Three weeks after her family hosted one of the crews in the Shetland Round Britain and Ireland Yacht race, young Lerwick Boating Club sailor Kirsten Napier found herself following their route south to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, venue for the sailing events in the London 2012 Olympics.
The reason for the trip was to compete in the third event of the International Topper Class Association Craftinsure National Series. Held over the weekend of 10th and 11th July, a record number of 225 dinghies took part in the main event (with another 25 in the event for the smaller sail version of the popular dinghy). For the first time in the series this year, the weather permitted all six races to be sailed over the weekend. The almost ideal sunny and windy weather conditions made for an enjoyable first day but on the Sunday the wind had increased giving some of the older sailors, such as Kirsten, an advantage. This allowed Kirsten to record her best result, 43rd, in the fourth race. She finished the event as the 10th highest placed Scot overall and the fourth Scottish female.
During the event Kirsten’s new sail, kindly sponsored by Thulecraft, identified her as a Shetland sailor and a number of people having seen the sail were interested to talk about the commitment and expense involved in making such a long journey to such an event. Kirsten was able to explain that she was assisted in attending this event through generous sponsorship from NorthLink, Ocean Kinetics, the Alastair Jackson Trust, the Anderson High School Fund and Gulberwick, Quarff and Cunningsburgh Community Council.
Kirsten would like to thank all her sponsors and is looking forward to her next Topper sailing event, the week-long National championships at Pwllheli Sailing Club in North Wales.
Of the Weymouth experience, Kirsten said: “Sailing with so many good sailors who sail these dinghies week in week out at the Olympic venue was a daunting experience but a great privilege. Unfortunately I can only really sail the Topper by going to the mainland but I am determined to build on my recent results at the Nationals where I will be sailing against more that 300 other Topper sailors. By the time I get down there and back I will feel that I have completed my own Round Britain race!”