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Lightning 368 Northern Championships at both Denholme Sailing Club and Ulley Sailing Club

by Simon Hopkins 17 May 03:34 PDT

Noble Marine Travellers Trophy Round 3 and Northern Championships

Sailors travelled from far off lands such as Essex, West Midlands and Lancashire to compete in the Noble Marine Lighting 368 Northern Championships. The event was held over the weekend of 11th-12th May at Denholme Sailing club near Halifax on the Saturday and Ulley Sailing club near Sheffield on Sunday.

Saturday Morning at Denholme was beautiful. Sunshine, fantastic scenery and not a breath of wind! So the 10 sailors who had thought the weather reports were lying went for ample tea and bacon butties supplied by the Denholme team. Whilst waiting for the wind the fleet took the time to admire Ian Ranson's brand new boat LN441 collected from builder John Claridge the day before. No practice sails for Ian, straight into the racing!

Tea seemed to work, as by 11am there was wind on the water. Time to go sailing!

Race 1 started in a light easterly which was unfortunately where the 'mountain' is positioned at Denholme so wind direction was anyone's guess. Alan Ward from Ulley SC guessed right and was off like a ferret up a drainpipe into what should have been an unassailable lead. However Penny Yarwood and Simon Hopkins, who had travelled from Essex for this delight, soon got to grips with the strange combination of wind, no wind, hailstones and sunshine to gradually reel him in. Just as it looked like Penny, the reigning champion would take the win, Alan found the wind again to take first place, just ahead of Simon who had also found a way to sneak ahead of Penny. Time for more tea!

As Race 2 was about to get away the wind vanished and then filled in from behind leaving all 10 boats running the length of the lake. Much to his surprise local sailor Steve Hodgson rounded the mark first followed by the pack, who immediately found better wind, and in the move of the day John Butler sailed from last to first by mark 2. However his glory was short lived, and Penny and Alan soon found their way through to battle for the lead all the way to the finish. In true gentlemanly fashion Alan let the lady go first. Behind these two, Simon came through to pip John for third. More tea was in order!

As we finished tea there was excitement in the fleet as there was actual proper wind blowing down the lake! At the start of the race, any one of Alan, Penny or Simon could win the event by winning the last race, and Penny made her intention known by taking the early lead from Jason and Simon. Unfortunately Alan got caught out and went for a swim leaving it a two-way fight. After two laps Jason was still keeping Simon at bay until a windward boat incident with Steve (on another leg) let Simon through. In the increasing wind Simon made huge gains on Penny but she held on to take first by a few boat lengths and so the Denholme Open Meeting.

The fleet then de-camped, and travelled down the M1 to Ulley Sailing Club for an excellent spaghetti bolognaise made by Gary Burkinshaw, and all the red wine the club had available, before the fleet was serenaded to sleep by Simon!

Sunday morning dawned, and once again the wind was light and varying.

As Race 1 started, a shift made it a fetch to mark 1 and lots of boats arrived at the same time. Bryan Westley and Mike Gregory were the first clear. Similar to Denholme with the mountain, Ulley has the obstruction of large trees and the wind was from right behind them, making for much variation on the wind direction even up to 180 degrees! Bryan held on for the first lap, but as the race progressed the same culprits from day one emerged at the front. After an hour of torture the race finished with Penny leading Simon, Alan, Bryan and John Butler all the way to the finish.

In Race Two it was starting to feel like déjà-vu as Penny, Alan, Simon and John sailed clear of the fleet. Although Penny stayed clear it was a close three way battle for third until Simon decided a windward swim was in order in a particularly savage header. As the race continued Alan, relieved of the pressure from Simon, closed in on Penny making her go full defensive covering mode up the final beat, but he had to settle for second whilst John came on clear ahead of Bryan in fourth.

Race three was held back to back, and the wind died at the top end of the line where everyone was except Penny who had spotted wind on the other bank. The result was that she sailed up the beat and was approaching the first mark before the rest of the fleet had cleared the line. The usual trio of John, Simon and Alan were soon off in pursuit with a new face near the front, Joe Standing from Denholme. Although racing was tight behind her, Penny was never trouble, and took the win for a clean sweep of results at Ulley, ahead of Simon and Alan. Prize of the Golden Hubcap for first Giles boat at Ulley went to Joe Standing sailing LN53 in seventh overall.

The next Lightning 368 event is the Allen National Championships at Northampton SC on the 1st and 2nd June. With Penny unable to attend, it may give other mere mortals a chance!

Northern Championships Overall Top Five: Results corrected 22nd May

1st - 425 - Penny Yarwood - Up River YC
2nd - 432 - Alan Ward - Ulley SC
3rd - 428 - Simon Hopkins - Up River YC
4th - 433 - John Butler - Sutton-in-Ashfield SC
5th - 407 - Bryan Westley - Aldridge SC

Denholme SC - Saturday's Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3Pts
1st425Penny Yarwood‑3112
2nd432Alan Ward12‑63
3rd428Simon Hopkins2‑324
4th417Jason Gallagher4(DNF)37
5th433John Butler‑8448
6th407Bryan Westley‑95510
7th402Steve Hodgeson56‑911
8th53Joe Standing6(DNF)713
9th441Ian Ranson7‑8815
10th66Chris Hill‑1071017

Ulley SC - Sunday's Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3Pts
1st425Penny Yarwood‑1112
2nd428Simon Hopkins2(DNF)24
3rd432Alan Ward‑3235
4th433John Butler‑5347
5th407Bryan Westley44‑88
6th441Ian Ranson‑95611
7th53Joe Standing‑107512
8th402Steve Hodgeson‑76713
9th423Gary Burkinshaw‑118917
10th424Mike Gregory810‑1118
11th66Chris Hill‑1291019
12th417Jason Gallagher6DNF(DNS)21
13th12Carolyn Gower1311(DNS)24
14th255Benjamin Skellum‑14121224

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