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School of Dolphins Help Toppers on Their Way

19th August 2011
School of Dolphins Help Toppers on Their Way

Sailors arrived for day four of the 2011 Sovereign Ski Topper World Championship at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire to a flat sea and no wind writes Phil Harland. With increasing cloud cover there was no sea breeze forecast in the bay and so sailors prepared to wait on shore whilst the Race Committee went out on the water to check conditions.
Just before 11:00am the PRO decided to release the fleet from the shore to see what could be made of the light winds on the water. With the same efficiency as previous days all sailors were afloat within 30 minutes and making their way out of the harbour.
The Gold Fleet was the first to assemble on the start line and after an initial recall were clear away. Silver fleet were next but with light breeze and tide there was another general recall before they got away with George Haynes (GBR) port tacking the fleet.


As Bronze went into sequence some newcomers joined in – a school of dolphins – all very friendly, swimming between the boats and jumping out of the water and swimming up the beat with the fleets. So keen were the dolphins to join in that the Bronze fleet start had to be delayed as they dolphins played around the boats on the line. Eventually Bronze fleet got away with a clean start - with the dolphins following them up the beat!
The wind conditions were proving particularly fickle for all the fleets with 45 degree wind shifts and pressure switching from one side of the course to the other leaving sailors who were doing well one minute dropping back down the fleet the next. Hunting pressure was the order of the day.
Fleet winners for the first race of the day were: Gold – Tim Brow (IRL); Silver – Olly Guess (GBR); Bronze – Peter Queally (IRL).
At 13:15 Gold fleet went into sequence for Race 2, but it was another general recall, followed by a clean start second time around. With the wind dropping further, but the chop remaining this was making sailing upwind very difficult. Silver fleet achieved a clean start followed by Bronze fleet, who started Race 2 as soon as they completed Race 1.

With the wind dying further, the Gold and Silver fleets both finished together – and a few dolphins re-appeared to join the fleets. Fleet winners for the second race of the day were: Gold – Matt Venables (GBR); Silver – Samantha Foster (GBR); Bronze – Niamh Doran (IRL).
The PRO tried to get in a third race, but with the wind now almost non-existent decided to send the fleets ashore in the hope of some better wind tomorrow.
With the challenging conditions, results were somewhat topsy-turvy across the fleets, but overnight leaders were: Gold – Matt Venables (GBR) and now with a 22 point lead over the nearest competitor; Silver – Joe Henderson (GBR); Bronze – Thomas Moore (IRL).
The winds forecast for the last day of the event look better and so the Race Committee decided that they would try and go for three races on Friday instead of the planned two, and so have instructed the fleets that will be launching an hour earlier than scheduled.

Published in Topper

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