors in the 5.3 fleet and 20 of the younger less experienced sailors in the 4.2 fleet.

Ian Bullock, a renowned race officer, was astonished by the size of some of the wind shifts experienced during racing. When ITCA officials got some details later it transpired that an unusual weather phenomenon known as an ice storm had occurred over the race area, causing the huge changes in the wind direction — resulting in several changes to the courses and delays in starts as course marks were repositioned.

Although these delays caused the sailors to be out on the water for approaching six hours, Jimmy Tubby ,the RN&SYC ARO, said that 'they still came off the water with a smile on their faces.'

However, the sailor with the biggest smile was 11-year-old Tom Thwaites, representing the RN&SYC and NBYC, who won the 4.2 series with three first places. The winner of the 5.3 fleet was Angus Kemp who represented Poole Yacht Club in Dorset.

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It was a busy weekend at Waveney & Oulton Broad Yacht Club as it hosted events for Phantom and International 12 foot dinghies as well as running the usual club racing.

The fleet of seven 12 foot dinghies included visitors from Holland and Germany but it was local sailor Mark Duffield who led them round the course in race one on Saturday.

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In the second race Bert Hamminga was leading but made a mistake with the course. He and Duffield corrected themselves but most of the others missed out at least one mark and eventually only three boats were awarded finishing positions. The breeze was strong and gusty for the third race and some sailors stayed ashore. Pieter Bleeker finished first ahead of Hamminga.

On Sunday Bleeker continued his winning ways in both races to claim overall victory. Duffield gained a second place but a capsize in the last race spoiled his chances and so was beaten to the runner-up spot by Hamminga.

The Phantom open meeting attracted eight boats. Ben Falat won the first two races and Nick Favell the second two; overall victory went to Falat with Favell second and Chris Roberts from Essex third.

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