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Lightning368 Season Finale at Dorchester Sailing Club

by Simon Hopkins 20 Oct 2011 05:11 PDT 15 October 2011

The day started with the lake as the proverbial mill pond, but 12 hopeful Lightning sailors rigged the boats anyway, and went for tea whilst the wind made up its mind whether to appear or not. After a short 15 minute delay, there was a small ripple on the water and the fleet made its way out for the first start. This was going to be a day of being in the right place at the right time and making the most of what little breeze there was.

Making an immediate impact with his newly purchased boat was Lightning debutant Dave Chadwick, who luffed Simon Hopkins over the line and then sailed off up the first beat to round first followed by Caroline Key, Matt Hopkins and Nigel Webb. In the following laps Caroline and Matt reeled Dave in and a battle ensued with Dave trying in earnest to defend from the light wind specialists, but to no avail as both slipped by with a lap to go to finish 1st and 2nd. Simon H, recovering from his early bad start, passed Nigel for 4th with the race just long enough for Dave to stay ahead and 3rd at his first competitive race. One to watch next season!

Race 2 and the wind was not being fair to the race officer swinging 30degrees in either direction. Simon H did not make the same mistake as race 1, starting at the pin to sail the one sided ‘beat’ to arrive at the first mark in the lead. This time it was Matt’s turn to be over early, courtesy of Lee Bratley, with an added penalty turn to boot giving him lots of ground to make up later in the race. On lap 2 the impressive light wind speed of Simon Styles and Caroline enabled them to move though into 1st and 2nd, only for Simon S sail to the wrong mark on the last lap allowing Caroline through for the win. The fast recovering Matt, passed Simon H, somewhere in the middle of the race to take 3rd with Adam Styles coming in 5th.

All then retired to the club house for a superb lunch of baked potatoes and a relax in the sunshine. With the wind even less than before and the open meeting won, Caroline decided to sit race three out, so 11 boats made their way to the start only for Dave C to have rudder problems and miss the race. Surprisingly the wind decide to blow straight and true for the start of the race and a clean start saw Simon H, take the lead followed by Adam, Dad Simon S with Matt in close pursuit. Was this to be the race of the families?

By the second lap the wind had had enough and died away to less than before. Matt used the impressive zero wind boat speed he had had all day to sail through everyone into a massive lead and record the win. Adam, Simon S and Simon H swapped positions with every lap depending who had the wind at the time. On the last leg Adam was ahead of Simon H who needed 2nd in the race to secure 3rd in the meeting but it was not to be by about an inch. Adam sailed into 2nd gifting his Dad 3rd overall by finishing 4th. They swear it was not team work!

So Caroline Key took the meeting with two firsts ahead of Matt Hopkins and Simon Styles. Further misery for Simon Hopkins as he finished tied on points with Adam Styles but 4th went to Adam on the strength of that inch in the last race!

A really enjoyable finale to the final Open of the season, with excellent racing all down the fleet.

Although absent for this event, Lightning builder John Claridge had done enough to be crowned the 2011 Lightning 368 Open/Traveller Champion, well done JC from all in the fleet.

There's been some great, close racing amongst the Lightning fleet all season, but moreso the camaraderie between helms. Whether a 'regular' on the circuit or simply popping along to support your 'local' Open event, a friendly welcome and great banter is assured.

Due to a quite quirky calender, the new season starts again in just a few weeks with the Rum and Mince pies at West Oxford on the 12th November. This will include a post-race dinner evening to which any Lightning sailor is welcome - whether sailing the event or not. For more details, go to

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR 1R 2R 3Pts
1st406KEY CarolineWest Oxfordshire SC11(DNS)2
2nd288HOPKINS MattUP River YC2‑313
3rd292STYLES SimonSevern SC‑6246
4th236STYLES AdamSevern SC‑7527
5th253HOPKINS SimonUP River YC‑4437
6th271CHADWICK Dave 37(DNS)10
7th372WEBB NigelCookham Reach SC5‑6510
8th409BRATLEY LeeManor Park SC‑128614
9th323JENNER WayneAbbey SC‑1110717
10th274LIGGETT MikeHunts SC‑99817
11th21WESTLEY BrianManor Park SC8‑11917
12th284POTTS ChrisWest Oxfordshire SC10‑121020

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