Blue Circle's annual Topper 12 Hour race, held on Saturday, was given a fresh new format this year

Blue Circle’s annual Topper 12 Hour race, held on Saturday 30th June, was given a fresh new format this year. A decision was taken to run five shorter races with teams of two, rather than three, to encourage tighter racing – the change was a success. A fresh south westerly blew all day enabling the larger competitors to compete with the lightweights. The six regular dinghy sailors were paired in rotation with six sailboarders to encourage a fair outcome over the series.

Each race started with a ‘Le Mans’ style start in which competitors ran across the dinghy compound to a line of Toppers moored along the jetty. First away was Richard Lambert, closely pursued by David Jones and Ian Gregory, who had both overtaken by the first changeover. Lambert’s energetic leap to the jetty was well timed and enabled his partner Ian Foulds retake and build a winning lead. Jones teamed up with Brian Gregory for the second race and as the wind built to a gusty force three to four, took the gun with plenty to spare.

After a brief lunch, the teams rotated again, and this time Lambert got away first and led at the changeover despite having to re-thread a mainsheet on the final beat. His partner Mick Janman also had to re-secure the mainsheet, but clung on to win the third race.

Race Officer Brian Clarke decided to introduce a cosy approach to the fourth race by asking each pairing to race two-up. Easier said than done on a Topper in a decent breeze, but the pairing of Lambert and Tony Harbourne sailed least badly to take the gun. Jeff Wood and Brian Gregory were second and despite excessive submarinal activity, Jones and Clive Warner took third in a heavily waterlogged Topper.

In the final race, the Toppers were again sailed two-up, but this time the crew had to stand on the foredeck. This suited the boardsailers who are used to doing it standing up, and Jones and Warner took the gun. The informality and emphasis on fun paid off for all the competitors who rounded off the day with an excellent barbecue served up by club chair Keith Snelling.

Overall Results:

1st Richard Lambert (Snipe) 5.00pts

2nd Brian Gregory (Snipe) 7.00

3rd David Jones (Laser) 8.00

4th= Mick Janman (Laser) 11.00

Ian Foulds (Sailboard)

6th= Jeff Woods (Mirror) 12.00

Tony Harbourne (Sailboard)

8th Clive Warner (Sailboard) 13.00

9th Keith Snelling (Mirror) 14.00

10th Ian Gregory (Snipe) 16.00

11th David Mason (Topper) 18.00

12th Ben Warner (Sailboard) 22.00