Hosted by East Antrim Boat Club over three days in July - 7th to 9th - the Blazin Digital sponsored Topper Class Irish National Championship was sailed on Larne Lough in testing conditions writes Tom Jobling.
Headed up by local R. O. Richard Doig the race committee got the full programme away despite having to overcome lengthy periods of dead calm, and several course 'realignments'.
In the 53 strong 'full-rig' Topper fleet it was British Team member Lorcan Knowles from Leigh & Lawton SC, a hot-bed of Topper competition, who emerged as the clear victor. Maidenhead's Leo Wilkinson was the runner-up with Aoife Byrne of Royal Cork YC third overall. In the 4.2 fleet, the local girl Zoe Whitford was squeezed into second place overall by Christian Houlihan of Blessington SC. Carrickfergus Sailing Club's Mathew McClernon was third.
In total 63 competitors entered the event - now in its 30th year - and the following sailors won special category awards: first under 17 sailor was Conor Horgan RCYC.
Best under 14 sailor went to British Team member, George Vincent of Parkstone SC and the under 12 award was collected by Co. Antrim YC sailor Daniel Corbett.
Summing up the championship ITCA's Simon McIllwaine said; "Already established as one of the premier Topper venues with their Winter Series, East Antrim Boat Club lived up to and exceeded all expectations at this year's Irish National Championships. The management of the racecourse under very challenging and shifting wind conditions was executed seamlessly and although at times," he continued, "the competitors found the wind just a little frustrating, there was a great spirit between all of the sailors and their parents both on and off the water. Thank you to the club for all their hard work and for making everyone feel so welcome during those three days on and around Larne Lough. A very memorable 30th anniversary of the championship."