Conditions tricky for Snettisham event

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Snettisham Beach Sailing Club hosted the International Topper Class Association (ITCA) Eastern Area Topper Championships.Attracting 25 racers, the majority competing at a National level with ages ranging from 10 to 17 years.Mother nature conspired to throw the biggest challenges at the event.The forecast for Saturday was a 20 to 30-knot northerly with the largest waves in prospect while Sunday was the complete opposite with light 3 to 5 knots putting any progress in the wash tidal flows at risk.As the tide rolled in on Saturday, the race committee assembled on the beach to assess the conditions and, with the safety of competitors in mind, the decision was taken to move the racing onto the lake.The 25-knot northerly brought perfect conditions for a windward/leeward race course, in an arena offering a fantastic spectatoropportunity to watch youngsters battle conditions at close quarters. Fifteen-minute sprint races with the jeopardy of a challenging Gybe mark 50 metres from the finishing line. The day ended with 2023 champion Harry Mitchell (Erith) in pole position for the next day’s final.Sunday dawned with a light, but sailable, five-knot north easterly and the race committee set an Olympic-style racecourse.A clean start against a flooding tide saw the completion of a 30-minute race with eventual race leaders crossing the line with a strong performance from home sailors. Harry Wemyss (Gorleston) was first, Thomas Mathews (Grafham) second, Robert Hole (Hunts) third, Sofia Eaton (Snettisham) fourth, Claudia Savory (Snettisham) fifth and Faith Turner (Snettisham) sixth.With race conditions deteriorating, the race team signalled the race abandonment and the championship was complete. Presentations were made to Jack Franklin and Emily Seaton, both of Snettisham Beach, for dealing with numerous capsizes during the mayhem of Saturday with prizes donated by sponsors Topper International.For this event, Snettisham Beach Sailing Club organisers constructed a trial sailor Development scheme, designed to reward sailors for the improvement of their results over their previous race results. This meant that every racer who took part had the opportunity for podium recognition.Winners of the Development Trophy were Laurie Lamb (Draycote Sailing Academy) followed by a great performance from Claudia Savoury (Snettisham), Matilde Phillips, in third, and Chloe Seaton in fourth.Mitchell was the overall championship winner with Wemyss runner-up and Hole third.Thanks to Topper International, Rooster and

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