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

by Simon Hopkins 23 May 2023 14:17 PDT 20-21 May 2023

There was a nice breeze and plenty of sunshine at Up River YC for the traditional Saturday Lightning 368 Training Day. With John Butler & John Claridge deciding to help out with safety boat cover, together with Simon Hopkins and Penny Yarwood officiating and coaching, five visiting and two local boats had a great day of starting practice and learning how tides work.

Sunday dawned cloudy, and with a cold North Easterly wind which was substantially less than the previous day. With three races back to back 14 boats took to the water to start from the club line and race down river.

Race One

The wind had enough North in it for this to be a port fetch along the South Bank. As was to be the theme for the day, the decent breeze came and went randomly, but chose the starting gun to disappear leaving everyone line shy except Paul Bevan in his Mk1, who sailed off into a nice lead chased by Penny Yarwood and John Claridge. As the fleet passed Brandy Hole it was John who had fared best and he led the fleet by a substantial margin round the corner with Penny, Paul, Graham Lazell and Ralph Drew in hot pursuit.

With the long beat across to the Stow Post, Simon Hopkins, recovering from a poor start, sailed through into fourth. As the fleet completed the triangles, John got taken out at the leeward mark by one of the Comets who were also racing the same course but a lap behind, allowing Penny to overtake John for the lead. Simon reeled Paul in and passed him on a rare windy reach and the order stayed the same to the finish. Finishing order was Penny, John, Simon, Paul, Graham and Ralph.

Race Two

This race started immediately in the best breeze of the day from a Committee Boat line set in the vicinity of Brandy Hole. Simon won the pin end fight at the starboard end of the line and immediately tacked off out of the tide. The rest of the fleet stood out into the stronger tide as no one could tack and clear the boats behind. Hence when Simon came back off the bank on Starboard, he had a sizeable lead which he held as the fleet were once again short tacking up the bank to Stow Post.

As the fleet completed 2 triangles and two sausages the fleet strung out with Caroline leading the charge after Simon, together with Penny and John until a dry capsize at the gybe mark let Penny through.

Unfortunately for Simon, who had dominated the race so far, the decision had been made to finish this race upriver at the club line, and as the breeze slowly softened during this mile run, the two lightweights of Penny and Caroline caught and passed Simon in a deja vu moment, as the same had happened to him the previous year. Finishing order was Penny, Caroline, Simon, John, Tony Jacks and Stephen Hodgson.

Race Three

This was an downriver start on the start of the strong spring ebb tide from the club line, and there was enough wind at the start for the short beat to Tower before the fleet turned to head up river. John Claridge was over the line and had to return against the tide, so local Junior Harry Yarwood, in a Mk3 boat kindly leant by John Butler, came off the line with Simon in the best position and breeze, and it was Harry who lead round the windward mark followed by Simon, Caroline, Penny and the other local junior, Jack Gore in a club boat.

As with the previous race, on the long run to the top of the river Penny sailed though everyone to do an over-the-horizon job, so no-one had a clue what she did for the rest of the race. Behind Penny it was a much more tense affair with Jack Gore following Penny through to second on the run before Caroline eventually got past Harry and Simon to slowly reel Jack in and relieve him of second place.

On the second triangle up the river, Harry got taken wide into the tide by a member of the Comet fleet, with whom the Lightnings were sharing the racing courses, allowing Simon to hug the bank to get back to fourth. All Caroline had to do was stay ahead of Simon for second place in the meeting, but extraordinarily whilst beating on port she hit mast to mast with Bryan Westley who was running on starboard.

During her subsequent penalty turns Jack, Simon and the fast finishing Tony got past her. After a few slalom mark roundings this order was almost maintained on the beat down river with the tide to the line, but with Simon coming though Jack, and Caroline recovering to third. Finishing order was Penny, Simon, Caroline, Jack, Tony and Harry.

The 2023 Southern Championship went to Penny Yarwood, with Simon Hopkins second ahead of Caroline Hollier in third on count back from John Claridge. First junior was Jack Gore in 8th place overall.

The fleet now move on to Cookham Reach SC on the upper stretches of the Thames on the 10th June for more river sailing, but non-tidal.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3Pts
1st425Penny Yarwood‑1112
2nd428Simon Hopkins‑3325
3rd438Carloline Hollier‑8235
4th447John Claridge24‑76
5th444Tony Jacks‑75510
6th325Paul Beven48‑1012
7th430Graham Lazell57‑1312
8th342Jack Gore9‑10413
9th429Ralph Drew6‑11915
10th402Steve Hodgeson106‑1116
11th417Jason Gallagher‑119817
12th433Harry Yarwood‑1212618
13th407Bryan Westley‑13131225
14th95Richard Stratton1414(DNF)28

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