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The scene is set for this year’s Topper World Championships in Crosshaven as the Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) has said this year’s competition is set to be the biggest yet, with 5,000 people set to attend the prestigious five-day sailing event.

RCYC will host 250 participants from the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Spain, Malta, the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Brazil for this year’s competition, with entrants aged between eight years old to
their teens.

Two days of registration will begin this weekend from Saturday 22nd July to Sunday 23rd July followed by five full days of racing. The competition will then conclude on Friday evening July 28th with a prize-giving ceremony taking place.

Topper world Championship teams gather at Royal Cork Yacht ClubTopper World Championship teams gather at Royal Cork Yacht Club

On Sunday evening keep an eye out for the competitors’ parade, which begins at the Club at 6 pm and will go to Crosshaven House, where the Opening Ceremony will take place at 6:30 pm.

Speaking in the lead-up to the event, RCYC Club Event Director of the Topper Worlds 2023, Marcus Worth said the club was excited to welcome their international guests for a global celebration of Topper sailing:

He said: “We’re very excited to play host to such a prestigious event, and we’d like to extend them all with a very warm welcome to Crosshaven.

“The Chinese team has already arrived at the Club, and after a couple of hours of schoolwork each morning, they have been busy training in the harbour for the afternoon.

“Teams from Vanhang Sailing and Beijing Sailing Centre will also be joined by a nine-strong squad from Cool International Sailing School.

Topper World Championship teams on the slipway at Royal Cork Yacht ClubTopper World Championship teams on the slipway at Royal Cork Yacht Club

“Other overseas teams are also on their way from Hong Kong Schools Sailing Association, Vikings SC in Malta and the Swiss team from the TOP to TOP global climate expedition who arrive all the way from the Arctic.

“Entries from Belgium and Spain will be joining up with the strong Irish and UK entries, making it a truly global celebration of International Topper racing.”

Marcas Worth also paid tribute to the extensive support provided by the local businesses and communities through volunteering or providing accommodation and facilities for participants of the event.

He said: "We would like to extend our thanks to our amazing volunteers and our event sponsors - Topper Technology International, Cork County Council, Ronstan, Rooster & Jones Engineering. We have approx. 100 and events of this magnitude would be impossible without this help and support".

We’d also like to thank Crosshaven Rugby Club, the many residents of Crosshaven who have given use of their homes, in addition to the Carrigaline Court Hotel and UCC who have each provided accommodation
for international competitors and their families.

All in all, it is shaping up to be a fantastic event, and we are immensely proud to have 18 of our own participants from RCYC to fly the flag for our club,” he concluded.

Published in Topper
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It was worth waiting for. Belfast Lough having suffered the same fate as the first day of the Dun Laoghaire Regatta, the Irish Topper Nationals got underway a day late at Ballyholme on the north Down coast last Saturday afternoon after a postponement. By lunchtime, the wind had quietened to about 20 knots, which came from the Southeast, meant the sea was relatively friendly. So, Race Officer Sheela Lewis from County Antrim Yacht Club got racing underway for the eighty Toppers in separate starts for the 20 4.2s and the 60 5.3s’

By the end of Sunday’s racing, they had seven races under their belts, but the dominant sailors certainly had emerged after Saturday’s four races. In the 4.2s with four firsts was Andrew O’Neill from Royal Cork and Royal St George, and five points behind was Paidi A’Coistealbha from Malahide. Tom Driscoll from the host club and Royal North at Cultra had three firsts and a discarded 6th, leaving him 2 points ahead of Craig O’Neill Jnr (RCYC/RSt GYC), elder brother of 4.2 sailor Andrew.

Sunday brought reduced fleets to the start line. After the last three races, Andrew O’Neill and A’Coistealbha kept their first and second places, but Adam Green from Lough Erne YC in the western County Fermanagh, who had tied overnight with Rian O’Neill from Royal Cork jumped into third overall. Overall winner Andrew O’Neill heads to Spain to compete in the 2023 Optimist Worlds and will return to his home club to compete in the Topper Worlds at the end of this month.

Tom Driscoll 49099 pulling ahead of Craig O'Neill 48119 and Luke Simpson Photo: Rob ArmstrongTom Driscoll 49099 pulling ahead of Craig O'Neill 48119 and Luke Simpson Photo: Rob Armstrong

After the Sunday races, Tom Driscoll held onto first overall, but the local Cormac Byrne, who also belongs to Strangford SC, counted two seconds and a first to take the runner-up slot. Luke Simpson of CAYC kept the third slot but Craig O’Neill dropped from second to fourth.

Topper 4.2s racing at close quarters Photo: Rob ArmstrongTopper 4.2s racing at close quarters Photo: Rob Armstrong

Among the special prizewinners, Isabelle Passberger from Waterford Harbour took 1st 5.3 Youth Female and the local Cormac Byrne the top 5.3 Male. Emily McAfee from the host club claimed 5.3 Junior Female and 1st Female and Tom Driscoll 5.3 Junior Male. In the 4.2s, Andrew O’Neill took home to Cork the Ist overall prize.

Commodore Rob Milligan was delighted to see so many visitors to the club; “The club was absolutely buzzing over the weekend, and our young sailors experienced some challenging but rewarding conditions. Without members giving up their time to organise and help out ashore or on the water, these events won’t happen. Well done to all involved and thank you once again.”

Many of the Toppers who sailed in this event will be on the road again soon for the Topper World Championships at Royal Cork YC starting on 24th July.

Results below

Published in Topper

RYA Northern Ireland has issued the Notice of Race and opened entries for the 2023 edition of the RYANI F10 Marine Youth Championships, which will take place on the weekend of 9-10 September.

Following the cancellation of last year’s championships due to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, RYANI welcomes back the prestigious event to uncover the Northern Ireland champions across junior and youth sailing classes that include Toppers, Optimists, Fevas and 29ers, ILCA 4 and 6 and a regatta fleet.

Andrew Baker, performance manager at RYANI said: “Our annual Youth Championships is a major event in the youth sailing calendar and for many their first experience of a larger event. Whether a sailor turns up as the favourite to win or it’s their first time on a racecourse, the event really delivers something for all young sailors in NI.

“It is probably the biggest event we run alongside our clubs, at times it can be logistically challenging and demanding on volunteer resources but ultimately demonstrates what can be achieved when everyone plays their part and gets involved.”

RYANI is also excited to announce a new headline sponsor for the event in F10 Marine, an online boat shop that offers a wide range of products for boating enthusiasts and provides quality items to enhance the boating experience and cater to diverse needs.

Damian Goodman from F10 Marine said: “F10 Marine is proud to announce its sponsorship of the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Championships, scheduled to take place in September. This significant partnership reflects F10 Marine’s commitment to supporting youth development in the field of sailing and its dedication to promoting water sports in the region.

“By supporting this event, F10 Marine is actively contributing to the growth of the sailing community and empowering young sailors to pursue their passion for the sport.”

On the announcement of the sponsorship, RYANI chief executive Greg Yarnall said: “It is fantastic to have a company like F10 Marine on board to support the RYANI Youth Championships, we would like to thank F10 Marine for their support, and we hope it will be the start of a long lasting partnership between the two organisations that can enable us to further develop sailing and boating in Northern Ireland.”

Published in RYA Northern Ireland

Twenty-one Topper dinghy sailors from as far away as Dun Laoghaire and Sligo Yacht Club turned out for last weekend’s Topper Traveller hosted by County Antrim Yacht Club on the north shore of Belfast Lough.

The sailors raced in two fleets, the 4.2s and the 5.3s. The overall winner was Luke Simpson of the host club, and Adam Green of Lough Erne was first in the 4.2s.

For the Saturday training day with RYANI coaches Luke McIlwaine and Ellen Barbour, breezes were light, but it was very different on the Race Day when the north-westerly offshore was gusting 17 knots, giving tight keen racing.

Tom Driscoll runner up (47583) and fourth placed Joseph Robinson (BYC) Photo: Kathryn AndersonTom Driscoll runner up (47583) and fourth placed Joseph Robinson (BYC) Photo: Kathryn Anderson

The prize for the first Youth went to Luke Simpson, with the second prize going to Joseph Robinson of Ballyholme. The first Female Youth was Iseult Speirs (BYC), with her clubmate Sophie Cairns second. The first Junior male was Tom Driscoll from BYC and Royal North, with Calum Pollard of the home club second. First Female Junior was Emily McAfee of Ballyholme, with Kate Molloy from Royal St. George second.

 Luke Simpson (CAYC) overall first Topper Traveller County Antrim YC with Commodore Peter Darragh Photo: Kathryn Anderson Luke Simpson (CAYC) overall first Topper Traveller County Antrim YC with Commodore Peter Darragh Photo: Kathryn Anderson

Simpson dominated the 5.3 fleet with three first places scoring a total of three points, with Tom Driscoll five behind on 8. Just one point was the difference for Calum Pollard in third at nine. Adam Green scored three firsts in the 4.2 fleet.

The event organiser and Race Officer was Sheela Lewis.

Peter Darragh, Commodore, commented “Well done to all the competitors who competed on Sunday in changeable conditions. An excellent outcome to have completed the four races. The Club was delighted to welcome young sailors from across Ireland. It was extremely tight and competitive racing. Massive thanks to everyone who helped make the event a success - too many to mention individuals, but particular thanks to the teams - race management, food and hospitality, safety boat, mark laying/media boat and shore, launch and recovery team. Competitors and parents left having had a really positive experience of CAYC, and members should be really proud of being part of a club that can bring this all together. I wanted to express my thanks and congratulations to all.”

2023 Topper Traveller County Antrim YC results2023 Topper Traveller County Antrim YC results

 Topper Traveller Prizewinners at County Antrim Yacht Club with Commodore Peter Darragh Photo: Kathryn Anderson  Topper Traveller Prizewinners at County Antrim Yacht Club with Commodore Peter Darragh Photo: Kathryn Anderson 

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The continuing vitality of Irish yacht clubs competing at the Youth Sailing National Championships at Howth Yacht Club is reflected in the fact that some club acronyms overlap, consequently in previous reports of the Topper racing, we had Cormac Byrne of SSC & BYC down as being from Skerries as it's a real nest of Byrnes up there in North Fingal. But we've been gracefully put right with the news that SSC in this case, is Strangford Sailing Club while BYC (which might well have been Boyne Yacht Club) is the great dinghy stronghold of Ballyholme.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying that the Belfast Lough club has dominated the Toppers, with Ballyholme's Tom Driscoll (he also lists Royal North of Ireland YC) retaining his overall lead on 11 pts to Cormac Byrne's 13 in second, with yet another double-clubber - Caoimhe Corkery of Royal Cork and Kinsale - finishing third on 19pts.

Results below

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Ten Topper sailors from five clubs in Northern Ireland recently made the long journey to Dromineer in County Tipperary for the Topper Winter Championships at Lough Derg Yacht Club. They all competed in the 5.3 fleets.

Three Belfast Lough competitors fared very well. First overall and first Youth Male in that 53-strong fleet was Luke Simpson from County Antrim Yacht Club, who counted two first places in four races. Emily McAfee from Ballyholme was second overall, 1st Female and 1st Junior Female with a win in the second race and in 6th slot and taking 2nd Junior Male was Tom Driscoll from Royal North of Ireland YC. Another Ballyholme girl, Isabel Nixon, was 8th overall and 2nd Youth Female.

Conditions were challenging on both days, with strong North Westerlies gusting up to 24 knots on Saturday, and in contrast, Day 2 saw lighter shifty breezes.

Tom Driscoll with Declan Mulcahy, Commodore LDYCTom Driscoll with Declan Mulcahy, Commodore LDYC

Isabel Nixon with Declan Mulcahy, LDYC Commodore Isabel Nixon with Declan Mulcahy, LDYC Commodore 

 Maurice Collins (left), ITCA RCYC organiser of the Topper Worlds present Luke Simpson with the prize for First overall and First Youth Maurice Collins (left), ITCA RCYC organiser of the Topper Worlds.present Luke Simpson with the prize for First overall and First Youth

Emily McAfee with Maurice Collins, ITCA and RCYC Topper Worlds organiserEmily McAfee with Maurice Collins, ITCA and RCYC Topper Worlds organiser

The other Northern Ireland competitors were Hugo Boyd, Iseult Speirs, Charlotte Cairns and Sophie Cairns from Ballyholme; Rose Kelly East Down YC and Ronan Hodge from Strangford SC.

Rear Commodore Sailing, Fergal Keating, was complimentary about the competitors; “Wonderful set of kids, when you consider the cold freshwater conditions in the rain and blustery winds. How many adults would tolerate those conditions?”

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Entry for Royal Cork Yacht Club's ILCA/Laser and Topper dinghy Frostbites Series is building, with over 50 boats entered before the early bird expires at midnight on Wednesday, the 2nd of November.

The series (incorporating the Bill Jones Trophy for the winning RCYC topper) will take place across November, Sunday 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th.

Racing will take place for ILCA4, ILCA6, ILCA7 and Topper 5.3 & 4.2 fleets, with separate starts available if numbers allow.

A one-day entry is also facilitated for those that cannot attend the full series.

The series race officer is Tom Crosbie and his crew.

The First warning signal will be 1125 each racing day.

Entry is open to all, with visiting sailors welcome to leave their boats in the RCYC dinghy yard for the duration of the series.

Racing for ILCA7 is included for the first time in a number of years.

Visit Royal Cork ILCA and Topper Frostbite series 2022 to enter here

Published in Royal Cork YC

Thirty-one Junior Topper sailors descended on East Antrim Boat Club on Larne Lough last weekend for the Northern Championships.

Callum Pollard from the nearby County Antrim BC at Whitehead was in top form again after his Gold at the Worlds on Lake Garda and here he finished first overall in the ten-strong 4.2 fleet. Runner-up was George Doig, more often seen racing an Optimist and third was the far travelled Royal Cork sailor, Rian O’Neill.

Another CAYC sailor, Luke Simpson took top place in the 5.3 fleet. Luke finished fourth overall in the UK National Championships at Weymouth earlier in August. Second place went to Ella Fitzgerald from National YC and in third it was Strangford Sailing Club’s Cormac Byrne who had a good result of 9th at the UK Nationals.

Weather conditions were kind to the fleet with around ten knots on the Saturday with occasional lulls. Race Officer Richard Doig ran four races on that day in case Sunday was too light and in fact it was light and shifty but he got two races completed.

Luke Simpson with EABC Vice Commodore Kathryn BoyleLuke Simpson with EABC Vice Commodore Kathryn Boyle

Commodore Lucy Whitford was delighted with the success of the event. “It was a great experience for our current junior and youth Topper sailors to compete in a home event. With so many other events on in which club members where competing we had initially been worried about resources to run the Northerns but we shouldn’t have been, as members new and old, came forward to support it by volunteering their time over the weekend. And we had two Júnior Optimist sailors trying their hand at Topper racing - one of them, George Doig managed runner-up slot in the 4.2s”.

The free Friday training before the event was very successful. It was run by Lucy Kane and the 14 youngsters who turned up really benefitted with positive feedback which was a real Kane family affair as Lucy’s father Gordon was the Event Manager and Mum Heather provided the Committee boat.

The next big event for many of these sailors will be the RYANI Youth Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club on 10th and 11th September

Results below

Topper Northern Championships Results at EABCTopper Northern Championships Results at EABC

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With some of the World Championship Toppers appeared to be stuck in a container somewhere, there is some doubt if they'll make it to East Antrim Boat Club in Larne for this weekend's Northern championship. But maybe if they happen to be destined to Larne port they could just be unloaded and wheeled to the nearby Club!

The Topper class is certainly very well-travelled, having had a presence at the Worlds at Lake Garda and also at Weymouth for the Nationals.

The host club is East Antrim Boat Club and Club commodore Lucy Whitford said “We’re delighted to have the Topper family back with us in Larne. This will provide a great boost for our emerging Topper sailors. The organising team led by Gordon Kane and Race Officer Richard Doig has been working tirelessly to ensure that EABC’s reputation for fair and friendly eventing is maintained at the highest level. I am especially delighted to welcome the high-flying Pollards and Driscolls: Callum and Bobby high scoring champion sailors.”

Callum took 4.2 Gold in the Worlds and Bobby took Silver on a countback in the 5.3 division. At the UK Nationals in Weymouth, Bobby was second overall and took Silver again.

The club is also offering – free-of-charge – ‘localised training’ with 420 champion Lucy Kane. This is to acquaint visiting competitors with the vagaries and mysteries of the Larne Lough tides and winds. Interested competitors should pre-book via the club website

Current sailors associated with the club who had their racing grounding in Toppers are Zoe Whitford, Ellen Barbour and Tom Coulter.

Published in Topper

Topper sailors from Northern Ireland made a great impression at the National Championships last week in Weymouth, taking four excellent places in the first ten and several other commendable scores.

In the Gold fleet runner-up to the winner Merryn Attridge of Royal Hospital School, was Bobby Driscoll from Ballyholme and Royal North Yacht Clubs who after the OCS in the first race which was his discard, counted a second, fourth and three sevenths. Bobby took the Silver on a tie break at the Worlds earlier. His young brother Tom finished 7th in the same fleet at Weymouth – their father is the Irish Olympic Finn sailor, John Driscoll who competed in the 1996 Olympics.

Doug Rennie, Ballyholme YC Commodore is very pleased with the performances. “Following great results at the Topper Worlds last month, we would congratulate our young sailors at Ballyholme, together with their support teams for continuing their great results at the UK Topper Nationals in Weymouth. With ceaseless dedication and hard work, young Bobby and Tom Driscoll and Cormac Byrne are leading the way and proving once again that BYC is the home of potential world-class sailors”

Northern Ireland sailors (l to r) Autumn Halliday,Tom Driscoll, Bobby Driscoll, Luke Simpson and Cormac Byrne Photo: John DriscollNorthern Ireland sailors (l to r) Autumn Halliday,Tom Driscoll, Bobby Driscoll, Luke Simpson and Cormac Byrne Photo: John Driscoll

Another outstanding performance by Luke Simpson from County Antrim YC on Belfast Lough gave him fourth overall, counting two third places, a fourth, a fifth and eleventh.

Luke Simpson First Junior MaleLuke Simpson First Junior Male

County Antrim Yacht Club was awarded a John Merrick Trust/RYA Topper in 2015. It was assigned to Luke last year when he was accepted onto RYANI and then the Irish Sailing Team. Sheela Lewis, the Club Training Officer and Coach, speaking on the Committee’s behalf, said “The CAYC Committee is delighted at Luke’s success. Fantastic result, 4th overall and 1st Junior male! His parents are obviously delighted and everyone at the club is immensely proud.” She added “Luke learned to sail at CAYC on one of our summer sailing schemes a few years ago. We recognised his keenness and potential, and supported his development with coaching, advice, and resources. The level of his dedication and commitment to this sport which he eats and breathes, is contagious, and it is very rewarding for us to see a talent like Luke's growing and blossoming. Luke's achievements on the water are no fluke and are well reserved. They are something of which he should be rightly proud; we certainly are!”

Waiting for the wind at the Topper Nationals in Weymouth  Photo ITCAWaiting for the wind at the Topper Nationals in Weymouth Photo: ITCA

Tom Driscoll counted as his best result a 6th to finish 7th overall, and Cormac Byrne from Ballyholme and Strangford SC put in a strong performance in 9th place, counting a seventh and a fifth, making the four northern sailors in the top ten. The best of the Northern girls was Autumn Halliday from Strangford Lough YC and at 25th came Emily McAfee (Ballyholme) with her best placing 10th.

No doubt, many of the Topper sailors will be aiming to compete in the RYA NI Youth Championships at Ballyholme on 10th and 11th of September. Entries are now open through the RYANI Facebook page.

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