RYANI Topper Squad sailors busy battling it out on the world stage

Young sailors in Northern Ireland have had a busy summer, battling it out in the Topper class with back-to-back international events.
22 Aug 22

Young sailors in Northern Ireland have had a busy summer, battling it out in the Topper class with back-to-back international events.
The World Championships held in Riva del Garda, Italy, were closely followed by the British Nationals in Weymouth, UK, barely a week later.

RYA Northern Ireland’s Performance Manager Andrew Baker commented: “It is amazing to see so many of our young sailors competing at such a high level on the world stage. The sailors, their families and support teams all deserve a huge pat on the back for their efforts. It has been a very busy summer and they have worked very hard putting in some solid performances.”

At the Worlds, 12 NI sailors and their families made the trip to one of the world’s most iconic sailing venues in Lake Garda. 
Andrew Baker explains “This is an amazing place to sail but it is definitely challenging none-the-less. Consistency in the range of conditions proved invaluable as the racing progressed through qualifying and into the finals.''

Bobby Driscoll (Ballyholme Yacht Club/Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club) entered the finals with a comfortable enough lead but with the scoring system in place, the qualifying series only gained him one point advantage. As the finals played out racing stayed close with Bobby eventually finishing on equal point as first. Agonisingly however on countback he was awarded 2nd overall.
Other notable results were Daniel Palmer (Ballyholme Yacht Club) jumping back in the boat after a season in the ILCA 4 to secure a 12th overall including some podium race finishes.  
Cormac Byrne (Strangford Sailing Club / Ballyholme Yacht Club) Luke Simpson (County Antrim Yacht Club) and Emily Macafee (Ballyholme Yacht Club) also made it into the top 25. 
Calum Pollard (CAYC) took hold of the 4.2 fleet from day one and has now been crowed the 2022 Topper 4.2 World Champion.

With barley enough time to make the trip and reset, the fleet were in Weymouth for the British Nationals. This time we had eight sailors from NI taking part in the 2012 Olympic Venue.
Racing in the Harbour courses is never simple, some favourites took a few races to get going while some of the other sailors seemed to relish the conditions. Tom Driscoll (Ballyholme Yacht Club / Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club) even spent some time in the red bib of 3rd overall as the week progressed.
However, sibling rivalry took place as Bobby climbed his way back into the podium to round off with another 2nd overall. Tome slipped back to 7th overall, a very respectable achievement for his age.

Stand out performance this week was that of Luke Simpson who managed to keep among the top 5 finishing 4th.  Four Northern Irish sailors finished in the top ten.
RYA Northern Ireland’s Head Topper Coach Chris Penny said: “Overall it was a strong squad performance. The week presented light and tricky conditions to test our sailors.''
''It was great to see the younger sailors like Tom Driscoll and Cormac Byrne finish inside the top 10.''
“This highlights the depth of our squad and some exciting prospects. I am delighted to see Bobby Driscoll on the podium again. A very deserved result in unfavoured conditions. Autumn also rounds of her topper years as third female. A great week all round.’’

The full results were:

 Name  Class  Topper Worlds  Topper British
Autumn Halliday  Topper  71 15 
 Bobby Driscoll   Topper  2  2
 Cormac Byrne  Topper  20  9
 Emily Macafee  Topper  24  25
 Henry Nelson  Topper  62  
 Isabel Nixon  Topper    72
 Joseph Robinson  Topper  41  
 Katie Brow  Topper  43  
 Luke Simpson  Topper  22  4
 Rory Pollard   Topper  70  
 Tom Driscoll  Topper  52  7
 Daniel Palmer   Topper  12  
 Calum Pollard  Topper 4.2   1  
 Hugo Boyd   Topper 4.2    8