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Lightning368 National Championship at Northampton Sailing Club - Preview

by Lee Bratley 28 Aug 2016 15:11 BST 3-4 September 2016
Lightning nationals at Northampton in 2013 © Emma Dodd

The Lightning368s head off to Northampton SC next weekend (3rd / 4th September) for the 2016 Nationals.

With multiple victor Robbie Claridge unable to defend his title from last year, there's likely to be a new name etched onto the trophy this time around with some that have previously been tantalisingly close to winning seeing an opportunity to take their place at the top of the rostrum.

A battle of the big boys (almost literally) is on the agenda as current series leader Simon Hopkins sets his new boat against the scarily improved Bryan Westley - also out in new equipment. Bryan will, doubtless, win the battle-of-the-bar but could well put in some surprise appearances amongst the top of the fleet in a new boat that doesn't see him trailing bits and pieces along the highways and byways of the UK.

Class chairman Jason Gallagher has also been one to invest, not just in a new boat (Last years championship winning hull) but in some fetching new clothing to match the go-faster approach and is another who could set the brightly coloured cat amongst the pigeons.

Spike Daniels. Now there's a dark horse if ever I've seen one.....comin' over here in his ebay boat, pinching our trophies...Yep, Spike has been a fantastic addition to the fleet, a quiet sailing assassin and the person 'most likely' to take the battle right to the end.

There's some ladies too y'know. Don't ever discount the diminutive Caroline Key who has a race-face to terrify Ben Ainslie and the talent to match. 'Little Gem' will certainly be mixing it for the lead all weekend.

How about 'The Lovely' Penny? Despite the fact that most of us can't understand her Essexian twang (we just smile, nod and offer her some jellied eels and all seems to go fine) Penny remains a force to be reckoned with and is another one to watch on the leaderboard.

Paul White... our distraction technique of constantly asking about kicker settings has failed to rattle the genial genius from Draycote and he must be favourite to be the first to swear at Bryan. Paul is long long overdue a Nationals win, maybe this could be the year?

Northampton has been a favourite venue of the Lightnings for a few years and always provides a fantastic weekend of racing and social. This year will be no different as we invite all of you Lightning sailors to come and join us from Friday afternoon for a classy pre-events Drinks and canapes (Packets of crisps) session either in the clubhouse or at Simon's tent.

Most likely both.

New to the Lightning? New to the association? Don't worry, come down and have a go, we absolutely don't bite and the banter is of a pretty high brow level.

Racing starts at 1130am on Saturday with 6 races scheduled for the weekend, after which we shall see who has been crowned Lightning368 National Champion.

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