Champagne sailing in Medemblik!

Day one of the Rooster International Topper World Championship served up a perfect combination of sun, 15-20 knots of wind and short, testing waves. Race officer Remco de Goedeven set a square line for the first start of the regatta, for the 4.2 fleet racing on the shorter version of the trapezoid course. For Swiss sailor Salina Schwoerer it was her first ever race in the Topper but she showed great timing and boat handling as she popped out first at the pin end. However as the breeze flicked right, it was those boats at the Committee Boat end that benefited most. At the top mark, it was Charlotte Cooper (GBR) who lead the fleet from Jiahan Chen (CHN) who had the best start on the right and Haolun Xia (CHN).

Downwind the sailors surfed the short Ijeelsmeer waves using their experience to spot the best waves to surf. Get it right and a quick pump of the sheet saw them surf ahead – get it wrong or have the weight too far forward and the bow dipped and did a great impression of a submarine diving! Next up for their turn on a longer startline was the yellow and white flights of the 5.3 fleets. Again it was the committee boat end of the line that paid off as the south westerly breeze flicked right in the testing gusts of up to 22 knots. Tom Mitchell (GBR) was quick out of the blocks with the best mid line start, but at the windward mark it was Ed Baker (GBR) who rounded first, followed closely by Freddie Howarth (GBR) and Oliver Wilcox (GBR).

As the fleet enjoyed a high-speed planning reach across the top of the trapezoid course to mark two, the gusts topped out at 22 knots and hiking ability was at a premium! On the second upwind the typical Ijsselmeer breeze flicked back to the left, allowing Tom Mitchell to work the shifts to the left and work his way to the front of the fleet, taking the gun from Freddie Haworth. As the clouds cleared and sun beat down it was pure champagne sailing. Each fleet enjoyed 3 testing but hugely enjoyable races.

As the boats headed for the harbour it was a tired but happy bunch of sailors that arrived back at the dock with great stories of screaming reaches. downwind battles but most with big happy smiles. First home was the 4.2 fleet, with Yusho Liao (CHN) topping the scoreboard with an impressive 1,4,1, closely followed by Charlotte Dobson (GBR) and Sam Grayton (GBR).

In the evening, the sailors enjoyed an inspiring talk from Annie Lush on her journey from Topper sailor to Olympian and Volvo Round the World sailor with some thrilling video footage of knockdowns in the Southern Ocean that both inspired and terrified !

Tuesday's forecast proved accurate, with the Race officer wisely keeping the sailors ashore in the 28 degree heat, until a north easterly 8 knot breeze allowed a course to be set at 4pm. the 4.2 fleet and the first two flights of the 5.3 fleets got good races in, but the the third race start suffered a 40 shift on the second upwind leg that saw those at the back suddenly elevated to the front. The race officer wisely abandoned the race and managed to re-sail it in the glorious evening sun and in contrast to the first day it was the turn of many of the lighter weight sailors to shine. Cillian Foster (IRL) from the Royal Cork YC started at th epic and built up a huge lead by the final upwind leg to record his first ever World's race win.


Day 1 video highlights

Full results are available at Sailing.Today