Topper National Series 3, Carsington - by Brandon Banner.
Photo credit: Peter Newton What a weekend at Carsington, my first national event win in my Topper!
With two 5ths under my belt in the two previous national series events, I was asked “what have you been doing differently recently?” I had to admit that I’ve stepped up my fitness levels, thanks to some serious persuasion from my national squad coach and help from my fitness sponsor James Nickson from Forest Hills Leisure. However, I think the biggest reason I’ve stepped up a gear is thanks to my new kit sponsor, Rooster!
It's the third time I've sailed in my brand new Rooster SuperTherm Longjohn and 4mm SuperTherm Top with my Rooster PolyPro Base Layers, and was not only warm, but I felt really comfortable and able to move around the boat quickly. It was great to be sailing in winter weather free from layer upon layer of clothing.
One of the best features of the new equipment is the grip rings around the legs and seals around the cuffs. For years I’ve had the problem of kit riding up my arms and legs leaving a ‘cold gap’ (particularly while I’ve been growing!) But no more!! The kit stays in place and snug to the body with no bulk.
Despite the constant rain, spray and eventual dunking off the end of a pontoon after racing - thanks squad mates - I remained warm and ready to race.
So whether wearing the right kit is the key to success or not, I’m going to be sticking firmly with my SuperTherm® gear, which really does do ‘what it says on the tin’, and I’m looking forward to the next event.
Now for a bit more on the racing itself …
Carsington was the venue, with nearly 130 Topper 5.3s entered for the third national series event this year and an expectation of strong winds.
Although Saturday delivered some strong gusts, the overall conditions across the race course were around 15 knots with a constant, cool wet drizzle! I believe for our parent spectators there wasn’t an awful lot to see, but for us competing it was great fun.
Day one there were five back to back races with conditions proving a challenge for everyone – light or heavy weights, experienced sailors or those a little newer to the national scene – but spirits were high across the fleet, with some good banter and camaraderie.
I managed two 1st places, a 3rd, a 6th and an awful 29th having left my starboard approach to the first mark a little late and having to join the back of the queue and do a few turns in the process! Fortunately that was my discard and despite this I was in the lead overnight.
Conditions on the second day looked good at first, albeit much stronger gusts, and the race committee decided to get the first race underway. As half of the first fleet were knocked over by a 40 knot gust, and while I was having great fun approaching the first mark in 2nd place, the racing was stopped and ultimately abandoned for the day. This secured my win!
A number of boats had been abandoned on the lake and together with a few squad mates, I had the fun job of getting involved in the recovery operation and sailing boats back in at surfing pace! Great fun!
As always, a fantastic and friendly atmosphere amongst the Topper sailors and superb support from parents and organisers.