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Noble Marine Lightning 368 Inland Championship at Chase Sailing Club

by John Butler 20 Oct 2021 13:34 PDT 16 October 2021

11 visitors joined the 4 home boats for another race day of lightish & shifty winds at this superb Midlands venue, which led to some dramatic reversals of fortune across the whole day.

In the 1st race, it paid to start at the port end, but those who went out to the right got the best of the initial beat. Chris Hill, however, thought the start line was between the orange port end start buoy and the yellow leeward mark, and not the committee boat, and was way over the line, but didn’t respond to the individual recall. He led for a couple of legs of the course, but it wasn’t until the end of the race that he discovered his OCS infringement.

Meanwhile Simon Hopkins, believing he was the boat over the line, turned back to restart when in fact he’d had a perfect start, relegating him to the back of the fleet, thereby leaving Ben Twist to hold a consistent 4th place throughout the majority of the race behind the “front” three.

A local Phantom sailor in a borrowed Lightning, Steve Turner, worked his way to the front and was eventually well clear, with both Chris and Duncan Cheshire in hot pursuit. When Steve got to the first gybe mark, he rounded it the wrong way, only to be reminded of it by a friendly local in a rescue boat. This allowed Duncan through into the lead for a brief period, until after unwinding himself from his misdemeanour, Steve again took the lead.

In a dramatic move, typical of the day, Jeremy Cooper recovered from an appalling start to work his way back through the fleet from almost last place to 3rd at the finish.

On the final beat, Duncan got his nose in front, and denied Steve the win that seemed inevitable for most of the race. At the last mark Ben held out to the right on the final beat, and eventually finished 12th. Simon Hopkins tacked on the mark, and grabbed 4th at the end by going left, closely challenged by Jason Gallagher.

In Race 2 Jeremy had a great start at the committee boat end and rounded the top mark in the lead, closely followed by Caroline Hollier, Jason and Chris. Up there in the mix again was Ben, who this time stayed in contention throughout despite the whole fleet bunching up as the wind filled in from behind on the run. Meanwhile in a hero to zero scenario, 1st race winner Duncan languished at the back of the fleet, finally ending up 13th.

Jeremy proceeded to eke out a decent lead, but then Caroline caught & squeezed past him offwind, before Jeremy eventually got water at the bottom mark and cleared off away upwind, leading to the finish. Caroline then had a ding-dong battle with Chris, including a small contretemps close to the finish, but Chris just edged it at the finish line for 2nd. Ben got past Jason to take 4th, then Jason went the wrong way on the final beat and dropped to 7th, promoting Tony Jacks to 5th.

In the final race there was more breeze, and Jeremy started with a port end flyer to head the fleet, although the starboard end starters were again favoured part way up the beat. Once they rounded the top mark, Caroline was close enough to be nipping away at Jeremy’s lead throughout the race, finally getting past him on the last beat to the finish, and covering him closely to see out the race in first.

In what for him was a below par day, Simon finally nabbed 3rd, edging out the ever consistent Chris, who had to be content with 4th. Jason had a storming last leg to claim 5th, taking several boats in one move by calling starboard on them at the finish line.

The first of a couple of special mentions goes to Ian Ranson, who finished the breezier last race despite a shackle on his kicker coming adrift, which he quickly jury rigged with a lash up using his painter, and recovered a couple of places from being plumb last by a long way. The second mention is for local junior Elsa Minton, in her first season in a Lightning, who worried the regulars with some impressive bursts of offwind speed, but tended to lose out upwind. Elsa was awarded the Junior prize for her endeavours.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st410Jeremy CooperShotwick Lake SC‑3112
2nd438Caroline HollierWest Oxfordshire SC‑9325
3rd432Chris HillUlley SC(OCS)246
4th428Simon HopkinsUp River YC4‑1237
5th257Duncan CheshireWinsford Flash SC1‑13910
6th429Steve TurnerChase SC28‑1210
7th417Jason GallagherDenholme SC5‑7510
8th435Ben TwistBroadstairs SC‑124711
9th444Tony JacksBartley SC‑65611
10th234Dave WatkinsChase SC76‑1513
11th433John ButlerSutton in Ashfield SC8‑10816
12th407Bryan WestleyChase SC10‑141020
13th441Ian RansonBolton SC‑1391322
14th402Stephen HodgsonDenholme SC‑11111122
15th175Elsa MintonChase SC14‑151428

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