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Lightning 368 Open at Up River Yacht Club

by Simon Hopkins on 12 Oct 7-8 October 2017
Lightnings at Up River © Julie Stevens

The now regular visit to Up River YC in Essex for a training and open weekend did not look promising with reports of gales for Saturday and light winds Sunday. Six visitors took up the offer of some training on the river and learn the tides on Saturday.

Bruce Watts travelled up from Beer without a boat for the experience. We found him a spare one and with the wind not as bad as predicted had a great afternoon on the water. John Claridge brought the new 'narrow deck' prototype and everyone had a go at some time or another.

Saturday evening once again lived up to the hype and ended as usual on the jetty at Penny's house in the early hours of the morning. Nobody was lost during the drunken walk along the river bank.

In contrast to Saturday, Sunday dawned bright and Sunny with only a light NW breeze. The late start gave time for hangovers to recover but unfortunately Bryan had to sit the racing out with an attack of gastric something or other. Caroline recovering from a minor op had done too much Saturday to sail Sunday but luckily she had bought a spare helm in the Shape of husband Adrian Hollier, who whilst stating to all around it was 2 years since he had been in a boat was an ex National Champion so one to be watched!

Race one started with a short beat up river and then a long run against the tide in the light breeze. Being too far back because of a bad start I think it was Penny, or Paul, or Adrian at the windward mark first, but this did not matter because very quickly all 9 boats were alongside each other hugging the bank away from the tide. Adrian made the break downriver only to not know where the 'East' mark was and not surprisingly everyone arrived together. Out of the mayhem Penny emerged in the lead ahead of Adrian and Paul White and the positions remained the same to the finish.

Race 2 started down the river with a beat to Clements and this time John and Simon took the pin end to arrive at the windward mark first and second ahead of Graham Lazell, getting some practice in before his new boat arrives in the New Year. Running through to Stow post Paul was soon through to second and it looked like these three were away clear until the wind filled in and the pack rejoined the leaders. All boats once again arrived at East together and this time Adrian popped out ahead of Simon, although Penny then took the inshore route and was soon through to second, to finish in this order. Sympathies to Paul and John who got mugged yards from the line by the fast approaching pack.

After tea and cakes the fleet stood on the bank looking at the flat still water wondering if race three could be sailed as the tide was about to turn. Maybe foolishly they decide to go and in the dying breeze spent the next 30 minutes trying to get to the first mark where the race officer kindly shortened the course! Only 5 boats made it to the first mark and Simon took the win in race 3 by clever use of momentum ahead of John Claridge, Penny, Graham and Paul.

So with Penny and Adrian tied on 3 points with a 1, 2 each and Adrian sitting out the last race the Open meeting went to Penny with Simon 3rd.

As usual Up River YC had put on a fantastic event and everyone headed home promising to return in 2018 where it will be the season opener! Next event is the Inlands at Hunts SC on the 21st October before the season finale at West Oxford on the 11th November,

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