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Noble Marine Lightning 368 open meeting at Shotwick Lake Sailing

by Simon Hopkins 15 May 2023 12:24 PDT 13 May 2023
Noble Marine open meeting at Shotwick Lake © Jeanette Timmons

A healthy visiting fleet of 11 boats, 4 from Chase SC, joined the 4 local boats for the opening event of the year as Lightning 368 sailors again ventured marginally across the border into Wales.

The day dawned on a bright, sunny morning, with very little breeze and when the breeze did come it was often from a different direction. This caused great fun for the race officers to set a course, but they got us under way for one race before a picnic lunch in the glorious sunshine and two back to back races after lunch.

As was to be the theme for the day as the one minute gun went in race 1, the wind shifted making it almost impossible to cross the line on Starboard, so those who could tack off early had the advantage. Not surprisingly this was the two locals of Mark Heaton and Jeremy Cooper followed by Simon Hopkins.

In the drag race to the first mark, the superior boat speed award went to Duncan Cheshire in his newly podded Mark 1, who came from the pack through to second. At the first mark, as the wind completed 360deg shifts Mark got stuck allowing Simon to sneak round in third.

As the drift proceeded Simon eventually got past into Second, when Duncan kindly showed him where the wind wasn't and closed on Jeremy. Jeremy held the inside at the final mark to hang on for the win by about a hands width. Duncan came home 3rd ahead of Mark.

After a nice sunbathe over lunch, the fleet returned to the lake for a change of course (important later) and even less wind.

Simon won the pin in what became a fetch to mark one but then showed everyone where the wind wasn't and dropped to the rear of the fleet. Duncan and Mark took up the baton until that run. Well hands up by the author for having a senior moment in the heat and causing chaos at the leeward mark.

A fantastic downwind leg by Simon got him alongside all the leaders for what he thought was inside boat for a port rounding as the previous race having forgotten that it had been changed to a Starboard rounding.

Anyway 14 Lightnings around one mark doesn't go and it was pretty messy! Whilst Simon unwound himself and did his turns Duncan and Mark sailed off to record first and second, proving there is justice, Ian Ransom came home third ahead of Caroline.

Going into the last race, Duncan held top spot but anyone, Simon, Ian, Mark or Jeremy could steal it by a win in this race. What started as a port reach off the line soon became a starboard fetch and the boats on the right, Ceri James and Tony Jacks soon headed off into a good lead with Duncan and Caroline in hot pursuit.

Again it was a lottery where the wind was going to fill in and from what direction when with two legs to go Simon back in 8th decided to follow Mark Heaton and hug the left bank whilst the leaders headed more in the middle of the lake where they were both greeted with wind and a lift that took the straight to the penultimate mark arriving with the previous leaders pinching to get there.

Seeing there might be another rafting session as boats tried to tack on port ahead of starboard boats Simon decided to sail well past the mark and tack well clear. This tactic worked and gave him the lead ahead of Tony, however the final run/reach, beat/run to the final mark was stressful trying to cover Tony but Simon held on to take the win, whilst Caroline got inside Tony on the last mark to come home second and Duncan fourth.

This was enough for Simon Hopkins to defend the Shotwick Open Meeting title, albeit in completely different conditions ahead of Duncan Cheshire, with local Jeremy Cooper coming home third. First Lady was Caroline Hollier in fourth and first Junior Elanwy Hopkins.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st428Simon HopkinsUp River YC2‑613
2nd104Duncan CheshireWinsford Flash SC31‑44
3rd410Jeremy CooperShotwick SC1‑756
4th438Caroline HollierWest Oxfordshire SC‑6426
5th331Mark HeatonShotwick SC42‑66
6th444Tony JacksBartley SC5‑1238
7th441Ian RansonBolton SC‑83811
8th407Bryan WestleyAldridge SC‑105712
9th87Ceri JamesShotwick SC78‑915
10th417Jason GallagherDenholme SC910(DNF)19
11th228Steve AshtonShotwick SC‑1391120
12th402Stephen HodgsonDenholme SC‑11111021
13th145Allison HopkinsChase SC‑14131225
14th175Spencer HopkinsChase SC12‑141325
15th167Elanwy HopkinsChase SC‑15151429

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