Final Day of the Rooster Topper Worlds

The Topper is undeniably one of the world’s fastest growing youth boats with over 200 competing at this year’s world championships in Loctudy. Even though the level of competition is intense, the primary focus has always been centered around the enjoyment of sailing as a sport and the promotion of friendship and comradery across nations. We regularly see competitors from all around the world at different venues with this year’s entrants coming from Ireland, Great Britain, France, China, Macau and Republic of South Africa. The Topper fleet has historically always been a welcoming group of sailors and we hope that more nations will continue to arrive on the Topper scene in years to come.

This year, being based in France, we naturally had a few French sailors, one of which arrived in an unexpected way. This boat is, as the French would say "tres vieux". A father and son just happened to be passing the Centre de Nautique and noticed a rather ample collection of Toppers. Inquisitive, they appeared at the race office and very soon we had an additional ‘classic’  Topper from bygone years, with a little help from Rooster, added to the fleet.  China also had a substantial entry with Chinese sailors making up almost half of the 4.2 fleet! The Topper, which is a relatively new fleet to China, started a few years back, and then appeared in force at the 2016 Topper Worlds in Ballyholme, Northern Ireland. China is keen to improve their Topper fleet and there are expectations of 100 Chinese entries at the 2018 Topper Worlds in China. In preparation for this event, the Chinese sailing team fabulously entertained everyone with a variety of cultural ‘tasters’ on the ‘China Night’ , and included elements of music, singing and dancing, as well as a selection of food to try.

The last day of the competition kicked off on Friday with an earlier start time of 11.00am. As in previous days, conditions were perfect and the wind filled at 10-15 knots, providing consistent conditions throughout the day, albeit with a little more of a chop than usual. Being the final day, everything was still up for grabs and no one sailor was dominant in any fleet. However, with full days racing behind them, energy levels and focus would now become a significant factor. The 5.3 fleets felt the need to get across the line early, leading to multiple general recalls and the use of the dreaded black flag which claimed quite a few sailors. Even the jury were increasing the number of yellow flags used, as sailors attempted to urge their boats forwards in any means possible. The 4.2 fleet also had similar conditions in which the two 4.2 fleets were suitably challenged. The wind blew from a more southerly direction which lead to a situation of wind against tide, increasing the wave height and with the wind being less shifty, this provided the opportunity for tactical sailing between boats.

Overall the points were very close at the top with a few position changes on the final day, and in the 4.2 fleet, Sean Woodard took top honours, closely followed by Xinran Chen and Yikang Su following in third. All three sailors were on 24 points! The 5.3 Bronze fleet finished with Maxi Tustain in pole position, then Benjamin Bradley, followed by Noah Sherrif. In Silver fleet Evie McLaughlin took the honours followed by Benjamin Jukes-Bennett and Marcus Howard in third. Gold fleet and over-all 2017 Topper World Champion was Scott Wilkinson with Samuel Cooper in second place and Dan McGaughey in third.

This year’s event has been a phenomenal success. Five perfect days of sailing, a display of the highest standard of sportsmanship and behaviour both on and off the water, and a willingness to help other competitors are some of the factors that make this event so noteworthy year on year. Donations given by the sailing fraternity, used to bring Shadley Thomas, a South African sailor, over for the event, were also used to buy new sailing equipment (from Rooster) which will be taken back to the sailing club that he is trying to develop back home.

Finally, a huge thank you to all our sponsors, especially our main sponsor, Rooster sailing, who provided great prizes, race bibs, officials clothing, and great support. Also thanks to Topper International for their sponsorship and support, and to Sacqua for the bags supplied for competitors and prizewinners.  And thank you to all of the organisers, helpers and parents who helped make this event possible.