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Hook Head Greets Topper Fleet with 30–knot Winds for Dunmore East National Championships

5th July 2014
Hook Head Greets Topper Fleet with 30–knot Winds for Dunmore East National Championships

#toppersailing – After a series of mini heatwaves and windless weekends across the country in June the beginning of July brings a complete change for the Irish Topper Nationals in Waterford Harbour Sailing Club writes Gareth Craig.. Nearly sixty Toppers turned-out in Dunmore East from clubs across Ireland and the UK, and the three day event promises a variety of weather to suit the whole fleet.

Strong winds gusting over 30 knots off Hook head the night before the event were still making themselves felt as competitors registered, but the mood was jovial as the start was postponed a number of times - due to the wind at first, and then for safety reasons as the turning tide cause steep breaking waves across the proposed race area. Results to date are attached below for download.

By 1pm conditions had abated enough for the fleet to launch, with a South Westerly F4 (gusting F5) accompanied by intermittent driving drizzle providing enough power for the Toppers to ride the remaining infamous Dunmore Swell rolling up from the Celtic Sea. The uneven seas and fluctuating visibility made the windward mark hard to pick out at times, but this didn't appear to phase the fleet in any way as they powered away round the trapezoid course after one general recall. A top three of Niamh HARPER(Loch Tummel SC), Alexander HUGHES (Sutton SC) and Geoff POWER (Waterford Harbour SC) made good progress early, and gradually opened up leads on each other and the fleet at large, while the main body of competitor fought for places in tight bunches.

Winds and sea conditions had eased further by the second start, and again PRO Philip Cowman kept the Toppers in order, with just a single recall required despite a strong ebbing tide under the fleet propelling them up the beat. Those who had featured well in the first race largely failed to repeat their achievements, with the noted exception of Alexander HUGHES, and much of the top twenty were in a distinctly different order! This gives Hughes the overnight lead on 3 points, with a significant cushion over Ollie DIXON (Royal Harwich YC), Conor QUINN (Carlingford Lough YC), Niamh HARPER, and Adam DARCY (Royal Cork YC) tightly clumped on 10 or 11 point.

Forecasts are predicting the most contrasting day possible for Saturday, with rising pressure and light winds in the morning which will slowly build to F3-4 by early afternoon, and further light conditions for Sunday which could see very different sailors coming to the fore before everything is decided.

Published in Topper

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