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Lightning368 Open at Dorchester Sailing Club

by Chris Abela 6 Sep 2010 02:35 PDT 4 September 2010

Seven boats attended the Dorchester open, a new venue for the Lightning368s, but, judging by the responses of those who travelled to the club it may well be worth visiting again. A near perfect day for sailing with a light breeze of between 6 and 10 mph and a gorgeous display of late summer sunshine saw the seven closely matched competitors take to the water. In race one, Simon Styles in LN292 was first across the start with Chris Abela in 369 close behind. The long beat to windward provided interest for the spectators outside the clubhouse as there was an awful lot of position swapping. Doing well on this leg relies on figuring out Dorchester’s peculiar wind shifts. But Simon was first to the windward mark and continued to be well ahead until Chris caught him up on the downwind leg. Simon, first to the gybe mark, sailed the long way round Dorchester’s infamous “shallows” where Chris lifted his centreboard and rudder and sailed through to drastically narrow the gap. Chris was certainly helped by his local knowledge! Mark Godden of WOSC in LN49; Chris Potts, also from WOSC in 284 and Tony Jacks of Evesham SC fought a close battle for 3rd place. On the upwind leg of the second lap Chris again used his “home club” experience to choose a better line to the windward mark and eventually overtook Simon who very nearly caught up with Chris at the finishing line.

The second race started almost as soon as the last boats had finished the first. Simon again was 1st across the line and led almost until the 1st mark where a hard fought battle between Simon, Tony and Chris was being waged for pole position. In fact, Tony was a real threat and led for quite a while on the 1st lap but was later heard cursing himself for taking the wrong line and allowing Chris Potts and Mark Godden to slip through. Further down the fleet, Wayne Jenner (LN172) beat Lee Bratley (LN21) across the line in a near photo finish.

After a quick lunch in the sunshine of the patio at Dorchester’s new clubhouse, the competitors took to the water for a course change and a slight drop and shift in the wind. A very tricky beat to the 1st mark saw Simon lead again. Chris Abela however was caught in irons just short of the mark and allowed Wayne to slip through into 2nd position. When Chris regained his composure he managed to interrupt Tony’s route and had to take a 720 which left him in 4th. This tricky race saw Simon cross the line 1st followed by Wayne then Tony.

A great event with a very evenly matched fleet, a lovely display of warm sunshine and a very chilled out set of locals spectating from the patio, who we extend our huge thanks to. We may have to go back to Dorchester with more of our friends! But for now autumn is on its way and we have a date with Haversham. See you there.

Overall Results:

1st LN369, Christopher Abela (Dorchester Sailing Club)
2nd LN292, Simon Styles (Evesham Sailing Club)
3rd LN49, Mark Godden (West Oxford Sailing Club)
4th LN284, Chris Potts (West Oxford Sailing Club)
5th LN263, Tony Jacks (Evesham Sailing Club)
6th LN172, Wayne Jenner (Abbey Sailing Club)
7th LN21, Lee Bratley (Manor Park Sailing Club)

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