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Noble Marine Lightning 368 Travellers Series and Southern Championships at Up River Yacht Club

by John Butler 25 Aug 02:39 PDT 21-22 August 2021
Noble Marine Lightning 368 Travellers Series and Southern Championships at Up River YC © John Butler

With local sailors having taken the first four places in the 2021 Nationals, eight visitors were attracted to join the nine home boats for the racing, and it was great to see four local boats out with junior helms who were still classified as children!

The eight visitors who joined the four club boats and a few Comets for the Saturday Training Day had a variable day sailing with the British summer forgetting it was August. With 2016 National Champion Simon Hopkins giving the coaching from the Safety Boat, as always the training concentrated on starting and getting used to sailing on a tidal river.

As the tide started to ebb, the race back to the clubhouse was won by Chris Hill of Ulley SC who had travelled all the way from Yorkshire for the event.

After Saturday night's food fest and festivities, Sunday dawned wet and changeable, which would be the best words to describe the rest of the day.

Race 1 started with an 8 knot WNW which gave a starboard biased beat to the first mark. The place to start was the North bank with clear air and it was Simon Hopkins who won this position and pulled away at the front of the fleet, chased by Penny Yarwood and her brother Ben Harris who was making a return to the fleet for his home event.

Simon rounded clear first ahead of Penny, but as usual on the run she sailed through his lee to take the lead before they were back level with the club. Ben also managed to get ahead of Simon on the run only to lose it immediately when they turned and headed back up the river again.

Over the next lap Simon closed in on Penny, but was never close enough to challenge, so had the settle for second. Luke Lazell recovered to third when Ben missed a mark and had to return to round, when Luke (being nice) reminded him. First visitor was John Claridge in fifth ahead of Jason Gallagher, another Yorkshire visitor.

Race 2 was back to back and the fight for the North Bank was vicious. Simon and Penny were fighting for the prime position when Ben luffed them hard, and in keeping clear Simon and Penny both hit the bottom. Ben led Simon and Penny around the windward mark with Luke and the visiting pack chasing hard.

Half way down the run Penny and Simon got alongside Ben and the three approached the turn side by side. Up to that point, with Ben on the inside, a nice gust suddenly allowed Penny and Simon to roll Ben. After a hopeful call for mark room Simon had to settle for following Penny onto the beat.

With the wind building, Simon soon pulled into a small lead on the race back to the finish and Luke joined the battle. Many tacks later and with about 300 yards to go, calamity stuck Simon when he hit a submerged object, which lifted both his centreboard and rudder.

Whilst Simon extricated himself from the consequential mess, Ben, Penny and Luke got a nice lift up the centre of the river and passed him. As they approached the turning mark Ben was inside and ahead of Penny, but then the shortened course hooter went and Penny immediately bore away and in the drag race to the line she pipped Ben for the win by a few inches.

Luke led Simon across the line and first visitor again was John Claridge in fifth ahead of Caroline Hollier.

After a tea break the fleet launched for Race 3 in 15mph winds and driving rain only for this to disappear completely just before the start, leaving a light zephyr of a breeze that was barely enough to beat the ebbing tide.

The North bank was again the place to start, but this time to get out of the tide. Penny nailed it and sailed off never to be seen again by the chasing pack. Leading the bunch chasing his 'Aunty Penny' was Up River Junior Jack Gore, son of current National Champion Ian Gore.

Simon, Ben and another local in Graham Lazell, father of Luke, were in the group close behind. They like to keep it in the family at Up River YC!

Simon and Ben managed to slip past Jack into second and third on the North Bank, but meanwhile Luke, having had a bad start, took the all or nothing decision to head to the South bank and it immediately began to pay.

Seeing this Jack followed him, as did the rest of the fleet, whilst Simon and Ben stuck to their short tacking up the North bank.

Where was Penny you ask? Probably back in the club house at this point with her third win of the day. At the windward mark both sides paid, as the rounding order was Simon, Luke, Ben then Jack, and this was the order as they were swept down tide back to the line. First visitor was the late charging 'Lord' Duncan Cheshire ahead of Graham Lazell.

The final results were Penny Yarwood as the new Southern Champion, ahead of Simon Hopkins. Ben and Luke were tied on 6 points but the final podium went to Ben on tie break because of his second place in Race 2.

John 'I used to be good' Claridge came home fifth as the first visitor, and first junior was Jack Gore in 13th from the home club.

Looking ahead, it's no rest for the Lightning 368 fleet as the 2021 Noble Marine Travellers series now moves onto Oxford SC on Saturday 28th August.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3Pts
1st425Penny Yarwood‑1112
2nd428Simon Hopkins2‑424
3rd404Ben Harris‑4246
4th335Luke Lazell‑3336
5th427John Claridge55‑810
6th257Duncan Cheshire‑138614
7th435Ben Twist‑96915
8th417Jason Gallagher69(DNF)15
9th433John Butler‑1071017
10th430Graham Lazell11‑13718
11th432Chris Hill711(DNF)18
12th438Caroline Hollier810(DNS)18
13th312Jack Gore15(DNS)520
14th407Bryan Westley1212(DNF)24
15th224Rosie Gore1414(DNF)28
16th282Josh Conway1615(DNF)31
17th342Harry Yarwood17(DNF)DNF35

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